The Easiest Way to Germinate Seeds Indoors

Jan 24, 2019 | Gardening, Plant Basics

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Who doesn’t love the beginning of gardening season?  Deciding which seeds you want to plant, coordinating where they are going to go, daydreaming about what you will do with all the produce.  I love it!  Plus, every year there are so many varieties of my favorites to choose from, it’s like Christmas all over again.  So what is the best way to kick off gardening season so you get the most from your garden while the weather is right?  I like to start my seeds indoors so as soon as the last frost is done I can start transplanting my plants outdoors.  It’s also very important because I live in Texas where it becomes incredibly hot and I’ve had problems where my plants are not fully established in the garden before the extreme heat kicks in and the plants simply don’t know how to cope it it.  So how to I get a head start?  I sprout my seeds indoors with this extremely easy method that not only helps reduce the time for starting plants, it also quickly identifies which plants are going to germinate and what seeds should be discarded.  This means when you start planting, you will have a 100% germination rate and not have to waste materials and time hoping most of your seeds will produce.  The best part?  Once you figure  out what seeds you want to plant and how many, the actual process of starting the sprouting process is about 5 minutes.

Germinating Seeds


  • Seeds
  • Paper Towels
  • Seal-able Sandwich Bags like Ziploc (1 per seed variety)
  • Any kind of brush to dampen the paper towels.  I use a basting brush but you could use a 1″ or larger new paint brush.
  • Sharpie

That’s it!  Now the fun begins and you wont believe how easy this really is!

  1. Heat up water to just before it boils.  I brew hot water from my Keurig machine for this but you could heat water up just as easily on the stove or in the microwave.  You want to make sure your water is hot for the whole process, so if you are dealing with a lot of seeds you want to keep it in mind an reheat your water every once in a while.
  2. Fold a full size paper towel sheet in half twice.  Brush half of the paper towel with water, making sure the sheet is completely moist but not dripping wet.  
  3. Add your seeds to the wet portion of the paper towel (I would recommend only one seed variety per paper towel).
  4. Fold paper towel so the seeds are covered and the paper towel will fit in the sandwich bag.
  5. Label sandwich bag so you know what seeds are what.
  6. Place sandwich bag on a window sill that get the most sun.
  7. Check back daily to see if the seeds have sprouted.  I’ve seen seeds in as little as 24 hours start sprouting and I’ve seen it take as long as a week.  Most will take 2-3 days so plan accordingly because you want to add the seeds to potting soil once they sprout.  If you wait too long the seed will start to grow into the paper towel, making it impossible to separate the paper towel and the seed (not to worry though, this takes about a week for this to happen).

    Rat Tail Radish Seeds 24 hours later

    Purple Pole Bean 72 Hours later

All done!  Now you have a quick start to your garden and you’ve only had to take time potting seeds that have already germinated.  How nice to not have planted 2-3 seeds in a pot and waited a week or two to see if you will get germination!  At this point I set up the majority of my seeds on a table with a grow light until I’m ready to take them outdoors unless the seeds are better planted directly into the garden like carrots or turnips.

About Me


Hello everyone! My name is Angie Mallery, and I’m the proud founder of Wicked Handy. This blog is my playground for sharing everything that makes life more joyful and practical—from crafting and cooking to gardening and DIY projects. I’m thrilled you’re here and hope you find inspiration and enjoyment in what I love to do. Thank you for visiting!

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