How to Start to Grow Seeds Without Soil

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You can germinate plants seeds without soil in your home.
You can germinate plants seeds without soil in your home. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Some gardeners choose to start, or germinate, their plant seeds inside the house, without the use of soil. This method gives the seeds a chance to sprout in a safe environment, without the dangers of harsh weather or predators. Once the seeds sprout, you can transfer them to individual planters, or even straight into your garden. You do not need to buy any special equipment to start your seeds without soil, and you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen.

Things You'll Need

  • Seeds
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic container
  • Zipper-top plastic bag
  • Water (distilled, optional)
  • Marker
  • Electric blanket (optional)

Remove the seeds from their packet. Fill a plastic container with distilled water. Place the seeds in the water. Allow the seeds to soak for one hour.

Set a paper towel flat on a tabletop. Fold the paper towel lengthwise, then fold it over width wise. You should have a small square that is four layers thick. This will ensure the paper towel does not rip or fall apart when moistened.

Pour enough distilled water on the paper towel to dampen it completely.

Remove the seeds from the container of water.

Place nine of the seeds on the paper towel. Space them out evenly in three rows of three seeds. Allow about 1 inch between the seeds.

Fold another paper towel as you did the first time. Dampen the paper towel completely with water. Set the paper towel on top of the seeds so they care completely covered.

Slide the paper towels and seeds into a zipper-top plastic freezer or sandwich bag. Seal the bag completely.

Write what type of seeds are in the bag with a marker. This is especially helpful when you are germinating more than once type of seeds.

Set the plastic bag in a warm place. Make sure the seeds stay warm, optimally between 80 and 85 degrees F. Place the bag on a window sill in direct sunlight, or on an electric blanket to keep it warm enough.

Check the seeds every couple of days to see if they are germinating. Open the bag and look for the white sprout emerging out of the seed. Some seeds will begin germinating in just a few days, others may take a week or two. Transfer the seeds to soil or planters once the sprout is about an inch long.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many gardeners think the distilled water helps seeds germinate quicker, and that distilled water helps prohibit algae growth while the seeds are in the plastic bag. Try to use distilled water if you can.
  • Soaking your seeds in water will help speed up the germination process.

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