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Paper Towel Method for Seeds

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Paper Towel Method for Seeds




I used to use this method to check viability of seeds from my pods( a couple from each pod), it is simple and easy to control/check on how they are going. With the humid weather in Thailand I started doing larger amounts and now do up to 100 seeds at a time in a plastic container around 15cm square. I do 4 layers with 25 seeds or a few more in each layer, I also rotate them every couple of days, top and bottom to the middle and the middle ones to the top and bottom. You can check on them when ever you want and just spray a bit of water on them if they are drying out, just make sure to squeeze any excess water out gently.


I cut a piece of paper towel in half then fold it in half again to crease it then open it back up, I then spray it lightly with water then start laying the seeds on  it 2 cm from the margins(crease, sides and bottom, pic 1). I fit 7 or 8 seeds(peeled edges/wing) in a row and 3 or 4 rows on each sheet, then you fold it over in half again, fold in the sides so that the folds are just about level with the seeds(over lapping them slightly with the folded piece) then do the same with the top and bottom, this should make the paper towel around 10 cm square or so(pic 2). I then spray it with a mix of water and seasol, lift it up and press it gently between my hands to remove the excess water.


Then it is placed in the container. I repeat this 4 times, you could probably do more layers but this is usually enough to do at a time. Put the lid on ithe container and put it where it will be out of direct sunlight but in a warm area(I use our ensuite bench top). I usually check them every few days to make sure they remain moist and rotate them every few days as well so they all get time in different positions. They start to germinate here inside a week(temps av. high 20's) but I leave them till I can see several roots so it is worth opening them up( pic 3, the ones in the pics are just over a week old). Open them gently(pic 4) and remove the ones with roots then fold the paper back up(pic 5), put it back in the container and close it up again(pic 6) until they have all germinated.


All you have to do now is replant the ones you removed into your potting mix, I use a mix of sand and seed raising mix(pic 7), I make a trench in it and then just back fill it naround the seeds, water them in with your seasol solution and keep them out of direct sun. I have included a pic of a double I found amongst the germinated seeds(pic 8).


I also remove some of the husk so that they can push it off easily as they grow during this stage, usually within a month you have healthy seedling with a few sets of leaves, once they have 3 or 4 sets of true leaves you can move them into individual pots if you want or leave them to over winter in the one big tray. I start them out in 4" pots before moving them either into the ground or bigger pots, the choice is yours.

With this method I regularly get a 100% success rate but I use my own seeds when they are fresh but still get good results with other growers seeds, you can also germinate seeds at any time of year if you can keep the temperature of the room reasonably warm(around 20 C)


© Dennis