February 20, 2012

Our Sure Fire Germination Process

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This was our front yard one week ago today.  Many of you may remember how antsy I got with our warm January weather, which led to this ...

As you can see, they are acting like perfect little greenhouses!  Since our weather has been up and down the charts though, the seeds have not germinated yet.  They will pretty soon I'm sure, and I believe they will be stronger plants too.  However ... I am needing to get some seeds started now so I turned to our sure fire method that I learned last year which is to use our egg incubator.  It is excellent for regulating the perfect germinating temperature for seeds.  It should've been done before now, but I've been so caught up in sewing, that I have put it off until now.  

Friday was a warm, sunny day and the temperature in the greenhouse told me it was time to get busy.

So I grabbed my dirt mixing bucket (for small jobs) and my most handy dandy garden tool ever (Thank you SO much Mom #2!!) the Snake Head Tool.  You will not ever believe how versatile and strong this tool is!  If you have one, you know what I mean.

As you can see by how dirty it already is this season, it never goes unused.  

Next I grab some soil-less mix from the four square in the greenhouse in the bucket.  It's nice to already have some mixed up, otherwise I would just throw the ingredients into the bucket and mix it up, but I'm grateful to be more prepared this time.  

A nice little trick I learned was to be sure that the soil is moist, not wet.  The way to tell this is to pour water into it a little bit at a time until it clumps loosely in your hand.

Then I use either small styrofoam cups or yogurt cups and fill them most of the way with the mixture.  The seeds I started this time are tiny and don't need to be covered except for a sprinkling of dirt (mixture).  Be sure to label each cup with the name of the seeds and the date they've been planted and to poke a few small holes in the bottom of them for watering purposes later.  Watering from the bottom up keeps the new, fragile plant from shock.

Sixteen styrofoam cups will fit into an egg incubator (like ours in the picture) allowing for 320 to 480 seeds to be planted, depending on how much you crowd them.  I have found that it doesn't hurt for them to be more crowded than what I've shown here in the cup.  Due to the soil-less mixture, they are very easy to separate when it comes time to transplant them. 

This handy dandy incubator belongs to our daughter and she has been gracious enough to contribute it to the cause of gardening too.  While most children are requesting electronic gaming systems for Christmas, her one request was an egg incubator.  We gladly obliged with joyous hearts since she loves to hatch out baby chicks, geese and ducks.  

To germinate pepper and tomato seeds, research shows that the temperature needs to be between 75 and 85 degrees.  I keep it right around 80 or so.  

To view our successful results that happened three days later..... click here!

Currently, this is what I keep some of our seeds sorted in ... an old wooden soda crate.

Other seeds are kept in bags, boxes and anything handy.  

My name is Sharon and I am a seed hoarder.  

There, I've admitted it.  There are even seeds in my wallet that I picked up in the park, seeds in the glove box from some flowers last fall, and seeds packed away in bins that I can no longer find.  The simple fact is that seeds, in a very real way, demonstrate resurrection to me.  It is truly hard to comprehend something or someone being dead in the ground coming back to life.  Seeds portray new life in the most beautiful way.  From an acorn comes the might oak tree, from a tiny tomato seed comes luscious fruit, and once saved, we will be resurrected for eternity in Heaven.  I know that's an extreme simplification of the process, but it never ceases to amaze me!!  

Getting back to storing seeds ... my newest and dearest seed organization idea that I found on Pinterest.  

Not only are the seeds neatly stored, but you can categorize them according to variety and planting date too!  There are many other great seed tips on my Seed Board.

This year, our gardening plans have had to change a bit.  Our strict 'Heirlooms Only' rule has been stretched to accomodate the "awful" hybrids for the Farmer's Market purpose.  Unless you have acres and acres to plant for heirlooms, they do not supply enough produce to keep people happy.  The poor hybrids may feel like they are the black sheep of the garden since they will be kept at an extremely safe distance in order not to cross pollinate with our heirlooms.

Here is the official list of seeds planted so far ...

Amish Paste
Arkansas Traveler
BHN 961
Candy Stripe
Carolina Gold
Early Girl
Mortgage Lifter
Super Sweet 100
Yellow Pear

Golden California Wonder
Emerald Giant
Ozark Giant
Red Marconi
Red Caribbean Habanero
Sweet Yellow Amish Stuffer

I have one more fun picture to share with you.  Saturday we picked up the supplies to finish another smallish greenhouse.  Even though it was a gloomy day, we never get tired of seeing our friends and their wagons.  One day .... we would like to have one.

We LOVE hearing all of your planting tricks and secrets too!  Be sure to tell me all about them in a comment!

You can find me linked up at:  Homestead Revival, Nourishing TreasuresFar Above RubiesSkip to my LouPenniless Parenting, Titus 2sdaysRaising HomemakersFrugally SustainableWomen Living Well, Raising Mighty ArrowsDeep Roots at HomeFingerprints on the FridgeFarm Friend FridayLife as MomFarmgirl Friday


  1. I am so excited to have found your blog! my mother lives in Gainesville MO and I adore the ozarks. I will enjoy reading about your corner of the ozarks.

  2. First thing is we must be kin I too am a seed collector...carry a shovel and bag in my car at all times. Your post is lovely, I love the idea of storing the seeds..........just to let you know I'm doing that tonight...Have a wonderful week.

  3. Wow! You are ready. I have four more months. Wish I had an egg incubator, that would speed things up. Good luck with all of those plants. I will be watching to see how things progress.

  4. Great post. I am also getting ready to start my seeds! Its gonna be fun. I am just about to draw a winner for my seed give away as well. Can't wait to share those! Happy Gardening!

  5. This will be our first year of a real garden for so long I can't even count. I started saving seeds from some organic things I bought last year, and I'm so happy to learn of a new storage method. Thank you.

  6. I love your blog! That's a great seed starting idea, let us know how they go.

    Cindy at apronstringsandappletrees.blogspot.com

  7. I am so thrilled that you contributed this wonderful and helpful post on seeds. I, too, and a big lover of saving and collecting! I appreciate and think on the analogy of resurrection. So great is the Father's love for us...blessings!

  8. If we had more land that probably would be me, I'd be planting all different varieties! :)

  9. You know just when you think you know all you need to about gardening yo learn something new. Wow I have been gardening for well over 50 years. Both with greenhouses and without. People come to me for help with gardening kind of things. I too carry bags and pots in my truck all the while. I have collected seeds and some plants from all over the country, both wild and cultivated. I save mine in brown papers bags or small pill containers which I mark notes. I like your idea for storing your seeds but I ask, where do you get that size plastic bag? I love your site which I found browsing through a National Home Gardening club web site. I can't tell you how much I enjoy the whole site here not just the gardening. Keep up your fine work. Thank you. John W.

    1. Hi John, I'm not sure what size plastic bag you are referring to except what is shown in a small photo album book that holds the seed packages. I do use small ziplock plastic bags for smaller amounts of seed that I find in the jewelry making areas of different stores. They are usually wherever you can find small beads for jewelry making and come in different sizes. Hobby Lobby is a great place to find them! It's great to hear from another seed "hoarder"! My most embarrassing moment of gathering seeds was several years ago when I was sitting in a drive thru and had to put my vehicle into park in order to lean out the window far enough to pick some seeds from their flowers while holding up the whole line! I still laugh about that one...

      Keep in touch!! I'd love to know what web site you found me on if you get the chance to let me know, I'd be grateful!


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