Osma Acres Farm is located on Lake Superior where we have a very short outdoor growing season (about 75 days, June to early September). Many of our plants require 90 to 110 days to mature after planting (Gourds, Pumpkins and Winter Squash varieties). This environment requires getting shoots started in late winter in order to harvest in Early September before our first killing frost. The seed sprouting process enables us to have a growing season of 120+ days.
The process we use involves getting seeds to sprout using small clear plastic containers with seal-able lids, paper towels and seeds. A white paper towel is fitted into the bottom of the plastic box, the seeds are placed separated on the paper towel, the paper towel is slowly moistened with tap water, the box is sealed and placed in a warm (70-75 degrees) area that is well light; a sunny spot is best when available. The seeded boxes need to be checked every 2-3 days to insure that the paper and seeds are maintained in a moist (NOT WET) condition.
Some seeds (like hard shell gourds) can take up to three weeks to sprout; so be patient.The end result is shown in the photo below where the seeds have started to sprout. When the sprouts present 2-3 leaves the sprouts (with attached seed/s) are ready to be taken from the plastic boxes and placed in peat pots containing about 1 inch of potting soil on the bottom of the peat pot with the sprout sitting on top of the soil. Thus begins our Potting season which will have the peat pots in a green house area until mid April and then in a heated cold frame area until the second week of June when the plants are moved into the gardening area.