Germination Test


While studying agriculture in college, I took a variety of agricultural courses, Plant Science, Animal Science and Soil Science were a few of the basics. I took Plant Science during my first semester and one of the labs involved a germination test. I remember thinking, this is something I will use in real life! We used paper towels to do our germination test in college but I put my own frugal twist to my germination test. (Mainly because I don’t have any paper towels and this is much prettier!)

After cracking eggs for baking and cooking, I washed them out. Then I placed the halves into an egg carton and added soil. Once the soil was added, I placed a couple seeds in each egg shell. I only used 2 of the larger seeds but 3-5 of the smaller seeds like peppers and tomatoes.

I put the carton in the kitchen windowsill and waited! I enjoyed peeping at the carton every time I washed dishes and finally after only 4 days, my peas started to sprout! I was so excited!

After a week the peas, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, onions and cantaloupe sprouted and they’re continuing to grow! Our tomatoes and peppers did not germinate which didn’t come as a huge surprise since those seeds are over 3 years old.

The main reason I did the germination test was to cut down on our garden costs. We had a bag full of seed in our freezer, some dating back as far as 2009 and we wanted to make sure that it would germinate before wasting our time planting it. We also didn’t want to throw out perfectly good seed and waste money.

Now that I’ve done the germination test, I know that most of our seeds are viable and we only need to purchase tomato and pepper seeds. This little test will save us some money and make gardening even more frugal!

Do you start your plants from seed?


responses to “Germination Test” 8

  1. I have started our plants from seed in the past but have gotten such terrible results from these seeds (like no viable "fruits" or only one tomato from a plant, etc…) that it is worth it to me to spend a couple extra dollars here and there to get some better results. With such a short growing season in Wisconsin and sometimes very different seasons (some years are hot, some are very mild, some really wet) I haven't had much luck with my tomatoes and peppers started from seed. Other things (cabbage) have worked well from seed. I will continue to try planting from seed, but supplementing with nursery grown plants for those items that I know we haven't had luck with in the past.

  2. This is a great idea and I am now wondering if our local hardwhere store will return the seed start containers I just spent $5 on…. haha! Like Amanda I am also in Wisconsin (Hi!!) so I think the seed starter containers I purchased might be good to get a really strong root base before planting in the ground. Are there certain foods you are hoping to grow in your garden? I have been spending the week planning out what would be most efficient for us (like peppers, onions and carrots). Do you grow tomatoes and if so how do you preserve them (or plan to)? I found canning them to be a waste of money after the cost/time put into it and was wondering if freezing is an option.

    1. You can probably reuse the starter containers year after year! I have one that I've been careful with and have already used 2 years with plans to use it this year too! Right now we're planning on tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peas, cantaloupe, watermelon and potatoes {and probably a few more things…those are just favorites!} If we get a decent tomato harvest, I will can them. It is time consuming but I love home canned tomatoes!!

  3. Hi Rachel. I am a long time LF&S blog reader and admirer of your beautiful family. I live in Australia and am in a DINK (double income no kids) relationship, but am trying to pick up on some of your frugal habits to pay down debt so that one day we might add at least one child in the mix 🙂 To Lindsey, we had an oversupply of tomatos last year so I pulverised the extras with my blender stick, measured into cup sized portions and froze in plastic bags. The cup size is great to add to a spaghetti sauce to use over pasta or in lasagne.

  4. Like Amanda and Lindsey from the northern part of the US, we have not had much luck with starting alot of plants from seed over the years (we live in NorthEast Ohio). The stems dont get strong enough to withstand the breeze when I plant them, no matter what I do (take them outside as seedlings and let them acclimate for a week before, etc). I do plant green beans and peas directly in the ground early in the spring and have had great results with that. Otherwise, not so much. However, I am going to try one last time to germinate seeds indoors but later than I usually do. Most likely around April, so that when we get back from our long vacation/5 year wedding anniversary trip in May, they can go right into the ground (no chance of frost). We are currently trying to start cherry trees right now under a grow lamp. Hubby loved the variety and saved the seeds from the cherries we bought and ate last year. We are hoping to get at least a few trees out of it, but we'll see! It's always an adventure! 🙂

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