How to Plant Seeds Without Water


Seeds need water and sunlight to thrive. That's standard. However, there are ways to get the needed moisture without watering the plants directly. There is natural moisture available if you create the right planting environment. As long as you build a nutrient-rich, moist planting bed, seeds should be able to germinate and sprout. This is a helpful technique if your access to water is limited or you're experiencing a drought.

Step 1

Create a compost pile with food scraps from the kitchen. Stir them each time you add scraps to quicken the breakdown.

Step 2

Cover the compost pile with black plastic to keep the mixture moist, prevent evaporation and create a nutrient-rich planting medium that does not need water.

Step 3

Build a raised planting bed. Lay down a piece of black gardening plastic where you want the bed to be to keep water in and weeds out.

Step 4

Spread topsoil and compost humus in equal amounts over the black plastic. Mix them with a shovel or garden hoe. Fill the beds until they reach the desired height. Do not let compost liquids drain when you carry the material from the compost pile to the raised planting bed, as this liquid will add precious moisture to the seeds.

Step 5

Sow the seeds throughout the planting bed, following the seed packet for information on how deep to plant and how to space them. Press them into the soil with a finger.

Step 6

Lay down clear plastic over the raised bed to cover the seeds, keep moisture from evaporating and to create a greenhouse-like environment. Tuck the corners in between the walls of the bed and the soil to hold it in place.

Step 7

Allow the seeds to sprout. They will feed off of the nutrients in the compost hummus.

Step 8

Cut an opening in the clear plastic when the plants are 2 inches tall. Cut X's into the plastic over each plant, using a knife, to provide each plant with oxygen.

Step 9

Keep the plastic in place as long as necessary, until water is available. Shake off any condensation buildup on the inside of the plastic onto the plants.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not wait too long to cut the holes in the plastic or you may suffocate the seedlings.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost pile Top soil Black gardening plastic Clear gardening plastic Knife


  • Scientific American: Scientists Grow Plants without Sunlight or Water
  • Helpful Gardener: Garden Forum

Who Can Help

  • This Old House: How to Build a Raised Planting Bed
Keywords: plant seeds, seeds without water, grow seeds

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.