Soak and paper towel method?

  • Thread starter Rickcin
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Roots have special cells that have little granules that float around in them (like a snow cone), which tell the root which way is down. So when you leave a sprouted seed on a plate the root can’t go down and starts searching for a downward path by growing back and forth. This is a waste of time as you want your roots going deep, not growing side to side. It’s not really a big deal if the root is up or down (since it will quickly reorient). More important that it can go down and isn’t left on a flat plate for days searching around for the downward path.
So the thinking is to plant it with a short tail so it’s not curling sideways on a plate?


Some growers recommend a zip lock and blowing air into it. The Crop King guide says No Ziplock!
Depending on humidity, I usually use a open or half opened ziplock. You dont want to overwater the paper towels or get off work and find its bone dry.


Everyone has so many personal opinions about this stuff but at the end of the day it can all work if done correctly. Thats the key you gotta do it right. Its like fishing some guys swear by a particular brand of rod or type of lure.Yes, its true that some may work better than others but at the end of the day if used correctly you can catch a fish on virtually any dam lure in your tackle box or almost any rod combo. Within reason of course. This is the same case for this germination discussion. I have a very very high germination success rate and it works for me almost 100% of the time so long as the seeds are viable. Im sure a bunch of people will talk smack on my method but I don't care because I will keep using this technique cuz it works great for me!

1. Soak the seeds in room temperature water. I use regular tap water. If you want to use fancy water go ahead but it has never made any difference for me. How long you soak will depend on the age of the seeds. Brand new super viable seeds need less time generally. Fresh seeds you want to put in when you go to sleep and take out as soon as you wake up or else you can risk them opening up a full tap root while submerged and they can drown. This has happened to me twice cuz I left them too long. If your seeds are old (some of my seeds are well over 5 years) then you gotta soak them longer cuz the outer shells will be extra hard the longer they dry out.

2. Move them into paper towel and ziplock. This part is crucial. You take a regular paper towel square then fold it evenly until its roughly the size of a credit card. Once folded up completely soak it in tap water. Then take the soaked folded paper towel and put it in-between your palms. Hold your hands over the sink and evenly and firmly press the paper-towel flat AS HARD AS YOU CAN. Your goal is to squeeze literally all the droplets out. The number one problem with the paper-towel and ziplock technique is people keep it too wet and it drowns the taproot and makes it moldy/soggy and it rots away. Remember you want the paper-towel moist but not wet. Once you squeezed all the water out then you open the moist paper-towel packet and put your seeds in the middle. Not too close to each-other or else they can get tangled up once they pop. Once your seeds are in the paper-towel then you put it inside the ziplock. In the very beginning you can suck the air out of the ziplock thats OK. Set this ziplock on top of your refrigerator or on top of an aquarium hood. Anywhere in your house that is warm you want it around 80 degrees. Once a day you open up the ziplock and carefully lift up the top flap of the paper-towel to check on them. As soon as you start to see the seeds split then blow the ziplock bag up like a little balloon. Once they start to pop you don't want to keep them sucked so tight in the bag they need more room and oxygen therefore by blowing up the little bag it puts some oxygen in there. I zip the baggie up all the way until its almost closed then put my mouth on there and blow it and quickly zip it closed to trap the air bubble. A little condensation building up inside the ballon is a good thing it means its still moist inside. Keep it like this and keep checking it from this point forward everyday until the taproots are pushing out about 1/4 inch.

3. Move to jiffy peat pellet. I like to use the smaller size peat pellets cuz the big ones can cause problems. It takes the roots too long to break through the bottom of the big ones. I soak the jiffy's first so they swell up. Once again put them in your palms and squeeze all of the excess water out they need to to be moist but not wet. After you squeeze the water out they will be flattened and scrunched up like an accordion. Gently squeeze the outsides of the pellet to fluff it back up again so its not flat as a pancake. Once the pellet is hydrated and fluffed up then you can take a chopstick or a pencil and poke a hole from the top straight down ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PELLET. This makes a little channel that the tap root can run down as it quickly grows. After the hole is poked then you drop your seed down in there and try to get the root to point down. Up or down doesn't make a difference for helmet head as long as you put the seed DEEP enough. Too shallow and it wont dislodge the seed casing correctly. I would say at least 1/2 an inch maybe even a little deeper is good. Once in the pellet use your fingers to gently sweep the hole closed.

4. Move Jiffy pellets into a Tupperware. Put moist jiffy pellets in a Tupperware and cover it with plastic cling wrap. saran wrap. Poke a few little holes so it can breathe a bit. Don't open up the top too much cuz the pellets will start to dry out and you will need to spritzer them with a spray bottle and water if that happens. By keeping them covered it helps trap the moisture and warmth inside. A few tiny poked holes lets just a little extra oxygen creep in which is beneficial. A little condensation building on the cover is a good thing it means its moist inside still. Also instead of using a Tupperware for this you can use the little plastic jiffy brand greenhouse dome that works nice. Even a regular glass bowl would work as long as its deep enough and is covered with cling wrap.

5. Transplant into larger pot. Once your seedling has fully sprouted you need to pick up the jiffy pellet and check the bottom. Keep doing this every day until you see the very beginning of the white tap root start to stick out the bottom. As soon as you see this you can then transplant the jiffy into your bigger pot and you are all done.
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