QUESTION: How do you germinate tomato seeds in paper towels?
ANSWER: Get a single paper towel damp but not soaking wet, then sprinkle your tomato seeds onto the towel, but don’t let the seeds touch one another. Roll the paper towel into a loose cylinder with the seeds on the inside, and place the towel into a plastic zipper bag, then zip it closed. Keep the bag in a warm spot that is free from drafts, such as on top of the refrigerator or on a seedling heat mat. Unroll the paper towel gently a few times a day to look for the signs of germination.
You’ll be able to see the root sprouting out of the germinated seeds. Some seeds germinate as quickly as 24 to 48 hours, while others can take 10 to 14 days. It just depends on the variety of tomato you are growing. Plant germinated seeds in seed cell trays once the tap root emerges (within 12 to 24 hours of sprouting).
If you wait too long to plant the tomato seedlings, the root will have worked its way into the paper towel, and it will be difficult to remove without damaging the young roots. If the root is broken, the seed will not grow.