Germination Testing – Save Your Seeds!

Do you ever have seeds left over from springs past? You hate to throw them out, but how do you know you won’t be wasting your time and end up with a poor stand? A very simple germination test is the answer! Even if you have poor germination, you may still be able to use the old seeds, simply adjust your planting intensity.


What you need:

1 Sharpie
1 Roll of paper towels
1 Cookie sheet
Cling wrap
Spray bottle filled with water


Step 1: Lay out one paper towel on the cookie sheet for each seed packet you have. Then take your sharpie and write the name of the seed on them. After that flip the paper towels over.


Step 2: Take ten seeds from each packet and lay them in a row in the paper towel with their name on it.


Step 3: Fill a spray bottle with water and gently spray paper towels with water, then roll paper towels up with seeds so you can see the name.


Step 4: Wait up to 14 days spraying them every day to keep them damp. Check often for swelling of the seeds by feeling the paper towels for bumps.


Step 5: Unroll paper towels and check each seed for any growth or swelling in the seed, as well as any plant material growing. Write down the percentage on each packet according to how many seeds germinated. Example: All ten cucumbers germinated, which means you have 100% germination. If only five cantaloupe seeds germinated, that is 50% germination. In this case, simply plant twice the recommended amount in order to achieve the proper stand.


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This fool-proof test will assure that you waste nothing and yet end up with a bountiful harvest this summer and fall.

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