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Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

Space-Saving Seed Starting

This germination technique makes use of materials you already have in your home

A single windowsill, a few shelves of plant lights, or even a backyard greenhouse—however much room you have for sowing seeds, it never seems like enough. Using paper towels lets you start dozens of kinds of seeds right in your kitchen, in a space about the size of a book. Photo: Nancy J. Ondra

Once you’ve experienced the thrill of growing plants from seed, you’ve opened up a whole world of possibilities for your garden. For a fraction of what you’d pay for a few new plants, you can grow dozens or even hundreds of seedlings—enough to pack your beds, borders, and containers with flowers and foliage without spending a fortune. Seeds give you access to rarities you just can’t buy as plants, to old favorites that garden centers don’t carry anymore, and to heirloom varieties that big growers overlook in favor of the latest new introductions.

The possibilities seeds offer are unlimited. For most of us, though, the space we have available for growing them is anything but unlimited—particularly for seeds of perennials and woody plants, which may take months to finally germinate. Instead of having trays full of pots sitting around season after season and needing…

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