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Seed Starting: The Baggie Method

In addition to the starting seeds using a Ghetto Greenhouse you can also start your seeds using the "Baggie Method." Starting from seed using the Baggie Method is a simpler and perhaps cheaper alternative to making your own mini-greenhouses. You won't need soil or containers to start with, what you will need is a plastic sandwich bag (reusable) and some paper towels. From experience I'd recommend using the thickest paper towel you can afford, I suppose you could also use newsprint but only the black and white section of your newspaper. Instead of throwing away those paper towels you may use to dry your hands- set them aside and use them with this method.

This method is really simple; take your paper towel and fold it so that it will fit inside your sandwich bag and moisten it (if it's dry) either with a little running water or a spray bottle. You don't want the paper towel to be soaking wet only nice and moist. Then place your seed(s) inside the paper towel and place inside your sandwich bag and set it somewhere warm away from direct sunlight.

After a few days you should have results similar to the image above. I used the baggie method to start seeds from an orange I ate because I have a hard time tossing any seeds I come across. I just followed the simple steps and I set it near a heating vent. In the winter I use the heating vent in my bedroom similar to how one would use a propagation mat because if the heats running I might as well use it to grow something.

While I use this method to start a lot of "tropical" seeds I have used it to start seeds from things like; Hollyhocks, Morning Glories, Alliums, Hibiscus Syriacus, Cacti to name a few.

Back in elementary school we used a method just like this to start seeds for a class but we used an empty pickle jar, in place of the sandwich bag, that we set atop the refrigerator. I've recently tried germinating seeds on top of the fridge and I have very poor results. I think the reason for my poor results is the energy efficient advancements in home appliances, the top of the fridge just didn't get as warm as the old one used to. Oh well.

Check the link on the right hand side of this blog for the best seed germination data base I have ever come across.



  1. Anonymous2:46 PM

    I just wanted to say I found the post very enjoyable and I may just use some of the information to start some seedlings myself. Thanks a lot...okjohn

  2. Hey thanks for the feeback. If you have any questions come by again and I'll see if I can help.

  3. Anonymous7:13 AM

    Hello Old Friend;
    You have certainly done wonderful things with gardening. I think I have already been here before but I am not as internet saavy as you seem to be. Thanks for the kind thoughts, keep me informed about your successes. Stay well, my friend. diene

  4. I use the paper towel or coffee filter method for vegetable seeds, too.

  5. Hi Diene thanks for stopping by.

    la gringa,

    Thanks so much for your comment I forgot about the coffee filter. Completely skipped my mind.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Anonymous4:42 PM

    I've got an new post on seed pots you can see here:

    Homemade seed pots

    It's a new post on finding homemade solutions to seed pots

  8. Anonymous5:55 PM

    Thanks for the post! I have also seen the baggie method recommended before, but it was for using regular seed-starting pots w/soiless mix. I'm in an apartment so I'll use the paper towel method to avoid getting messy in the beginning! Question: unfortunately, no one ever states whether you completely seal the baggie all the way, or leave the seal cracked a little for air circulation?

  9. My ghetto greenhouse has produced no results yet... I hope I didn't over-water, but it's only been a week. Iris bulbs from Michigan Bulb Company. I'm going to try the baggie method on the other 6 I have left. Better go prep my ground!

  10. Hello, I am a fellow blogger. I just started a few sites on renewable energy and just wanted to say I am a fan of your do it yourself vibe.

  11. Do you have a favorite gardening book?

    I have been growing hybrid daylilies but they don't seem to be multiplying as they should. Maybe they are not getting enough water but even the ones on the sunny side of the house don't seem to be flourishing. What do you suggest?

  12. Photo Freak,

    You don't have to plant an iris rhizome in a greenhouse type thing. You plant them in the ground. Use this for seeds.

    Green Renaissance,

    Thanks for comment.


    I don't have a favorite now but I'm going to be doing a couple of garden book reviews so ask me again at the end of may ;0) As for the daylilies can't really say may be slow growing? If they are new you have to remember the garden saying "first year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap."

  13. Hi.. I know this is an old post but I have a question. I am having the worst time trying to start seeds so I am interrested in trying this method. My question is when do I plant the seedling after I see growth in the baggie?

  14. @Tastee, Sorry for the abnormally long wait for a reply. I usually take them out and will place them in soil once I see the root start to emerge from the seed.

  15. Anonymous9:04 AM

    I enjoyed reading your information. It has helped me. I have only had a flower garden for 3 years and I have fallen in love with the flowers. I get so much joy just from setting on my deck looking on to the garden. I want to [thank you] for sharing - Ohio

  16. Hello..
    I am going to try your baggie method to start some locally grown lemons. They are hard to come by here in Belize. I'll let you know how it turns out.



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