Picture of Seed Starting with the
Another seed starting method that can compliment or be used in place of the Ghetto Greenhouse is the "Baggie Method" if you don't have the space or desire to make seed starters out of plastic soda bottles. This method also saves you money because you don't need soil right away to start and when time comes to transplant your seedlings you can put them in an appropriate size pot. You only need a plastic sandwich bag, some seeds and a paper towel.

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Step 1: Assemble Your Supplies

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The kinds of seeds you can start with this method is really only limited by the variety in your collection or what you can find for sale. In this example I started citrus seeds from a citrus I got from the grocery store.

Once I was done eating this particular citrus I saved the seeds and soaked them for a day or so in a glass of water.

Step 2: Preparing The Seeds

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When I was ready to sow them using the baggie method I laid them out on a napkin and moistened the napkin with a spray bottle. You want to moisten and not soak your paper napkin to avoid having your seeds get moldy. It's imperative if you're going to start citrus seeds that you sow them immediately because the longer you wait the lower your germination ratio will be.

Once I had soaked my citrus seeds overnight and set them on the paper towel which I moistened I folded the napkin in half and set it inside the plastic sandwich bag which I sealed. Then I found a very warm spot for them in my bedroom. Since it's winter I take advantage of the heater we have running and place my seed baggies near a vent. The warmth from the heating vent helps with germination especially in the middle of winter when temps aren't really optimal for seed starting.

Step 3: What It Should Look LIke

Picture of What It Should Look LIke
Here's how your sandwich bag, paper towel and seeds should look assembled.

Step 4: They're Growing

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After a few days days I checked on my seeds and found that some had started to germinate. Once they get big enough I pot them up into little pots and let them continue to grow until they're big enough to re-pot again. Citrus like a lot of light if they're going to be grown indoors and whenever possible should be allowed to spend Spring and Summer outside.

At this point I should tell you that it will be a number of years before your citrus tree gets big enough for it to flower and fruit. But if you're a patient person or just growing for the fun of it that shouldn't be a problem for you. You can use this method to start a whole collection of citrus trees from seed to grow in your home or yard. Next time you're in the grocery store look for Key Limes, Calamondin Oranges, Kumquats, Mandarins and give them a try. If your store doesn't have a large variety of citrus available check out some of the ethnic grocery stores in your areas and discover a whole new world of fruits and veggies.

If you're not interested in growing citrus from seeds then you can use this method to start any kind of seeds that you are interested in. But I'd suggest sticking with larger seeds because they'll be easier to pick out and transplant into pots when they've sprouted. If you find that your bag retains a lot of moisture while you're waiting for your seeds to sprout open it for a few hours a day and let a little of the excess moisture evaporate.

The End.
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spider364396 years ago
5 years from now, when you see the first fruit, Don't be surprised is you have grapefruit. The seed usually reverts back to the rootstock of the plant not the grafted fruit producing part.

Seedling has nothing to do with the rootstock. It is the grafted variety.

5 years? what about small fruit?
And do they do that because the grapefruit have hardier roots or something?
Another possibility would be if the rootstock is a hardier plant with less issues with disease and more suitable for the climate where it is being grown.
probaby i have an apple tree in the yard of the house i moved into and the apples a bitter so i think the fruitr is from the rootstock anf the good tasting apple part of the tree died.
spider364396 years ago
I live in central Florida, where their used to be a lot of citrus groves, Some of my older neighbors that have worked in the industry laugh at people that plant seeds from oranges, lemons and limes, even tangerines. The fruit will produce healthy seedlings, but the fruit the seed comes from does not determine what fruit might grow from its off spring. Most will end up being grapefruit because that is what it was grafted to. It's the root stock and pollinating plant that determines what kind of fruit the tree will bear! When transplanting citrus, if all the root is not transplanted the relocated plant may or may not produce the same fruit.

What you said is not accurate. The rootstock has nothing to do with what the seedling will be. It is the grafted variety (scion) and the pollen from the other plant.

I would recommend growing any fruit tree from seed. You may end up with a new variety that is great. Otherwise you have a healthy tree to graft to.

You are so right. I learned this the hard way when living in West Palm Beach. I noticed a citrus volunteer in the front yard. It wasn't in the way so I left it alone. In 5 years it was 10 feet tall and beginning to bear. OMYGOD the fruit was orange and the nastiest tasting AND smelling thing I could imagine. The neighbors wouldn't even steal them. It was hard to take the tree down because it had 4" long thorns on it and the 6" trunk was hard as a rock!! My friend said she could have saved me a lot of trouble by telling me to crush a leaf and smell it. If it smells sweet the fruit will likely be OK. The leaves on that FrankenTree smelled awful!!
pinfante11 months ago
do I need to water it daily?
cfiorante1 year ago
If you want your seed to sprout even faster try taking off the woody outer skin so water can get to the seed I do this and my seeds sprout faster and and I have a better germination ratio
vikingu3 years ago
thanks man
Tommy W4 years ago
This made me win my school science fair! I got Simplest Project. Thanks!
MrBrownThumb (author)  Tommy W4 years ago
That's awesome, congrats!
beehard444 years ago
anyone got luck on calendula?
AzureEyes4 years ago
i did worked well (at sprouting) but the seeds were stuck in the paper towel. I read somewhere that they don't grow through the coffee filters. there is a chick with a youtube video that said not to disturb the the roots, just plant the whole thing (little bit of paper towel and all) it worked well, but I had problems with damping off. :(
popa272725 years ago
would this work with apple seeds? just wondering because new england isn't the best place for citrus friut.
bufordsboy5 years ago
just put my lemon seeds in
ange2475 years ago
Wow, can't get any easier than that!! Thanks!!
katuah5 years ago
you can use this for seeds other than citrus, but something to know is that hybrid plants (many peppers, tomatoes, etc) will not make seeds that produce the same kind of plant - if they grow at all. what you want to do this with is heirloom "open-pollinated" fruits & veggies. also, a seed from an open-pollinated fruit/veg that was cross-pollinated by a different variety of the same plant will not taste the same, it will be a cross between the two plants. if you really get into gardening from seeds, check out some of the seed saving co-ops and suppliers. google "seed savers" and check it out.
awesome man! :D
chuckulz6 years ago
I just save yogurt containers ; ( clean them ) ; fill with water ; drop in seeds ; keep warm ; check once a week until see roots coming out ; then put sprouts into peat plugs. Any pros / cons between this and what is here - depending on seeds ?
Breezy046 years ago
I actually did this 3 months ago with a group of 19 first grade students in my student teaching class for their planting unit. 17 out of 19 successfully grew on their own and luckily I had planted extras so everyone had one that was growing. When they, we planted fava beans, started to look a little moldy I planted them in little pots for the kids to take home. They were so excited. I recently got beans off of the few extras I planted in my garden. Very cool method for starting seeds.
This is an awesome idea and I'm using it right now. It works wonderfully with sunflower seeds! I have also done this with cherry seeds. However, they never sprouted while in the bag. I almost threw them away because they looked like they were getting mold on them. But my wife took them all and put them in a small pot w/ soil. Now, out of 5 seeds, I've got 2 that are sprouted! Cool! Cherry Trees! Anyway, I'm working on a plum seed now. No idea how that will work. If it doesn't sprout in the bag, I am going to just plant it. I am using this in combination with the 'roll' method which makes it easy to transplant them into my yard. Thanks for the awesome idea!!
theburn76 years ago
It works! The onion seeds are sprouting very quickly
Cool-fool7 years ago
I tried this and my sprouts got covered in fuzzy white mold! Where'd I go wrong?
MrBrownThumb (author)  Cool-fool7 years ago
My guess: Your towel was too wet keep it moist without it being soaking wet. Direct sunlight may also have caused it or keeping it in the baggie for too long after it has sprouted. Once I get the first set of leaves I remove it and pot it up.
I don't know if this will help, but with Morning glory seeds and other big seeds they tell you you can hasten sprouting by filing down the sprouting end with a file thus making it thinner. Then you soak them over night before planting or doing the paper towel thing.
Too Wet.
theburn76 years ago
Would putting it in the sun harm it at all?
MrBrownThumb (author)  theburn76 years ago
It may dry it out or cause some mold/fungi inside. But after my first try I haven't had much of a problem.
sbloch8 years ago
When I found a sprouted seed in my morning grapefruit, about twelve years ago, I did the paper-towel thing (didn't think of the ziploc bag). It's about six feet tall now :-)
MrBrownThumb (author)  sbloch8 years ago
Congrats. Yeah the baggie is just to trap in more moisture and to save you from having to keep it from drying out. It also helps because humid air is warmer and that will help the seeds. 12 years? You're committed to that tree. I keep starting these because I give them away when they get too big for my windows. In the winter window space is at a premium and the Cacti & Succulents and Amaryllis bulbs get first dibs. And finding seeds already sprouted is pretty awesome. I found a peach and mango recently sprouting in their respective fruits recently but I don't know what I did with the seeds.
Why not keep them as bonsai trees if size is an issue? It would keep the size of the tree down and make it more viable for keeping, plus it could be interesting to try growing one of them :)
canida sbloch8 years ago
that's crazy
isnt this something we all learn in grade school? this and the soda bottle greenhouses? anyway, i didnt even know that a citrus seed would sprout since the above formentioned things about grafting, and hybronizing and such, so i found it intresting, who knows that may have been the best citrus tree in the world.....btw is it still alive???? but as with any seed, u probably wouldnt get what u thought u were getting when all was said and done, same with roses, or anything that is grown today, we have added too many modifications to the seeds to survive pest and to grow in colder weather and to be bigger (not better if u ask me) perhaps the ongoing cause of things like autism , add, adhd and others??? we blame it all on bout thinking of what we do to our food befor its our food???? sorry i'll be good that u got it to sprout i'm gonna try.....
Er, with the exception of GM crops (which are a fairly recent development), larger fruits and veggies have been created through selective breeding rather than through strange things done to them. Also, if you're referring to the "mmr causes autism" thing with the immunization comment, that was completely disproven and, in fact, never really had any evidence to begin with.
tea_lover6 years ago
I have my mandarin seeds soaking now. I can't wait!! Thank you
I am going to try to grow an orange plant in nj. lol:)
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