Continuing to share methods and experiences on starting seeds, what works, what doesn't, everyone welcome.
I'm growing my seedlings in a city apartment window until the end of March, when we re-open the house in Connecticut. I use the Deno Method, damp paper towels in a baggy, to germinate most seeds, chilling the ones that need it in the refrigerator first. Lately I've been experimenting with different techniques for some which have been more challenging.
Sure, happy to do it... Sorry I didn't think of it...
Last year I started my petunias 2/21... But I don't feel like it right now... I'm taking a little time out...
All my perennial babies are happy at the moment, and the few holdouts are still holding out- Salvias, Veronicas and Verbascums. I was chilling them In the frig, but then turned off the heat mat and put them back on the windowsill. It's in the mid 60's during the day, maybe 10 degrees cooler at night. When I do start the petunias, I know they like more heat. If the others haven't done anything by then they go back in the frig and the mat will go on again.
Here's some new pix from today..Just got 2 more light units up today...making more room so potting on can ensue...
Hey, I got 4 of those blankets from Walmart, they were $2.97 each (52.5"x82.5"), can see in pix. I have it taped to the front of my plant stand with painter's tape, then I can remove and tape to the wall when I need to get to my babies.. Next stand I will put up one one each long side. Sure does brighten it up... Pam..you might want to try and hang a sheet on the room side of your grow stand...they are soooooo light too. I need to look into some of that aluminumn type paint for next year too, will paint my whole stand, and shelves...
Pix 1: Asclepias incarnata 'Ice Ballet'
Pix 2: Centranthus ruber (Jupiter's Beard)
Pix 3: Anthemis tinctoria/ left and Delph. grandiflora chinensis/right
Pix4: Digitalis grandiflorus (yellow foxglove)/right and Papaver orientalis 'Marlene'/right ( this is 'spose to be a burgundy colored flower (reddish/purple) oooh, I wanna see this one, hopefully I can get it out next month into my plastic covered area (cold frame/shed area (will have to come up with a name for this space..lol), might be able to trick it into bloom if I can get it some cooler temps. for a month or so.), hopefully can trick some of my other perenns. too ( Delph, foxglove, and anything else I can get out there that can take the cold night temps.
Pix 5: Delphs.: D. grandiflorus. c. ; D. elatum Blue/dark bee; D. e. Dark blue/white bee; D. e. Hybrids mix colors from Dowdeswell herre at Dave's; D. e. 'Galahad' white, D. g. 'Guinevere' light lav-pink; D. requienii, new this year from the Netherlands in Rare Seed Trade this last fall, listed as Biennial or Annual or first year bloom, kinda curious about this one, and it's suppose to reseed, gets to 4 ft-ish.;
Wow, that is sooooo much more reflective than foil! And I think your lights are higher than mine? I wouldn't mind that, makes it easier to see what's going on. I've been busy doing other things, but I did pot up the last of my Platys yesterday. I do think the brighter lights are keeping the plants from stretching, no haircuts necessary as yet.
Tomorrow is a free day, and I have lots planned. I have more Alchemilla seedlings that need separating, and it's time to start the petunias and see what else is in my stash.
GOOD Morning Nice Assortment Kathy Love to see your garden it will be a great showcase for sure .
Yours also Pam My land is Mostly flat here Not many trees Only out back in the woods , My brother had it logged off this last fall Looking open & Very Nice back there He & I have talked about the type of plant to put back there . so i have many type in mind & I just hope I can get them to grow .
Well My Sisters whom I've Not seen or heard from since daddy passed away called to say she was going to be around town & wants to come out for a visit , so guess i better get off here . & Go take care of my Molly Duck :)
ya all have a great day & HAPPY GARDENING
I have spent the day off and on reading all of the posts on this thread. Lots of information. I usually Winter Sow my seeds with great success. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do the WS this year. So recently, I have been studying the "under lights" method.
I have done research on hydrogen peroxide but don't find a lot of information.
Do you use a mix of water and hydrogen peroxide on All of your seeds or just the ones that need scarifcation?
If you use hydrogen peroxide on all of your plants, do you give them a bath in the solution and then plant?
Or use the solution to water the seeds into the growing medium?
In the past, I have been too aggressive with nicking my sweet peas so am thinking about using the hydrogen peroxide instead of nicking the seeds. I think I will let them soak in the H. P. solution for 48 hours. Suggestions?
Also, Pam, you mentioned something else you give your seeds when you plant them, what was that?
Pam, I wonder how your Penstemon p. has turned out? I am wondering if the problem was the Miracle Grow medium you used. MG holds moisture and gets crusty on the surface. I used MG one year for my WS with poor germination and seedlings were unhappy. I am sure you have read Tom C. suggests 8 weeks at 41 degrees. I grew this from seed one year by WS and got good germination.
I use ProMix seed starting mix for my sowing seeds which has worked well for me.
The first year I used their proportions, but when I found out that many people here use 9 or 10 parts water to 1 part peroxide, I stopped making myself crazy with the math and now keep it simple:
1 qt water = 32 oz, 3 oz peroxide.
1 gallon water = 128 oz, 12 oz peroxide.
I also add a drop or two of Superthrive, which stimulates rooting. Then I sprinkle cinnamon over the surface after sowing or planting to prevent damping off (peroxide helps with that, too) and to keep the gnats away.
I am limited to shopping at HD in NYC, and they have very little available other than MG. I'd love to find Pro-Mix, but so far have had no luck. I have experienced the crustiness in the past, but it seems less of a problem this year. I have started mixing a little vermiculite in the top layer, seems to make a difference.
Verbascum Wedding Candles germinated in vermiculite in a little baggy. Yippee!
Started petunias today... 2.5" pot, seed starting mix topped with vermiculite, pressed pelleted seeds into it and put under the dome.
Just potted up a chia pet of Alchemilla into 6-packs, some multiples just in case. The first batch are doing great, so are all the Platys and Dianthus. All the older seedlings love the new lights, including my 1 P Palmerii.
Also have another full pot of Campanula babies, must get to that soon.
Ran out of tape for my label machine, and cut another batch of markers from a few more slats of the Venetian blind... Ordered more Perma-nest trays, I've expanded again...
Oh no, I wrote a long post hours ago, and it disappeared!!!
Thanks, Kathy- how cool, you're using peroxide and I'm using vermiculite... Always more to learn, and nice to share, yes?!
Speaking of learning... I went on line (Amazon) and ordered tapes for my label maker, then thought I'd better check to make sure I got the right kind. Turns out Brother makes a laminated tape, especially good for outside, there's a clear layer over the printing that must help prevent fading, and that's what I ordered. So then I ordered the machine that it fits (PT200) for only $22. Then I went to Staples and bought tape for the machine I have so I could make the labels I need now. Whew! I figure I'll take the new one to CT for outdoor labels, leave the other one in the city for other uses.
Gorgeous day here, nothing new except my DD is on DG. She's been a member since last summer, but not active. Now that spring is on its way, she'll be starting some annuals, herbs, and veggies. She has already WS'd some things, now they're under a layer of ice. Some of my extra perennials will be going to her to nurture until planting time as I have to make space for my annuals, etc.
When I grew sweet peas years ago, I nicked then soaked overnight in hand hot water to plum them up. Likewise with any seeds that have a hard coating, including Hibiscus. Then place in a moist paper towel inserted in a ziplock bag. If the sweet peas are perennial kind, place in fridge for 2 or 3 weeks. If not, place in room temp.
I used to use 1part Peroxide to 9 part water. In an experiment a few weeks ago using Deno method, I found that Peroxide is useless to prevent fungus and rot, at least for daylily seeds. I am going to buy and try a fungicide to see if it works better.
In several towel packages, I had 3 daylily seeds. One sprouted, another did not, and the 3rd was soft and rotted. Also showed a white film like mildew. In other packages, all rotted, and so on...
I think that regarding daylily seeds, they may have had rust...or something...when I bought them. The healthy seeds in the same package sprouted and grew when planted.
I concluded that Peroxide don't work on Daylily seeds. Perhaps on other seeds it does. Mother Nature don't have all the fixings such as Peroxide, cinnamon, and the like, yet seeds sprout in Nature. It lead me to believe that in the seed world, healthy seeds will sprout, and unhealthy seeds won't no matter what you do. It may be Nature's way of seperating the fittest, from the non-fittest in seeds.
Below is hardy Hibiscus seeds after soaking overnight, then sprouted in a moist paper towel in 2 days.
Blomma, thanks for the information about sweet peas. They are annuals. I seem to nick my sweet peas too severely. In the past, I have nicked them, put them in hot water and then planted out. However skipped your last step re: paper towel and waiting until they sprout.
How do you keep from nicking the seed too aggressively? I have read somewhere recently the main cause of sweet peas not sprouting is nicking too severly. I have tried using a knife to nick the seeds and also tried using a rasp. When I use the rasp, a big chunk of the outer shell breaks off. There's got to be a technique.
I "thought" the peroxide was a speedy way to get rid of seed germination inhibitors? Thus, eliminating my over aggressive nicking problem. Or perhaps, it was to do the aforementioned as well as keep fungus away.
So, the advantage to the "ICG" seed starting supplies is they are studier? and I assume would last more years? Thanks for the link. I had not heard of them.
You mentioned in an above post "you ordered more Perma press trays from Amazon. Are these the same as the ICG supplies? When I checked out the Perma Press Trays at Amazon, they said they were from Grower's Supply. I am a little confused. Of course, I stay a little confused so no big deal!! :)
I went out to the greenhouse yesterday and it was so hot I had to move all my little seedlings outside!
What a project, it took me all day to get the shelves and trays out into the potting area and then the potting area bench had to be moved into the greenhouse.
I am unofficially announcing Spring is here! All that's left in there are the unsprouted seed trays and pots, which will be sprouting with all the heat. I think it's time to put some tomato starts in there. Any suggestions on other veges that like lots of sun and heat? I was thinking maybe melons?
Wow...if you girls pay that much...whew...GROWERS SUPPLY is just fine!!!!! And they have great prices!!!!! Those are the type I have been using for almost 20 years now. Although I can get the open # 1020 trays here in Denver for .99 instead of $1.55 (sold in 10). And regular dome cover for$2.39 is a great price, think in Denver I paid $1.99 a few months ago. And no real need for tall domes unless you're rooting cuttings...
Yup, our blizzard came and went...and thankyou soooooo much Mother Nature, I got between 7-9+ inches of that white stuff. Now I just have to try and get down my 250ft. driveway cuz I'm not shoveling...have done so in the past and learned my lesson the last time...HA, Ha, Ha, been there DONE that!!!!!!!!
This year started fertilizing my babies and am thinking I might have over done it as I have lost some seedlings..Phooey!!!!!! Don't have as many of the P. palmerii and some of my snapdragons as I did a few weeks ago. Shucks... Too much fert. and not enough peroxide in my water...(Gosh I was only adding a coup;e of drops of peroxide per quart bottle). Am thinking for the measurements you all have listed above, doesn't it get a bit $$, to water with every time? Or just that I have so many plants...do they sell it by the gallon? LOL...Ideas welcomed.
Dome...Nope spring not here yet...3 more weeks ...lol...
Am making up the last of my peat into potting soil after lunch...went through a 3.5 cb. ft. bag already..gotta see if I can find another...
Superthrive can usually be bought at any nursery or might even have at box stores...I've seen it here in some of the grocery stores in the floral dept. for house plants too...And it's not cheap...Don't have a price for ya but remember it's rather pricey for a small bottle, but people swear by it!!! Think I need to dig my bottle out... Also, anyone ever use Vitamin b1 for their plants, gosh I think that's what it is. "Spose to be a root stimulator. I've used it in the past when planting new babies, but not on seedlings...any experiences? And the stuff use to sell for $3 a gallon but no more, prices have gone up, (am thinking it's gotten to be a fad so they charge more now...2-3x's.
I'm still on my first bottle of Superthrive, bought last spring. I only use it indoors for seed starting, etc. outdoors for transplanting I use Biotone, or Root Blast or something like that.
Perma-Nest trays are also from IGC. I've had the standard 1020 trays spring leaks indoors- it happened more than once last year, so I switched everything over. I have no problem with standard domes.
Amazon is for labels.
We buy peroxide at Cosco, I think it's cheaper there. If you follow the directions on the website it calls for much less. I'm not really sure what difference it makes, maybe I should experiment on things I'm sure of, like snaps and nicotiana or other annuals...
What contrast, Kathy has snow and Dome has spring! I'm somewhere in between, no white stuff, but no sign of spring yet, either :-(
Don't be too hasty to discard ALL of your Deno-method seeds if there is evidence of fungus. From his book:
"There was much evidence that pathogenic fungi were not a problem and that only dead seed and empty seed coats were attacked by fungi in the moist paper towels. [...] Close examination with a lens showed that these were associated with empty seed coats or pieces of chaff and debris."
For those of you nicking your sweet pea seeds, you may want to try a week of Deno without nicking and then only nick those that haven't germinated yet. Again, from his book:
"...many species in this genus have microfissures already present in varying degrees. Lathyrus latifolius (sweet peas)...germinated immediately at 70 degrees. [...] but the remaining will not germinate until a hole is produced in the seed coat."
Sorry if this is too much blah, blah, blah, but both cases reminded me that I had read 'something' in Deno's books about that so I went back to find the info. Hope it helps!
Two years ago I soaked sweet peas in hand hot water for 24 hours, then used the Deno method with great success. Last year I tried WS and got nothing. I've never nicked, maybe the combination of soaking and Deno is enough? Anyway, that's my plan for this year.
Interesting info about fungus, Lanakila. Hmmmmm... Maybe I was too impatient with a couple of my laggards...
Good thing not everything I tried worked... I have so much more to get going soon, and it's still a month before we get to the house and I can spread out some. Claustrophobia is setting in... Yikes!
Only rain is predicted here, I guess the snow will miss us. Although its been cold at times, we haven't had much snow at all this year.
lanakita and Pam, thanks for the sweet pea information. I am afraid of nicking my sweet peas and hope not to do it this year. It makes sense to get a "crack", a teensy siesure in the hard shell of the seed to get the water inside. Mine aren't "teensy"!
It appears most people don't scarify the sweet peas but let them soak in hot water instead. Should you change the hot water out to try to keep it warm? Hmm, maybe on a heating mat...
Superthrive or transplanting solution can be found in Walmart (see below) Different name but same product. I use it for both indoors and outdoors when transplanting.
I use the corner of a regular nail clipper to nick seeds with. The seed doesn't need much of a nick, just a bit. Also, do it on the side since most seeds sprout at the ends. Then, when you soak them in water, the seed is able to take in water. Since your sweet peas are annuals, they don't need to be stratified. (cold moist). Just allow the hot water to cool naturally over night then place in the moist kitchen towel over warm or in room temp. I found tht the top of fridge is ideal temp.
If you want long lasting seeding trays, I bought them from Park.com in 1980 and still using them indoors under the lights. If I need more, I buy the cheaper ones in Walmart. They came out with what is called Window Greenhouse Seed Starter, intended for window sills. Actually, it is a tray that measures 21" long x 5" deep and have the 1.5" little pots inside, my reason for buying. It comes with a clear cover.
While you are in Walmart pick up a bag of Jiffy seed mix. It is great to use. Very fine peatmoss and vermiculite. Does not dry to form a hard surface. It is new as of last year when I first tried it. Easy to spot in its gold bag.
Better clarify. The trays I bought in 1980 are the green ones, minus the domes. They are made from hard plastic instead of the more flimsy plastic found in Walmart. I use them on my flourescent light stand. where they are made to hang. The cheaper ones I use on shelves under flourescent lights.
Agree the seeds don't care about the pots etc. It's just a little neater & fits better on shelves and perhaps will stack and store better. It would be nice to invest once instead of buying every year and seed pots falling off the trays because they are flimsy.
Warrior has a nice set up, but I don't have an opportunity to dig through the dumpsters--only dumpsters are at Lowe's, and they won't let you get too them. Too bad, as we could re-cycle stuff instead of filling up the land fills. I almost always use my own heavy duty cotton cloth shopping bags when grocery shopping. I collect all the bags that come home when we don't use our own bags and give them to a lady that runs a second hand store for her to use for her customers.
I will cautiously try to nick the sweet pea seeds or perhaps do a little of both. When you nick them with the clippers does a very big piece break off? That's what I am afraid of.
I don't buy the trays every year. Many from Walmart I have had for at least 7 years. Never have I had pots fallen off. If you are concerned with that then use double for strenght since they are cheap enough.
When Walmart sells plants in the summer, I take those plant holders that hold 3" pots. They are great in the trays and Walmart don't care. They just toss them out at the end of the season. Likewise, the open trays are great also. They are sturdy since not thin plastic.
Either use the corner of the nail clipper and take a little bite from the seed. I have never had it break off a big piece. Or, you can use the other kind of nail clippers that are like a scissor or pliers. Don't know what you call them, though not cheap. I have one. You can also rub the seed on sandpaper to make the coat a bit thinner. Water will do the rest.
I too collect bag but give them back to Walmart, or Salvation Army with clothes I no longer want.
I got all my seed trays from a local landscape nursery. They were glad just to give them to me so they didn't have to drive them to the recycling place.
I think I'm going to get three years out of them. I use the both the short and the taller humidity domes, they keep the plants safe from bugs at night which seems to be when the seedlings get mysteriously eaten. I like WWK's set-up and have been doing a lot more in 4" pots. The 2" pots work good too for smaller plants, or for individual large seeds.
I spent some time today helping Natalia (4) make up window boxes for her playhouse. She was so cute at the nursery, she picked out some big purple pansies, then some golden ones. Then she spotted a yellow icelandic poppy. So we ended up with a yellow and red poppy surrounded by pansies. Being a grandma is just the best!
I try really hard to keep the mess down, since I'm gardening right on top of where we live. Leaks for me are unacceptable, and I don't want to have to worry about it every year. It's worth the small extra expense to me, and if you figure how many more years these stronger trays are good for, it think it might come close to the same cost in the end.
Kathy, how tall are the Dianthus Zing? I'm re-thinking them, might just get a few going. This time last year I was just starting... What a diffence a couple of months make!
Sorry, I have so many questions about these seed trays.
1. The link in thread #9431769 by Blooma shows a tray. So, do you set individual flower pots on it or do you set a tray with holes in it that has pellets that expand when you put water in them and drop the seeds into them?
2. Or, is this the set up to use "after" the little seedlings need to be up graded to bigger pots? And you use the little "pellet trays" first?
3. Shouldn't the domes have some sort of ventilation control?
4. I am concerned about getting gnats etc. I have never done this sort of seed starting method. I have always done the WS with great success. However, this year, I could not do the WS so thought I would try this new method.
I have the Quick Start Solution and have used it for many years with much success.
For gnats, sprinkle cinnamon on top of the pots or cells after seeding or planting. It does not harm the seedlings. I refresh it whenever I see even 1 gnat, which is seldom. This year I've been particularly careful to sprinkles on every single new cell, and have not seen any at all so far.
Blomma or someone else can tell you more about the tray he uses.
Domes without vents are simply propped up an inch or two for a day or so before being removed entirely.
Trust me, it's not all that complicated, the seeds want to grow!
Dianthus deltoides Zing, 6-8", bloomtime is mid-late spring thru e.-mid summer, about 4-6 weeks-ish...Depends on zone probably...here Juneish. Sure wish they blommed all summer tho... And if allowed they will reseed, I now have a nice little patch...Pix below: pix 3 gives you an idea size of the flower as these are next to Johnny-Jump-Ups.
Picked up some fungiside today, also did some dumpster diving, not much in there, but got a few...a bit too much snow on all of it so will have to back again. LOL!
Snowing again, they're talking another 3-4" and the wind is howling...50's by the weekend.
For gnats I use a yellow sticky card gotten at the nursery, package of 2 for less than $5ish.
I cover my floor area with a tarp from walmart, 8x10, under $5. Make cleanup much easier, just use the shop vac..lol. Also have a sheet of painter's plastic cloth around my stand, helps keep the humidity in and me from over spraying the walls and floor with the squirt bottle while misting the babies.
Dome, just for the heck of it try Amazon.com. They have most used books listed for .01-.99...shipping is $3.99, and if multiple books comming from same vendor, they combine shipping. And sooooo many more titles. And does anyone else check their local library? Most in my area have a room set aside for pulled books from circulation and donations, Hardcover $2, softcover $1.
Bookcloseouts is all new books. Maybe I'm a bit of a snob, I like my books new, LOL. I always check Amazon for the same book I'm looking at on Bookcloseouts, they are usually cheaper for new but I do check. I, too have gotten some good books at the annual Library book sale.
I'm hoping some of my annuals will be up soon as some days, like today, it's hot and hard to keep the seed beds damp. I am germinating in pots and in ground, so one way or the other I should get at least one of everything I'm trying. I have lots of nicotiana up today and a few penstemons.
Asking questions is how you learn. I tried to find photos to demonstrate your questions.
1] That tray are to place pots or seedling trays on since it don't have drainage holes. I also use them to place plants for watering. You can put holes in with a red hot nail. The first photo below is a smaller version of that tray which I have put holes in. Photo taken in 1980.
You can use any tray that is 2" deep. I have used trays from the supermarket that held meat. (See photo 3)
2] I stopped using dome covers over seeds long ago. It keep the seeding mix too moist. You can use it if you prop it up a bit. Use a clothes pin.
3] Gnats come in with potting soil expecially Miracle-gro which I don't use anymore for that reason. I didn't have any last year since I used Jiffy seeding mix, later Expert potting soil. The bugs don't hurt the plants since they feed on rotted stuff in the soil which Miracle-Gro had plenty of. Walmart also sell a spray in aerosole can that is for indoor use that I used last time I had the gnats. A quick spray on the soil as soon as I saw them killed them.
Photo 2 is what I call 6-packs. Each little pot is 1.5" sq. When seeds sprout by Deno method, that is where they go first since a larger pot would have too much moisture that can rot the tiny roots of young seedlings. My daylily seedlings are in them and now ready for 3" foam pots, which are the foam coffe mugs. Cheap at Walmart. A nail will easily punch holes at the bottom.
Walmart is now selling a Window Greenhouse Seed Starter, intended for window sills. It measures 5" 22". Comes with a clear dome and 6, 6-packs (36") that are all attached. Cost under $3. I bought it for the 36 little pots as mine are getting worn.
4th photo shows those Parks tray used to hold the 3" foam pots of daylily seedlings, taken 2012. They are the only pots that will fit in my plant light stand since the plastic is ridgid enough to hang over the edges. They came with the stand purchased in 1980.
Can't think of anything else. If you have any other questions, don't be afraid to ask. That is what Daves is all about.
Didn't mean to sound short- actually meant to be encouraging! We've all asked many questions, at least I have. DG is a collection of the best gardeners in the universe as far as I'm concerned, I've already learned tons and haven't stopped learning yet...
And I fret over every disappointment.
Right now I'm trying to come up with a solution for the MG planting mix problem, which I'm sure is behind some recent failures. Pro-Mix is sold near my DD's house in NJ, but the bags are too big for our NY apartment, I would have to throw out some clothes to make room. Not going to happen, lol!
What do you all think if I just added Perlite to the MG mix? Would that help enough with the over-saturation problem?
Thanks, Blomma for your excellent pictures and explanations.
From your pictures, it appears you do not use the little seed cells with the pellets in them. I "think" others do from looking at all the good pictures on this topic.
From what I understand, you use a tray, poke holes in it, fill it with "moist" seed starting mix, plant your seeds, and then put another tray that doesn't have holes for the water.
Picture two looks like the six packs you get from the box stores like a six pack of pansies.
I would like to know how people feel about the little seed starting trays with the little pellets. I bought some of them because I thought that was the procedure, but those little cells with, who know what's in those pellets, kind of bother me. I haven't used them yet, and I could take them back. How does one get the little plants out w/o damage?
This is a little off topic, but I would think the humidity domes would work well with propagating cuttings??
BTW, Blomma, I use a soldering iron to melt holes in plastic. Works really well.
Pk...blizzard 2 is gone. Haven't been out to find out if I can get out the drive yet but thinking I'm home for a few days now..lol. They were saying another 3-4" but I think there might have been more. All the locals schools closed and some kids got stuck at school for the night. Even closed hiways over night, and I do mean close...they have gates they put down and lock... The front of that storm is now on the east coast...big one!!!!
Got questions reference the fungicide...reading all the lables, wow, do I wanna use this...lol? And not any instructions on how to use for seedlings, any ideas from the more experienced? Nursery said it won't save already drooping plants but can save those that haven't...true? Ideas and feedback are welcomed. Not sure on chemicles such as this, usually shy away. Too many warnings, but wanna save my babies that might need it.
Hey...on the news the other day they had a new tray system. It was a kit, (didn't say teh price tho), it had tray, tall dome and a small florecent light to lay on top of the dome...
Wow, that's some serious snow! The rain last night was so intense it woke me up. I don't know if outlying areas got snow or rain.
Sorry, I've never used a fungicide. The first year I tried to start seeds in CT I had no lights and no heat mat, and we left the house at 52 during the week while we were gone. What a disaster! Yuck!
Once I started using a heat mat, lights and peroxide I never had the problem again. I don't sterilize anything any more, just rinse it all off with the hose when I'm done for the season, My guess is all you need is peroxide, you already have lights and your house is not that cold. The heat is only important for germination anyway, and that you have no trouble with.
On the peroxide website they say to use higher concentrations for sick or fungusy plants, probably closer to the 9 or 10 to 1 that Blomma and I use. Why don't you try that on some and see if it helps them?
Thank you. Glad I was clear in explaning.
Are you referring to those flat and round peat pellets that expands when placed in water and have a net around it. NO, don't use them. Used to and don't like them. They dry out to fast. You have to stand them in water so they get too wet which can cause seeds to rot. I use mainly the Deno method (damp kitchen towel in a ziplock) I sow mainly iris and daylily seeds. I have used the 6-packs to sow Datura seeds (trumpet flowers) and have some growing now. Had to test the seeds.
Picture 2 isn't what you get plants in from box stores. Mine are much smaller. I know which ones you mean and those are heavier plastic.
Yes definately, the domes work great for cuttings, exept succulents. If nothing else plant cuttings in a pot to root, then stick the pot in a ziplock bag.
The soldering iron does work great, but I don't have one so I have to use a nail.
[quote="Pfg"] Right now I'm trying to come up with a solution for the MG planting mix problem, which I'm sure is behind some recent failures. Pro-Mix is sold near my DD's house in NJ, but the bags are too big for our NY apartment, I would have to throw out some clothes to make room. Not going to happen, lol!
What do you all think if I just added Perlite to the MG mix? Would that help enough with the over-saturation problem?[/quote]
Pfg, you werent clear on what problem except over-saturation. The problem with MG mix is the pieces of wood or whatever the mix contains, which is great for gnats. I have used their mix for years and stopped using it 3 years ago. Too many gnats. The mix looks like something they scooped off a forest floor. Great outside but not confined in a pot. Their mix years ago, was peatmoss, and perlite with plant food crystals. I owned and operated a commercial greenhouse in Nebraska during the 80's specializing in drought resistant outdoor plants. I also sold houseplants year around. I began to mix my own potting soil using MS ingredience. It was cheaper than buying and produced great root systems. The same is also great for rooting cuttings.
When MS changed, I mixed my own again until I tried Expert, which I like. To your question, adding perlite to the mix won't solve the gnat problem. I am not familiar with Promix but has to be better than MS. For seeds I use Jiffy.
Guess you didn't read my February 25 post regarding Peroxide. When I used it, it was with 9 parts water. I DO NOT use it anymore for it does not work with daylily seeds. I am also sceptical on its use on other seeds. I explained why in the same post. .
>> What do you all think if I just added Perlite to the MG mix?
I think that is the thing most often added to increase drainage or rather decrease water retention. As you know, I like bark nuggets or coarse bark mulch (shreds) for improving peaty mixtures. Or coarse grit like crushed rock.
If the gnats are the only problem, I think a dry SURFACE might be all you need. If so, anything laid on top that lets air and water through but holds little water should discourage gnats. Perlite, grit, small gravel, bark nuggets, small marbles, wood chips, etc.
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When I have too many heavy pots and not enough trays indoors, I'll use small corrugated cardboard boxes cut down to the height of the pots, and lined with a plastic garbage bag. But I can't use those outside or the cardboard dissolves.
The cardboard is stiffer than 1020 trays, and usually smaller so it's easier to move around without floping.
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Fungicides on seedlings already fallen over from damping off? I would guess it is too late. Easier to start again than try to bring them back to life. If they are just leaning and looking sickly, try a fan and less water, cinnamon, chamomille tea, or as suggested, dilute peroxide. First: less water and more moving air and brighter light.
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>> I began to mix my own potting soil using MS ingredience
I have no problem with gnats. I use cinnamon for that.
My problem is that a few types of seeds refused to germinate in MG seed starting mix, such as Verbascums and Veronicas. I think they might like it drier. Someone suggested that MG is too water retentive and seeds rot out before they can germinate. That's why I wondered about adding Perlite for drainage.
Since using peroxide I have no problem with damping off, which is the main reason I use it.
I think we're all using or not using some of the same things for different reasons. I guess the variations are endless...
Yes, it seems there's many successful ideas about seed germination and that's what makes Dave's Garden educational and interesting.
I can't remember if I mentioned Fertilome seed starting mix. It works great also. It comes in smaller, manageable bags. Please excuse if I already said this. I looked above to see if had been mentioned and could not find any mention of Fertilome.
I never had problem with damping off. The problem is mainly white coating on some daylily seeds and odor. Strangely, it may only be on one seed in the same paper towel. The other 2 seeds are fine and sprouts.
Maybe seeds of Veronica and Verbascums require stratification. I have grown Veronica from seeds and always gave them a chilling period.
My problem is not seedlings, it is the daylily seeds. I know that it would be too late after the fact using fungicide. But Peroxide don't work on daylily seeds to prevent rot or whatever it is. I had more problems this year. I am wondering if the seeds are infected with rust when I get them since I bought them on LA from a seller that lives in Florida where I know they have problems with ruse. The fungicide that I have does kill rust spores. I am done starting daylily seeds but will try using the fungicide this Fall. I don't start all the seeds at the same time for lack of garden space, and incase of loss.
Sorry, MS is a mistake. I meant MG. I have no gnats since I stopped using it. I have read about the same problem on other forums, regarding gnats and MG.
Here's progress on the babies...Only the first 2 trays per pix, 3rd row if a row is those that are on the floor and repeat in many of the pix...
Potting on in progress. Got a new bale of peat the other day but won't be able to use it til it thaws...Guy took it off the top of the pallet and it must have been soaked at some point. It frozen solid and I can't even lift it..lol, tooooooo heavy. So once I get out of the drive I'll have to head out and get another bale, preferably one that I can lift.
They look great! So healthy. What are you going to do with all of them? It reminds me of 2001 when I bought my house and started 54 different cultivars. I went nuts trying to find room for them all in my small yard.
Yes, I am trying to control my seed sowing this year. I go nuts ea. yr. trying to keep them alive until I get them planted in the fall and trying to find homes for all of them. I couldn't give enough of them away.
Nope, not using heating mats. Bought one more than 15 years ago and used it once, maybe twice. Couldn't even tell you what happened to it. And no bottom heat til I got to turning on the lights below a self, tho only when plants started getting transferred to other pots and trays.. Sad to say I had some of that damping off. Shucks! Am down to 3 or 4 Penstemon palmerii now, and am thinking about restarting some more so I might have some to share with others...We'll see.
Hey Fruity...did you get your Envi? Hope there were a few goodies you liked...
Lol..I told you I started tomatoes early...just one variety so far. I've had them touching the lights for more than a week or so and finally moved the lights up yesterday. Getting nice thick stems... Will be starting some of the other varieties I got out of the Robin this week. These are a Black Cherry and they look like they should be a great snack tomatoe, yummmmm. (I know I started them too early, but what can I say.)
Susie...lol. Iv'e been sharring my secrets here...I'd like to think it's because of the dome and the vermiculite, gives great germination for me. Personally I've always had good luck with them.. And then after they come out of the dome, misting them several times a day, they seem to love it. This is the first year I've fertilized consistently...lol. Found out it's been too much tho and have cut back a bit. That and the damping off has been a problem with a few varieties so got my spray fungicide and we'll see how well that works. Also this week starting adding the B1 to the water, we'll see how much of a difference that makes..I figure I've got a bottle of it so might as well use it.
Blomma, I thought I'd have you come help...lol. Gosh you're only a few miles from me... I'm sorry I couldn't resist. Have plenty of places to plant them, we'll see how far I get this year tho. Gotta get the weeds out of the way and under control first. Gosh, sure hope the weather is good this year... I've got soooo many sections I'd like to work on this spring. I know I've got extras of many things so sharring will be available...it's getting all of them potted up into seperate pots. Know I should be doing that today but not sure if I can get out the driveway yet...it's only been 3 days. It's suppose to be 45* today and 50*s all weekend, maybe some of that snow will melt.
I know for a fact that I've got more than I need of Nicotiana sylvestris but the last time I sowed these I didn't get good germination and thought my seed was too old but I guess not...lol. Just love these and good thing they are fragrant cuz they're gonna get planted everywhere and then I can enjoy the sweet smells!!!!
Pix 2 thought these were going to be Penstemon palmerii, got from garden club, gal said they were. Anyway, looks like the leaf is a bit different tho, more pointed and not as rounded as those I have of it... We'll see, anyhow I have about 100 babies.
Interesting that you're having trouble with the P p's now. For me they sprouted in the paper towel, then just never came up once planted. I looked them up- they like it hot and dry, I'm sure my mix was too water retentive. One website says:
My one survivor looks good so far though. It's under the brightest lights. Although after looking at pictures of it on line, I'm not so sure that's what I have! What do you think, Kathy- is that how your seedlings look? Maybe it's an interloper?!
KATH are the nicotine seeds you sent to me are they the Nicotiana sylvestris ?? & should i start them now or wait & Just plant after frost right into the ground ?
sure wish spring was here NOW :) so want to get out in the garden & Get dirty :))) love your pic's very jealous :)))) Put the feed to them so they will be ready for our PLANT SWAPS :))) Starting In APRIL if Weather permits .
well gn all
Pam...looks great!!!!! yup leaves are suppose to be that way, and they will eventually have a blueish cast to them. Wish mine looked that good... Yup they are indigenous(sp?) the southwest so deffinately like it dry-ish and gooood drainage. And no, seedlings don't look like that tho mama does, mine seem to be lagging, thinking I need to pot them on.
Susie..can't remember which I sent, tho thought I had sent 2 varieties... if only one look at the bag and see if I denoted sylvestris (4-6ft) or sandersae (18-30" or so), and bag might also have height info on it. Let me know.. If sylvestris can start soon, or let me send you some babies...How many would you like? A hundred or so? LOL, just joking but I am serious I can send some if those aren't the seed you have. If sandersae, you can just find a spot for them in the garden and sprinkle the seed, don't even have to cover them. Ruff up the soil, and sprinkle, tamp down if you like and gently sprinkle with water. Next year they will come up on their own if you allow to reseed. They will come up when they are ready...and be blooming by July for sure til frost. Both are extremly fragrant (evenings and early am only)..., if you have never smelled them before you are in for a real treat, somehow Jasmine comes to mind. Oh, BTW, finished up on a draft of your flowerbed design. Will let you decide what to take out or rearange, and you will have to let me know what plants on it you might like. It was my intent to send them when spring arrives..(many will be from this year's sowing)...Not sure how big they will be by April, am thinking more toward May..still too cool here in April and these Nicotiana are definately not hardy, also on the sylvestris, I peresonally have never had them reseed, just the shorter ones. I was hoping to suprise you with a penstemon p. also but...lol. May have to find something else to substitute...
the one I pixed above will find out on Tues. (garden club), height ...if I remember the stems the gal brought me were in the 3ft ish range...but palmerii can get to 5 ft... Will be making a copy when I'm at the library to send off to you this next week...Ok? Then you can go over the list of plants and let me know what you want and what I'll have...
Great! Thanks! At least I have one, can always try for more next year.
Kywoods, try Amazon, I usually find the best prices there. I had to buy another one this year, somehow all mine got left in CT and the window was just too cold in January. I Googled 'hydrofarm heat mat' first just to make sure, and Amazon was by far the cheapest. I get only the Hydrofarm because I have had good luck with them. Maybe someone else has tried others...
Also if you google 'seedling heat mat' lots of DIY info comes up if you're interested in using ingenuity instead of buying a brand. In my situation I need tried and true, can't let it all get too messy, so I stick with the safe bet.
Have any of you tried using strings of Christmas lights or rope lights under your trays? I'm not sure how well Christmas lights would work since they're exposed and wouldn't look forward to them shorting out...or worse. I have a 3-shelf grow-light system with overhead T5 lights that are adjustable, and one lone heat mat. What I'm interested in are alternatives for bottom heat you may have tried that work well.
I had a very busy day at the kitchen table today. Lots of potting up, haircuts, and starting annuals.
But first, last week I decided yet again that I need more space, so ordered a bunch of new Perma-Nest trays. The price for 6 was cheaper, so I used that as an excuse to get the white ones I admired from someone else's post ages ago. That meant bigger shelves, too. You know how it is, change one thing and everything else looks wrong, LOL. I got the cheapest shelves from HD, and I can see that they are already sagging in the middle. There is another source nearby, I may have to upgrade to stronger ones if these get any worse. I'm hoping to put it off until next year, but we'll see...
Pic 1: The new set-up. The whole bottom tray is for annuals that are now in the propagator under the dome. This time I mixed a ton of vermiculite in with the seed starting mix to lighten it, then just sprinkled a few grains on top after sowing.
Pic 2: Everything I started today is tiny: Three different Nicotianas, three Snapdragons and Verbena Bonariensis. Dianthus Zing has already started sprouting radicals in a baggy after 3 days, and 6 are planted under the dome as well. There are also Storm Petunias in there. P Easy Wave has already sprouted and is under the lights.
Pic 3: Ceratotheca Triloba, a few of the bigger Digitalis Pam's Split (Pantaloons) and Digitalis Camelot (White) moved up to 2.5" pots. The rest moved to wide 9-packs, roomier cells than the ones they'd been in but still compact so I can fit them all in. Campanula White Clips batch 1 still doing well, a couple of the tallest got trimmed.
Pic 4: C White Clips Batch 2, in wide 6-packs. Some had been in a cluster and are smaller, they're in 9-packs. Also Aquilegia Christa Barlow in regular 6-packs.
Pic 5: Alchemilla Mollis Batch 2 and the smallest Campanulas.
I've got lots of poppy seeds and I thought I'd just toss them out in the back yard devise some kind of bird protection (those quail eat every seed that drops on the ground) and keep it damp. Does this sound reasonable? It is already warming up here and the Spring rain has started. Or should I Deno them and plant them individually?
Oh, and I have to extend the light on the middle shelf, it's too short. It's actually 4, 24" lights, I just have to spread them out and make the reflector longer.
Pic1: Alchemilla Mollis Batch 1 are growing up, and I used them around crocus in the Living Room. Soon they'll make a good filler, I think.
Pic 2: Upper shelf: Mostly Platycodons in 2.5" pots, but on the far right, Salvia Turkestani, Salvia Nekon, White Scabiosa, in 3.5" pots. I use them instead of 4" because they are deeper, 3.5" instead of 3", so they take up slightly less space and have the same root room. I get them from IGC. My 2.5" are from there too, also 3.5" deep.
Pic 3: More Platys. I had such a hard time germinating them for a couple of years, then discovered the magic of a 24 hour soak and Deno. Sooooo easy! On the far right my one Helianthus Lemon Queen, barely visible in front of the only Verbascum Wedding Candles. The lone Penstemon palmeri is I. Front of it.
Pic 4: On the right a better view of the three singles, and lots of Dianthus x Loveliness from 2 batches, all with recent haircuts.
Forgot to mention 3 dishes of Daturas soaking, tomorrow they get bagged. D Metel La Fleur Lilac, D Black Currant Swirl, and a double white.
That's the whole tour for now. I've given up on Veronicas and Verbascums for this year, time to move on. Astrantia is still in the frig, somewhere I read 3 months and that's getting closer. So is Eryngium Miss Willmot's Ghost, another tricky one, also Lily Formosa, should have popped by now, I think.
From what I know of annual poppies, Shirley, California, etc, it's best to direct sow. Maybe you could lay a piece of Reemay or other row cover type of thing on top of the seeds until they germinate so the geese can't get to them? That's what I plan to do for Sunflower seeds to keep them from the birds. I'll hold it down with bricks or rocks.
I've never heard of Reemay, I'll have to look that up. I was trying to figure out how I could use bird netting. I have hundreds of birds that visit my yard daily. The California quail are the best at eating anything on top of the soil. One year we cleaned up a large area and put out a big bag of wildflower mix. we got one flower plant. . . one.
Thanks for the idea, I'll ask at the Farm Supply what's available.
Pam you can go to Menard or any lumber yard & Get a 2x12x 8" for less then $12. & have them cut them to 4ft or keep them 8ft they make great shelves & do not sag . cheeper way to go & Last for years .
when not using for seeds you can use put contact paper or something colorful on the shelves :)
well off to take care of Molly Duck back later today .
Once we open the house I have more places to shop, but for now I'm still in NYC and there is less of that around. We don't have Menards on the east coast that I know of. The HD doesn't carry as much 'country' stuff as the one in CT, either does Walmart. There's no Lowe's in NYC. The choices are really limited., that's why I mail order so much.
Hi and welcome. Glad you seeds are germinating. What kind of plants did you sow? Inquiring minds wants to know. If I don't ask you I know someone else here will.
1] Since you said they are in trays, yes, I would pot them up when they have developed their first set of true leaves. The earlier the easier on the roots. In general, I would start individual seedlings in a 2" pot, if unavailable use a 3" foam pot. Actually they are foam coffer pots but are great----and cheap at Walmart. They can even be cut to a smaller size. Hard really to say what size since I don't know what kind of plant. Some grow faster than others and are better in a 3" pot. Others if tend to be slower-growing can benefit with a 2".
2] Never too late. Plants do get leggy/spindly if the quality of light isn't high enough. You didn't say where you have them growing. So, I will tell you how the rest of us here do it. We use flourescent plant light and keep it on for 16 hours per day, keeping the tubes about 2" above the leaves. Check above for using plant lights.
Since you live in NC you can probably put the plants out if no frost once they are repotted. Keep in mind that plants have to be acclimated/adjusted to the outdoors after growing indoors. I do it on the east of my house for 1 week. Once they have adjusted you can plant them in your garden.
Lovely daylily babies, Blomma! And good advice, as always.
And schaf20, good for you to have 5 trays started, very enterprising. Blomma's right, inquiring minds want to know which plants you're growing, there are some differences how they should be treated. I learned this year that certain ones can be pruned while still very small to create bushiness. They need at least 4 true leaves first. I've trimmed Dianthus, Campanulas and Platycodons so far. Also, light is important. They get leggy otherwise. There are tons of pictures above of various people's set-ups, all different, and most are works in progress as we keep tweaking to get better and better results.
FOTV, I'm thinking of using Christmas lights outside in my mini greenhouse/ plant stand this year for a little extra warmth. I've read that it can really make a difference, and I really need that extra space this year. I have soooooo many babies!
If you are going to increase temps, you may want to increase light. Warmer temp will promote faster growth and may become leggy. I would grow them cooler, like commericial nurseries do for sturdier plant growth.
Ofcourse, if you just want to prevent too low temps in your mini greenhouse, I can see why you would want to ad the lights.
I'm thinking early April, when it can easily get below freezing outside overnight. I put out only the hardiest first, snaps, some perennials and the like.. I usually wait until the middle of the month, depending on weather. With just a little more heat, I could use it earlier, giving more room inside for those that need it.
Sorry, been mia. Welcome schaff, glad to see your doing babies too. Hope we can get you hooked!!
Polygonum orientale Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Gate (New to me, hope they do great, anyone else ever grown them?)
Tomato: Cherry Sweet 100, Rosy Morn, Dora, Diener, Mexico, Porter, Tidwell German, Blackfoot, Cheokee Purple
Dianthus barbatus Bi-color (Sweet Williams)
Dianthus barbatus Salmon Pink
Dianthus barbatus Red
Lobelia siphilitica, Great Blue Lobelia, started 2 different pots, from 2 sources, my first try in Jan. never germinated, both of these have, YEAH!!!!
Lobelia siphilitica mix, has white and blue, Yeah!!!
Hibiscus: Pink Hardy, H. coccinas White texan Star, Pink Hardy (different source from 1rst), Lunar, Blue River, Party Favor, LOVE Hibiscus!!!!! Many will be new to me, and am thrilled to get soo many varieties!
Daisy, Shasta Dwarf
Alcea rosea Halo Cream
Virginia Bunch Flower
Whew...lol..these are from the Seed Robin that's going around now.
Decided to build a regular stand instead, this one will be a bit longer and wider tho...wood cut, cut need to drill pilot holes and start putting it together. Got most of the lumber for about 75% off, some were cracked, some warpped, but was able to cut the sections off. So this stand will be less expensive than my previous stand...Thought I figured everything in and realized it last night, I goofed...shucks, all cuts were already made, I need a few more 1x2s for hanging the lights. Will have to wait til next week, blizzard coming in tonight...so they say... Atleast I can get it put together... And I willl be surrounding it in those foil blankets from walmart...
Thanks for your encouragement! I am sure I will be hooked in no time as long as I can get something edible out of it all! ;)
Spaced out over the last 4 weeks, I have started a few varieties each of...
tomatoes - full size and cherry
peppers - sweet and hot
leek (just the bleu de solaise variety)
basil (just the Emily variety)
and poppies (just one variety - california, maybe?)
They are in varying stages from "still waiting to germinate" to spindly to growing nice and strong. I will definitely stop at walmart this weekend to get pots for the ones that are ready to be moved. I also bought the materials to make a 4' grow light with 4 flourescent lights. Currently my trays are on a table over a heat vent and near a window with dappled sunlight. I only have a big enough light to put one box under it at a time, so I can't wait to see what happens when I can get them all there. I will raise and lower the level of the trays with wood scraps or something convenient so that they stay 2" from the light.
I also threw some carrot and lettuce seeds in a cold frame to see what would happen. Today is the first warm day, actually too warm, in the box so I hope they will take. I need to vent it a little better. Lots of trial and error. :)
Since everyone is so helpful... one of my next things to tackle is the weeds in my raised beds. We weren't able to control the grass well at all and have that awful grass with runners (is it bermuda?) that just won't die even though I've tried sprays and smothering. I can never get to the roots so when I pull what I can out, it just makes the soil nice and comfy for new grass weekds to grow. Never ending battle! How do I get rid of it so that my plants will have a place to grow??
Welcome back, Kathy. Congrats on the Lobelia Siphilitica. It comes up here and there in my garden from old plants, and I love it. Did you pre-chill, or anything like that, or just use your regular method? I have seeds for the polygonum orientale but haven't done anything with them yet. Did they take long to sprout?
Usually I start my tomatoes around St Pat's Day, but we're going away next week, back on the 19th, so I'll do it- and a lot more stuff- when we get back.
Schaff, you have quite a list there! I'm sure your lettuce will do well in the cold frame as long as you are able to keep it from overheating during the day. Peppers, cukes and basil hate cold, so they shouldn't go out until temps are settled and warmer. Onions, leeks are probably ok sooner. I have no experience with carrots or eggplants
About tomatoes... I like to start mine in peat pellets, the only thing I use them for. Once they're up and out from under the dome, I put them in the bottom of a deep-ish container, last year I used 16 oz solo cups. As they grow taller, I keep adding potting mix, taking off all but the top leaves and adding enough to cover the stem. They grow new roots from the stem, so by the time they go out they have a long, deep root system. Also, enough light is very important to keep them from getting too tall too fast.
Yikes, weeds-- bane of my existence! Maybe someone here has a good solution.
Yup, that Lobelia sprouted in 4,5 &6 days. Nope, didn't prechill the Lobelia but did on the Polygonum. Poly. went into the fridge for approximately 1 month. Took out 3/1 or 2 and the red sprouted today 3/8. Looking for the pink to sprout now.
Thanks pfg! I went to Walmart and found the plastic 3x3 trays. They were $4.50 for each. The biodegradable ones were pennies each but were individual round pots and I wasn't sure how to contain them all easily. If anyone has a brilliant idea, I can exchange them. :) I didn't buy the potting soil yet because I wasn't sure what mixture was best so I'll reread some of the posts above first.
There are very tiny leaves emerging in the cold frame. Time will tell if they are weeds or vegetables...
Yes, weeds are awful! Am hoping someone will have a good solution.
I really appreciate all of this advice and am trying to soak it in one step at a time!
I like chicken wire to keep birds, squirrels and cats away.
>>> tomatoes - full size and cherry
>>> peppers - sweet and hot
These need a lot of warmth outdoors. Put them outdoors last., or bring them in at night.
>> 2. Some of the plants are leggy/spindly. What can I do to help them along or is it too late?
>> on a table over a heat vent and near a window with dappled sunlight.
Cooler indoor nights and cooler air, probably.
Seedlings always benefit from a fan, as long as heat plus breeze don't dehydrate them.
Maybe less fertilizedr or less rich soil.
>> 1. Do I need to pot them after leaves start growing? If so, how do I choose the right size pot?
I think there are 2-3 popular strategies. If you are starting in "insert" cells or tiny pots, you could wait until they are starting to get rootbound. Then the roots and soil will pop out as a firm root ball that won't easily fall apart and tear the roots.
If you sowed in flats or "20-row" trays, I think you would need to "prick them out" pretty early, before the roots got too intertangled. That would be when there are only 1-2 pairs of "true" leaves. Then, you don 't care too much if the soil falls off the tiny root. It will be too small to be torn apart by ther soil falling off.
There are people who sow in milk jugs ("winter sowing"). That is like sowing in flats, but many winter-sowers get along fin e lettin g the seedling roots grow together into one big mass that can't be untangled. They might plant that big mass in one chunk and let the crowded seedlings fight it out, or might tear the b ig chunk into 4 or more smaller chunks, allowing some seedlings' roots tol be torn apart, but6 expect the remaining seedlings in each clump to do well.
Since you are growing in coir pellets, I think you have a free choice of when you "pot up". If you have plenty of space for lots of bigger pots, you can move the coir pellets into their final home early or late.
Just don't leave them in their coir pellets so long they get root bound, or starved for fertilizer. Say, give them bigger pots before they have 3-4 pairs of true leaves.
What's the earliest you can give them bigger pots? I would say as soon as the seedling seems "established" enough that it's stable and doesn't need pampering like humidity or temperature control. One pair of true leaves is old enough to "leave the nest" and get more soil and presumably start getting mild fertilizer or richer "real" soil. That assumes your bigger pots ares till indoors or very sheltered.
After you go from the very gentle conditions of germination and emergence, you will have to "harden them off" as you transition to the relatively harsh daylight and drying breezes of outdoors. They need some sheltered spot during the transition (like shade and protection from wind). A porch? Under or among some bushes? Ideally, warmish days with overcast. That might work better with somewhat older seedlings - like 3-5 pairs of true leaves.
But it also depends on the plant: is it "delicate" or sturdy. Does it have plenty of cold-hardiness for your weather, or will you have to bring it back inside at night?
Is your yard very sunny, shady, windy, or loaded with slugs, insects, rabbits or deer?
"It depends". You'll know better next year, I think every gardener has to make SOME mistakes just to learn his or her own conditions.
Grass with runners sounds awful - crab grass or Bermuda, both are awful. If no good solutions are suggested here, you might post a pictures to the Plant ID forum to get the ID and any advice (or commiseration).
I'm not sure where to look for advice on removing grassy weeds with runners and deep roots. I've seen horrid things suggested, but what WORKS is a good question. Once you know the name and some synonyms, you might search many forums. Just remember there are two classes of advice:
1. you COULD try this: ... and
2. I DID try this and it DID work well.
For much easier weeds, "hoe their heads off ,every few days" and "pull out as many roots as you can by loosening the soil around them with a knife or trowel" might discourage the weeds over time.
Maybe just covering with black or clear plastic until it cooks deeply will help.
I doubt if mulching will hurt crabgrass much.
The lighter and looser your soil is, the easier you can pull ALL the roots out.
IS there a herbicide that will control crabgrass? How man y other plants will it kill, and how long will it persist?
Or you might have to set up a 1/2" screen over a wheelbarrow, and dig out all the soil and ALL the roots, screen the roots OUT of the soil, and return the soil to your beds.
[quote="schaff20"]one more thing. Do these seed potatoes look good to you? The tops aren't growing and the bodies feel a bit soft. Do I need to start over?[/quote]
No, they should be fine once planted. The reason they are soft is because the growth that is emerging is living off the actual potato. I have seen many times towards spring my own potatoes sprouting and the main potato getting soft. I haven't grown them in years so toss them at that stage. I don't grow veggies anymore, just flowers. My daughter does the veggie thing.
schaff20 We Plant Potatoes every yr & yes some times they might be soft But not MUSHY , we Dig our trench take a BUCKET of Taters Cut in 1/2s or 1/4 Just be sure there are eyes on each tater part . drop into trench about 1ft apart . water well cover with soil . let grow . I see you PEEL Yours we do not Peel .
this is how we do it Not saying others have to guess ev1 have their own ways . hope it helps .
[quote="deejay9"]schaff20 We Plant Potatoes every yr & yes some times they might be soft But not MUSHY , we Dig our trench take a BUCKET of Taters Cut in 1/2s or 1/4 Just be sure there are eyes on each tater part . drop into trench about 1ft apart . water well cover with soil . let grow . I see you PEEL Yours we do not Peel .
this is how we do it Not saying others have to guess ev1 have their own ways . hope it helps .[/quote]
Blomma and Pam, Evelyn said there is a beginners seed forum...is this it? You both have been helping me on other threads and when I saw your names I wondered if I was at the correct place. I do not want to waste anyone's time asking the same questions at two different places. I need one spot only. ☺ There is so much good stuff on here, I need to take time to read it all. I will wait to hear from you as to where I belong. : ) JB
Jb, yup...many here to answer questions...and you just might get a few different ideas for your particular needs too...lol. Not saying anyone is necesairly wrong, just a few different ways in which to accomplish something. Welcome!!!
More new sprouts:
Berginia grandis susp. eransii
Agastache Arcado Pink
Solidago unk which, am hoping it's the tall one
Datura Black Current Swirl
In the midst of a raging blizzard here today...Yeah!!!!!!!! 'Spose to get 10+", winds now about 35+ and this afternoon 50+...
Oh my , don't you hate that? We had it all day yesterday it was the left over from a 3 day Nor'easter. I am so sick of rain, snow, clouds I could scream. I need Spring. Be safe and stay well. I will keep in touch after I read the back posts.
I am working on the Plant Scout's entries today since I had most of them inactive since we had the Hurricane Sandy. Nothing is easy anymore and I need to get my cuttings in soil. I have been selling houseplants online for several years but I just can not grow seeds. I know I over water them. I just purchased some self watering trays. I will do this one way or the other.
See you soon. Thanks.JB
Welcome, JB. Lots off good ideas here. Different methods work for different people, keep trying until you find what works best for you.
Self-watering has for many years made it possible for me to be a part time off-season gardener. I've stayed in one place for the last couple of months, but that's about to change. Next week we'll be away for several days, then we open the house at the end of the month, and from then on we'll be back and forth. I have to change my set-up there this year, because last summer we bought a new couch for the area where I've started my seeds in the past.
What a gorgeous day here, after two days of cold and wind and sludge. Aaahhhh spring, I can almost smell you...
Yikes, Kathy, you have D Black Currant Swirl already?! I soaked mine the other day and planted it yesterday, along with La Fleur Lilac and a double white. I don't expect sprouts for 10 days or more, going by last year. I didn't do the straight Datura inoxa yet, but think that's a mistake as it's apparently the most fragrant. I'll rectify that tonight as soon as I get home.
Thanks for the info on Lobelia Siphilitica. I've read some conflicting advice on stratification. Do you know how old/fresh your seeds are?
Hmmmm... I'm a bit late on the polygonum ... Maybe I'll try spring sowing (my version of WS) at the house... That has worked well for me in the past...
New sprouts today:
Datura white/purple , any guesses to possible name? ( think maybe this is Black Current Swirl too?)
Aster dark purple
Penstemon digitalis Husker's Red
Salvia patens Patio White
Lupine rivalaris sicklekeeled
Polygonum orientale Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Gate, Pink
Pam...my Blk. Current Swirl took 5 days under lights in my domed tray. Didn't soak them either...must be fresh. They were from the seed trade, from Chris 316. This season collect some seed from your most fragrant for me...lol. Oh ya, thanks in advance!!! LOL.
The Lobelia s. Great Blue came from Primrose, sprouted in 6 days. Lobelia s came from Blue Spiral, sprouted in 4 days, Lobelia perenn. mix (white and blue) came from czimmerman, sprouted in 6 days. I'm guess they were all fresh..wasn't sure I was even going to get any cuz of my first attempt, lol. Now they will be coming out of my ears..
The Polygonums are new for me, have always loved the way they look..have read they self sow..not the case? (was hoping they were). Still waiting for the pink variety to sprout tho...just looked..yeah, is also sprouting... I got them from Select Seed last fall when they were half priced. I'll have to keep them close to the lights, making them stalkier and keeping them a bit shorter..yikes we still have 9 weeks before they can go outside, maybe 10 before I plant them out...
Sounds like a long way off but truely it isn't...lol. Maybe I should get that plastic up on the shed. It's suppose to get into the 60's this week, so snow should be gone in a few days. Glad too, I'm stuck in the driveway at the moment. lol.
Pix 1: Passiflora carulea, is suppose to have edible fruit, anyone ever try it? Right now have 2 in the bathroom (has skylight), just waiting to be planted, figured I wouldn't take the chance on planting them late in the season so they went in for the winter.
Pix 2: just some spring color for ya all to drool over..no just kidding, just enjoy...flowers will be here soon for us northerners..lol.
I've also read that the polygonum- KMOTTG- self-sows. Actually, I'm not sure where to put them as I think they Ike to be propped up, and I have a scarcity of spots for climbers. As it is, I have to find places for a bunch of clematis I bought last year from a co-op, always assuming they re-appear, of course. So I think I'll hold off on those this year. I'm very interested to see how they do for you, though.
My Daturas are from trade except for Black Currant Swirl, that's from T&M. I hope they sprout before we leave on Thursday (for a few days in the sun-yippee!), but if not, that's OK too.
Salvia Victoria Blue, Nicotianas Fragrant Cloud and Niki Pink have sprouted, waiting for N Langsdorfii and all the Snapdragons.
One last tweak on the set-up, extended the home-made reflector. Still want to get a space blanket but this will do for now.
Oh yes...the annuals, it's time isn't it...lol. Still working on putting my new stand together, need to stop and get some more lumber for the lights now. Reconfigured it a bit and reajusting the shelves a bit. Some will be taller for those plants that get soo tall before going out. (Tomatoes, and they are getting nice and stalky). Will be putting up those foil sheets all the way around, we'll see how great that works.
Love the Salvia victorias. I have seed also, guess I should finish my stand so I can start some other things. And I have many to get potted on. I better go dumpster diving soon...lol.
Something weird happened today. When I soaked my Datura seeds, the double white the next day had some white-ish stuff coming out, I thought it might be the very beginning of germination. So I've been expecting them to pop up any minute. I realize it's only been 3 days since they went into the pots, but still... So this morning I felt around a little, very gently pulled the soil off in one corner about about 1/4" down until I found a seed... And nothing! Nothing at all except a seed that looked like the day I took it out of the packet. No swelling, no cracks, no nothing! So l looked for another one, it looked exactly the same. Hmph! I feel gypped!
I know, patience is a virtue. I hate that, don't you all?!
On the bright side, all the Nicotianas and most of the Snapdragons appeared today, and there are lots of baby Dianthus Zings moved form the baggy into cells.
Your KMOGG will self-sow, but not annoyingly. Enough that you can give some away, not so many that you could smack yourself with a shovel for planting them. I grow the variegated variety, and maybe 10% of the seedlings will be green. I give them away or compost them.
You went through exactly what I did with Datura seeds. I also though it was the beginning of sprouting. Happened 3 times then I gave up and sowed them in Jiffy and they came up in 6+ days. I have no idea what that white stuff is.
How funny! Doesn't seem fair, does it, to tease us like that?
Even though Deno worked for me last year, I put mine in soil this time because I'm going to be away, and if they came up in the paper towel they might have to sit there too long. I used MG starting mix, figuring they shouldn't mind the heavier texture.
Everything else now I'm adding tons of Vermiculite, at least 50%. Kim_M is the Vermiculite queen, she says they don't rot in it. So far, so good. I wish I'd done that for some of the perennials, Penstemon palmerii, for instance. :-(
Celine, you made me laugh out loud... Ouch, that would hurt...
Cross-post... I meant the smack with the shovel...
I haven't tried G-3 yet. I figure that can wait until next year, I'm pretty full up by now, need room for annuals, tomatoes, etc. But I definitely plan to try again next year with some of the more difficult ones, and add whatever it takes. JL Hudson is a good source, I think...
JL Hudson is where I get mine, and they sell pre-treated seed. You laugh, I will take a photo of the morning glory that will. never. die. next spring. It grows in the cracks in the sidewalk. It doesn't need soil. I think the cultivar is #@^$%!!!' It goes with "Mint will be fine in the flower bed, I can keep it weeded into submission." Me. Shovel. Thwack!
My potting mix already has fertilizer in it. I only use Superthrive, a root stimulator, and peroxide:water, 1:10, until they're in the garden. Supposedly the peroxide protects against fungus and the extra oxygen molecule nourishes the plants.
Nice setup, Schaff20! Is that 2 tubes, or 4? 1.5" tubes (T-12) or skinnier (T-8 or T-5?)
Have you moved them away from the heating vent? Most seedlings this old don't need warmth like 70F, they'll grow stockier if they have around 60F air.
I see that the seedlings on the left are getting "leggy" as if from too-week light/ Maybe you could prop them up on top of something water-proof so they are closer to the tubes.
It looks as if you could lower the light another inch or so even on the right. The closer, the better, if those are two traditional T-12 florescent tubes. If it is FOUR tubes, forget I said anything, that should be PLENTY of light.
I don't think many people have FOUR tubes for one row of trays running "the long way".
Hi. We built it from PVC. The only decently priced light we could find was a 4-bulb flourescent, 48" so we used that. The plants on the left will be moved into their new pots by the weekend. I used the superthrive on the other plants after I repotted them and what a difference it made! I thought I needed fertilizer too but I guess not? Thanks!
Nice! That give plenty of brightness down the middle, and more light on the edges than a 2-tube fixture would.
The following is just my untested opinion, but I am guessing that, with 4 bulbs, you COULD run your trays "perpendicular" to the light tubes when the current layout gets crowded. That doubles your amount of tray-area. The outer edges would get less light, but you could leave those empty of pots as long as possible.
Also, as long as the air is not warm or stuffy, you could keep the edges brighter by hanging some white reflective film or panels down from the light fixture, maybe angling out to include the whole 22 inches of the tray.
If the air is cool and drafty, the reflectors won't make it too warm and stagnant.
I'm pretty happy with Superthrive, use it in all watering. I usually mix up 1/2 gallon batches, add just a drop or two and 4- 6 oz peroxide. I use it in my self-watering trays as well as for wetting the mix while potting and transplanting. I think it helps everything.
We're off at 5:30 in the morning for a few days in he sun... Yippee! I'm hoping to come back to some new babies, especially Datura. All the trays have been filled so they won't go dry, lights raised up a little, dome vents are part open...
I'll still be checking in here, still will have the Internet, i'm not going without my garden fix, even if it is long distance, lol..
I have tried Plant Tone organic fertilizer, but I don't think it dissolves and works as well as the non-organic varieties in the seed trays. I am embarrassed to admit, Miracle Gro works well. I use (mostly) organic solutions when I can, especially on plants for food, but some plants are just buggy and I have to use a more aggressive treatment to keep them healthy.
I like SuperThrive/Peroxide as well. My potting soil has fertilizer, but I find that some seedlings that are larger or heavy feeders like some fertilizer the last 2 to 3 weeks they're in the flats.
I have crocus blooms ready to go, and it snowed on them, hoping they will still bloom.
New sprouts since last report:
Malva viscus 'Pam Puryear'
Achilea purple from fruity
Vesper Iris, hey ordinarygirl, got any pix or info for me?
Lychnis chalcedonica Alba Maltese Cross
Aster divaricatus Alba
Hemerocalis noids (patti), just under lights and they are beginning to sprout, no spcial treatment
Susuie meant to ask you about the Virginia Bunch Flower Lily. Any pix or info?
Still working on putting my new stand together, had to get a few last minute things to get and am going to do the lights a bit different. Maybe if I get to it I could actually finish it today. Babies are growing like spring is already here...
For those who missed the info the foil blanket is sold at Walmart for $4. They are located in the sporting goods area and is an emergency blanket. It's Aluminized polyester, VERY light weight and very reflective. Comes in a sheet that is 52.5" X 82.5". I'm thinking I like these and will surround my new stand in them. I have one taped to the stand I am using now., but only on the front side.
Will be 60-70* for the rest of the week, am glad to have some warmth. Check back in later gals...
For those who missed it and were wondering about my plant starting stand, info with instructions for building one and pix are available in: Cottage Gardening, ref. the question Consolida or Delphinium. Couldn't remember what thread it was on..lol..Silly me.
Kathy ~ You certainly have been busy. I have the seeds coming from Chilterns and Select Seeds this year. I might get a few from JLHudson as well as most of my seeds are old. I will, however, try to start them this year. I just have been working outside since we have been having summer-like weather, but next week it will rain or snow, so they said...go figure! Then I can get busy with the seed-starting, as well as finish my quilt for my great-grandson. I am behind on all counts since I was ill this winter and had to go to the hospital. I usually do lots of winter-sowing.
On my light stands...they only have one ballast and these are short ones as well, so I have a limited amount that I sow indoors. That is why I also wintersow outdoors...but nothing but a little direct-sowing and planting so far.
The weather has been really quite nice, but by next week it is supposed to rain and snow...go figure!!
Here I am again, still away, but back on the 'Net...
Wow, everyone's been so busy! So pretty, snowdrops and crocus. I'm looking at tropicals here, nice of course, but I'll be glad to get to CT in a couple of weeks and see what's going on there...
All my Snapdragons, Nicotianas and Salvia Victoria Blue germinated before I left, also Batch 2 of Storm White Petunias. Seeds left over from 2011 did nothing, I re-sowed with new ones.
Celine, Plantone is great in the garden, but is more a soil conditioner than fertilizer, it takes months to break down. My pro designer friend uses tons of it spring and fall, more than they tell you to, and I've found it works really well too. But indoors, the babies need something more immediate. I've used MG, somewhat diluted, and it seems fine. So far I haven't added anything because the mix I use has fert in it, but eventually I may have to on the perennials that got an early start.
Kathy, you are amazing! What a list you have! How many trays do you have room for with the new stands? I know you make your own mix- What do you fertilize with, and when?
I've decided that next year I'm going to add Perlite to the MG mix for all the things I had trouble with this year- P palmerii (yes, I will try again, still have one plant growing well but that's all), Verbascums, Veronicas, perennial Salvias, and any other 'well-drained' types that come along. I will also try combining your method of using vermiculite with Kim_M's. She sows directly in it, but I think I will put a layer of it on top of the mix like you do, then sow in that. I'll still use Deno for most, it's still my fave.
Nope didn't finish the stand yet...gosh I know get it done!!! Lol. a few more holes to drill today, and that should just about do it, then put it all together. Am doing this in the back bedroom, not tons of moving around room...trying to keep my mess to a minimum, put down another tarp so dust from drilling hole pretty much stays in one area. Fortunately I was able to cut all the wood outside on a nice day.
Pfg...I know, I will have plants coming out of my ears...Sure am hoping for a great spring. GKids will be out of school the last week of March and first week in April. Maybe after that I can begin on somethings..atleast I should be able to start garden cleanup.. Here it's 70* today, they are saying warmer than Miami...lol...and rain turning to snow tomorrow night. And I'm trying your concoction of Superthrive and peroxide now... Got leaf burn on a few things several weeks ago so totaly backed off everything til today.
Ok, off to check a few other rooms then back to my new stand.
Thanks so much for the link to this forum, guys. Holy cow, there's so much info on the first thread & this one, decided to copy it over to a Word doc to read it easier. It's a whopping 130 pages of learning I need to do! :o) Wonderful! Thanks again, 'cause boy, do I ever have the need to learn!
How did you do that?! I've copied specific posts, but how do you do a whole thread? I agree, so many people have contributed so much to this discussion- and some others on other threads-,I've learned a ton, don't want to lose track of any of it.
Have been in the 50's for a few days so spent time after work cleaning my borders and checking my iris and daylily seedling, along with the parents. Lost some Iris parents, but not one of daylilies. The 1 year old seedlings are just waiting to grow with warm weather. I can see green just under the surface. Some iris seedlings are already producing side fans. Got rid of the old dead leaves.
This year's iris seeds are still dormant in their bins. Not ready yet to sprout since there has to be 55 to 70 degrees for a period of time to wake them up. They have been in their bins since Nov. 2012. Didn't take a photo so uploaded one from last year to illustrate what I am talking about.
Pfg, I clicked & held the mouse from the upper left corner of the first box (as in above Pfg), and dragged it alllllll the way down to the lower right corner of the last dialogue box at the bottom of the page, right-clicked to copy, opened a new Word doc, right-clicked to paste. There's so very much info it's slow going on my computer, but worth it! :o) Comes from working in an office too long, too anally, I believe. lol
Here's a pix of my new stand, had to take a side pix, lol, not enough room in front of it...
Started transplanting these today, form this to (1)
this to (2)
this, 75 Digitalis p. Alba (3), now I can't even see the bloom til 2014, egads!!!!
It looks great, Kathy. I'm sooooo jealous of all your space!
I came home to several Chia pets of seedlings and a few Daturas. Yesterday as soon as I started transplanting I realized I was low on just about everything. By the time I got it all together - seed starting and potting mix and peroxide- and did a few more chores, I had no more time, so today was it.
First of all, adding significant amounts of vermiculite to the mix made a huge difference in the root systems- long, strong and branched, also easy to separate. Here in the city, I'm stuck with HD for supplies, and they only carry MG. At first they only had the Moisture Control Potting Mix, but last time I was able to get the organic, which is normal.
Where I just used vermiculite on top of potting mix, the roots were drowning, much less developed. I thought the Daturas and Petunias wouldn't mind the heavier medium, but they definitely did. In fact, the Black Currant Swirl didn't come up at all yet, I may have to do it again. Today I filled the bottom half of each cell with organic potting mix (taking out the biggest sticks-so annoying!), made a cone-shaped depression and filled the rest of the way with seed-starting mix and vermiculite. They may outgrow the cells too soon, but at least they won't drown.
But I still have the problem of a limited area to work in. I have 3 Nicotianas, 3 Snapdragons and Salvia farinacea Victoria Blue. Oh, and Petunias, the new group of Storm Whites came up. I wanted a fair amount of each, but soon filled everything up. I'm also doing a few of each for DD as hers will be smaller by planting time and this will give her some earlier flowers. I finally planted some in clusters in the cells, or as WS-ers say, HOS (hunk Of Seedlings). Survival of the fittest, lol. If needed I'll thin or separate again later.
We hope to open the house on the 29th, only 8 days away, and I can take all the cool perennials there. That will help a lot. I have soooo much more I want to do!
What a great thread, I have been reading for hours. I will try to chip in with my experience. For hard seeds that take many weeks or months to germinate, I have finally settled on a particular method. I begin by soaking my seeds in distilled water and hydrogen peroxide ten to one. I first observe the ratio of floating seeds to sunken seeds and then see how that changes over each 12 hours period until I am fairly certain that everything that will sink has been on the bottom for 12 hours. This can take 1-4 days, changing water/peroxide solution daily.
A $-store item around here are "deepish" plastic sealing containers roughly 4" wide x 8" long x 10" deep, clear plastic with translucent lids easy to see through. I buy coir by the brick and insulation-grade vermiculite in 50 lb bags. In a deep plastic bin I bury a couple bricks of coir in vermiculite then pour several large pots of boiling water on top to expand the coir. The vermiculite insulates the mixture so it takes a few hours to cool down to the point where the coir can be broken up wearing gloves. I mix in the center of the bin until I have roughly a 50/50 mix to fill the plastic containers three quarters to the top. I microwave the seeding medium in the plastic containers for 3-4 minutes to try to assure sterilization, with the lids loose. Once the seeding mixture has cooled I add 1-2 seeds per container and seal.
I watch for condensation on the lid to see if I have my moisture content correct. Best case is I do not open the container until germination, but if there is only a little condensation I will spray in some sterilized distilled water, and if it seem like a lot of condensation I will check to see how moist the mixture is, shake off the moisture on the lid if needed and repeat if necessary. If white mold develops I physically scrape off the soil surface and mold then spray lightly with copper sulfate solution, repeating as needed.
The light fluffy sterile mixture of vermiculite and coir was key. Coir is more neutral than peat and seems to be more consistent over many species, although peat works great with some things. The fungus and over-wet mixtures that were killing my seeds are in the past now.
Picture: Canarium ovatum sprouting using methods described above.
[quote="1lisac"]In a thread on the Texas forum somebody was commenting that they didn't think they'd so many to germinate bc so many floated. I've never found that method to be very accurate. Maybe it's just me.[/quote]
Really depends on the species. I have a mature Terminalia catappa (Tropical Almond) tree in my yard. Right now I have two of the seeds floating in a rain barrel. I have also picked up many such seeds on the beach, in all kinds of different conditions. Obviously those seeds floated in the ocean from somewhere. The seeds of this species float, they will probably never sink until they become completely rotted. Other species, like the Canarium ovatum I show above, should sink if they are viable, this is not just my experience but it is also in the scientific literature (for example see http://www.worldagroforestry.org/treedb/AFTPDFS/Canarium_ovatum.pdf ,pg 37, and further references). So I guess I should qualify that part of my post above ... I have in mind those Canarium seeds and also recent projects like Musa (seeded banana species) and certain palms like genus Brahea that all were "sinkers".
In general, you are right, whether a seed floats or sinks is not necessarily are sure sign of viability, but it can be a very good indicator for many species ... but not all.
I had trouble with coir early this season... It never occurred to me that vermiculite would make a difference, as it does with other planting mixes. I'm happy to know about this, as I have a fair amount of it left. You say you get it from various sources. Have you had any problem with high salt content that some have mentioned?
Also, how fine or coarse is insulation grade vermiculite?
I'm sorry Pam but can I laugh at you... Chia pets? Comeon really? LOL... Where will you be planting them out in the garden... Oh am sorry, I'm being naughty...forgive...
Susie, sorry meant to say love the Crocus, not any in my garden yet...maybe one of these years after I get done planting new sections..
Welcome, welcome, welcome all new comers. Yes, great sharing methods so we can try new things if we find something that doesn't work...
And Pam, theoretically I can put 12- 11x22" flats per shelf and there are 4 shelves plus the floor. And if I use 2 1/2" pots thats 384 pots per shelf and a total of 1920 pots. But I don't have it all set up, so far I only have lights for 2 shelves. And again if I use other insert that hold more plants the counts could go up dramatically...Yikes!!!!! (ie 84s, 105s, 144s). The pix above of the foxglove came out of a single tray of 84 that fits a 11x22" tray, the nurseries refer to them as plug trays and is how they receive plants in the winter for potting on themselves. I ended up with 75...
And Pam, remember to buy yourself a bale of peat this summer at your local HD and take some with you when you head out next winter...then will be ready to go for next seasons seed starting.
Some things are looking great and ready for potting on and others I'm going to allow to get a bit bigger before they go into individual pots. Need to get some current pix, here's one from a few weeks ago, but can see the pots on the left side, these are nicotiana sylvestris...
Ooops, sorry, didn't dowload so tried again. They are double this size now and potting on should be soon. But much easier to handle when they get some girth to them...
Some things actually look like they could go into quart pots already...
Susie..you asked what fert. I've been using, not much at all...burned some a few weeks back and quite using for now. Put some peroxide/thrive on them last Saturday and will do again tomorrow. Again I keep them close to the lights and mist often... Some are doing better than others and growing like crazy...gave haircuts on many again today...lol.
Ok, enough for now..lol. Back later all, and have a good one...snow 'spose to be here tomorrow night, (please!!!!!)
Pam - Two very good questions there, thank you for asking. I had to go and get the bag and look it up to accurately answer your question on grade. The vermiculite I have is packaged by WR Grace & Co. The product is described as "FPSV-2", which is "Fine Particle Size Vermiculite, Particle Size #2". The particle size cumulative distribution was in some product literature I found, so I attached the image. It shows a fairly linear distribution between roughly 40-200 microns, so it varies but relatively fine.
As to the salt, I have not noticed problems but I have not tested it either. Please do not laugh, but I actually just put some in my mouth to see *if* I could taste salt ... no it did not taste salty. A much better test would be to wash the vermiculite with water then boil the water down to see what remained. or boil it down to concentrate the wash then test for salt. I may try this in a controlled way and report back at some point just to be sure.
Correct pix here...(one above is Digitalis on left), this one is the Nicotianas, they are in the second tray back on the right, there are 19 pots of multiples and they have atleast doubled in size or more. Ready for potting on and should fill their pots once transferred. I should have plants coming out of my ears before long... I may run out of pots...no only kidding, I hope!!!! Ok, night all.
That was some wonderful advice upthread on germinating Nicotiana sylvestris ... I have some seed from previous years and some new seed. That is one that had never reseeded for me ... no volunteers, so I am happy for anything new I can learn about it.
I have room for 6 flats... Groan... I've started filling containers in the living room with shade plants, Alchemillas, Campanulas, Digitalis. The window is never closed (city apartments are overheated, it's the only way to keep the place from being an oven), so that coolness helps keep them somewhat in control. Of course they're still getting leggy and leaning, but they'll straighten up in the garden. I'm about to toss a couple of boring house plants from the big planter to make room for more of them.
Guygee, it's the coir that could have a concentration of salt. It's been suggested that it should be flushed with water as a precaution. Some of my plants looked like the roots were burned. But maybe the problem was the density, the roots rotted, and vermiculite solves that.
The Chia Pet... Some of my Nicotianas were so dense in the cells, looked like hundreds or thousands of seedlings... I felt like a murderer! I wish I could have sent some of the extras to you, Kathy!
Since the topic is seed germination I have included a picture so that I can discuss my two very favorite seed germination methods. In front, the blue flower is Chia (Salvia hispanica), a former pre-European “pillar of civilization” crop, grown using my second favorite seed germination method, which is as follows:
1) Go to the nearest locally-owned health food store and buy 1 lb of seed.
2) Take half and mix it in a large bucket with powdered peat, sand or other friendly and inexpensive seeding media.
3) Wait until the day before it rains, then spread it in my grass-less lawn.
4) Eat the other half of the seeds.
5) Harvest half the new seeds for next year.
In the background is Arugula (Eruca sativa). This is a product of my very favorite germination method. It is pretty much identical to the method above except with the added step:
6) Enjoy the volunteers from the other half of the new seeds you did not collect.
See the little bee on the Chia? That is one of my Chia Pets.
Pam - I should have read the posts above more carefully Re: "Salty Coir". It just so happens I am out of coir and low on vermiculite, with plenty more seeds left to plant, so I am going to do the long drive today to restock. Tell ya what, I will take a brick of coir, soak it in distilled water, carefully filter the water through a coffee filter, then boil down the water and weigh the remaining total solids. That should put an upper bound on the salt content. I will report on the results in this forum. Personally I am doubtful that there is significant salt content but we shall see if that is a possibility.
I read about the problem of salt on a DG thread, but can't find it now. However, this is what I found out via Google (the link to the whole article is below the quote):
The Fundamentals of Coir (the good, the bad, and the ugly).
The coconut palm, unlike many other plants’, is a salt tolerant plant. What happens with salt tolerant plants’ is that they uptake salt and displace it to areas of the plant where the salt can do the least harm.
In the case of the coconut palm the salt is displaced to the coir – the very thing that we use as a growing media. This means coir can contain high levels of salt (sodium chloride), something which can prove toxic to many/most plants.
On top of this coir contains large amounts of potassium and quantities of other elements. What this means is that coir requires special treatment to ensure a premium quality hydroponic media product is supplied to the end user.
If you've had no problems, maybe you're buying it from a good source. I liked it because it's compact before use and easy to hydrate, but If I have to rinse it repeatedly to flush the salt out it becomes just too much trouble. For me the whole point is to try to keep the mess down in a city apartment. The coir bricks I had left I mixed into soil in the garden.
Pam - Thank you for the information. A very interesting topic. I see that there has been a lot of research on coir vs. peat and coir has come up short in many comparisons. I have six new coir bricks for my seed germination operations, the brand is "Sunleaves", from Sri Lanka. I notice that they market some special coir cubes that are advertised as being "triple-washed" so very low salinity, but I am using their regular product. I find it rather alarming that they do not provide a measure of salinity for their products. However, the University of Utah did a study and they specifically mention that the Sunleaves product they used from Sri Lanka tested low conductivity (e.g. low salinity): http://www.usu.edu/cpl/PDF/CoconutCoirPaper.pdf
I live only a few hundred yards from the ocean; I can hear the surf at night and see salt accumulation on my car windshield especially when the wind is onshore and waves are large. I have been growing sea purslane in my front yard for years so I am familiar with the idea of halophytes and how they can be used in phytoremediation of soil salinity. In the case of Coconut I believe the plant works more on rejecting salt than accumulating it in tissues, and I know qualitatively that coconut water from sources near the ocean are only slightly more salty that inland sources, but I do not have a good idea of the quantitative difference. I question the statements of the author from that link on grasscity.com who analyzed only one batch of coir and references none of the extensive scientific research on this topic. If Coconut was the type of plant that lives with excess salinity by storing excessive salt in its tissues (like sea purslane does) I would expect that the sodium salt content of coconut water would be much greater than the potassium salt content, as it is in seawater. In fact, the case is the opposite: coconut water has more potassium than sodium: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3115/2
The University of Utah Study mentioned above cites another scientific publications that found it was the extremely high potassium salt content of coir that was the problem (“...all coir products have extremely high K contents and low Calcium contents...”)
Now that you have mentioned this topic it is bothering me … I am pretty sure that grasscity.com person is just wrong and mixed-up about what the actual problem with coir really is. Hopefully I can investigate this further and get back to this forum with some hard data.
Thank you for bringing up this very important topic.
Pam - Cross-posting, what a curious phenomenon!
I was wondering if expanding the coir in the vermiculite might make some difference ... the vermiculite latching onto the salt more tightly(?)
I'm thinking too maybe a lot of the plants I am going for are more salt-tolerant (no matter if we are talking K or Na salt). I certainly would never water my mango trees with water from either of my two wells ... the salt at 1-2 ppt would kill them. I don't think my macadamia trees like my well water either.
On the other hand, bananas, epazote, chia, arugula, amaranth all seem tolerant of my salty well-water.
Tomato plants just sprout in my yard ... from where I do not know ... neighbors plants and birds must be involved. I am not going for a conventional garden, that is for sure...
Awhile back I bought a Sper Scientific water quality meter, I only have the pH probes now since that is what I need to get started in tissue culture but maybe I will spring for the conductivity probe as well, then I can indirectly measure salt content.
Pam - After doing some further reading, it would seem that expanding the coir in dry vermiculite with boiling purified water likely tends to drive the salts out of the coir and into the vermiculite, where they become tightly bound and released more slowly. I was doing it this way to use the insulating properties of vermiculite to improve sterilization of the media, so this aspect was a lucky accident and may explain why I have not had some of the problems with coir that others have experienced.
This is just a basic property of vermiculite and also has its negative implications as explained in papers below.
Since this thread is on seed germination this is a good post to wrap up my part in the discussion of coir. I plan to look further and if I can find some more useful hard data that will be in a new thread.
It is a beautiful thread you started and I hope it continues with many other contributions ... very educational for me.
Instead of worrying about salt, etc, use fine peatmoss. If you want to cut down on moisture to prevent damping off, vermiculite is not what you want to use since it holds moisture. Perlite does not hold moisture and is a good substitute for sand althought it is lighter in weight.
Peatmoss and perlite is a great mix for cuttings. I have used it for years. I have also used perlite to lighten a potting a mix and provide excellent drainage.
I live on a barrier island, not much real soil here, just well-draining sand; calcic, alkaline, salty sand that becomes sodic and hydrophobic in bare patches when it dries out. I love fine peat as a soil amendment and I always keep an extra bale handy, and if coir doesn't work peat and vermiculite would be my second choice for seed germination. That is what I use when I am out of coir anyways, especially for the easy seeds. It is cheaper and easier. I also buy big bags of perlite that I use in a potting mix, unfortunately the grade is variable from small to large so that isn't good for smaller seeds. I save that for my pots.
If you have only 10 rare seeds and that is all until next year if ever then you go with what works. I shared what worked for me. As far as I am concerned the coir "salt problem" is hypothetical, when I say salt I am referring to potassium chloride - that is a fertilizer for most people but there is way too much chloride beachside so I rather stay away and use potassium nitrate. As for high levels of sodium chloride "table salt" in coir I don't believe it, at least in the brand I use, and the University of Utah study I linked above backs me up. If I measure something different I'll get back to this forum.
If what I'm doing isn't working for a new species then I switch. Peat moss and perlite is on my list of good things to try.
I find this all very interesting, and I'm happy to learn more about something I wasn't sure of. I think we each have our own circumstances to deal with, I know I do. Large quantities of planting medium are just not an option for me. I have to bring in small quantities and buy more locally once I've used it up.
Meanwhile, my babies are booming, only one week to go before I can get some of them out of here. Can't wait!
1] Daylily seeds sprouting with Deno method on Dec 2012
2] Seedlings in 3" pots March 23, 2013
Yesterday I took in 2 small flats of iris seeds that has been outside since November getting stratified. They should begin to sprout within 2 weeks due to room temp. Iris seeds are the only genus I sow in flats or trays.
3] My cross of Isn't This Something x Nigerian Raspberry
4] My cross of Mister Flounce x Mesmerizer
Dome, can't believe I didn't get your sign at first glance... ROFL!
Blomma, your iris are gorgeous. I especially love the speckled ones.
Kathy, is there still room for you with all those plants? You must have enough this year to start a business, and get paid back for all your hard work.
I can't believe how big some of mine are getting, they suck up water from my trays as fast as I can refill them. I just did another little trim on the tallest Dianthus and Platycodons, can't wait until I have the room to pot them up. Also the Digitalis would love bigger pots, I guess they come first since they'll go out first.
Today I'm soaking more Datura inoxa White and Batch 2 of Black Currant Swirl. The first batch didn't come up with the others, so I'm trying again, Deno this time. It's still my fave method. I'm waiting one more week to start tomatoes. They get big so fast and I'm feeling claustrophic whenever I think of how crowded everything is right now...
BTW Kathy, I know yours are ahead. Mine usually are, and I kick them outside pretty early, into the mini greenhouse/covered plant stand. Last year they were outside during a two week freeze and survived quite well. The temp under cover never went below the low-to- mid 30's, not quite freezing, and they still grew during the day when the sun was out. The stems thicken up when they go out, too, they get nice and sturdy, not so weak and spindly. I read recently they can take down to 32 under cover, I guess if the frost doesn't touch the leaves? Anyway, that's been my experience, might be worth a try, don't you think?
Jeeeeeze!!! Just typed a message poof, gremlins!!!!! Time to oust them!!!!
Ok starting again.
Dome, just love the sign, I got a good laugh out of that one!! Thanks for making my day!
Blomma, I just love the broken colored Iris, there has been soo much breeding of these new ones in the last 10 years and love to see more. I am confused tho, (please forgive my denseness) Are those pix of your new ones or pix of the parents? And pix 5, those are gorgeous, I just love the (can't remember the name is it Flounce?) The part that sticks up on the falls. Just so pretty. You will have to show us pix of all the babies this spring and am truely looking forward to it..Wanna see what kind of surprises you've been able to create! Do you ever try breeding for fragrance yet? Or should I say to breed fragrance back in?
And your Hems. should be a treat also, hope you get some blooms to show us this season. Speaking of fragrance have you ever used H. flava as a parent yet (for fragrance)? Would love to see more breeding done with that aspect in mind.
We got 14+ inches of the white stuff yesterday and they are saying maybe another inch yet tonight. Was a nice blanket on the ground til yesterday afternoon and the wind picked up a bunch and cleared the ground in many areas.. Would love to have snow without the wind so everything gets a drink!!! Had an elf show up overnight or e. this morning and cleared my driveway, am thinking it was my son-in-law as I will be taking care of the Gkids this week while they are out on spring break.
Pam, yup have to fight my way out of the backroom. It's become a jungle ...plants are so big this year and and am pleasantlty suprised. Many are new so didn't know what to expect but am pleased. Then I look at some others and try to encourage them!!! LOL. Still not sure when I will be moving any outside, still haven't gotten the plastic up on either the greenhouse or the back of the barn/garage. Will be a week or til with all the snow and the gkids now...Have had great luck on some of the Daturas and some of the Malvas and Hibiscus too, but there are a few of each that are just sitting there in their pots staring back up at me..lol... Darn it sprout!! Ok have a few more threads to check yet and then off to the jungle again... Later all!
5] Isn't This Something (pod paren) x Nigerian Raspberry (pollen parent)
4] Mister Flounce (pod parent) x Mesmerizer(pollen parent)
5] reads that ISN'T THIS SOMETHING was fertilized with pollen from NIGERIAN RASPBERRY. I played the part of a bee. Ofcourse, I have both iris plants.
The pod parent is always written first followed by x and the pollen parent. No, I haven't bred for fragrance. I breed for color and hardiness. Last year I used many of my older varieties and crossed them with new. This year I will concentrate on the new and unusual. I want to cross both pictured with an all red that I have and vica versa.
Your plants look so lush, so healthy. You can plants a forest with all that you have. Come summer, you may as well place a bed, and day's breakfast, in your garden. That way you will get some sleep and nourishment. LOL!!!
Lol..you girls... am getting excited to see what all these new goodies will grow up to become. Too bad I have to wait til next year on so many. That's why I'll be doing a gazillion of the annuals. And Pam...that interesting stuff is Ammi majus ruber, a biennial that is suppose to bloom first season, (that doesn't make any sense to me, if biennial they should bloom second season, hence the prefix "bi".. in reserching many of the biennials this season in my books I found many that are listed that way. Book says biennial with first year bloom. Go figure.) And then many of the perenns. won't bloom til second year, some needing the cold of winter to do their thing next season. I love growing new plants but the hardest part is having to wait a whole season for blooms to appear...but I guess that's half the fun!
Believe you me, there' will be a bench in the back for night time viewing...(lol), of the hawkmoths...I'll sit amongst them and let them flit about.. and the fragrance will be wonderful.. Not sure if i would want to sleep outside tho, we have Fox, Coyote, Deer, Coons and Skunk, oh ya Possums too, oh gosh almost forgot Antelope and not too far away I've heard tell of bear and mountain lions...think I'll sleep inside. The last two are the only ones I have personaly not seen in the neighborhood yet.
Blomma, thanks for the lessons, the information is most welcomed...Please more! I swear..you're gonna get me hooked yet.
More snow again tonight, but they said no wind so should stay where it lands, hope, hope, hope. Ok, I've had my fix for the evening. LOL...but I'm learning soo much. Ok. Will chat at you all later, have a nice one. And Pam, start packing, by the way your plants look amazing so far!!
Dome..(sorry, one last thing before I go.) How are plant sales doing and seeding projects?
What a great pic- love the eyes gleaming out of the dark!
You might want to succession- sow the Ammi majus, maybe even direct sow for a later show. I thought it was lovely, Queen Anne's Lace but better, but was disappointed in how soon it went by. I thought it was an annual, second year I had volunteers. This year I'm doing Orlaya instead mainly just to see the difference for myself. Pics are all 2nd year.
Pfg, has Orlaya germinated for you? I've struggled with it for three years. Sowed indoors, off heating mat, on heating mat, pre-chilled, winter sowed, nada. I bought plants last year and really liked them, but they're spendy. I use Promix seed starting mix.