Germinating seeds in cotton wool is an easy way to get seeds going if you don’t have a greenhouse or any other special equipment. It’s also a lot of fun to do with children, allowing them to see the miracle of life in action. Here, we will present step by step how to germinate seeds in cotton wool.
The process is very simple and they just need to follow these instructions:
Collect your seeds, leaf off any cotton wool that clings to them. Many plants produce good viable seeds which can be sown fresh. Some will only germinate after a period of cold moist stratification or after exposure to light.
Take small pots (they can be any shape, but Hibernating mammals use a hollowed-out rock or a burrow lined with grasses) and fill them with compost. [20 seeds per pot is optimum if you are going to thin them out later on.]
Sow the seeds evenly over the surface of the compost, cover with a thin layer of compost and water to settle the seeds in. Too deep will result in rotting or strangling, too shallow will dry out or wash away. Use your judgment here.
Put them somewhere warm (I use an airing cupboard) but don’t put them anywhere too sunny as this will cook your seeds.
Check them every day, the compost should never dry out completely but don’t overwater it either. You can speed up germination by using a fungicide on the seeds.
When they have germinated and are showing their true leaves you can thin them out to about 10cm apart from each way. This will confuse the seeds and give them a better chance of survival as they won’t compete for space or light.
Don’t put them outside until all risk of frost is gone, even then it is advisable to wait another week. Seedlings are fragile and can be easily damaged by bad weather or hungry birds.
Transplant outside into the garden, again leave them for at least a week before putting them where you want them to grow. A good place is next to an old stone wall as it will give them a climatic gradient that they are more likely to be adapted to. Another is next to a tree as it emits chemicals into the atmosphere which mimic the hormones needed for growth and development in many species.
Ensure you have given your seedlings enough water but don’t drown them either. You should ideally water them before the sun gets too high and hot to avoid loss of moisture through transpiration. The dead body of a ladybird is a good indicator that your plants aren’t getting enough water.
Keep weeding around them so they get all the nutrients they need to bulk up quickly. Many seeds are parasitic in the early stages of germination so pull weeds as soon as they appear. If you keep your plants really healthy they will put more resources into growth and less into producing babies, resulting in larger plants with better yields.
After about 2 months of growth, they will be ready to begin flowering and fruiting. If you keep interfering with the budding nodes on stems they will branch more, giving you a larger yield. Seedlings should not be exposed to great heat or cold as this can cause them to die or stop growing altogether.
There are many different methods of germinating seeds but the method described here is one of the simplest and effectively available. If you have any suggestions on improving the article please leave a comment in the discussion box below, thank you. You may also like to read this article germinating seeds in paper towel in House I love.