The Baggie Method

trudi_dJanuary 1, 2013


There are many different ways to germinate seeds. The Baggie Method is fun and easy to do. This FAQ started as a post on the Growing From Seed Forum and was posted by "Taryn" on Thu, Mar 6, 03. Other tips in the FAQ have been shared by "Valray", "Henry_Kuska", and "Glen_Cdn_Prairies_z3".

Taryn writes of her method:

"I've had several people email me privately to elaborate on the coffee filter/baggie method I've referred to a few times. So, since there are a lot of newbies to this forum who might not know about it, I thought I'd elaborate publically on this variation of 'the paper towel method'.

I presprout nearly all my seeds using coffee filters and baggies, then transplant sprouts to soilless mix in cellpacks. I use round basket-type coffee filters because the paper is denser than paper towels, so the roots don't get enmeshed in it as easily.

Here's what I do:

1) With masking tape and a Sharpie waterproof marker, mark a ziplock baggie with seed type, date, and any pertinent info about germ temps/stratifying/light required.

2) Wet a coffee filter, then squeeze out excess moisture so it is just damp, not wet.

3) Imagining it as a pie, sow your seeds on 1/4 of the pie, then fold filter in half, then in half again. Your seeds should have one layer of filter on one side, three layers on the other.

4) Place the folded filter into the ziplock back, puff a little air in the baggie, then seal, leaving it just slightly puffed, not completely flat.

5) Place in warm place to germinate or in a tupperware container in the fridge (so they don't get squished by the cucumbers!) for cold strat, and wait....

Voila, little mini-greenhouse!

Check baggies every few days, and remoisten as needed. Even if one doesn't appear to need remoistening, don't let them go over a week without opening them up for some fresh air. I use a mister bottle with 1:20 hydrogen peroxide:water to help prevent mold and mildew from forming. You could use chamomile tea too if that is what you currently use. For seeds that need light, keep them with the single layer of filter up, and in bright light, though not direct sunlight. If they need dark, put in a drawer or cupboard.

I have used this method with great success for many types of seeds, including very small ones. It does take some practice transferring them from the filter to the cellpacks, and I use a couple of toothpics for this procedure, transplanting them as they sprout. I premoisten my soilless mix (5 cups mix to 3 cups hot/boiling water), let cool, then fill the cellpacks lightly. There shouldn't be large airpockets, but it also shouldn't be packed down. Don't forget to relabel the cellpacks. Pick up seeds/seedlings using a wet toothpic, handling only the seedcoats/leaves, not the stem or root. Use a 2nd toothpic as a dibble, making a tiny hole or larger depending on the root. Larger seeds like Datura I move with my fingers. Put...

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