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Monday, April 10, 2017

Video: The ragdoll method for starting seeds and testing viability

By Julie Weisenhorn, Extension Educator

Sometimes we discover seeds that we've saved and wonder if they are still viable (will germinate). The ragdoll method of creating a damp seed packet that will prompt germination is an inexpensive and easy way to test seed viability. It is also a good way to start warm season plants like tomatoes, peppers, etc. In this video, I'll demonstrate how to make a ragdoll for Pride of Wisconsin muskmelon. You'll need a sheet of damp paper towel, a sealable plastic quart bag, seeds or your choice and a marking pen. Watch the video.

Pepper seeds 8 days later: The first root has emerged from some of the seeds. Just gently remove and plant in potting soil. Place in a warm sunny window or under grow lights. Keep the soil moist (not wet). It should feel like a damp sponge when you touch it. These pepper plants should be large enough to plant in a large pot or a sunny garden location by end of May / early June.


  1. Does the root have to be pointed down, or can I just lay the sprouted seeds on the potting mix?

    1. Either, but best to drop the seed in root down.

  2. when planting the sprouted seed into potting mix, do I have to take care to point the root down? Or can I just put the sprouted seed horizontally on the mix and gently cover it?

    1. Either is fine. Seeds will grow downward. IF the seeds are large like a pumpkin seed and easy to hand, point the root down. If small, just lay it down and the root will head downward.


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