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Starting Seeds

Starting vegetables or any plant from seed seems tricky, and yet it really isn’t. Sure it’s more reliable to buy starts from a greenhouse or garden center, but there is something fascinating about watching a seed sprout. I love the biology of it. How such a simple act can be so complex. Not only is it a much cheaper way to start vegetables, but it’s a great learning process for kids.

Anyway, back to my seeds.

When I was an undergraduate, I was working on a research project involving two mutant tomato varieties. In order to determine physiology of the shoot as well as root structure we had to start the seedlings in a grow box without soil. Yes, there is no dirt involved. It is a really interesting process and I am attempting to recreate it. We’ll see if it works. Here is the first installment in my quest for my 2012 vegetable garden.

To start the seeds we used grow boxes with blotter paper. Problem 1: I don’t have a grow box (thick plastic box with a lid) and I don’t have any blotter paper. So it’s time to get creative. Solution: I used a Costco sized clamshell that I kept. To that I added a layer of newspaper.


On top of that I added some computer paper. It really doesn’t add much, and I wish I had paper that held water better, but white helps see the seeds better. Soak the paper so that the seeds will stick.


Then it’s time to add the seeds. I put them into rows so that it would be easy to tell what I planted.

From Left to Right: Bok Choy, Dill, Basil, Thyme, and Brussel Sprouts


Label and put in a warm, dark place. I put them under the sink. I will be checking on them daily. If you have a squirt bottle that would be the best thing to water them with. I have yet to find an appropriate watering device around the house, but I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with something. Just water them when the paper is dry.

We’ll see if this works. If not, I’ll have to find some new paper to try. If you have construction paper, that might work best. I’ll be posting the progress, good or bad, so stay tuned.


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