Growing Your Own Vegetables: Part 1- Seed Germination

This year, I am determined to grow my own vegetables. I’ve done it a few times before, but the past few years I just haven’t found the time, or feel like its too late in the season to start. . To me, growing your own produce is a fun part of cooking, so I wanted to share with all of you the EASY process that I’m going through to make a great garden. So, if you want to have a successful garden, you can follow along with me for the next few months! 

Also, This is for everyone. I am actually planning on growing most of my vegetables in pots and boxed flower beds this year, so if you don’t have room in your yard, or no yard at all, you too can have a small batch of herbs and vegetables!

This year, I decided to start the seed germination inside for 2 reasons. 1) The last time I tried to grow veggies, I bought cheap seeds, and since it was late in the season, just stuck them in the ground. Needless to say, they never grew. Starting them this way allows me to see if the seeds are duds or if they actually have the potential to grow. 2) Starting seeds inside gives you much more growing time, leaving you with full, ready to eat vegetables all summer long. By starting seeds inside, I can start the growing process in February or March, whereas waiting for the ground to thaw and weather to be warm could be April or later. This year, especially. What a winter! Some people start off by putting the seeds right into a mini pot of soft growing soil, which works, but I decided to start them with the wet paper towel, plastic bag method, which is basically taking an extra step to ensure that the seeds will actually grow. Some people say that this doesn’t work, but I swear by it, and as you’ll see in the photos, I had amazing results in 3 or 4 days. They’re almost ready to put into soil.

Here is a list of the vegetables that I currently have going: spinach, mixed lettuce, romaine lettuce, green beans, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, kale, broccoli, cucumbers, sage.
Most packages of seeds will say if the vegetable is able to be started inside or not. Many root vegetables, like carrots, cannot. I have to wait to put those right in the ground.

So lets get started!

What You’ll Need: 

+ Some sandwich sized plastic bags (large ones will work too).

+ Some sturdy, dampened paper towels that will hold together.

+ Your Seeds

Now the first thing you want to do is label your bag so that you know what seeds are in there. Lay out a damp paper towel (you want it to be a size that will fit nicely in the ziplock bag once it’s folded over in half).

Next, Lay out the seeds in a row on the paper towel, about in the middle, so when you fold it in half they’re towards the bottom of the bag. You want room for the sprouts to grow. Also, try to give them separation room. You may only fit a few seeds in a bag, but keep in mind that even these 6 seeds have the potential to grow into A LOT of spinach. If you want security, make an extra bag in case some don’t work out.

Finally, fold over the paper towel carefully, and lightly press down over the seeds so that the paper towel sort of “sticks” together. Place it in the bag wit the seeds closer to the bottom, and the open end up. This way you can carefully open it and check on them if you’d like. Leave the bag slightly opened so they get some air. You do want it slightly closed so that it stays damp within the few days.


Find a warm place for these baggies to lay out. You want them at a comfortable 70 degrees or so. I kept mine on a shelf near the heating vent (not too close). You could put them on top of the fridge, or just laying out on a table if it is warm enough in your home. Within 3-7 days, you should notice the seeds growing, or slightly sprouting.

It only took about 4 days for most of mine to show visible sprouts. The great thing about the paper towel is that usually you can see through it that they’re growing without having to open it and disturb them. Two of my seeds, the bell peppers and jalapeños, have not shown sprouting yet- but I’m not giving up on them so soon. They may just need a little more time. PATIENCE is a big part of gardening.

My Romaine Seeds

That being said, if it’s been 10-14 days and they haven’t grown or sprouted in the slightest, then you may want to rethink this batch. It could be that it wasn’t warm enough, or maybe they’re just bad seeds. Don’t let it get you down, try again! That’s the great part about this step in the process. It doesn’t take much time, and it’s easy to do. I will probably be putting them into little pots in a day or two. I want to let them grow a little more, because they’re SO delicate when they first sprout that I fear I will break them trying to plant. I will be posting the next steps as I do them, so STAY TUNED!

I’ve worked in and around the gardening business for many years, but I am by no means an expert. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask away and I will try my best to answer!

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