I usually use the baggie method of starting seeds (place seeds on paper towel, wet paper towel, place paper towel in baggie, place baggie somewhere warm to sprout).
While doing this one day, it occurred to me that I was producing a lot of waste. Sure, the paper towels go into the composter once I’m finished with them, but the plastic bags always end up in the garbage.
This got me thinking of other ways to start my seeds, that don’t require additional materials. Which got me thinking about my seed sprouter. Seed sprouters are generally used to start sprouts for consumption. Alfalfa, sunflower, mung bean, lentil, and kale are favourites around here. Sprouters are very simple to use. Put your sprouting seeds in the trays, stack the trays, and add water to the top. The water travels through each tray and collects in the bottom, leaving a small amount of water in the grooves of each tray for the seeds to soak up.
I’ve been experimenting with the sprouter for garden seedlings over the past few weeks, and here’s what I learned: it works for larger seeds, but not so much with smaller ones that have a longer germination rate.
Ground cherries and tomatoes were an epic fail. They take so long to sprout that the seeds just turn to mush while sitting in the water. I’m going to stick with the baggie method for these.
Larger seeds, such as Luffa, cucumber, and sunflowers, sprouted in 2-5 days. Kale (smaller seeds but short germination time) sprouted fast as well. The general rule seems to be: if it can be soaked and sprouts in less than 15 days, it’s worth trying out in the sprouter.
So dust off your seed sprouter, grab some seeds, and give it a try! It just may be your new favourite alternative to paper towels.