Seed Starting...Epic FAIL!

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

So with great excitement, I started my seeds in the roaster oven. Dummy me didn't think about there NOT being enough air circulation, so all my seed cups now have lovely MOLD on them! Is there any way to save them, or is it best to just start over? This time I'll either leave the lid off or at least cracked AND have a small fan blowing to prevent this.

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Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

Oh, Stephanie, I'm so sorry this happened. Can't wait to see it work, and I think it will.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Well, the mold was rampant so I tossed them all. I'm going to redo, but this time, I'm going to elevate the lid and have a small fan blowing to create air circulation.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

What kind of starting medium are you using? How long were they in there? That mold grew fast!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I get that same mold in new mixes containing high amounts of sphagnum moss, That is why I like the older mix with a higher nitrogen additive like the manure.
I cook or clean boil older re-composted mixes , only way I have ever kept that from happening,
Once or twice it had taken stronger light..
And yes that stuff grows fast ... fast and faster still...

This message was edited Jan 12, 2013 7:56 PM

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Does the set look vaguely familiar ?

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Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm using a compost based planting medium. I'm sure it was caused by the lack of air circulation and warm, closed atmosphere. I'm re-starting seeds tomorrow.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

First time I ever had that happen was in an enclosed aquarium with a top ,,,so I think your right....

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I prefer coconut coir to peat-based mixes. Even with coir, I sprinkle a very thin layer of vermiculite across the top of my pots to prevent damping off and mold.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Steph,
Did you get my reply?

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Linda, I did. I just read it. Not formulated a reply yet.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Just checking cause I was having major cell phone issues yesterday.

Not a problem.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

This is what I did. I emptied the cups yesterday, soaked them in Clorox water and then rinsed them out. Using pretty much the same soil mixture, I refilled the cups and replanted. This time, I lifted the lid on the roaster oven and we have the ceiling fan running in that room. I also have a small fan sitting on the table that I can use. I'm thinking of raising the lid even more. I did forget to sprinkle cinnamon on the top!! Arg! Gotta do that. I'm also going to use a spray bottle to "water" the tops tomorrow, if needed.

I also got my husband to set up the light system. We're thinking of putting up a shower curtain liner around it to make like a greenhouse. We have one shelf set up. My husband needs to get the other light fixture out of the garage and bring inside, then we need to run to Home Depot and get the light hangers for it. Then, we'll be able to have two sets of lights and do more seedlings. I still have tomatillos, peppers, and herbs to get started. He's still on the quest to start some seeds using seed blocks. We have a space heater that we put on the bottom, then we put slats on the cross pieces so the heat can permeate them.

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Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

still ... maybe ... the heating mat idea was not so bad ... are you sure?
I am really enjoying your adventure

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I don't have a heat mat and don't want to spend the money to make one. Just call me the cheap gardener!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I started seeds for years without a heat mat. It was only when I began starting more peppers and eggplant and more seeds in general that I invested in a heat mat.

Good Luck Stephanie, like anything else it's going to take a few tweaks to get it right.

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

The wind chill tonight is minus 23. It's been so cold I've been holding off trying to start seeds for Spring. I've got all those seeds and have the urge to plant something. It's all I can do to restrain myself. I'm planning a hydroponics system soon, so hopefully will start plants in Oasis or some similar medium for transplant into the Dutch buckets. Seems like everything takes so long to get started, but that's just me rarin' to go. First I have to have a cat-proof area then supplies, then...it goes on and on.

Stephanie, it looks like you are collecting old computers like I do, lol. Nice setup with the lights.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Steph!

I just looked at your roaster set-up, and BINGO! The light bulb went on!!!

Is that a ceramic vessel sitting in the roaster? Like a removable crock pot? If so, you've given me the idea to start some bell pepper seeds directly down in an old crock I have, just like I suggested to you in the dmail.

I'll line the crock (or not, since I don't use it anymore), fill it with the potting soil, and sprinkle the seeds right on top. I'll leave it on the lowest setting. Not gonna use the lid at all, because I want the heat to collect under the potting mix, not in the ambient air, just yet.

Can't wait to try this!

One picture sure clears up a thousand foggy minds!

Hugs!

This message was edited Jan 14, 2013 10:46 AM

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Linda, the roaster has a liner, but since Mark thinks we're going to use the roaster for cooking again (not in my plan!), I'm not going to put the dirt directly into the roaster.

Solace, those are NOT my computers! LOL Those belong to my husband and I'm trying to get him to sell most of those towers as scrap metal. I might start a side business making cat beds out of them, though! LOL

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

That would be way too much dirt! Maybe an aluminum pan in it....?

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I'd only put about the same depth of soil as in a 4" nursery pot. Glad I have an old, unused crock pot!

I scored a glass Cuisinart blender jar from FreeCycle to blend up veggie peel slushies for my red wriggler bin. And, I have anthe dedicated microwave for sterilizing recycled Potting mix.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

SUCCESS!!

I replanted on Sunday, 1/13 and have sprouts today!! I also lowered the lid by about 2/3 and that seems to be helping, but the cups are also drying out because of the heat in the oven. I've adjusted the temp down a bit and am watering with warm water 3x a day if needed. I have a soil moisture tester I've been using. Sometimes they only need it twice a day. I also have the ceiling fan in that room going to help with air circulation.

Thumbnail by stephanietx Thumbnail by stephanietx
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

CONGRATULATIONS!

Question: How come you didn't fill the cups all the way?

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I dunno. Just didn't! LOL

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Filling the cups might've kept the soil from drying out so quickly. But, no matter, since part one is COMPLETED!

Good job!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Mine go the other way
If I fill them full to quickly.
I get stem and root rot problems. I also get stringy plants
Yes I know, I still tend to over water....

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm thinking I'll add a bit of dirt once they get a bit bigger and I thin out the seedlings. That will promote root growth, too. We'll be moving them to the lights tomorrow or the next day.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Congratulations, Stephanie.

When your seedlings get a little taller, you might want to turn them out from one hand to the other, and put soil down in the cups and replace the seedlings. This will encourage a larger root system.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I may have missed what seeds you started but if they are tomatoes, you can simply add dirt as they grow and roots will continue to form on the stem of the plant.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

They are tomatoes. I had planned on just adding the dirt as they grew.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Same with me ,I just add the dirt slowly as they grow ..
Like before because of my tendency to over water with starter plants adding the earth slowly prevents stem rot and fungus that might take down my new little friends..

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

The little tykes moved to the lights this evening. Some have barely stuck their sprouts out, but I moved them anyway.

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Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Here is a couple planted about the time you started... As you can tell I might have multiple problems , I can handle that!!

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Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

More to plant or share!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I sure hope so !,, Last year of those three together I ended up with one plant whose tomatoes were ate so fast I had only a few of myself , One thing that more is better!!!

So yours are in the project room? , the mold problems are solved, is the next stop blooms? larger pots? or perhaps straight to the garden?

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

stephanietx
congrats on the sprouting.
How much is the temperature difference from your roaster oven to the shelf you just put your seedling?
I am just asking and wondering if the poor baby seedling is going in a shock when you moved from the roaster to the light, and if that would influenced its growth and production.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I did move the roaster to one of our spare bedrooms with a ceiling fan. I also elevated the lid on the roaster with some scrap wood pieces my husband had laying around (literally!). I have seen no more mold whatsoever, but I've been watching these babies like a hawk! I do turn the ceiling fan off at night. There is a heater under the shelf to help the ones under lights. We haven't put up the plastic yet, but I had to get these babies out of the roaster and with some light so they'd not stagnate. We are going to use an old shower curtain liner (clear) or two and hang from the top of the shelving unit so they have a greenhouse like environment. The lights also generate a bit of heat, not much, but some which also helps. The hubby spread the cups out last night into 2 tins so that they'd get maximum benefit of the light. We have a total of 3 lights, but are only using 1 at the moment. I have about 6 more cups that should be ready to move to the lights either today or tomorrow.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

What are you going to do about air circulation, once you put the shower curtains up?

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

There is a ceiling fan. The top will also be open.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I've run my ceiling fan since the seedlings went under the lights. My "warm" room needs the additional air circulation.

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