ACTIVATING SEEDS IN WATER
Put your seeds in a cup of spring water at room temperature for 24 hours in a dark place like a cupboard. After 24 hours move on to the paper towel technique. If the seeds have already started to sprout after 24 hours you can skip the paper towel technique and go straight to the transplanting seeds to soil step.
PAPER TOWEL TECHNIQUE
Wet a paper towel with a garden sprayer. The paper towel should be very evenly moist but not drenched.
Pluck your seeds out of the cup of water using your fingers or a strainer. If you use your fingers be careful not to damage the taproot if one has already started to emerge.
Put the seeds on one side of the paper towel and then fold the damp paper towel over the seeds.
You can stick the paper towel in a baggie or between two plates to create a humidity trap if you want. This step would help prevent the paper towel from drying out.
Check on the seeds every 24 hours. On average it takes 48-72 hours before the taproots emerge from the seeds. Ensure the paper towel remains evenly moist. Do not let the paper towels dry out. Do not make the paper towels drenched where there is pooling water.
When the taproot emerges a few centimeters ( .1 inch) it is ready for planting and can be moved to soil. We recommend not letting the taproots get too long before transplanting to soil because the taproots are delicate and it is easier to damage a long taproot than a stubby one.
TRANSPLANTING SPROUTED SEEDS TO SOIL
Get any type of small container that will allow drainage. A cheap solution is beer cups with holes drilled in the bottom. Fill container with starter seed soil. Make sure the soil is starter seed soil. Soil that is not starter seed soil is usually intended for adult plants and might be infused with too much fertilizer that can harm small seeds.
Water the soil so it is evenly moist. If you overwater and turn the soil into wet mud the seeds might become too water logged and rot.
Your starter soil has a little bit of nutrients in it already so you shouldn’t need to start fertilizing until after your seed sprouts and the first two baby leaves start to turn yellowish. When the first two baby leaves do start to turn yellow it is a sign that that your plant needs you to begin fertilizing. At that point, you should start using water with 300 ppm nutrients.
For seeds and seedlings you should also ideally be using water that is pH balanced to 5.8.
Poke a small indent in the soil about up to the first knuckle of your forefinger. Don’t make the indent too big.
Move your sprouted seeds into the indent using your fingers or tweezers. Be careful not to damage the taproot. The taproot should ideally face down. However, don’t try to force it into position.
Cover the seed with a very light sprinkle of soil. It shouldn’t be buried too deep. A light covering of a centimeter (0.05 inch) of soil is enough. If you bury it too deep the seed might die.
We recommend giving your freshly planted seed a final light misting to ensure it is in contact with moisture. Aim your garden sprayer right where you planted the seed.
It is important to keep the soil evenly moist. The seed will die if the soil dries out. Use a garden sprayer on the soil every day to maintain moist conditions.
The ideal temperature for sprouts is approximately room temperature (around 70-80ºF, 21-36º celsius). A warm condition is very important because warm weather is what activates the chemistry of the seed and forces it to grow.
A 50% or less ambient humidity is ideal. We do not suggest a humidity dome for seeds.
It takes 3-10 days for seedling to appear.
There are other mediums besides soil you can use to start your seeds. They may be of interest especially if you are planning a soilless hydroponic grow. Check out our advice for alternative mediums here: