How to use an Instant Pot to germinate garden seeds

If you're temporarily tired of making meals in your multicooker, you can use it to create a self-contained greenhouse-like environment to germinate seeds for your garden. Along with the Instant Pot and seeds, you'll need a plastic Ziploc bag, paper towel, sharpie, strainer, potting containers, soil, and a pie plate/casserole dish and lid (optional). If you grow vegetables, it would be fun to germinate vegetable seeds in the Instant Pot and cook the produce in it later. From the instructions at Modern Farmer:

This can be particularly helpful if you want to speed up germination with warm-weather crops, such as tomatoes, melons, peppers and cucumbers, and you don't want to buy a heating mat. It can also be a useful tool if you're simply late to germinate your seeds or live in an area with a colder climate and a shorter growing season. 

For those new to gardening, seed germination is the first process in growing food when a seed breaks out of its dormant stage and begins its development into a seedling. Seeds require a certain temperature and moisture to transition out of their dormant state. Most seeds germinate in an environment between 68°F and 86°F. 

At its lowest "yogurt setting" at 91°F, the Instant Pot is able to provide a controlled, consistent greenhouse-like environment, producing germinated seeds in as little time as 24 hours to seven days. Given that the temperature of the water is on the higher side, this method is best for warmer-weather crops or those that prefer a temperature range from 76°F to 86°F. We don't recommend using the Instant Pot for cool-weather crops, such as those in the brassica family. 

image: Ajay Suresh (CC BY 2.0)