How to Grow Seeds in Paper Towels
There are several reasons for sprouting seeds, such as for human consumption as a tasty addition to a salad or sandwich, or for future planting. Though you can buy a commercially made seed sprouting kit, you can sprout and grow seeds at home using plain paper towels. Whether you're growing seeds for food or planting, doing it at home is often cheaper than either buying sprouts or potted seedlings.
Place two sheets of paper towel on a dinner plate that's big enough to hold the paper towels.
Scatter seeds on the paper towels. Make sure the seeds are not touching if you plan to plant the seeds after they've sprouted. If the seeds are touching, the seedlings will become tangled.
Layer two more sheets of paper towel on top of the seeds.
Fill a plastic spray bottle with water and spritz the water onto the paper towels until they are fully soaked. Set the plate in a cool and dark area, such as a closet or cupboard. Continue to mist the paper towels to keep them perpetually moist. The seeds will sprout, typically within seven to 14 days.
Peel off the top two paper towels to expose the sprouted seeds. Eat the sprouts, if you're growing edible plants. If you want to plant the sprouts, fill a pot with soil-less potting mix. Dig a hole that's 1/2 to 1 inch deep and vertically insert a sprouted seed into the hole, leafy side facing upward. Cover with the potting mix and spritz with the water bottle to moisten.
Start Seeds In Soil Or In Paper Towels?
Soil provides the natural environment for the seed to germinate and grow healthy. A well-drained and aerated soil mixture allows the seed to be planted and grown without any need to transplant. On the other hand, soil has its disadvantages when it comes to disease and density. Even placement of the seeds can cause failed seedlings in the soil; seeds planted too deeply will have problems trying to reach the surface for sunlight. Disease is not a factor since the towel is sterile. Moisture and warmth within the towel are controlled with daily observation; you can add water to the towel when it becomes too dry and move it near a warm area if it is too cold in its original spot.
- Paper towels
- Dinner plate
- Plastic spray bottle
- Pot with potting mix (optional)
- "Burpee: The Complete Vegetable & Herb Gardener"; Karan Cutler, et al.; 1997
- Mr. Grow: Sprouting Seeds
- Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: Successful Seed Germination
- Texas A & M University: Seed Germination
- Urban Garden Magazine: Seed Germination
- North Carolina State University: Starting Plants from Seeds