Pictures of successful baggie seed sprouts?

purple1701(5B Chicago)April 22, 2013

Hi there!

I did post this in the seed propogation area as well, but seeing as these are mostly herbs and flowers (lavender, daisies, marigolds, basil and parsley) I'm hoping someone here might have specific answers :-)

Yesterday I put a variety of seeds into baggies with the wet paper towel method (well I'm using napkins, but anyway).

I am unsure as to exactly when I should put them into the soil? FYI - I am on a very limited budget and so I do not have many of the things that people may say is "necessary" like potting mix, peat pellets, or whatnot. I have dirt from my garden (which does happen to be very well-amended with a good ph)and some empty egg cartons. I also have a nice uv lamp under which I plan to put them once they have morphed from sprout to seedling.

What I would really like to know though, is does anyone have pictures of what the seed/sprout should look like in order for me to know when to remove them from the baggie?

That would be most helpful. Thanks much!

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Aindra(8, BC)

I don't think the pictures are needed. Open up your napkin every day, and if you see some seeds that have tiny root exiting the seed hull. It means these seeds has woken up and it's time to put them in soil, and leave others who's still "sleeping" in napkin.

Still, there are quite a few pictures in google images so I linked one of them for you if you still want to see the pictures.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 6:04PM
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Oh if you had asked earlier i wouldve taken pictures but i experimented with the paper towel method and i got seeds to germinate as quickly as 2-3 days! The longest one probably took about a week and i had a good germination rate. The seeds i tried with this were hollyhock, cilantro, basil, tomatoes and a few others. Some plants, like the basil had such a high germination rate that i had more plants that pots. I also did not use too much water on the paper towel.I took a paper towel a folded in half two times and added enough water to make a circle of water about two inches in diameter, so the corners and edges of the paper towel were still dry when i put it in the bag (however the water spreads out to the entire paper towel by the end of the day) This amount of water seemed just right because none of my seeds rotted and usually i have problems with seeds rotting when i do the paper towel method.
One side note, i planted some seeds in the dirt as well to see how dirt-started plants compared to paper towel ones. I noticed that the paper towel plants germinated faster but were slightly weaker than the ones started in dirt. ie, the dirt-started ones could handle low temps, accidental epsom salt over dose, and other hardships better

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 10:03PM
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purple1701(5B Chicago)

Thanks Aindra, that is helpful! So at that point, I would take them out (very gently, I assume!) and place them in the dirt, cotyledon up of course? How far out of the dirt should the cotyledon be?

Would any of this information depend on exactly what the plant is? IE, maybe some should stay in longer, others shorter time? Some planted deeper than others? If so, here is a list of what I have in baggies:

Basil - Genovese I think?
Parsley - flat leaf
Lavender - Lady I think ... again, not sure of this one
Marigold - Crackerjack mix
Marigold - Petite mix
Daisies - Shasta

I do realize that they all have different germination periods, so I am taking that into account, but really just wondering if there is anything else I should know.

It seems like most of the info on this site and elsewhere focuses on the "how-to" of the baggie method itself, and not much about what to do after. Maybe I'm just missing something.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:24AM
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Aindra(8, BC)

When the seed wakes up, it sends a root, not cotyledon. It needs to be pointed down, but it doesn't really matter. These seeds are smart and will redirect their root, so it's okay to put them horizontally if you're concerned about breaking the root.

It'll create the cotyledon shortly which will go upwards. Sometimes you may find a sprout with a seed hull still attached to its head as it goes up, like . It should fall off on its own, and it tends to happen often on certain plants, not others.

The baggie is a germination technique only so that's why you can't find much info about what happens afterwards.

Do you have the seed packets where you got your seeds from? If yes, then read their instructions because they work same for the baggie germinated seeds.

Skip the step if it tells you to sow more than one seed in one spot (to ensure at least one seed will germinate) because your seeds will be already germinated and you know it's good to go.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 12:47PM
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purple1701(5B Chicago)

So... I want to plant the seed once the root has sprouted and not wait for the cotyledon to come out as well? And I get following the directions on the seed packet then, that makes sense.

Can someone explain why I have seen some pictures of the baggie method where people have left the seeds in the baggie until there is a cotyledon? Is this more of a personal preference, or may if have something to do with the particular plant they were working with?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 9:59AM
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It is personal choice. I use the baggie method all the time but I didn't use it for my herbs. .Lavender sometimes needs cold stratification though so if they don't sprout after some time I'd put them in the fridge for a few weeks and try again. :)

It's really a pain trying to plant those tiny seeds once their root comes through but I find it's easier to plant them then instead of when they get their first leaves. If you wait for the cotyledons, you should still follow the directions on the depth they need to be planted and it's hard to judge that once the seed hull has been removed or is on top of the leaves. Hope that helps a little bit.

The baggie method is wonderful!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 3:46AM
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purple1701(5B Chicago)

harleylove - thanks, that's very helpful. I do have some lavender seeds that don't seem to be doing much of anything, and while I did give them a couple days in the fridge, it appears that may not have been enough. So do you put them in the fridge in the wet napkin, or take the napkin out and just leave them loose in the baggie?

Would this work for parsley as well? None of those are doing anything either. Or is it basil?? Shoot now I can't remember. Will have to look when I get home. But thanks!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 9:39AM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Has anyone tried doing a gel germination? I found a blog about making a cornstarch gel and using it to germinate carrot seeds, then spooning it in upon planting to keep the seeds moist.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 9:50AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Carrot? I just direct sow them into the ground with great success can't imagine somebody going to all that fuss unless it was just a test with the carrot seed.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 8:24AM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

I had the worst time with carrots last year. Direct sown 5 different times, and ended up with less than a dozen that took. I don't know if it's our elevation, or the soil at my community garden, or what, since you're not too different zone-wise. Current hypothesis is that the top layer of soil dried out too fast, despite my watering sometimes twice a day (when needed). That's why I was looking online for other options. Also planning on trying a layer of burlap too.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 2:36PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Well, I just plant them in starter pot or direc sow them. Once I have done some peppere in paper towel.
With paper towel, I would NOT separate the germinated seeds. Just cut a piece of paper with seeds on it and plant them wherever I want. Later on I can thin or separate them.
About starter soil: I never buy and use any seed starter soil.
If I am fancy, I screen some good garden soil and add some fine compost, pearlite and/or peatmoss. This is just to prevent water loging . Also the roots can work easier.
I always sow many times more seeds than I actually would need. This way , regardlesst of even bad germination rate, I end up with more seedlings that I need. I look at it this,way,Time is of essence and MY TIME is more valuable than a bag of seeds that costs cople of bucks.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 3:27AM
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