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I know this is an old thread but I've just started off some peas and dwarf beans on moist kitchen paper in a shallow tray, covered with clingfilm.  Now I'm wondering whether I should have laid another layer of damp kitchen paper on top, and whether they should be in the dark or in the light. Can anyone help?  I thought I'd try this because I'm tired of getting very low germination rates via the trough and direct sowing methods.

Peas and beans can be started off in small cells - they will germinate if the seeds are viable.

I've always thought the Kitchen paper method was to check old/iffy seed to see if they were viable and therefore worth sowing in the more conventional method.


The peas and beans are only a year old, but I had very low germination rates from a few later sowings last year, and this year seems to be generating even less.  So that's why I'm trying this method with the same seeds.  I'm not clear though whether they should be covered and kept in the dark. 

Light and a warmish room.

A good method with Garlic cloves  & Onion sets is to put them in a tub with a little water in a warm area overnight, before you want to plant. The roots just begin to show & they take off much faster & establish more reliably. 

My grandchildren have grown seeds as described by others just a we did in our day.



Sounds good.  I've not had the same trouble with the onion and garlic as I have with the peas and beans, though I did find that the garlic cloves I started off in the propagator came through much quicker than the ones I just potted up in the greenhouse.  I might try what you suggest just to see though.  Thanks.


I've had mixed results with starting off peas and beans in water. Year one, I put peas, runners, French and broad beans in glass jars of tap water overnight, then rinsed and drained them daily, sowing them into paper pots as soon as they showed signs of life.  This worked well.  Year two, I used rain water from the butt for the initial soak, and they went mouldy.  So I started off a second lot with tap water, and they still went mouldy!  So now I do a bit of everything:. Some in pots in the cold frame, some straight in the ground, some dry, some pre-soaked.  There doesn't seem to be any one way that works better.  Belt, braces and sky-hooks!


I think you're right josusa47.  This method isn't looking good for sure.  Now on Day 4 and no discernible change in the peas.  The dwarf beans perhaps look a bit larger but no signs of real activity.  I might try your overnight soaking routine next.   Thanks.


Are you just testing for viability?  It's very early to be germinating beans for growing on 


Testing for viability, and happy to see how far I can get with them growing on in the greenhouse.  We're on the south coast so we tend not to get the colder temperatures over winter.  The dwarf beans, incidentally, took off all at once yesterday, so the first issue has been satisfactorily resolved.  It's very much a last ditch measure with the peas as several sowings at the right times last year were disappointing.


One thing I've always remembered from my schooldays was the experiments we did with Tropism - hydro, geo and photo.  That and the school 'field' trips where we all sallied forth in gumboots with our jam jars and nets... 


My 6-year-old granddaughter is already doing some simple computer programming (cos her dad is a geek, I guess...), but I'm happy to say she still loves sowing seeds and watching them germinate.  We planted some daffodil bulbs together, in October, so she now knows which end the roots come out of - and has told me that there are some little green spikes coming through.  Hopefully she'll have a balance between modern technology and the natural world.  

Daughter (26) had us both in stitches with her account of a conversation with a work colleague.

He was complaining that his chilli plant was not setting fruit.

Where do you keep it?

On the kitchen windowsill.

Do you open the window, or put it outside ?

No, why?

Because it needs insects to get to it to fertilise it. But never mind, if you can't do that you can fertilise it yourself.

Guy looks horrified.

No, not that way, you need a small paintbrush!

She says he isn't as daft as this makes him sound

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