Testing Seeds Indoors

Even with our long winters here I need to ensure that I have a bumper crop of vegetables each year. Our growing season isn’t quite as long as it is in more southern climes. Before spring arrives it’s important to test seeds indoors. I start many of my seeds indoors so those vegetables that don’t get sown directly into the garden have a good start. Before actually planting the seeds that are started indoors I do a test to ensure that my supply of seeds is still viable. It’s simple, takes very little time to get results, and allows me time to order new seeds if needed.

First I pull out my old baking sheet that has become my garden baking sheet. I use this one for seed tests,  and when I need to transplant seedlings to larger pots it keeps spilled soil contained for easy disposal.

  1. Select a tray for the test.
  2. Dampen a paper towel with warm (not too warm) water.
  3. Spread this on the baking sheet.
  4. Place one type of seed across the top of the paper towel, making note of what kind of seed is in that row
  5. Continue to place different seeds in rows making sure you list the seeds by row. (picture of rows of seeds)
  6. Dampen a second paper towel with warm water and carefully place it on top of the seeds.
  7. Cover the top paper towel with clean plastic wrap.   
  8. Put the baking sheet in a sunny location.


After about four days to a week you’ll clearly see that which seeds have sprouted. I test five seeds of each type so I can estimate my germination rate for each type of seed. If my germination rate is poor I’ll order new seeds for that vegetable.


Author: Elizabeth

I'm a wife, mom, and grandma (known as Bam) who loves cooking, baking, gardening, and all things that go into making a cozy coop for my brood. I have a disability so you may pick up tips on how to do things when some things just don't work right!

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