Introduction: Hydroponic Reusable Seed Sprouter

Picture of Hydroponic Reusable Seed Sprouter

Spring is here (near?), which means that it's time to grow some peppers. Last year it was habaneros. This year, it will be bell peppers. This instructable shows how to make a reusable hydroponic (dirt-free) sprouter for starting seeds. When finish, just squeeze the sponge dry and store for future use.

Only a smaller (or several small) container is required. It should have a soft lid. Film canisters work great if you can find them. I found mine at a flea market.

Step 1: Modify the Lid

Picture of Modify the Lid
At first, I tried poking holes in the lid. This doesn't work because water has so much tension. Holes that would let water flow would also let the pepper seeds go out as well. Instead, the best thing to do is to use some aluminum window screen mesh and to attach it to the lid using a clothing iron (or any other hot slab of metal).
  1. A hole was cut into the canister lid using a utility knife.
  2. A coat hanger was used to hold the aluminum window screen mesh apart on the clothing iron.
  3. The lid was pressed into the clothing iron to meld the plastic.
  4. When removed, the plastic was fused to the lid.
  5. The excess window screen material was cut.
Because of the heat involved, an aluminum screen should be used.

Step 2: Assemble the Sprouter

Picture of Assemble the Sprouter
In this step, I used a sponge to retain water. This is necessary to maintain a humid environment for the seeds to sprout. Any sponge works, but I was uncertain about where this one came from or was in contact with, so I boiled it. Pieces should be cut off the sponge so that they fit into the container. Seeds should be placed on top.

To sprout the seeds, the following steps are necessary:
  1. Put seeds into sprouter.
  2. Close lid.
  3. Fill with water so that it overflows.
  4. Let it sit overnight (helps water penetrate / soften the shell).
  5. Drain water.
  6. Once every day thereafter, fill with water and drain (prevents molding, removes bacteria, etc.)
Pictured is the result of 11 days sprouting. I placed this near the sink to remember to fill and drain when I did dishes.

Step 3: Results

Picture of Results
Here are the results in picture format:
  • 29 / 67 - Duds (Failure to Sprout)
  • 6 / 67 - Dying (Had Black, Too Dry or Rotting)
  • 10 / 67 - Long (Too Long, Some Black Tips)
  • 15/67 - Medium (Medium Sprout, No Black Tips)
  • 7/67 - Short (Short Sprout, No Black Tips)

Step 4: Plant Sprouts

Picture of Plant Sprouts
I recommend starting the sprouts indoors and selecting to plant the best and strongest when they are tall enough. You can use potting sand, or put outside sand through a strainer to make some potting soil. For pepper plants, I'm using the following:
  1. Film canisters as containers.
  2. Pencil tip as depth of seed.
  3. Nasal rinse to water.
I'm hoping at least 9 of the seeds will become healthy enough plants to plant inside a square plot.


bgazzara (author)2016-05-11

Nasal Rinse Water? Why? Saline?


This is a great idea and it's nice that it's reusable!

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an Engineer. I like hiking, flea markets, and electronics.
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