For fellow snow-bound gardeners! One of the many preparatory activities that you might consider right now is the Germination Test. This is a simple way to test seed viability of your seed stock.


  • seeds to test (in multiples of 10)
  • paper towel, tea towel or cheesecloth
  • plastic bag or tupperware


  1. Select seed to test. Multiples of 10 are nice because it is quick and simple to calculate germination rate.
  2. Moisten paper towel / cloth. Place seeds in a row, spaced apart 2 cm. If you label your rows, you can do mulitples types of seed on one towel. However, select seeds with similar germination times.
  3. Fold towel up and place in plastic bag or tupperware.
  4. Place in warm place. 25 – 35 deg Celsius is a good bet to get most any seed germinating.
  5. Check seed at upper limit of germination time ( brassicas usually take 1 – 4 days. Check nearer to 4 days)
  6. Check how many seeds have spouted per 10 seeds. Multiply this by 10 to get your germination rate (ie: 6 out of 10 = 60%)
  7. Check seed info to determine if it is still within acceptable parameters for that type of seed. If it doesn’t make the cut, then don’t depend on that seed for nice even planting. Use older seed to broadcast, or just sow it much more thickly.

Germ Test 1

Germ Test 2

Germ Test 3

Germ Test 4

Germ Test 5