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Old 03-17-2008, 12:55 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
I start all my seeds - whether they're ultimately ending up in the garden or in deck containers - indoors in small plastic cell packs - one or two seeds per cell. I use bagged soilless seed-starting or potting mixes, which help to eliminate seedling-killing diseases that are present in regular soil. I start them under lights, as well as on south-facing windowsills. If you just dump a whole packet of seeds into a small pot, you're going to have one heck of a time separating those tender seedlings, what with all the roots & stems tangled together. (With the chives, however, once they've sprouted & grown a bit you can just remove the entire bunch from the pot & slice them up - soil & all - with a knife into plantable "portions", sort of like brownies. Certainly don't bother trying to separate each individual chive.)

When my cell-sown plants are a few inches tall, they're then "hardened off", which just means allowing them to adjust to the great outdoors. They spend days outside in a semi-shaded area & nights back indoors - every day spending a little more time in full sun until they're acclimated. They're then planted out into their permanent spots - the garden or containers.

Callisto - I think you need to hit your local library or bookstore & pick up a basic veggie gardening or seed-starting book. Just to have on hand for reference purposes, if nothing else.

I started many thousands of seeds when I had the greenhouses, and Breezy knows what she's talking about.

Seeds don't need much soil to germinate, as they don't have much of a root at first. If there's too much wet soil under them, they will damp off.
Plastic meat trays from the supermarket with a few holes punched in the bottom are perfect for starting seeds.

A couple of hints:
Wet your growing medium before you use it, whether planting seeds or potting up your seedlings, as the high ratio of peat moss makes it difficult to get wet through the first time.

Don't plant the seeds too deep. Cover them to the depth of the seed. A zucchini seed, for instance, needs to poked into the soil about 1/2 inch. Pepper seeds only need a fine covering, parsley seeds need not be covered at all. Simply sprinkle them on top and lightly press them into the soil and spray with a fine mist (spray bottle) to moisten.

Once the seeds are planted, cover with plastic and put in a warm place, like on top of the refrigerator. Peppers, especially, need heat to germinate. They don't necessarily need light...in fact, some germinate better in the dark. If you have lights set up, put the seeds within 4-6 inches of the lights, and they will get enough heat to pop right up. Once they're up, take off the plastic and ease them into the sunlight.
Transplant the seedlings when they get their first or second set of true leaves.


If you're going to grow parsley or basil in the garden, plant the seeds directly in the soil. They'll really take off that way.
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Old 03-17-2008, 01:42 PM   #22
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I've got one of these doo-hickys to start my seeds in. I just line them up in a plastic tray and get the cheap plastic covers for them.
PotMaker - Seed Starting - Burpee

I can just plop the whole thing in the ground and the paper decomposes.
The only pain is that I spend a whole day making little paper pots, wanting nothing else than to put seeds in them!
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Old 03-17-2008, 01:53 PM   #23
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I know what you mean Suziequzie. One year I decided to be "environmentally correct" (even tho I do reuse my plastic cell packs until they literally fall apart) & used cardboard toilet paper & paper towel tubes cut into 3" sections to plant in. They worked, but had to be nestled very snuggly into plastic trays to keep them from disintigrating before planting-out time.

I still use them from time to time if I've run out of cell-packs & just have a few more things to start, but I can empathize with your frustration making them up.
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Old 03-17-2008, 03:57 PM   #24
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Okay, so dark is good as long as it's warm. Cover with plastic, okay, picked up some sandwich bags. Do I seal them or just cover loosely? What about watering? Do I just spray them like I have been or do I soak them? I didn't plant them too deep, so that seems to have been good. I still want to do a couple more basil and a couple more parsley plants in egg cartons but I'm running out of egg dishes to make LOL.
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Old 03-17-2008, 04:05 PM   #25
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"Dark" is not necessarily "good". Different seeds have different needs. Some seeds require light in order to germinate. Seed packets or books should tell you which needs what. You'll need to research those needs based on what you're growing.

Soil should never be "soaked"; just moist. Any plastic coverings should have some type of ventilation to allow excess moisture to escape, otherwise everything will just rot. As soon as you start to see sprouts - any sprouts, not all of them - remove the plastic coverings permanently.
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:41 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
"Dark" is not necessarily "good". Different seeds have different needs. Some seeds require light in order to germinate. Seed packets or books should tell you which needs what. You'll need to research those needs based on what you're growing.

Soil should never be "soaked"; just moist. Any plastic coverings should have some type of ventilation to allow excess moisture to escape, otherwise everything will just rot. As soon as you start to see sprouts - any sprouts, not all of them - remove the plastic coverings permanently.
Well, this confused me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance View Post
I started many thousands of seeds when I had the greenhouses, and Breezy knows what she's talking about.

Once the seeds are planted, cover with plastic and put in a warm place, like on top of the refrigerator. Peppers, especially, need heat to germinate. They don't necessarily need light...in fact, some germinate better in the dark. If you have lights set up, put the seeds within 4-6 inches of the lights, and they will get enough heat to pop right up. Once they're up, take off the plastic and ease them into the sunlight.
She says heat is more important than light.
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:46 PM   #27
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Really each plant is different. some want light and heat, some want dark and heat. some want neither, some a combo. You really need to search each plant differently for info.
I have a Burpee herb / veg gardening book that I swear by, the info is also available at thier website I believe.
If you can't get the book right now, let me know I'm more than happy to look it up for you!
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:30 AM   #28
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Again - it depends on the type of plant you are sowing seed for.

For instance - lettuce seed requires light in order to germinate well. This can mean a difference between getting, maybe only 30% germination for lettuce seed that's buried in the soil & placed in a dark spot versus 95% germination for lettuce seed that's simply sprinkled on top of the soil, water "misted" in, & placed under light.

Peas & beans, on the other hand, do best germination-wise when definitely planted an inch or so into the soil, & can be sprouted in either a dark or light location since they're darkness requirement has already been met by their seeding depth. Planting them too shallowly or just sprinkling them on the soil surface will inhibit their germination.

This is why I said that it's extremely helpful to have a gardening book at hand (or look up online) the method to use for each type of plant you're growing. It can mean the difference between just getting a few plants to sprout for you or nearly all of them.
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Old 03-20-2008, 06:35 PM   #29
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Don't want to argue here...Breezy's very good. But lettuce doesn't need light to germinate as long as you don't cover the seed. It used to pop right up in my heated misting chamber.
Since most people don't have a misting chamber, the plastic will increase the humidity and have the same effect. Once the soil is wet, you won't have to water it as the plastic will keep the humidity in. Remove plastic the minute the seeds sprout up. Holes in the plastic would defeat the purpose.
Be sure and use a sterile soilless mix for starting your seeds.
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Old 09-20-2008, 04:00 PM   #30
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@Callisto in NC

I'm not a pro, but from reading your posts I can offer what worked for me this year that I read elsewhere. If you have especially hard to germinate seeds or you spent a bit on them and do not want to have them be duds you can always start them in moistened paper towels in a ziplock bag placed on the top of the fridge. In a couple days you get a result though you need to check into them before long or they root too much and do not plant as well.

Pretty similar to what has been stated but better if you want to see the sprout before you plant them. I did this with poblano and bhut jolokia pepper seeds. I should have done it with some extra naga morich pepper seeds I had from pods, but the $20 for 10 seeds package (with 11 seeds in it) bought all came up as I had started them late in May and it was warm enough and moist enough.

I only had one question though. What led you to start the peppers in a cross pattern of 5 in a 4" pot? How difficult was keeping the roots to themselves? I used those tiny angled lightweight plastic planters and repotted mine into larger pots and they flourished, but I am curious how your method work out for you as well. I know there seems to be no way such a pot could hold that many full grown plants together just from the size my peppers were this year, but I figured I would ask. I will be planting more from seed next year, starting inside in February so I can always pick up a trick or two.

Btw, I am near the Rowan County seat so if you end up wanting any Dorset Naga Morich seeds to try and plant next year I might end with some extra. They do not seem to have as many seeds inside as other peppers I am growing but I have two here, four at a friend's house, and four others at his son's house. I also have three bhut jolokia seedlings growing but they won't produce fruit this year to get seeds from.
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