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Paper Towel Germination?

Posted by sarahjoy94 (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 2, 10 at 17:02

I've started some seeds - ground cherry, tomato, and bell pepper- in paper towels and am having some trouble. I put them in on the 29th of March and only a few have sprouted. Some of the paper towels started growing a pink mold so I had to restart and now they're doing it again. How wet should the paper towel be? What am I doing wrong?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Paper Towel Germination?

Did you read the FAQ about the baggie method? I've had good success with that, but I find that the more upright you can keep them the better. I put mine under lights and had good germination with that. I had some problems with mold, but I've read that hydrogen peroxcide diluted will kill it off. I even got lavendar to sprout, after putting it in the fridge for a couple weeks.

RE: Paper Towel Germination?

The paper towel should just be damp, not wet. Many seeds will sprout in conditions you would never think were damp enough for them to do so.

Fold a paper towel twice into a square, dampen it, squeeze out excess, smooth out the wrinkles (should still be folded), and place your seeds on top, then slide carefully into a Baggie or Ziplock bag, and puff some air into it so the plastic isn't laying right on top of the seeds. Inspect daily, and open and lift out sprouts to plant immediately. They're very fragile, so don't let them dry out or get mangled.


RE: Paper Towel Germination?

I used the paper towel method for propagating lemon seeds, and it worked great. I folded the paper towel and wet it, then I squeezed out the excess water, and put my seeds inside of the fold. Then I put the paper towel in a clear cup and sealed it with plastic wrap so that it wouldn't get mouldy and put it by a window. Or you could use the plastic baggy method as well. I had sprouts in about a week. Hope that helps.


RE: Paper Towel Germination?

I have tried the plastic baggie method with a moonflower seed and it worked! Pretty soon, I'll be starting the rest of my moonflowers this way. I want to try it with cup and saucer vine seeds too. Has anyone tried growing cup and saucer vines this way?

Brad AKA Moonwolf

RE: Paper Towel Germination?

I have started my pepper and tomato seeds this way for a few years partly because of my anxiety of seeing what the seeds are doing, and because I don't want to waste time with 'dud' seeds. However, I use coffee filters which are stronger than paper towels. I fold them in quarters, arrange the seeds as I wish them on the bottom quarter, fold and mist them with a spray bottle. I usually keep them very moist (I can sometimes see water in the bottom of the baggie) but I keep the baggie open, and view them every day. I am now potting up peppers I sowed on March 27, and set up my tomatoes yesterday. Best way to start plants for indoor growing.

RE: Paper Towel Germination?

I try a different method of seeds germinating. Mine is based on wicking paper towel system, where seeds can breathe freely, and i can control the wetting necessity of the seeds. You can do that simply by inserting any rope or cotton cable in a pot of size 12 cm into one of the holes, and drag it down from another whole. You must have at least 15 cm hanging down from both sides, and a least one. Place the pot above a glass jar, filled with 30% water, having the rope immersed in water (Water can maximum wicks up to 25 cm) . Put your paper towel, a tough one, into a plantation pot and place your seeds onto it. Cover it with another and wet the whole towels. Place them in the sun or the shade, anywhere you think is suitable, and check them daily. You will see the germination within a couple of days if the seeds are new. With the water level, you can control the humidity level of the wicking system. More water means more moisture. I have been using this method for more than a year now and the results are always positive, including all planted seeds I used, even passion fruit seeds. I will upload a photo I made on 3D to show the concept.
Good luck with your seeds.

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