Dewality
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Paper Towel/Coffee filter method of germination

As a new indoor gardener, i want to try all the tricks i see for growing herbs and small vegetables from seed. I have some growing in peat pellets, some in burpee soil pellets, and im doing some tomato and pepper plants in coffee filters moistened and placed in bags.

My question is: according to my research seeds sown in paper towel or coffee filters need to be kept pretty warm to induce germination. The closet i keep my herb growing set up sets at about 72-74 degrees all day. For peppers they recommend almost 80 degrees. I have a heat vent that is on the floor in a similar spot. What are some opinions of me taping the filter sown seeds to the vent so that they get direct warm temperature. Or will the flux of hot and no hot be more of a negative then just placing them in the 72 degree room and hoping that's warm enough??

Thank you for your opinions!

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prettygurl
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I will be trying the Baggie Method for the first time this month to see how it speeds up the germination process. I haven't read about putting the baggies in a warm place but I do know from my experience the germination time will be longer if pepper seeds are at room temperature.

Dewality
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I will post my results with my baggies...i decided to do two batches...one set im keeping at room temperature...and the other two im going to tape to my heat duct and just see what happens...experiment and learn!

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rainbowgardener
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I think hot and not hot alternating is worse than steady warm. And the heat is very drying. Your seeds need to be kept damp the whole time until they sprout. You do have the paper towels inside baggies? The point of the baggie is to hold moisture in so they stay damp.

And of course you understand, they can't grow there. That is just for sprouting the seeds. As soon as they have sprouted they will need to go into some kind of potting soil with lights over it.

Personally, I don't bother with pre-sprouting, seems like more trouble than it is worth. I just plant my seeds in potting soil under the lights to start with. Then I don't have to worry about constantly monitoring them and moving them immediately.
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Dewality
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So i put peppers and tomato seeds in coffee filters....watered them...sealed them...and put them in a warm corner of my closet. After 2 days the tomato seeds are sprouting, compared to the tomato seeds i directly sowed which so far are showing no signs of life. Just an update but i think the bag method is a winner for sure! Future updates to come!!

Day 2 50% germination rate on on Napa Grape tomato seeds in bags.

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rainbowgardener
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Are the direct sowed tomato seeds given some kind of warmth? You said the baggies are in a warm spot. If the direct sowed tomato seeds are not on a heat mat or something, that would account for the difference. They do need warmth to sprout.
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IndyGerdener
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Awesome information. I am trying the bag method this year for the first time as well. It is working great so far.

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Dewality
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To answer your question about the directly sowed seeds....they are in the same room/closet as the baggies, but i have the pod sowed seeds under a 55 watt florescent light just to maintain a good soil temp. Out of the 6 peat pellet pods i planted, with two seeds in each, one has emerged from the soil. I noticed the green tip poking out today when i got home. So i would say way faster to bag them if you want a high and quick germination rate.

Next im going to try bagging some plants i've had issues germinating. focusing on my rosemary that i want to grow from seed but have yet to have one sprout via pod method.

beccababble
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This sounds like a really good method for when you don't have the space to do starter pots.

Do you generally stack the bags or lay them out individually?

Dewality
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This is my first time doing this method...but as long as temperature is even im assuming you can stack them. In pictures i've seen online i've seen them laid out and layered. With the pure % germination i think this is the best way to germinate seeds, and you get to see which ones are studs and which are duds before you plant and play the guessing game!

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Ozark Lady
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I did the wet paper towel in a baggy for seed germination testing.
It worked quite well.
I would then, transplant the seeds and I had my record of percentage out of the 10 officially started, instead of waiting to see seedlings above the soil and a few pre-started plants. It worked pretty well, and I just stuck them in a cabinet in their bags.

But, a few, were left a day too long...
Those little roots were everywhere, it was worse than sorting yarn that a cat has played with. Sometimes I couldn't even tell exactly how many had rooted. I even had some roots that were strong enough to poke holes in the baggy and escape.

I do like to pre start pepper seeds, since they seem to take so long that I give up on them ever popping up.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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prettygurl
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Cool! I tried the filter method yesterday. This thread gives me such hope.

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rainbowgardener
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It's great for testing viability, but if you really want to grow those plants out, they are going to have to get in to light and soil very soon. They will be rooting themselves in to the paper towel/ filter paper, but that's ok. Just cut out the paper around the seedling and plant it paper and all. That way you avoid ripping out all those little root hairs that just got started.
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applestar
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I generally don't rely on ths method because you are really supposed to sow the pre-germinated seeds in their growing medium as soon as the seed opens and tip of the root shows. You may notice that this has happened in the morning, daytime or bedtime. Tiny seeds/rootlets are difficult to handle and can easily be broken.

The few times I tried this method in the past, I reached the conclusion that I'm not good at sowing seeds on THEIR schedule.

Only time I would do this now is with seeds of particular interest that are old or have questionable germination rate, that I am willing expend extra time and care.

I do sometimes pre-germinate peas and corn before sowing -- I'm having trouble with chipmunks digging up the seeds.... No more than 1/4" roots, though I have had to sow seeds with 1/2" long roots since it was 1/4" at bedtime and 1/2" by sunrise.
Last edited by applestar on Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

Dewality
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I'm becoming relatively fond of this method because I'm starting an indoor garden that i will move to my patio when it gets nice out. Because of the limited space i will have available i don't want to start 10-20 of each seed and then have them all germinate, also only planting 5-10 could result in no germination.....planting things like rosemary that by my research has a 5% germination rate, it seems like a good idea to visually see which seeds are germinating before i plant them. But ya, if i were to plant a full garden or doing entire flats of each type, i would prolly directly sow because you are creating the ideal situations for the plants!

So much good feedback on this topic i thank everyone that has posted...the past 30 days has been like taking a crash course in herb-onomics! So much fun!

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IndyGerdener
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So much good feedback on this topic i thank everyone that has posted...the past 30 days has been like taking a crash course in herb-onomics! So much fun!
For me too. And i get to put it into action right away. I am loving it. I have tried this method on peas and beans to see if it works. If they get to big to early i don't care since they are easy to grow. I have been using a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide in a quart of water. This has kept the musty smell out of the bags. And it appears the germination is just as good. I love learning...[/quote]

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