One of the most frustrating parts of gardening can be seeds that never sprout! Any kind of bad germination rate could make you feel like you are doing something wrong, but there’s at least a chance that it isn’t your fault! 😉
If you happen to have seeds that might be a little older, or you perhaps didn’t store them as carefully as you should have, or even if its a batch of seeds you’ve had horrible luck with in the past, you can actually test them before you try to add them to your garden. All you need is a couple paper towels, a zip lock bag, your seeds for testing, and some time!
Here’s what you do:
- Wet down a paper towel.
- Add the seeds to the wet paper towel- make sure you’re using enough to get an accurate idea, I recommend at least 5 or 10!
- Depending on how many seeds you’re testing and the size of your paper towel, either roll up the wet paper towel you’re using or wet down another paper towel and place it over the top.
- Seal up your paper towel roll up in a zip lock bag, and store it somewhere room temperature.
- Wait! Quick sprouts, if viable, should start to germinate after only a couple days but ones that take longer can be more like 2 weeks, and with those you’ll need to spritz the paper towels every couple of days to keep everything damp.
There you have it! If most of your seeds sprouted, you’ll be perfectly fine to plant them like normal. If you’re sitting somewhere around 50/50, you’ll be fine to plant them, but you might consider adding some more seeds to compensate. If you’re only getting a few sprouts, you should probably scrap the batch and invest in some new seeds. 🙁
To keep your seeds viable, you should store them in a cool dry place. The fridge is a good idea, but room temperature should be fine too. After testing your seeds, you can either plant them (if they sprouted) or if it isn’t quite time, or they weren’t good, you can compost them.
Do you have any tricks for making sure your seeds will sprout? Share with me in the comments!