Pre-Germinating Seeds Part 2

20160205_141000This is Part 2 in the 2 part series about pre-germinating seeds. See Part 1 on getting started with pre-germinating seeds.
By now, the seeds I pre-germinated have started sprouting and they are ready to be planted in the newspaper planters I made.20160205_140807
Begin by filling the newspaper planters almost full with seed starting soil. I use Epsoma Organic Seed Starter which can be found here. Pick the seeds up from the damp cotton pad or paper towel. You may want to use tweezers, but be very careful. If the seed sprout is cut or torn from the seed, the seedling will die.

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Plant the seeds ¼-1/2 inch in the soil. Only place one to two of your pre-germinated seeds in each planter. Pre-germinating seeds helps ensure the viability of the seed and also eliminates the need for unnecessary thinning.
Place the newspaper planters in an area where they will receive direct sunlight and keep the temperature above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If you do not have a room that will provide enough natural light, you may supplement the light with grow lights.20160205_134711
Keep the soil moist. It may be beneficial to keep a spray bottle of water next to the plants to make watering them easier.

How to Make Newspaper Planters

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Though it just snowed here, I am already thinking spring!  I don’t want to have to buy new pots for my seeds each year so I have come across and alternative that is both cost effective, simple, and organic.

Newspaper planters are a great way to start your seeds indoors.  You won’t need to remove the plants from the planter come spring as the newspaper with breakdown in the soil.  Newspaper planters are an environmentally friendly and low cost alternative to plastic planters or other pots.  There are many methods to creating newspaper planters.  For the method I used, you will need:

Newspaper

Scissors

Tape

A small cup

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First, cut the newspaper pages into quarters.  Take each quarter and fold them into thirds.

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From there, wrap the newspaper around the cup, leaving about an inch below the end of the cup.  I used a measuring cup for pet food and kept the newspaper around the 2/3 cup mark.  Place a piece of tape at where the newspaper overlaps. 20160201_113350

Next, turn the cup over and fold the newspaper over to create the bottom of the planter.  Secure it with a piece of tape.  I like to push down on the cup at this point to help the planter stay flat.

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That’s all you have to do!  You can make plenty of biodegradable, organic newspaper planters in just a short amount of time.

I am going to use my planters to start my pre-germinated seeds indoors until they are ready to be planted in my garden in spring.  See Part 1 for instructions on how to pre-germinate seeds and Part 2 for planting the pre-germinated seeds in the newspaper planters.

Pre-Germinating Seeds Part 1

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This is the first part in my attempt to pre-germinate the seeds I am going to be using in my garden this spring.  I am starting with the onions, spicy peppers, Brussels sprouts, and celery.

Pre-germinating, or pre-sprouting seeds, is the process of starting seeds before planting them.  It ensures that seeds are viable and eliminates any uncertainty of waiting for the seeds to sprout after they have been planted.  Pre-germinating seeds this way is also quicker than sprouting them in soil.

I chose to pre-germinate my seeds to give them a head start at growing here in the North East.  Once the seeds sprout, I will plant them in containers and keep them indoors until they are ready to be planted outdoors in the spring.

I am using the plastic bag method for pre-germinating the seeds.  I am also using cotton pads, but paper towels can also be used.

First, moisten the cotton pads or paper towel.  Place a few seeds on the pad and cover with another.  It should be damp, not completely wet.  Collage

Next, place the pad in a plastic bag.  Be sure not to seal the bag so that the seeds can get air.  I am keeping all of my seeds in a small cardboard box.  Be sure that the room you keep the seeds in is warm.  I have set the thermostat in my room to 70 degrees.

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I will check back in a few days to see how they have sprouted.  I will cover that and planting them in a container in Part 2.

What I Am Growing This Spring

I have ordered the seeds for my garden. I may have gotten overly ambitious with my order, ordering 24 sampler packets of seeds. But, hey, they were $.99. I purchased this year’s seeds from SeedsNow.com. I chose them because they have signed the Safe Seed Pledge which means that all of their seeds are “pure heirloom non-hybridized varieties that are free from genetic engineering.” Basically they are 100 % Non-Genetically Modified (Non-GMO). Some of the seeds are also certified organic. They have been pollinated naturally and because they are non-hybrid, I will be able to harvest seeds at the end of the growing season to save for next year.20160120_080322
When choosing the seeds I purchased for my garden, I took into account what was already available at the orchard up the street and what my grandparents grow so that we would have variety and not have an overabundance of anything. I also chose fruits and vegetables that I thought would be fun to grow as well.
I am going to grow: Alfalfa Sprouts, Banana Peppers, Basil, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cantaloupe, Carrots, Celery, Chamomile, Chives, Fennel, Honeydew Melon, Jalapeno Peppers, Lettuce, Lima Beans, Pearl Onions, Pickling Cucumbers, Rapini, Red Onions, Spinach, Sweet Peppers, Watermelon, and White Onions.
My next step is to plan out where I am going to plant everything in the garden. I will probably be following a square foot gardening approach and also use containers for the melons and maybe a few of the vegetables. I will also be pre-sprouting as many of the seeds as I can to ensure maximum germination and less wasted seeds.
I look forward to sharing my progress!