Friday, February 24, 2012

Pre- Sprouting Spinach Seed

Like almost everyone else I have very uneven germination from direct sown spinach.  Last week I came across a a mention of pre-sprouting spinach and then potting it up to use as transplants.  Wednesday night I dug in my seed hoard and came up with three old packs of spinach.  One pack from 2006, two from 2008 and one from 2011.  The results have been terrific.

On Wednesday night I soaked the seeds in water and a few drops of liquid fertilizer.  Thursday morning the cups were drained and the seeds were placed on a damp coffee filter soaked with the same solution.  They were placed in a plastic bag and placed on top of the refrigerator.

The coffee filter filled with seed.

I checked them when I got home from work and this what I found.

'Giant Nobel' spinach sprouting in 2 days.

Most of the seedlings have begun to sprout and are ready for potting up.
Those above are the 'Giant Nobel' seeds from 2011.  The 'Scarlet' from 2006, 'America' and 'Viking' from 2008 have results just as good.  This method may also work with direct sowing.

Now I just have to get them all potted up!

This method is definitely worth trying if you have had germination problems direct sowing spinach.


  1. Thanks so much for the tip! I am having a hard time with my spinach this year. I will have to try this with the next planting.

  2. Christy, you're welcome. Using this method, I'm looking forward to good spinch harvest for the first time this year!

  3. I planted 16 soil block with new spinach seeds nine days ago. So far I have one robust 1 1/2" tall seedling, and another, from a seed I accidentally dropped between the soil blocks, that is probably an inch tall. No other signs of life. I think I'll try your method of presprouting for my next batch!

  4. Granny, I was amazed at how quickly the seeds sprouted. Last year I started all my pepper, zinnia and tomato seeds this way, minus the soaking. You do have to check them once or twice a day to catch them before the roots get to long.

  5. Pre-sprouting worked really well for my peppers and tomatoes last year. I think I will use this method to start me spinach seeds as well. Thanks for the great idea :)

  6. me, oh my! I meant, MY spinach seeds.

  7. GrafixMuse, I started all of my peppers and tomatoes this way last year with great results. The spinach planted in soil yesterday are already above the soil. I'm trying swiss chard next.

  8. Huh, that does seem easy enough, then when you push them into soil, you know something is brooding in there...

  9. Stay@Home-Gardener, it makes it much easier and they break the surface in a day or two. You just have to be very careful not damage the root tip.