Vertical Seed Starting – Easy, Fun, Saves Space and Money

It’s back to elementary school for some space-saving tips on germinating seeds!  No need for fancy seed starting domes, soil or spritzers.

This method makes it fun to see how plants grow. In just a few days, your beans, basil, zucchini, pumpkin and sunflower will sprout and will be ready for planting. Some plants such as gourds may take a bit longer but will emerge in much less time than planted directly in the ground.

Our kids found this fascinating because they can see the seeds germinate at eye level.


  1. Prepare small, recycled plastic bags by placing a damp piece of coffee filter, egg carton or paper towel at the bottom of the bag. 
  2. Place the seeds on one side of the damp material. If the sprouting medium is too wet, you might rot the seed.  
  3. Close up the bag almost completely and using one strip of tape attached at the top of the bag, stick it to the window.

OPTIONAL: To prevent mold, but still retain moisture, insert a straw into the top of the bag to let air in or poke a few tiny holes in the sides of the bag with a pin.  

MOLD: If you see the seeds starting to mold, the bag was too wet, isn’t getting enough air or the seed is just a dud. Start over by cleaning the bag with mild soap and warm water. Rinse well.

NO ACTIVITY: If the bag looks too dry and nothing has happened for 3-5 days, sprinkle some water inside the bag to raise the humidity level.

Seeds that we tested successfully:

  • Basil
  • Beans
  • Gourds
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Sunflowers
  • Zucchini

Planting Tips:

You can plant the sprouted seed before leaves start to form. It just takes a gentle hand. Make a slit in the soil in your container or garden and carefully slip the seed in the opening. Cover the seed according to manufacturer’s directions.

Once leaves grow, plant with the seed area barely under the soil.

Have you ever sprouted seeds this way and what did you learn? Any tips from more experience gardeners?