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Propagation: Starting Seeds in Sponges Experiment

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aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 20, 2004
10:17 PM

Post #758650

On Saturday I cut up the soft foamy sponges into approximately 1 inch cubes.
I rinsed them well and then soaked for a few minutes with a small amount of bleach and then rinsed them well again.
I notched small holes in the tops of them and then just poked the scissors down into the holes depending on the size of the seeds I was putting in.
The following is what I started and the results so far:

6 Moonflower Seeds
12 Scarlett Runner Bean Seeds
4 Acer Palmatum 'Disectum ornatum' Seeds
6 Love-in-a-Puff Seeds
6 Seeds (3seeds in each cube) Butterfly Pea Vine
3 Seeds in 1 Cube of Ligularia
3 seeds Datura Tatula
3 Seeds Datura Raspberry Swirl
6 seeds Ornamental Cotton
4 Seeds Red Passiflora
6 Seeds Cardinal Vine
4 Seeds Crotolaria
On Sunday evening when I checked 2 of the moonflowers all ready had roots large enough that they were trying to pop out of the holes. (I made the holes bigger and put them down further. Also misted tops of sponges because they felt a little dry to me.
By Monday afternoon Love in a puff seeds were showing some roots, more of the moon flowers and a couple of the scarlett runner beans.
Todays results will be on next post with picture.
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 20, 2004
10:21 PM

Post #758655

I had originally had these in ice cube trays and last night because of the plastic on top of them being so close to the roots I moved them all into small aluminum foil bread pans, which I am much happier with and it is easy to keep the plastic away from the seeds.
12 Scarlet runner beans started and today all but one have roots developing.

Thumbnail by aknapp
Click the image for an enlarged view.

aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 20, 2004
10:23 PM

Post #758657

6 Moonflower seeds started and today all have roots and two have started to develop leaves.

Thumbnail by aknapp
Click the image for an enlarged view.

aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 20, 2004
10:26 PM

Post #758658

12 (I think) Love in a Puff Seeds and today 4 have roots

Thumbnail by aknapp
Click the image for an enlarged view.

aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 20, 2004
10:31 PM

Post #758660

The last photo is the ornamental cotton, and the datura's as you can see one of the ornamental cotton seeds has a nice root on it, and 2 other ones have just started developing roots.

I am so pleased with the results that I have been doing a happy dance all day!!!!
I am seriously regretting doing this so early, because I think I am going to have larger plants than I want, but I guess I will just have to make a hoop house outside for them to go into, depending on our wonderful Michigan weather, which is pretty unpredictable.
If you have any questions I would be glad to try to answer them.

I did forget to mention that most everything that has sprouted so rapidly are things that I had nicked a little. I am now sorry I didn't nick all of them, I love immediate gratification and this is pretty close!!!!

Thumbnail by aknapp
Click the image for an enlarged view.

PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 20, 2004
10:53 PM

Post #758682

Wow,
what a terrific idea! I had never thought of this. But I do have a couple of questions. First, I notice that they are not completely pushed down into the foam, so will this only work on seeds that need light to germinate? 2nd question, when you plant them out, do you just put the sponge in the soil & it will rot away? oh, just thought of a 3rd question. Did you also soak these seeds in addition to the nicking?
I am for sure going to try this.
Thanks for the idea AND the pictures.
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

January 20, 2004
10:56 PM

Post #758684

Yay Alice!!!

Thumbnail by scooterbug
Click the image for an enlarged view.

OhioBreezy
Dundee, OH
(Zone 5b)

January 20, 2004
11:40 PM

Post #758700

What a dream of an idea!! Love the photos you are amazing!!
Brugie
Chariton, IA
(Zone 5b)

January 20, 2004
11:58 PM

Post #758708

I'm anxious to see with the rockwool and the sponge method, what happens as the seedlings grow. Will the rockwool and the sponge give enough (break away) that the stems won't strangle? I've got a lot of stuff in rockwool and have wondered about this from day one. Anyone know? I'd hate to have me seedling become strangled and then break off at that point.
Smockette
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 20, 2004
11:59 PM

Post #758711

Sure glad you mentioned you started them early.
I have some of the seeds you started & was just wondering when to start them. & since you are 3 full zones north, I was wondering if I should get really busy, really fast. :~)
Great pixs for your progress report!!!
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 21, 2004
1:25 AM

Post #758778

well, you inspired me. I had some old foam in the closet & I chopped it up and soaked it like you said & I stuck in all my tree seeds. Now it is covered & on heat. We will see! Thanks again for the idea!

Thumbnail by PudgyMudpies
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Morph
Dayton, OH
(Zone 5a)

January 21, 2004
1:50 AM

Post #758803

Nice photos & explanations, aknapp! Thanks :) So many things to try this season; it sure is fun and will continue I hope...
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 21, 2004
2:05 AM

Post #758815

Pudgy your questions first. This is all very new to me so I am just doing what makes sense to me. I nicked the larger seeds, but not the smaller and now I wish I had. I did not soak any of them, even though some were supposed to be, but I wanted to try it without. If the acers don't do anything in a couple weeks I will probably try something else with them.
The seeds are pushing themselves out of their holes as they form roots, if I am concerned that they might not have enough moisture I have been just grabbing out the cube and stretching the hole bigger and giving it a little push back down.
As to planting them sponge and all I read somewhere that sponges are biodegradable so I am probably going to end up doing some of both.
Tonight I took out the 4 moon flower seeds that I could see green on and put them in seed starter mix. One of the roots had adhered to the sponge so I just trimmed around it as much as possible and left it attached. I will give them a couple days under grow lights and if they look good I will take another photo to show progress.

Scooter thanks so much for the applause I was hurting myself trying to pat my back so often!!!(haha)

Ohio what a nice compliment!!! Thank-You I don't think I am amazing at all I just keep reading posts and deciding to try things. (this could be beginners luck you know)

Brugie I don't know about the rockwool, because mine hasn't come yet, but I don't think the sponges will create a problem. It appears to me that when the roots start to develop they just start to push the rest of the seed out of their cozy little hole and take up the amount of space that they want. I am anxious for some of the smaller seeds to sprout and then maybe I can tell better. The scarlett runner beans and the moonflowers are both big enough to pretty much do what they want.
Oh I would hate to think of you loosing any of your precious seedlings. Am I remembering right that the rockwool is not biodegradable? It seems to me I read that but I don't remember now for sure.
I am also not sure how the sponges compare in price to the rockwool all though I think the sponges are easier to come by and are also easy to work with. I bought packages of 10 sponges each package was a 1.00 and I was able to cut them into either 8 or 10 cubes depending on what I was putting into them. So 80 cubes ends up to be 1.00 which is cheaper than I paid for the individually wrapped rockwool that I ordered. I also got lazy last night and on some smaller seeds started putting 4 in a cube. (I may end up regretting that)
Smockette
Yes I am way early and I am not sure what I am going to do if they get so big I can't handle them. I am on a first name basis with a couple of nursery owners in my small town, so if things get to bad I may be able to beg a small corner of space. After I read about the rockwool I just had to get my seeds out and play a little bit.
This is my first attempt at doing anything inside, and I am having such a good time experimenting that I have a tendency to get carried away.
I converted my breezeway into my own little bit of heaven and have been able to while away some of the winter blahs by just admiring my daturas that I started from the cuttings I got from Poppysue. They are doing really well and I am loving having them baby.
The most I planted of anything was the 12 scarlett runner beans, and I am figuring that if they get to big that I can keep trimming them a little to keep them under control. I have been doing little bits of trimming on the daturas to keep them from getting out of control and taller than I want them. It is working very well, they are just getting fatter and fatter which is great. I only take off an inch or so at a time and it hasn't seem to hurt anything.
Thank you so much for sharing in my excitement!!! It is great to be here!!
Brugie
Chariton, IA
(Zone 5b)

January 21, 2004
2:17 AM

Post #758824

Makes you feel good to get started, doesn't it. I'm so anxious to get my greenhouse open and heated that I can't stand it, but I just can't do it too early or I'll pay dearly, either through the pocketbook for the electricity or maybe through a power outage and no way to heat it when it is zero outside. I just have to wait. I'll be keeping my eye on this forum to read how your seeds are progressing, and yes, I do think that Rockwool is not biodegradable. Keep us up to date.
Elena
Middle, TN
(Zone 6b)

January 21, 2004
2:20 AM

Post #758829

I am enjoying reading this post Alice. Keep up the picture taking so we can see how this is working for you as time goes by.

I won't start anything right now but will try some of your tested experimental methods when I do. I don't have any where to put anything else so I need to wait a while before starting new plants.
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 21, 2004
3:06 AM

Post #758884

I promise I will keep taking photos so we can all see if this is a good method or not. I am anxious now to see how they do in the starter mix.
I sure did have more fun doing this though than when I start the seeds in starter mix and drive myself crazy trying to keep everything going the right way.
This was way easier and lots less messy. I also like being able to see what is going on (obviously I have a nosiness issue)
One of the other things I really like is that if a seed doesn't sprout you can always just take it out and try something else. It is much harder to do that if you have it in dirt.
I tried doing the deno method and did not have much luck with it, but I am sure it was me and not the method. So I am really hoping that sponges and rockwool will be my salvation for starting seeds.
I will be out this weekend buying more flourescent light fixtures and looking for space in the breezeway to fit in one more table or shelf!!!! I wonder if I could get rid of the washer and dryer without anyone noticing?????? (I am loosing it)
I am signing off for tonight and getting to bed, will be dreaming of little roots sprouting everywhere!!!! (maybe not everywhere I guess I would prefer keeping them in the breezeway)
Alice
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

January 21, 2004
3:29 AM

Post #758900

Brugie,
...I see no problem with the RW dissipating on its own, being an expanded/spun (?) stone product. I have had many seeds just go and poke their own way out 'through' the RW block when germinating. The larger seedlings seem not to have a 'choking' problem either. The RW just seems to melt and expand along with the plant. JMHO
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 21, 2004
4:02 AM

Post #758916

The things that appeal to me the most, is no gnats or dampening off. I DID make sure that I not only sterilized the sponges like you said, but I also bleached the tray, the spray bottle I used AND my scissors. And my hands were in bleach water too so they were clean. That may seem like overkill, but I really wanted to try to eliminate all possibility of mold or slime since it is sealed closed now. I have my tray right above my computer monitor for the heat since it is on all day, and I often start my seeds there. Only time will tell, but I am really feeling good about this!
Shelly221
Denver, CO
(Zone 5b)

January 21, 2004
5:09 AM

Post #758936

Oh Alice! Its so colorful!! :o) You are doing a wonderful job!
I got some loofah seeds today, wonder if loofah would work for next winter. And then just plant the whole thing?
Gosh Alice! You have inspired us all. :o)
Keep up the great job!
nicksgrammy
barrington, IL
(Zone 5a)

January 21, 2004
12:25 PM

Post #759050

for all of the organic gardeners out there, it seems to me that using loofah or natural sponges would pose no problem as to decomposition. however, many "sponges" are made of vinyl which can be toxic if burned and will take hundreds of years to completely decompose. there was a very interesting tv program on cable yesterday exposing the vinyl industry and their knowledge of the toxicity of the vinyl chloride and poly-vinyl chloride products they have been making for the last few decades. looks like i won't be putting up a pvc greenhouse this year. bummer!! i'll just use wood or metal. other than the vinyl issue, i love the idea of starting seeds in some type of natural sponge medium. great idea aknapp.
Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 21, 2004
1:37 PM

Post #759132

Wonder if a sea sponge would work? Guessing that it would be biodegradeble???
Brugie
Chariton, IA
(Zone 5b)

January 21, 2004
2:14 PM

Post #759155

Thanks Scoot. I'm sure hoping there won't be trouble down the road with the RW.
ZenZinnia
Lakeview, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 21, 2004
2:19 PM

Post #759157


Have read every thing here with interest and am going to try it for sure. I'll post my progress. Thanks

Zenzinna
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 21, 2004
3:13 PM

Post #759190

Scoot
I was so glad to see your post to Brugie about the rockwool I had been thinking about all of her hard work and am glad to know that all will be wonderful. I am anxious to try the rockwool also, so I am still reading that post for new ideas.
Pudge I forgot to mention that I had sterilized everything else also, so you are not doing overkill. I didn't bleach my hands, but I did was them. I burned my hands really badly in bleach water a couple weeks washing out pop bottles, so now I am more careful about getting my hands into it, but I did use the anti-bacterial soap to wash them in before I started.
I am anxious to hear what you started? Are you seeing any thing yet? Pictures? I love seeing pictures of what everyone is doing!!!
nicksgranny I am on my way out to see if it tells me what these are made out of, if there is any vinyl in them I will be switching to the loofas or natural sponges. We have done enough damage to the environment. So far most of what I have done have been willing to pop right out of the sponges, I am having more trouble keeping them in then getting them out. Thanks so much for the information!!!
Brugie I am so glad Scoot posted that info for you, I hope you slept better last night after reading it!!!!! I felt so much better knowing your babies are all safe and sound!!!
Zen be sure and let us know what you try and how it goes, and don't forget photos!!!
I started a few more things Monday night, but I am now trying to keep from doing anymore until I see the results of everything I have done so far. My rockwool should also be here in another day or so, so then I will have even more choices. I also need to get back to my winter sowing which has sort of taken a back seat to this. (this is a lot more fun)
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

January 21, 2004
3:59 PM

Post #759261

Alice ,Also order a bazillion little pots for all your new seedlings, or sumpin'...
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 21, 2004
4:17 PM

Post #759275

Scoot
You are ohhhhh so right, I will get on that right now, I have been looking for some good prices and just not found any I was really happy with.
I am looking for 2 1/2 by 3 I have lots of 4inch ones, and just can't find a decent price at anyplace I have found so far!!!
Thanks
Brugie
Chariton, IA
(Zone 5b)

January 21, 2004
4:29 PM

Post #759290

I bought a case of the 2-1/2 by 4 inch size at our local nursery. 1000 of them for $40.
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 21, 2004
5:01 PM

Post #759323

Aknapp,
I planted all trees. Bauhinia (which usually come up for me in about 6 days)golden rain tree, jacaranda,ROS, hmm, I wrote it all down, but cannot recall off the top of my head.
I do have a question for you though,
even though I have good bottom heat, the sponges do not feel warm. Did you notice that on yours? I think I might have to put a light over these for top warmth. What do you think?
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 21, 2004
5:18 PM

Post #759338

Thats amazing!!!
I just checked mine and was thinking the same thing. I have mine on heating pads at 70 but the tops of the sponges felt very cool when I touched them. I was just debating what I thought I should do. I put dishtowels over the top of them thinking that might be enough to keep a little more warmth in them. I also noticed that the tops are feeling a little dry and I think I will spritz with the spray bottle a little.
I am going to have to get the scarlett runner beans in dirt today the roots have gotten so big that I can no longer keep them contained in the cubes. I will have to remember big seeds big cubes!!!
I have 2 different Acer Palmatum trees started but so far no signs of anything, but I know these will be the last to sprout, I am just over anxious.
All mine still look happy so I am not going to worry to much about the coolness. According to my soil thermometer they are still at 70 and that should be enough I think. I can crank up the heating pad a notch if I need to but I don't want to fry the poor little things.
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 21, 2004
5:33 PM

Post #759348

Then I won't worry about them. I did move them to a heating pad (house type not plant)and put it on low, and I placed a light over them. I cannot do much more then that. And if yours were not getting enough heat they would not have sprouted, so I guess the tops feeling cold is not a problem.
I do not see any sprouts yet, but some, actually alot, of the seeds seem to have pushed out of the tops a bit. I put almost ALL of the seeds below the surface just in case there were some that needed darkness to germinate. So there must be something going on to make them raise. Oh, and when I cut my slits, I cut them almost completely through, so the roots would not have a problem pushing through the foam, because a few of those pieces I used are firm, not floppy like the other.
Here is al ist of what I planted:
river birch, st thomas tree, yellow horn tree,bauhinia,cassia alata,franklinia alatamaha,yoshimo cherry,vitex,jacaranda,cotoneaster,chinese tallow,chilean flame tree,tabebuia rosea trumpet tree,koelreuteria,wild gardenia tree & pink dombeya. Oh and I just stuck some madevilla laxa seeds in a couple sponges & put them in with my peat pots that are growing white thunbergia grandiflora and that container is on my monitor. you know what, I think I am gonna add one more sponge in there & put another thunbergia in it and compare the times since I already know what to expect with the peat pot! Yippiee! another experiment. LOL
I will let you know what happens.
Donna
Elena
Middle, TN
(Zone 6b)

January 21, 2004
5:42 PM

Post #759357

You gals remind me of mad scientists with all of the lightning cracking overhead and everything. Who knows what you will come up with in your experimental labs? Kinda makes me want to join you.

Now, let's see...where in the heck could I put more indoor plants that need care until spring? There is still the bathtub???? We all know that "too much bathing will weaken you" so maybe our spring baths could come right after we put the plants outside. Bet Shoe hasn't been to this thread yet or he would surely have an answer for me about the bathtub.
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 21, 2004
5:49 PM

Post #759360

Elena,
you are WAY overthinking this. It is a NOW kind of thing. I am not thinking about where I would put more plants to tend until spring, cuz if I did, I would not be doing this. See? LOLOLOL
You have to be spontaneous. Just go with it. Cuz you KNOW if they sprout you would move your kids out of their rooms to put these babies in if need be. LOLOLOL
Notice it is my kids I am encrouching on this year, hubby already told me that he would not go through another winter eating all his meals off a tv tray like last year cuz the table was covered with trays. LOL (whiner, huh?)
So go for it! It is so fun! I had a bunch of sponges left over & I am trying to find places to squeeze them in.
I can only imagine what hilarious "pearls of wisdom" dear shoe could share with us. LOL
Elena
Middle, TN
(Zone 6b)

January 21, 2004
5:53 PM

Post #759361

He will have a whole long string necklace full of pearls, I feel certain!
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 21, 2004
7:04 PM

Post #759407

Mad Scientist is a great description!!!
Needless to say I should be doing housework!!!(HOW BORING)
I am way behind on a cleaning project I started Sunday!!!
But I am off to go put the scarlett runner beans into pots, they are just jumping out of the sponges, the roots on some of them are nearly 2 inches long!!!
I will snap a photo before I move them, they are pretty funny looking.
I have so far resisted the urge to open the second batch of seeds that I did Monday night!! I am so proud of myself.
I do wish Shoe would drop by, I would love his input!!!!
I also have an experiment going on in the cupboard with lily seeds, and also some small baby droppings off a bulb that Wandasflowers had sent me. (also things I found on DG)
So far I haven't invaded the house at all and am able to keep everything in the breezeway that I converted(also ideas from DG user) but it may not last.
I don't really think my sons need to sleep in their bedrooms, and they watch entirely too much tv in the living room, and then their is that dining room table that doesn't get used very much.
My little mind is just racing away.
Pudge I agree with you if we thought it through before we started all of our wonderful little seeds, we probably wouldn't have, and look at all the fun we would have missed.

I am not only having a good time with my experiment here but it is so much fun to keep looking at the posts here and on the rockwool and read about everyone else's successes.
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 21, 2004
7:37 PM

Post #759429

Can you BELIEVE I had to leave & go get groceries??? Man! I about broke my leg tripping into the house to check on my "babies"! But I am home now & have treated myself to planting 6 more sponges with coffee arabica beans. Had to really wedge those puppies in to the container, but hey, their sponge! I turned my heating pad up to medium, low does not seem to produce enough warmth. Will keep an eye on it & turn it back down if needed. If these seeds could talk they would sound like my kids when I am outside the bathroom door talking and their in there. "MOOOOOOMMMMM! GO AWAY! You can tell me LATER" hehehehe

scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

January 21, 2004
8:17 PM

Post #759455

Alice,
... Check http://www.novoselenterprises.com
This is where i get most of my pots.If you fill a min. order amount...
... 15% Discount on orders over $25...or...
Case Pricing now 40% Off! 15% Discount included.
... It's better than free shipping with the discounts I think.

§hirley
Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 21, 2004
8:46 PM

Post #759495

I am trying it in a cellulose sponge that I cut up -- can't wait to see how it works. Here's what I'm trying:

3 Double Purple Datura
2 Papaya
2 Coral Vine
4 Pride of Barbados
3 Datura Tatula
3 Tree Senna
3 Texas Hibiscus
1 Gold Esperanza

Gretchen
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 21, 2004
9:34 PM

Post #759533

Hmmm...somebody mention my name? And BATH, and SPONGE, in the same sentence!?

Ya'll scare me! I've germinated many seeds in sponges before, just didn't do it on purpose...reckon that's what I get for leaving the sponge on the side of the tub (not rinsing it out) after my Spring wash-up). But hey, growing plants add oxygen to the air, and the bathroom needed it.

Alice, your sponge experiment looks like a great way to do germination tests also. I'll have to consider it. (Like nicksgranny mentioned above tho I'd be hesitant to use them sponges on food crops and bury them in the garden, just as a safety precaution.)

I've never messed with the rockwool...don't they use that in hydroponic situations sometimes? Anyone know?

Welp, reckon I better let ya'll get back to your thread. Besides, all this talk about sponges and baths makes me nervous. Next thing ya know you'll have me washing my feet.



Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 21, 2004
10:08 PM

Post #759547

Shoe: Here are two links to recent conversations regarding rock wool seed germination:

http://davesgarden.com/t/414428/

http://davesgarden.com/t/411784/rock+wool

aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 21, 2004
10:17 PM

Post #759555

Pudge, I had to go to the store also, but I had another 8.00 saved in cash so had to make a trip to the hardware store to get another flourescent light fixture. I now have 7 but I think I need at least another 6. My counters in the breezeway are wide enough to put 4 over the counters with no problem, and I think I have enough room for 3 sets of 4. So everytime I see 8.00 sitting in my wallet I go buy one!!!
Scoot thanks so much for the link, I will be ordering later tonight. Those are definitely better prices than I had found elsewhere!
Gretchen I am curious about how you did the cellulose sponges? Do you have a digital camera so you could take photos. My imagination just isn't very good. When I bought the sponges I bought a package of each kind and when I started deciding how I was going to do it, the foamy ones just looked much easier.
Shoe: FOOD PRODUCTS???? Who has time to grow food!!!! Thats what you have to go to the grocery store to get!!!!(fortunately we have a well stocked farmers market during the summer) But I think that is probably very good advice!!! I looked on the sides of the packages that I had purchased but all it listed was the name of the manufacturer. They were made in the US, which surprised me!!!
Be very careful when you are thinking about water and sponges, next thing you know you will get to close to a bar of soap and have an accident. Does the date for your next bath coincide with any of the Round-ups! We sure would not want to be responsible for getting your seasons out of whack!!!!
I have this really nice large handicapped shower that I keep thinking would be a great place to have plants, its all shiny white on the back, and sides, and plenty of room for grow lights, but I haven't approached my sons yet about giving up showers!!!!
I figure I should be able to sprout some seeds on my indoor outdoor carpet that is in the breezeway. I am just not very neat and there is so many more fun things to do than vacumn that floor!! Given the fact that I keep dropping things that I can't find, I think I should have a few sprouts down there. Maybe I should spill some water also!!!
I took some photos of the scarlett runner beans before I put them in soil, I will post those later.
I used some of my pop bottle stash (the ones that were ready to do my winter sowing in) to put these in, and I am excited about the idea of being able to see when they start to get root bound.
I have to start drinking more pop!!! I'll bet the coke delivery guy is wondering where all the bottles are!! I am thinking maybe I should stand outside one of our local stores and offer people 11 cents instead of the 10 that they get from the deposit. (okay its just a thought) I really like the pop bottles and didn't think I could ever run out with the amounts of it we drink, but life is full of little surprises!!!
I am off to go see what other kind of trouble I can find to get myself into.
I will check on everybody later this evening.
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 21, 2004
10:25 PM

Post #759560

Great~ Thanks!
Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 21, 2004
11:01 PM

Post #759606

Sure, here you go. I only chose the cellulose as opposed to vinyl because they are supposedly made out of "natural plant material" which may breakdown more quickly than vinyl when planted in the ground. I just wrapped cellophane around the container until I can get a giant zip-lock bag tomorrow.

Thumbnail by Kaufmann
Click the image for an enlarged view.

PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 21, 2004
11:06 PM

Post #759611

Kaufmann,
it looks like a big pan of cornbread! LOL yummy.
I started with the saran wrap too, but once the condensation started I could not keep it stretched tight enough to keep it off the top of the sponges. So I switched to a plastic lid.
What did you plant in yours? We need a list!
Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 21, 2004
11:28 PM

Post #759623

I had that thought myself (when I saw the picture), but I'm from the south and we make cornbread in a round cast iron skillet LOL Here's my list of seeds planted in the sponges (its also above a few entries back in the forum):

3 Double Purple Datura
2 Papaya
2 Coral Vine
4 Pride of Barbados
3 Datura Tatula
3 Tree Senna
3 Texas Hibiscus
1 Gold Esperanza

I'm really hopeful on the Daturas as they seem to be the most difficut to get started for me.
nicksgrammy
barrington, IL
(Zone 5a)

January 22, 2004
2:23 PM

Post #760052

hey kaufman, that does look like cornbread. one way to keep your seedlings warm and cozy is to save those cake boxes with the black bottoms and the clear plastic tops that you can get at the grocery store(after you gorge on the cake, of course.) they make wonderful little greenhouses and it's a good way to recycle the plastic.
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 22, 2004
11:30 PM

Post #760500

I have a baby! A cassia alata sprouted! Yippiee!!!!
Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 22, 2004
11:41 PM

Post #760511

Way to go, PM!
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

January 23, 2004
12:17 AM

Post #760537

PM, A lovely plant indeed. If only I had room for another potted tropical.Lucky You !

Sue_WA

Sue_WA
Seattle, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 23, 2004
12:27 AM

Post #760549

OK, I'm convinced...must get sponges...must get sponges...must get sponges...
Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 23, 2004
12:32 AM

Post #760558

No activity yet, but mine were only planted yesterday. Today I DID finally order rock wool. I'm just a little worried about all the roots finding their way through the sponge. Time will tell, I guess :)
Shelly221
Denver, CO
(Zone 5b)

January 23, 2004
2:18 AM

Post #760663

Gretchen, I kind of look at it like: the roots of plants find their way through our terrible clay here, Im sure they can handle sponge. :o)
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 23, 2004
2:38 AM

Post #760675

Well I didn't make it back last night to post all of my results to date. I also took some more photos. I will look at them again and decide if they are enough different to post.
Things done Saturday
6 Moonflower Seeds
All 6 seeds germinated rapidly and started to develop leaves, kept popping out of sponges so I potted them up.
12 Scarlett Runner Bean Seeds
All 12 germinated with large roots, also had to pot because they were popping out.
4 Acer Palmatum 'Disectum ornatum' Seeds
Nothing Yet
6 Love-in-a-Puff Seeds
5 out of 6 of these germinated and 3 had the beginning of leaves. I broke one trying to get it moved. The last one now has roots on it. So these are also 6 for 6
6 Seeds Butterfly Pea Vine
I had not originally nicked these and regretted it, so Tuesday night I nicked 3 to see what would happen. Tonight I can see roots popping through on 2 of them.
3 Seeds in 1 Cube of Ligularia
Nothing so far
3 seeds Datura Tatula
1 out of 8 has just started to pop
3 Seeds Datura Raspberry Swirl
2 seeds are just beginning to show roots
6 seeds Ornamental Cotton
4 out of 6 have decent sized roots other two are just starting.
4 Seeds Red Passiflora
Nothing so far
6 Seeds Cardinal Vine
Nothing
4 Seeds Crotolaria
Nothing

My experience so far is that the roots are pushing themselves right out of the little holes when they start to get very much growth on them. On a lot of them I have just stretched the hole larger to allow them to have the moisture around them.
I had one love-in-a-puff seed that actually attached to the sponge and that one I just cut down all the way around and left a piece on it that was probably less than 1/4 inch in diameter.
Out of the things I have put into pots, I was able to re-use all but 3 of the sponges.
I am more concerned now about how everything will do as I put them into pots. That seems to be the place where I can get into trouble in a hurry.
Most of the things that I have potted so far, I put into pop bottles and left on the heating pads, my thoughts are that they need the bottom heat until they develop some leaves. Please let me know if that makes sense of if I should be doing something else.
I have used chick grit on the top of the soil and am hoping this will help with the dampening off problem. I did read something about Chamimolle (spelling) tea and am wondering how to use that.
I started 11 more kinds of seeds on Monday night and am happy to report that 5 out of the 11 kinds have all ready started to sprout.
I am really jealous of all of your brug seeds that you have to start. I am thrilled with the ones that I do have, as this will be a first for me.
The 4 cuttings that I received from poppysue are all doing very well, I am pleased that I have been able to keep them growing and apparently thriving. I have been trimming them back a little at a time, and they are getting nice and bushy.
So I will have 7 all together if my 3 kinds of seeds grow. I think that is wonderful for a person who didn't even have one before now.
Brugie I did 6 of the red moonflowers you had sent me and they had roots on them within 24 hours also. I will need to pot them tomorrow they are all ready showing leaf growth.
I am so blessed by all of you!!!
Gretchen after watching mine for the last few days I don't think the roots will be a problem.
Pudge YEAH YEAH Congratulations, isn't it great to be able to see what is happening.
I wish my rockwool would get here, I really want to try a couple side by side experiments and see if the results are about the same or different.
I also did 6 more grandpa otts morning glories on Monday night, and I nicked 3 of the seeds, the three I nicked are all ready starting to show roots.
Enough for tonight, my little mind has been going overtime all day.
I bought some more light fixtures for the breezeway and spent a couple hours getting those up, and things moved around and straightened up out there. It was beginning to look a little more like a potting shed than I thought it should.
Have a great rest of the evening everyone, and I will check in on everyone's experiments tomorrow!!!

I looked at the pictures that I had taken yesterday and none of them are very clear. I will attach a pic of one of the moonflowers before I put it in soil

Thumbnail by aknapp
Click the image for an enlarged view.

SoCal
Huntington Beach, CA
(Zone 10a)

January 23, 2004
3:41 AM

Post #760740

aknapp,

This is so much fun just reading what you are accomplishing. I haven't started any of my seeds yet, but will start shortly. Since I am in zone 10, I can still play in my gardens on occasion, so I don't need to play inside like you are doing. lol

I would really love to see a picture of your breezeway with all your plantings and lights. Maybe it will give me some ideas on how to start mine. Please...pretty please.

Keep all this great info coming.

Donna
prudence
County Roscommon
Ireland
(Zone 8a)

January 23, 2004
6:21 AM

Post #760791

Hello all

I am new to this forum and am watching these experiments with great interest. Just want to mention about pots. I go to the garden centre here and asked if they had any pots they didn't want, and left with loads. Apparently they are glad to get rid of them.

I can't wait for the next installment on the sponges - it's fascinating!

Sue
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 23, 2004
10:51 AM

Post #760823

Socal I just updated a post under greenhouses about my breezeway, thank you for the nice compliments.
My zone envy is showing again!!!! I can't even imagine the kind of trouble I could get into if I could play outside year round!!!
Prudence, have been watching your post congratulations again on your success.
Have a great day everybody.
Link to Breezeway photos
http://davesgarden.com/t/408655/
Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 23, 2004
1:10 PM

Post #760887

I just peeked in on mine and all but the esperanza have germinated!!! I would take a picture, but since its a yellow sponge, its hard enough for me to see it with my naked eyes. Know you would'nt be able to tell in a photo, yet.
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 23, 2004
2:05 PM

Post #760937

Gretchen I am so excited for you, I am doing a happy dance!!!!

I am looking forward to photos!!!
Badseed
Hillsboro, OH
(Zone 6a)

January 23, 2004
3:48 PM

Post #760998

I may have missed up there somewhere-a whole lotta reading! LOL But, if push comes to shove and you don't want to, or can't afford to buy a bunch of pots, go to one of those discount or dollar stores and buy styrofoam cups or plastic cups. They are usually deeper than four inch pots and take up less space. Steer clear of the wax coated paper unless you won't be using them long. They tend to come apart at seems and mold. Or start eating a lot of yogurt in little plastic cups. :)
Brugie
Chariton, IA
(Zone 5b)

January 23, 2004
3:53 PM

Post #761003

So Alice, I've not got time to read all of this but am wondering if the roots are rooting into the sponges or just pushing up and out?
Elena
Middle, TN
(Zone 6b)

January 23, 2004
4:42 PM

Post #761121

I use the yougart cups also. I eat one a day of the small yougarts and have to justify saving those cups someway. LOL! I have a realllll Dr. Pepper habit so I have plenty of cold drink bottles, more than I care to admit actually. I make little greenhouses out of them and also just use the cut off ones as pots. The only time I ever buy post is when I want a decorative one or two or three... well, you get the idea.
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 23, 2004
4:47 PM

Post #761130

Brugie
I am having more trouble keeping roots in than worrying about them getting enbedded.
I know there is a lot here, but the last long post I made is about the most recent findings and also mentions the root problem that everyone was so concerned about.
When I did the Datura seeds Saturday night I had not nicked them at all. I went back I think Monday night and nicked part of them.
Last night I could see roots starting to form on the out of the three raspberry swirl and 1 out of the datura tatulas. Which makes it approximately 6 days. I have no idea whether thats good or bad because I haven't gotten back to read all of the rockwool posts. I am on my way there though, because I finally got my rockwool in the mail today that I had bought on Ebay. I also got a catalogue from a place by the name of Wormsway and they have 3 different types of cubes that all look like the rockwool but made out of different ingredients that are supposed to be more earth friendly. I have not checked closely yet but would really like to try some of the coir bricks and alternatives to see if they also give good results.
I am really happy with the sponges on small seeds they seem to be doing very well and germination is going well.
The moonflower seeds and other large seeds that I put in the sponges, I have had trouble keeping them in as long as I would have liked and been forced to pot them up before I really wanted to.
I haven't checked today but I can see leaves on the red moonflowers through the plastic, so I know I will have to pot those today. (thanks again for those)
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

January 23, 2004
5:09 PM

Post #761142

Heheheh ! ! !

Poor Alice soon will need a nap
From all her experiments she feels the zap
Groggy from snoozing, seedlings kept on her lap
Glancing in the mirror, is she Dr.Alice or Ms.Aknapp?
§

Thumbnail by scooterbug
Click the image for an enlarged view.

aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 23, 2004
5:11 PM

Post #761144

You just had to get me here to!!!! Maybe its not safe to look at any other posts, my pic may be everywhere!!!haha
Hugs
Alice
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

January 23, 2004
5:21 PM

Post #761150

sorry the other one was misplaced =(
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 23, 2004
5:30 PM

Post #761162

Not to worry!!!
I figure I will be famous soon!!!
Or maybe thats infamous!!!
Its such a fine line between sanity and crazy and I push it pretty hard most of the time.
nowheat
Midland, TX
(Zone 7a)

January 23, 2004
6:52 PM

Post #761222

Just a thought on the sponges drying out. I'm doing the paper towels thing with my seedlings (spring fever...in winter) and then moving the little sprouts to the peat moss sponges Parks Seed sells to go with their BioDome seed kits. These are not as cheap as your home made sponges (120 for $10 plus shipping) but they are for sure biodegradable.

Anyway, the method the BioDome uses is to put 1/4" to 1/2" of water in the bottom of the tray. Covered with the plastic lid (you could use plastic wrap), the whole thing stays quite humid, and the sponges soak up just the right amount of water from the bottom of the tray. The roots definitely are growing down. Of course, these sponges are about 2" long, so they aren't soaking in the water.

I'm planting half my seeds directly into the BioDome and laying out half in damp paper towels and so far have had a slightly better response using the paper towels.
Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 23, 2004
7:05 PM

Post #761235

Linda -- my sponges are 2-3/4" tall, and I soaked the sponges first in 1 to 10 bleach solution. Rinsed well and squeezed out the excess water. Placed them in the little pan with the seeds in them. I put the whole thing in a 2 gallon zip-lock bag and have misted the top once. Mine all have a little sprout of activity, except for one. Good luck with yours!!! Gretchen
Brugie
Chariton, IA
(Zone 5b)

January 23, 2004
10:47 PM

Post #761370

Thanks Alice. Hope you continue to have good luck with the sponges.

Sorry, I hit send before I was ready. Wanted to say that the nice thing about the rockwool for me is that I don't have to worry about them going dry, even after sprouting has occured and they have been removed from the plastic covering or bags. The rockwool does hold the moisture very well.

This message was edited Jan 23, 2004 5:49 PM
skyeblu
Stockton, MO
(Zone 6b)

January 23, 2004
11:57 PM

Post #761429

nowheat, I bought the biodome refills, and extra sponges. Thanks for the info on how to use them.Looks like a regular flat with no holes would be plenty big enough to float them on. Do you think they would work even if they are not covered?
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 24, 2004
12:02 AM

Post #761434

Well, thought I would update. End of day 2 and nothing else has germinated. I am guessing it is because tree seeds just naturally take longer. I HOPE that is it! I tell you, that old "a watched pot never boils" applies to me & these sponges. LOL

Skyeblu,
I did not know there was another "Stockton" out there. Nice to meet you!
Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 24, 2004
12:21 AM

Post #761457

PM: My guess would be that some of your tree seeds might need to be cold stratified? Your cassia should be one of the first to sprout. I had one sprout under a dome in soil in 3 or 4 days last month. Just a thought...
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

January 24, 2004
12:23 AM

Post #761460

PM,
Surprise!!!!
=)
Stockton...
AL, AZ, AR, CA, DE, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, MD, MN, MO, NJ, NY, OH, PA, UT, VA and my favorite
Stockton,Wisconsin.
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 24, 2004
12:46 AM

Post #761480

Kaufmann,
I HOPE that is not it! I followed the directions on all of the packages & nothing was mentioned about cold strat! That is really gonna tick me off if that is the case cuz I have already nicked them all! I cant cold strat once I have done that, can I?

And Scooter, my head is spinning! I guess I am too sheltered... {{GUFFAW}}

Smockette
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 24, 2004
1:21 AM

Post #761509

PM & SB, the only reason Texas isn't on that list is because we thought Stockton was something special!!!
So we built a fort around it!
Fort Stockton, Texas!!! hehehe
:~)
Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 24, 2004
11:52 AM

Post #761709

PM...it was just a thought. Hope I was wrong. Just give them time :)
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 24, 2004
10:58 PM

Post #762191

Alice,
I have Koelreuteria (golden rain & chinese flame),
Jacaranda & Yellowhorn tree sprouting. The Cassia alata that had sprouted before worked itself COMPLETELY out of the slot & onto the top of the sponge. I think next time I will cut my slit all the way through so there is a clearly defined path for the root to follow.
I pulled the slot open a bit more & stuck the root into it. Another interesting thing that has happened, even after all the bleaching if the trays, sponges, scissors & hands that I did, I still have white hair growing. Not the fuzzy moldy kind, this looks like long white webs. But I don't have any spiders in there, it is for sure something growing. So I put a few drops of beach in my spray bottle of water & spritzed it & it killed it.
I spent the morning looking up all the seeds I planted to see if they needed cold strat, and I got conflicting answers. I finally just told myself to stop it, that it did not matter now, they were already planted! And now I look & see cracks and the beginnings of sprouts on some that said it DID need cold strat. So either I got lucky or maybe it is not as important as I thought. I guess tree seeds just take longer to germinate.
What is the update on yours? Are you just going to plant them out as they sprout or leave them in until they form some leaves?
Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 24, 2004
11:41 PM

Post #762219

PM: I'm so happy for you!!!
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

January 25, 2004
12:02 AM

Post #762242



This message was edited Jan 24, 2004 7:03 PM
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 25, 2004
1:03 PM

Post #762573

I am in AnnArbor at the moment and dying to get back home so I can check on my babies.
We came up to Eastern Michigan yesterday to watch the women's basketball game. My nephew is an assistant coach and we always try to get here for one game. My sons are at my house with the 2 cats, my dog, and my brother's dog. I am hoping they have all survived.
I had a lot of new sprouts before I left and they were probably greatful to have me leaving them alone for a little while. I will be excited to see what is happening when I get home this afternoon.
I am so thrilled for everyone with their great results. I got my rockwool friday, but before I do my experiments, I am hoping to find some sponges that are the same depth a the rockwool, so that I am comparing apples to apples.
nowheat
Midland, TX
(Zone 7a)

January 25, 2004
9:56 PM

Post #763068

skyeblue, I think they won't work even half as well without being covered, but you could work something out -- put them in a box and cover it with clear plastic wrap, perhaps? The humidity really helps.


nowheat
Midland, TX
(Zone 7a)

January 25, 2004
10:01 PM

Post #763071

PudgyMuddpies, I sure know what you mean about that watched pot. I have some Woods Rose seeds I'm trying to germinate in a paper towel... they're not showing any signs at all, even after cold storage. But then I just went searching the Net for information about starting roses from seed and was told it can take as much as two YEARS. My pot of patience will have boiled dry by then, I'm sure.

One of those pages recommended cold stratification and leaving the seeds in there until they begin to germinate -- right in the refrigerator. Certainly the Ponderosa Pines I had stratifying have started to sprout, tucked right in their bags in the veggie bin. Has anyone had slow-to-germinate seeds that sprouted in the fridge?
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

January 25, 2004
10:45 PM

Post #763109

nowheat,
...Which wood rose are you trying to start? I nicked and planted Hawaiian baby wood rose, Argyreia nervosa, in RW cubes and they have all germinated within a week =)
Hugz,
§hirley


Edited::: sorry 'bout that... I miss-read your wood'S' rose ..LOL



This message was edited Jan 26, 2004 3:18 PM
Brugie
Chariton, IA
(Zone 5b)

January 26, 2004
12:19 AM

Post #763200

Last year I planted wood rose seeds in soil after soaking for a day and they came up in about 4 days. Grew like weeds. It takes them up to two years to bloom.
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 26, 2004
1:06 AM

Post #763232

I think nowheat is talking about Woods Rose
http://www.cwnp.org/photopgs/rdoc/rowoodsii.html

I just plant some wild rose seeds that had to be soaked, then cold strat for 90 days, then nicked and planted. And they too are supposed to be slow starters. I know what you mean about " My pot of patience will have boiled dry by then, I'm sure." I feel the same. Hope my labels don't wear out before they sprout or I will never remember what they were! LOL


This message was edited Jan 25, 2004 7:10 PM
Brugie
Chariton, IA
(Zone 5b)

January 26, 2004
1:13 AM

Post #763233

Sorry, I'm going to have to read a little closer in the future. That is a pretty one. Thanks for the link and getting me back on track. LOL!
Flit
Santa Cruz, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 26, 2004
3:18 PM

Post #763719

Wow, this forum is just great with advice... I'm not very good at propagation and when I've started seeds in the past it's been in dirt. This looks *so* much better since you can see what's happening. Here's hoping that everything sprouts up for you all!
OhioBreezy
Dundee, OH
(Zone 5b)

January 26, 2004
4:02 PM

Post #763778

Ok after a little convincing, yesterday I cut up some sponges and decided to try out this method with my new "rarer" morning glories. Thanks for the nudge Donna!!

Thumbnail by OhioBreezy
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Badseed
Hillsboro, OH
(Zone 6a)

January 26, 2004
4:04 PM

Post #763780

Well Laurrie, if nothing else, you win a prize for having the prettiest medium! :)
OhioBreezy
Dundee, OH
(Zone 5b)

January 26, 2004
4:05 PM

Post #763781

Ok that photo was from 1:24 pm yesterday. I woke up this morning, did my usual routine, then checked in on them. 8 am and here is what i found already!!!!! It works wonderful, this has got to be the most rewarding thread around ;)

Here is just one of MANY that germinated overnight!!
I also had a normal "house" heating pad under this since yesterday.

Thumbnail by OhioBreezy
Click the image for an enlarged view.

OhioBreezy
Dundee, OH
(Zone 5b)

January 26, 2004
4:06 PM

Post #763784

LOL Badseed, that is the only color I had!!! maybe they were just happy with those colors!!
skyeblu
Stockton, MO
(Zone 6b)

January 26, 2004
4:44 PM

Post #763809

Hi, PM. Wow, I didn't know there were that many Stockton's. We are the one that almost blew away in a tornado last May. Where in So. Cal. is Stockton? I lived in the San Bernardino area for 11 years, and Stockton kinda sounds familiar.
Flit
Santa Cruz, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 26, 2004
5:00 PM

Post #763824

It's in Northern CA, pretty much east of San Francisco and south of Sacramento, in the Central Valley. I was just in that area visiting a friend this weekend (she lives closer to Linden); it was very pretty out there.

I had no idea there were that many Stocktons! I guess it makes sense with all the stock there's been in the US...

Thumbnail by Flit
Click the image for an enlarged view.

skyeblu
Stockton, MO
(Zone 6b)

January 26, 2004
6:10 PM

Post #763917

Very pretty. So it's not in So. Cal., but the zone is still 9a. I'll bet the weather is really nice, then, without the heat of So. Cal. summers?
Flit, you're more in the area that I lived, except you're on the coast. That tends to moderate the heat some, does it not?
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 27, 2004
1:42 AM

Post #764309

Congratulations Ohio
They all look great and I love your sponges, they are so pretty.
I am about to do side by side experiments with rockwool and both types of sponges to see what works the best for different things.
I think probably the rockwool is going to be the best for the daturas. I thought I saw some roots starting on mine a few days ago, but I must have been seeing things. I believe I saw one seed that was starting to germinate today, but now I am having doubts about my vision.
Good luck to you with all of your babies!!!
Flit
Santa Cruz, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 27, 2004
2:39 AM

Post #764368

It gets pretty hot in the Central Valley in the summer... I've been in 112 heat in Davis, which isn't hugely far away from there. I'd have to ask my friend how hot it gets at her place near Stockton. But it's a pretty dry heat IIRC. They get that cool ground fog that's a pain to drive through but looks really neat, at night, and her house stayed misty even late into the day... there was frost on everything in the morning but it's gorgeous and green right now.

Where I live it's a Mediterranean climate, which I adore. The sea keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We get rather foggy summers (morning fog), I guess 70s through 90s, and then these gorgeous clear autumns which are like summer but the evenings are nippy enough to keep it from getting sweltering the next day. The best time of year is September and October, with clear days but before the rains. Right now it's in the low 50s/high 40s, probably, which is good because our heater blew out over the weekend and isn't fixed yet. :)

I've seen it snow here, um... once, and once in a neighboring town on the other side of the hills. It snows somewhat in the neighboring mountains but we're not very far above sea level. It frosts over more often than that, but since cold and rain don't usually go together here we just don't get snow. It gets a lot hotter inland, though. We don't have or need AC here; on the hottest days we just open windows and run fans to get the air moving.

I lived a summer in LA and it got pretty hot! We didn't have AC so I drank a lot of lemonade.

As a result of this weird climate I'm often confused by seed packets, because they talk about frost and such! I'm not ever really sure when to plant non-natives, either; natives actually like being planted in the fall before the rains. Luckily I have plenty of plants that are happy to volunteer.
Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 27, 2004
12:50 PM

Post #764575

aknapp -- you aren't alone. I too thought my daturas were germinating in the sponge. They are the only things that hasn't yet... Am going to try some brug seeds in it after while. Will keep you posted.

Ohio -- congrats! And they are so pretty. Reminds me of my prep school days (pink and green) LOL
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 27, 2004
1:06 PM

Post #764585

Gretchen
That is incredible. I again last night thought I saw signs but I am not for sure yet so I will make any claims.
I did start my side by side experiments last night and I may start a new thread for that one. This one has gotten pretty long.
My butterfly pea vine and morning glories have started to germinate and a couple have little stems with leaves so I am really happy about that and everything else is still lookig really good.
I had to pot up some naturiums yesterday, I knew they had a little growth on top, but I picked up the sponge and it had 2 inches of root growing out the other side of the sponge. All but 2 of them were like that, so I figured I had better get them in some dirt.
I am very pleased with most of my results so far. I had done some geranium seeds on top of a sponge and so far they have not done anything, but I am waiting patiently. (haha)
Have some new pictures but have been lazy and not gotten them posted.
Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 27, 2004
2:22 PM

Post #764643

I'll tell you what -- I have had the hardest time getting some Pride of Barbados seeds going the traditional way. Kept molding on me before it would sprout. Well, all four that I started in the sponges have sprouted and one will have leaves before noon! I think Daturas just take a long time to germinate. I'm not giving up on mine. I just started 39 brug seeds in the sponges this morning. I had planned to use rock wool for them, but the shipment has been delayed and I had already soaked them, so we'll see what happens. The rock wool will be here Friday (I hope) so if there are no roots by then, I'll just transfer them. Hope you have a great day!!! And, yes I think it would be appropriate to start a new thread for the side by side experiment. :)
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 28, 2004
6:10 PM

Post #765877

well here I am at a week. I have not been getting the Germination speed that the others have gotten & I am thinking it is because these are trees. It is still much faster then in dirt.
Once I can take these off the heat, I am going to start another tray but it will have to wait. I am anxious though because I want to test my theory that it is slower because they are tree seeds & not because I have a gangrene thumb. LOL
Donna

Thumbnail by PudgyMudpies
Click the image for an enlarged view.

scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

January 28, 2004
7:55 PM

Post #765935

donna,
... all seeds have different germ rates. Some tree seeds can take 2 years...scheesh !
I have sown some in bag enclosed seed cells so I only need to check when it looks like it may need more moisture. These can take a year, 3 months down and counting.. LOL
...But really ..who's counting ?
;~P
>^..^< §
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 28, 2004
8:02 PM

Post #765940

LOL, I would be counting! I would have the plastic so fogged up from breathing on it that I doubt moisture would be a problem! LOLOLOL
I am not that patient. I am already looking at these with a gleam in my eye...sucking all the heat up that I could be using for more appreciative seeds! LOL
But seriously,
thanks for telling me that because now I know that if I don't have something by Feb, that I can safely stick these in a container & stick them by the window & forget about them until vacuum days.

WillowWasp

WillowWasp
Jones Creek, TX
(Zone 9a)

January 28, 2004
8:06 PM

Post #765944

After they sprout do you plant the sponge with it or do you pick it out and save the sponge for the next batch?
Dee
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

January 28, 2004
8:10 PM

Post #765948

Plant the whole thing =)
lotsadirt
Hanover Park, IL
(Zone 5a)

January 29, 2004
2:59 AM

Post #766317

The spongs thing does work, it took one night for my beans to start growing, I'm going to wait till they are a bit bigger to plant them. Has anyone noticed whether they transplant easily when started in a sponge?
jagonjune
Edmonton, AB
(Zone 3a)

January 29, 2004
1:50 PM

Post #766590

Finally something you all want that grows aplenty up here in the frozen north. That rose is our provincial emblem grows like a bad weed and I am always cutting them back in the gully behind the house> LOL
This sponge thing looks very intriguing - ususlly start in root trainers but then I wind up with empty cells because of no or delayed germination. This way I could just move the seeds that have germinated. Do you thing you could trim away most of the sponge and then plant the remaining sponge/seed in a root trainer
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

January 29, 2004
3:03 PM

Post #766643

I am doing experiments both ways, but yes its possible to cut the sponge all most off. I have done it on some things, and just left it on others. So far I am seeing no difference in the two methods, but its probably to soon to tell.
Let us know if this works for you. I agree about removing the seedlings as they sprout that has been great.
I also like being able to see what is going on, and I am saving a lot of rootstarter and not making nearly the mess.
Good Luck

WillowWasp

WillowWasp
Jones Creek, TX
(Zone 9a)

January 29, 2004
3:48 PM

Post #766663

Well I am going to go out and buy some sponges today. Think I saw a big bag at the dollar store and that should be plenty to start with. I wanted to do the rock wool but it is proving to be hard to wait on, and in the future when I am ready to plant then sponges are alot easier to get...
...did yall use bottom heat on all of these or none or what?
Dee
Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

January 29, 2004
5:55 PM

Post #766758

No, I did not use bottom heat, but I did have a utility light with a plant bulb in it, trained on them about a foot above the tray, and it did keep them warm. I've since moved the sponges to the GH to make room for brug seeds, and there is no heat on them at all.

PS -- am sending you an e-mail on the snowbank that MainTreeFrog has for sale.
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

January 29, 2004
10:14 PM

Post #766967

Hi all,
wanted to say that I had river birch sprout today. They are just tiny little specks & I had layed them on the surface of the sponge rather then tucking them into a slit because of their size. I had doubts it would work but it did. I got too impatient last night & tried to remove a shell cap from the end of a labernum sprout, and the whole time I was doing it, my brain was telling me to stop, to remember the last time I did that! LOL
Well, I did not listen and yes, I ripped the top off. I was so disgusted with myself! I can only assume it will wither & die now that the leaf is gone. What a bonehead I am! Like the sprout cared if it looked "messy". :~)
Other then that, pretty much the same, just more in the rows are sprouting, but all the same varieties. We had a sunny day & I got to spend it outside cleaning my sideyard where I pot things up & store all my plants to overwinter. It was so much fun!
Donna
lotsadirt
Hanover Park, IL
(Zone 5a)

January 29, 2004
10:53 PM

Post #767015

Kaufmann- I put my little cookie tray of 12 sponges (cut into 1x2inch pieces) on top of the water heater and cover with saran wrap for humidity. Looks lame but it really worked!
OhioBreezy
Dundee, OH
(Zone 5b)

January 29, 2004
10:53 PM

Post #767016

I used bottom heat on mine, and to date, all have germinated, some I have transplanted, and some will be moved soon. Then I will start the datura's.
This round was all japanese, or rare morning glories for me. And I am so delighted with the results I will probably try starting all my seeds this way!

Congrats Donna on your seedlings, and now keep your fingers off the messy ones!!!
Shirley1md
Ellicott City, MD
(Zone 7a)

January 31, 2004
7:01 PM

Post #768845

What are the different types of hydroponic media?

Rockwool
Rockwool is a fairly recent addition to the types of growing mediums available on the market. This sterile, porous, nondegradable medium is composed primarily of granite or limestone which is melted and spun like cotton candy. Rockwool is then formed into blocks, sheets, cubes, slabs, or flocking. Rockwool absorbs moisture without holding nutrients, and even when it is completely saturated still retains 20% air for your root system.

L.E.C.A.
L.E.C.A. stone is a type of clay which is super-fired to create a porous medium. It is also heavy enough to provide secure support for your plants' root systems. This non-degradable, sterile growing medium holds moisture, has a neutral pH, and also will wick nutrient solution to the root systems of your plants. L.E.C.A. is often the growing medium of choice of novices and professionals alike because it is easy to use.

Perlite
Perlite is primarily composed of minerals subjected to intense heat which expand and become very absorbent. This material is light, has a neutral pH, excellent wicking action, and is very porous. Perlite is used in a wide variety of hydroponic systems because of its ability to hold moisture and nutrients as well as air, and also because it is very easy to use.

Coconut Fiber
An alternative to using rockwool, Coconut fiber is the first "organic" medium to offer high performance in modern hydroponic applications. Coconut fiber can also be added into soil mixtures to increase water holding capacity. Coconut fiber holds more oxygen than rockwool and is pH neutral. Available as compressed bricks, when Coconut fiber is soaked in water it expands to 6 times its compressed size. Many growers have found that a 50/50 mix of coconut fiber and L.E.C.A is the perfect organic medium.

http://www.gtghydroponics.com/faq.asp#hydtype
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

January 31, 2004
7:40 PM

Post #768879

Shirley1,
...Interesting reading but I believe ( IMHO) that
...L.E.C.A. is a growing medium not applicable to germinating seeds.
...As discussed on another thread some have found (coir)Coconut Fiber, can support Fungus Gnats.
It seems in this link that to hydroponic growers these gnats are not much more than a pest...Could this be because the gnat larvae are not growing in soil around their hydro plants and consequently are not munching on the root systems?

Inquiring Minds Want To Know ...LOL
§hirley in Smallfrozentownrednecktractorville, WI
RikerBear
Seattle, WA
(Zone 8b)

February 10, 2004
10:06 PM

Post #778193

aknapp wrote on January 21st: Re: starter pots
I am looking for 2 1/2 by 3 I have lots of 4inch ones, and just can't find a decent price at anyplace I have found so far!!!

Alice,
I found a quick and inexpensive way to 'make' 2/1/2 in pots from discarded water and soda pop bottles.
I peel off the labels, and using an exacto knife I cut them into three bottomless tubes. These I place in a newspaper lined tray...fill with potting medium and plant away.
The newspaper holds in the soil, and when I'm ready to transplant I can either slide plant and soil out the bottom or if need be I can slice the side of the 'pot' and peel it away.
I'll try and remember to send a pic of one of my start trays later this evening when I get in from clinic.

RikerBear

P.S. Am loving the sponge germination...gonna have to try this.



This message was edited Feb 10, 2004 3:08 PM
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

February 11, 2004
1:38 AM

Post #778388

rikerbear
Thanks so much for the tip, I shall have to give it a try!!! I am always up for trying new ways to do things as you can tell.
RikerBear
Seattle, WA
(Zone 8b)

February 11, 2004
2:44 AM

Post #778441

Here is the pic of one of my starter trays using the water bottle 'pots'. If you look real close you can see a couple Trumpet vine babies poping up.

RikerBear

Thumbnail by RikerBear
Click the image for an enlarged view.

aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

February 11, 2004
8:11 AM

Post #778617

Very nice looking, we don't use as many 20 ounce bottles as we do 2 liter bottles but they are definitely on my list of things to save now.
Thanks for posting the photo, everything looks good.
alice
OhioBreezy
Dundee, OH
(Zone 5b)

February 12, 2004
1:27 PM

Post #779610

Rikerbear - how did you plant your trumpet vines? I have several variety I am growing, but never can seem to grow from seed? I have a yellow one that I take cuttings from for several years, a nice old almost red one, and another that is more of an orange red, leans toward orange. I always just move the babies that runner underground, but want to start some from seed just ONCE successfully!
Any suggestions? Please and thank you :)
Laurrie
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

February 12, 2004
3:39 PM

Post #779722

Rikerbear is there any chance you have a red one, I have yellow and the orange, but I would really like the one that is red.

Ohio I don't think I have seen the one that you refer to as orange red. Does your red one have a lot of orange in it? I saw a photo of one that was really red, but its hard to say if it was touched up or not. (I can't usually tell when things have been doctored)
Good luck growing from seed Ohio, I have only tried cuttings and underground runners.

OhioBreezy
Dundee, OH
(Zone 5b)

February 12, 2004
5:09 PM

Post #779797

aknapp - the more red one is just that, more of a deep dark orange that looks more red in color. I will have to search thru my floppies and see if I can find a pic of it!!
If I do I will post it here on this thread for you.

RikerBear
Seattle, WA
(Zone 8b)

February 12, 2004
5:37 PM

Post #779829

Ohio,
I purchased some 'red' trumpet vine seeds via Ebay. When they arrived I simply plopped them into some potting mix, covered them very lightly, watered well, covered the seed tray and placed them under lights. Two out of three sprouted in about a week, and seem to be doing well (so far)

aknapp,
These seeds are preported to be 'red', but ones person's red is another's orange...hehehehehe
Would you like a couple seeds...I still have about 20 unplanted

RikerBear
OhioBreezy
Dundee, OH
(Zone 5b)

February 13, 2004
1:03 AM

Post #780327

Thanks Rikerbear, I will try your way, I had always just laid them barely under the soil, but maybe I needed to keep them just a little more watered and add the light, do you use a heat pad under them?
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

February 13, 2004
2:19 AM

Post #780398

Riker
Thanks so much for the offer, but I all ready have bunches more seed than I am going to be able to use, just can't take on anymore as much as I am tempted to!!!!
I am nearly out of room and trying to figure out where I am going to go next when things have to be potted.

Ohio how kind of you, I would love to see a picture. I am hoping before next fall to be able to make room for a red one, if it is enough different than my orange to make it worth the time.
RikerBear
Seattle, WA
(Zone 8b)

February 13, 2004
3:15 AM

Post #780432

Ohio, no heating pad...but the room I keep my seeds growing in is kept at around 72f

aknapp, I understand completely...boy do I! hehehehehe

RikerBear
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

February 17, 2004
9:34 PM

Post #784368

Ok,
here is my final take on using sponges for tree/shrub seeds.
Don't do it! LOL
No, seriously, I am loving the sponges (not foam, but cellulose) for things that normally sprout within 2 weeks. I figure your gonna cut that in half with the sponges. But anything longer then that & mold becomes an issue. I did get some good results on tree seeds that were fast coming up, but the ones that are not, I am going to remove them & bury them in soil & hope they will come up that way. I have had to toss many out & others are not showing ANY signs of life. I thought perhaps it was due to them needing cold strat, but I researched & eliminated that as a problem.
I am so glad I did this experiment. No regrets at all. Thank you Alice!
Donna
texas007tornado
Alvin, TX
(Zone 9b)

February 18, 2004
1:41 AM

Post #784541

OK, all, I just got my setup going last night. I cleaned my sponges, scissors, hands and 5 gallon square rectangular container 7 1/2 inches high (see through) with mild bleach solution, rinsed them really well and cut sponges in squares.

I poked holes in some and slit some down one side. The sponges were moist but not too wet. I put the seeds in sponges and lined them up in the bottom of the plastic container with labels for each type of seed.

I set the container on a heating pad and put a stick on thermometer on the side of container. I set the heating pad on medium. I covered the whole thing with saran wrap.

This evening there is a lot of condensation covering the whole inside. The temp is 76. Is the temp ok, you think?

What I am really afraid of is mold. Everything I have ever tried to grow here in the winter ends up moldy. I live in Houston area and it is extremely humid here. Maybe the heat will keep the mold away?

How will I know if I have too much moisture in the plastic container?

Any help appreciated.

I love this place!!!!

texas007tornado
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

February 18, 2004
2:50 AM

Post #784578

If it is anything like RW, when you squeezed some of the water out before planting you will see a slight change in the color of the sponge and no water should be puddled in the bottom of your container.
...I turn the cover back on diagonal corners on the container for 5 or 10 minutes everyday so fresh air gets in.
...Green houses that have too much humidity with no air exchanged or air movement have big moldy areas grow on the plants sometimes, but that usually is not as devastating as a little tub planter.
...Wash your hands before messin' with the babie's nursery too =)
Good Luck,
§
Azalea
Jonesboro, GA
(Zone 7b)

February 18, 2004
4:22 AM

Post #784641

I finally broke down and bought some Rock wool cubes to try -but with the shipping , I think the sponges are much more economical.
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

February 18, 2004
8:52 AM

Post #784717

texas

I don't know what your trying to grow but 76 seems pretty high to me, I try to keep things around 65 to 70 unless something says it needs warmer temps.
I wish somebody that knew more than I do would come along. What are you trying to get started?
Unless the seeds you are trying to start call for that high a temp I would get it down a little bit.
I think I fried some seeds that I had on a heating pad that got to warm.
LindaSC
Columbia, SC
(Zone 8a)

February 18, 2004
2:06 PM

Post #784929

Texas, I wish I could have seen you getting things set-up. I have visions of a "mad scientist" in a white lab coat, notebook and wild hair.

So far, I don't see rw out performing anything else. I have "experiments" going where I put some seeds in rw, some in sponge, some in potting soil (all the same kind of seed) and not much is happening. The biggest difference is in type and freshness of seed. I'll give it a little longer before I decide.
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

February 18, 2004
4:33 PM

Post #785006

Texas,
... ooops !
...I missed that ! Temps normally should be 70° to 73° degrees and you need to get one of those instant read thermometers and check the SOIL temp not the container. You can find these anywhere in the cook supply aisle in Walmart or wherever =)
texas007tornado
Alvin, TX
(Zone 9b)

February 23, 2004
2:15 AM

Post #788987

Hey, I have new babies already. I put them in the sponges on the 17th and 18th and the moonflower seeds are all swelling and bursting open. I had three seeds that had soaked overnight and three that had not and they both started opening up after three days, yippppppeeeeeeeee!!!!

This is toooooooooo much fun. I think I waited too long to start my experiment, it will be time to plant in the ground in about 3 weeks for me, I've got a lot of seeds to plant, lol.
PudgyMudpies

(Zone 9a)

February 23, 2004
3:26 AM

Post #789059

Congratulations Texas!!! It is so much fun, isn't it??
Good for you. And so what if it is almost time to plant in the ground! It was fun & you learned a new way to start seeds so it was worth it. It is so much faster, isn't it?
Donna
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

February 23, 2004
8:47 AM

Post #789137

Good for you Texas, my favorite part is being able to see what is happening!
I love being able to look and actually see the root rather than having to wait for it to come through the top of the soil.
Guess I am just one of those instant gratification people.
Good luck with the rest of your seeds.
Alice
Badseed
Hillsboro, OH
(Zone 6a)

February 25, 2004
12:49 PM

Post #791294

Alice honey, I think you have us all ruined. I stopped by a dollar store yesterday to pick up something and found myself on the other side of the store playing with 10/$1 sponges! Now, would you happen to have any idea why I would be interested in those??? Suddenly I had visions of pastel checker boards and miniature chia sponge pets in my head. I threw them down and ran for the door, remembering I have a huge bag of seed mix in my car and a three pack of 72 cells awaiting seed babies. Yet, in my mind those sponges are still dancing! You have us ruined I say! So are the foamy type ones as good as the fibrous ones? LOL
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

February 25, 2004
1:05 PM

Post #791321

Badseed, I am so glad that you were able to escape and hopefully with only minimul lasting damage!!!!
You certainly gave me a good laugh!!!
I like the foamy ones because it seems to me they are easier for me to work with, but the cellulose hold moisture better.
After reading that they were a concern I switched to the others, and tried some of them.
I did find when trying to put things into soil that it was harder to keep the foamy ones where I wanted them than it was the others.
I was able on most things to get the sponge completely off, which was my preference, but of the ones that I couldn't do that with the cellulose was definitely easier to deal with.
I have lots of cellpacks started also if that makes you feel any better!!! I loved the sponges for larger seeds, but when it came to the small ones I had no luck at all with them. I don't know if that was just me (I am still so new to all of this starting from seed) or whether it was the method. I couldn't get any of the tiny seeds into soil successfully!
Chia sponge pets, now there is an interesting idea!!! I wonder if there is any money in that!!! Probably not I would guess its a pretty limited market!
Have a great day.
texas007tornado
Alvin, TX
(Zone 9b)

February 25, 2004
1:59 PM

Post #791380

Hey all, progress report:

My moonvine seeds all three came up and now they have two leaves and are about 4 inches tall. They are getting long, should I wait til they get some real leaves or can I just put the sponge right on into the ground? It's gonna be 35 here tonight, would they survive 35 degrees? It gets up to about 50-60 during day now.
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

February 25, 2004
2:25 PM

Post #791402

Wait for real leaves if possible, and it sounds like it would be a little chilly outside for them, without some covering. I am not an expert by any means but I would think until they get established that they need to be in the 50 to 60 degree range at least.
Azalea
Jonesboro, GA
(Zone 7b)

February 25, 2004
2:55 PM

Post #791439

I would not put them in the ground intil frost danger is over, the new leaves just couldn't take it, an if it dips below 32, you would lose them for sure. I did this last year, we had a late cold snap in March and I lost most of mine.

If they are getting too leggy for your sponges, I would pot them up til it is safe.

This message was edited Feb 25, 2004 11:55 AM
texas007tornado
Alvin, TX
(Zone 9b)

February 26, 2004
2:29 PM

Post #792478

Kewl, thanks guys for the info. I never even gave it a thought, I can put them in some of those black plastic pots I've been gathering since last year and they can grow in there til mid March, I might have moonflowers blooming in my dining room window, lol. Now that would be a sight. Not to mention the worried look on my hubby's face, he already thinks I came from the Little House of Horrors Play, lol. "Feed me, feed me, feed me", lol

My desert willow seeds are up, but they are so tiny, how the heck will I ever plant them without tearing them up trying to get them out of the sponge? I think I'll try to cut away the foam and leave just a little around the seedling. I never thought about this problem when I put all those little seeds in the sponges.
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

February 26, 2004
2:59 PM

Post #792497

Good luck with the little ones. I loved the sponges for starting large seed, but the small seeds I tried I didn't have much luck with for that very reason.
I would suggest pricking out a few to thin and try planting the whole thing until they have some size to them. Trim as much of the sponge away as you can without damaging roots and unless they are really crowded let them work it out for themselves.
Depending on how big the plant itself gets, my theory is still that as the roots mature they will do what they need to as far as getting free.
(this theory of course has not been proven yet since I haven't gotten anything large enough to see) I probably won't know until summer if I am accurate or not.
Or maybe you can cut the sponge in half and do 2 pots, I would try to do as little disturbance to the roots as possible. I think that was part of the mistake that I made. I got a little over confident about what I could get away with and got taught another one of my ' learn the hard way lessons'
Azalea
Jonesboro, GA
(Zone 7b)

February 26, 2004
3:14 PM

Post #792515

Been reading about all your excitement over the sponges. I had bought some RW on ebay, and used a few cubes, doing well BTW. But yesterday I got a bag of 12 sponges at the $1 store. I cut one of them into 1" cubes with a papercutter and cut slashes in them for the seeds - I think we can just plant sponge and all in the soil, as long as the sponge is covered so it will not wick out the moisture.

My DH says I am nuts - he said "That won't work beacuse the sponges will get hard" - he just doesn't understand the concept!
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

February 26, 2004
3:57 PM

Post #792549

My family has been convinced for the last 5 years that I am not sane, they quit even asking questions when I do strange things!!!
I agree about getting the sponges down into the soil. I had a foam one that kept popping out of the soil on me. The seedling was very small and they way it had grown into it I didn't dare put it all the way down into the soil. I eventually lost it because it did keep drying out and popping the poor little seedling up on top of the soil. It was a sad sight!!!
Azalea
Jonesboro, GA
(Zone 7b)

February 26, 2004
5:30 PM

Post #792625

I got the cellulose - think they may hold moisture better according to earlier posts - this makes sense.
LindaSC
Columbia, SC
(Zone 8a)

February 26, 2004
5:36 PM

Post #792631

It was a fun way to spend some boring winter time, but as for me, I still like cups or soda bottles. I get much better root development in starter mix. I haven't been that thrilled with rw either.
texas007tornado
Alvin, TX
(Zone 9b)

February 29, 2004
12:39 AM

Post #794785

Well, it's the 28th and so far only the moonvine and desert willow seeds have shown up. I have kept the soil at 70 degrees more or less 1 degree and I put them in on the 17th. That's eleven days, I would think there should have been more show up by now.

How long should I wait to decide whether it worked or not, any ideas? I have

Woodrose
Manihot grahamii (hardy tapioca tree)
Jatrophia gossypifolia
Carob caratonia saliliqua
Red Lantana
Thunbergia alata
Red Ruellia
Datura Triple Yellow
Schizopetalus Hibiscus
Morning Glory
White Moonvine

Thanks





Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

February 29, 2004
2:14 AM

Post #794887

I wouldn't give up just yet. Are the seeds still viable? Not soft or mushy? Datura can take up to a month. Morning glory can take a while too if it wasn't nicked. On my sponge experiment I got tired of it and planted the seeds that had not yet sprouted in soiless seed starter. Most everything eventually came up. On the rest of them, I have found this site to be really useful in helping me determine a target germination period for my seeds. Maybe you can use it?

http://theseedsite.co.uk/germination.html

Good luck!
shudhave
Upton, MA
(Zone 5b)

March 3, 2004
12:34 AM

Post #797233

I have been watching this thread with enthusiasm and finally got the bug to try some veltheimia bracteata seeds from my last-year's bloom. I've been saving them and not knowing quite what to do with them as far as planting. Two weeks ago I put them in sponge cubes and set them by the heater and have been occasionally checking in to see what, until now, had been nothing interesting. Tonight there are signs of little cracks and hints of threads coming out of the seeds!!! What an exciting development! Thanks so much for the info and expertise that you share so enthusiastically! I will post a picture when there is photographable progress!
KayJones
Lee's Summit, MO
(Zone 6a)

March 3, 2004
3:10 AM

Post #797366

I traded for some neat gourd seeds from Gourd, stuck them in sponge squares three days ago, and already have 6 sprouted - this REALLY works, and fast, especially if you set the containers on a heat source.
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

March 3, 2004
8:16 AM

Post #797521

Congratulations
I am so glad that you have had success with my experimental methods of seed starting. I still love it for starting any medium to larger seeds but for smaller ones I like more traditional methods, was not at all happy with the results of things like poppy seeds that are very small.
I look forward to your pictures!!
OhioBreezy
Dundee, OH
(Zone 5b)

March 3, 2004
11:22 AM

Post #797572

I too, am so excited that you shared your "experiment" with us, I had numerous things up and sprout way before i ever imagined they would!! Thank you!!
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

March 3, 2004
12:03 PM

Post #797596

You are so very welcome! I love experiments and this one was really fun!!
I have also gained a couple new friends and I am even more thankful for that.
DG has to be the only place on the internet that is really worthwhile day after day. The rest of the cool sites seem to come and go but this one has a spark of magic!!!! that will keep it going through the ups and downs of all of our lives.
OhioBreezy
Dundee, OH
(Zone 5b)

March 3, 2004
1:01 PM

Post #797665

I agree with you DG is the very best! So many new friends and the wealth of information here is tops. Just ask and you always get an answer to most anything you need to know.

My husband has started his Asparagus, moon & stars watermelon, 2 kinds of Thai tomato plants in the sponge method so he is now hooked too. Of course, he says, hey I thought of that before, I just told him then why hadn't he told me about his thought, NOT, he was just jealous someone else came up with it!! LOL too funny.

DG makes you come back each day to check in, and well worth it!!
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

March 3, 2004
1:15 PM

Post #797679

Ohio
That is a great story!!!! I can't even take credit for the sponge thing because if it hadn't been for the rockwool posts by Brugie and somebody making a suggestions I would have never thought of it on my own.
It just goes to show what that winter boredom can do for you!
I really hope everyone else has had as much fun with it as I did!
OhioBreezy
Dundee, OH
(Zone 5b)

March 4, 2004
12:30 AM

Post #798195

LOL, well I had quite the chuckle from the hubby that day, yeah right!! anyway yes, Brugie is a doll, so nice and I just love this forum and all the people who so willingly share their ideas and experiments so we can all watch the progress!!!

I have made so many new gardening friends along the way here on DG and when my computer crashed, I truly missed checking in everyday, you just don't realize how much the computer enhances everyday life LOL

Keep up the good work on all the experiments and keep us all posted!!
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

March 4, 2004
9:40 AM

Post #798452

I agree totally! Crashed computers are really bad!!!!
I have been really interested in how everyone else is doing now with their experiments, I am pretty much done with all of the larger seeds that I had and moved on to the smaller harder seeds for me to germinate.
I need to find someone to trade seeds with for starting.
I will start all the large and medium sized ones if they will start all the small ones and then we can trade plants!!!!!
I have a really hard time with the little ones and keeping them alive if I get them germinated. (Just don't have that touch yet!!)
OhioBreezy
Dundee, OH
(Zone 5b)

March 4, 2004
10:56 AM

Post #798491

LOL well start looking up all the MI folks, I am sure someone near you would be more than happy to help you start your seeds. Do you have a Roundup there or near you? Perhaps you could find someone to swap seeds with before a roundup, then you could "retrieve" your seedlings at one of those gatherings?? Always a thought.
Goodluck!!!
Melissa_Ohio
Southwestern, OH
(Zone 6b)

March 13, 2004
2:01 PM

Post #807247

I couldn't resist trying this! so... Thursday I cut up the sponges, put the seeds in, and YESTERDAY I already had this.

Only one seed, the rest are just sitting there, but I am amazed.

This is a moonflower seed, and I don't know how fast they normally germinate, but I thought this was QUICK!

Thumbnail by Melissa_Ohio
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Melissa_Ohio
Southwestern, OH
(Zone 6b)

March 13, 2004
2:03 PM

Post #807250

Here is the whole pan, mostly Daylily seeds that I hadn't started yet, and moonflowers. Though I couldn't resist throwing in a couple of tomato just to see what they do. :-)

thank you so much for this thread, it has been very informative and entertaining!!!

Thumbnail by Melissa_Ohio
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Starzz

Starzz
Newcastle, ON
(Zone 5a)

March 26, 2004
12:57 PM

Post #819463

That's neat Melissa...Makes me want to try it..
How are they doing now? Can you take a photo?
Smockette
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 5, 2004
2:19 AM

Post #859555

Just bumping this thread so I can find it!
aknapp, what is your latest progress report?
Please?
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

May 5, 2004
2:44 AM

Post #859603

Hah! I think Alice is probably busy making her own 'Wonderland' by planting the bazillion seedlings she started.
;-D
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

May 5, 2004
10:01 AM

Post #859865

I wish that was true scooterbug!

After working so hard to start my gazillion little seedlings in sponges, rockwool, and regular methods, I moved them outside too soon and lost so many of them that I had to start a lot of them over! (then I lost a lot of those too) I think I am not meant to have morning glories!

The weather here has been very uncooperative and I have learned some very valuable lessons in trying to push the growing season in Michigan! I was thinking I was only trying to push it by a couple of weeks, but when I sat down and thought about it I was actually about 6 weeks ahead. (gee I wonder why that would cause a problem) haha

I had also done a lot of winter sowing for the first time this year and I think that was the method that I was the most impressed with. Just the ease of it and the lack of having to harden off plants. The other bonus was that all of the bottles of those seedlings have come through the ups and downs of the weather with no problem at all. I just have to find out now if I can apply that method to the plants that I did so miserably with.

Is is possible to start annuals with that method also?

I have managed to kill all of the seedlings that I started with sponges and rockwool, but because of my own ignorance not because of the method that was used.

I also discovered that soaking seeds in a distilled water (don't know if thats necessary) and hydrogen peroxide mix, helped them to germinate faster.

I wish I had some wonderful photos to show you of all my successes but I guess that will not happen this year!!!
Next year I promise not to get so impatient with attempting to move things outside.

I didn't have much luck starting brug seeds in rockwool or sponges, but I think it was me not the method. I had been watching the other thread about starting them in the rockwool, and they had great success with that method, so I have to think it was me doing something wrong!

I had a really good time trying everything and have some ideas now on what to do and what not to do next year.

I must remember not to let the boredom of January get to me so badly that I start things before I should. The bottles that I winter sowed in late February and March did much better than the ones that I had done in January!

Hope this answers all of the questions, and I really appreciate all of the other posts on this thread and the useful information that I gleaned from it!

I think my biggest success for the winter was keeping the 4 cuttings of brugs alive that poppysue had been kind enough to share with me. They are all doing well, even though they have had their share of abuse! The winds here have been hard on them but they are hanging in there waiting for some warmer weather! I am hoping that I may have some blooms yet this summer, having never seen one in person I can hardly wait! I keep looking to see if I see anything that looks like a bud but so far nothing!



Starzz

Starzz
Newcastle, ON
(Zone 5a)

May 5, 2004
12:08 PM

Post #859922

Sorry to hear you lost your seedlings..
It must have been so disappointing for you after all that caring for them.

I lost some of my seedlings as well..
I didn't try the sponge method, just in potting mix...but I did put them outside too early..and they died.
Yesterday my geraniums got sunscald, while I was at work.

It makes me want to say..to heck with starting things from seed..just spend the money and buy the plants at the garden centre.

Live and learn.
aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

May 5, 2004
12:14 PM

Post #859925

Starzz don't be so discouraged!

If I try something more than once and feel that its the seeds and not me I usually give up and buy it if its something I really want.

I love the adventure of trying things from seeds and I had the good fortune last fall and during the winter of many DG members sharing their seeds with me! (they may not want to any more)
To me that is one of the greatest parts of this site, I have met such fantastic people, who have been so generous, that to be able to grow plants from seeds that they have shared with me, was such a great gift that I feel worse than if I had purchased the seeds myself.
I also know from reading the older posts that I am not the first nor you, to have done things too soon!
Keep trying and experimenting and find out what works for you!
That is too me one of the most fascinating parts of gardening, we all live with different conditions and different zones, and yet we also have a lot of similarities!
Don't get discouraged!

Starzz

Starzz
Newcastle, ON
(Zone 5a)

May 5, 2004
12:34 PM

Post #859945

Thanks for the pep talk aknapp..

I will carry on with what did survive.

I guess the fact that we live in Zone 5a makes us so anxious for the season to get going.

Have a great day..I am off work today and will "baby" my seedlings and plants.
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

May 5, 2004
12:43 PM

Post #859953

Alice,
...So sorry to hear of your losses my friend, but look on the bright side. Ya dint get bored this winter didja ? Neither did I. Went overboard here number wise also. Found out that small seedlings 'croak' when the trays are put in the cold frame too early.

...Speaking of 'early', in the future I will not start ANY seeds until February , unless there is a special one like the Cardboard Sago Palm seeds I just got =)

...The brug seeds I sowed in Oct & Nov basically failed . Germination rates were almost 100% but the growth was so poor I tossed them. The brug seeds I sowed in Feb are flourishing. There is a lot to be said about the growing season I guess. Unless you have a commercial GH set -up . HAH !

...Winter sowing (Feb) went great, even the tomatoes. They are shorter but such nice dark green stocky healthy plants compared to the March seeds started indoors.

(((Nice to see you again )))

Thumbnail by scooterbug
Click the image for an enlarged view.

aknapp
Cassopolis, MI
(Zone 5a)

May 5, 2004
12:59 PM

Post #859967

Scooterbug I agree totally about the things I started late in February, they are the ones that seem to have done the best!

I agree about not getting bored, this year maybe I will have to do some sewing for the grandkids for a couple of months to fill the void! I am sure they would be happier with pajamas then my plants!

I have learned a lot and had a lot of fun doing it and sharing here with everybody!

I am still hoping that this fall when seeds are plentiful that everyone will still share their seeds with me even though I am such a dismal failure this year!!! haha

I try to always look at life as just one huge learning experience and not get too serious about the dissappointments that come along!

I am so sorry that you had similar experiences!!! The daturas that I had sown in January inside were doing really well, they were about 8 inches tall when I moved them outside and a couple had actually had very small blooms on them. Those I felt bad when I realized I had lost them! I do have one tough guy out there that seems to have survived it all and is trying real hard to get some new leaves! He is the last of the ones I had so I am trying really hard to be nice to him.

Small seedlings also croak if you put them in a hoop house and have winds and rain that blow it off, not to mention the cold that night!!! haha

Take care my friends and remember if we didn't have anything new to learn how boring life would be!



Kaufmann
GOD's Green Earth
United States
(Zone 8b)

May 6, 2004
2:00 AM

Post #860682

Alice:
I'm so sorry you lost your seedlings, but man, oh man are you going to love those brug blooms when they arrive! I hope the weather begins cooperating for you soon! Gretchen
Melissa_Ohio
Southwestern, OH
(Zone 6b)

January 23, 2005
4:57 AM

Post #1253062

This was fun to watch, and actually worked, so I thought I'd bump it for some of the newer folks.
PerennialGirl
Winnipeg, MB
(Zone 4a)

February 10, 2009
10:43 PM

Post #6121296

I just found this thread and thought it was very interesting.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 18, 2009
1:05 AM

Post #6153367

I have a large piece of black foam in my attic just waiting to try this

blomma

blomma
Casper, WY
(Zone 4a)

February 23, 2009
6:12 AM

Post #6177001

I have also tried doing he sponge action but found it was difficult to seperated the roots from the sponge. The tiny roots would find its way into the sponge.

I do the wet kitchen towel thing now just for testing seeds. Below is a photo taken today of Centaurea macrocephala (perennial) seeds that have sprouted after 6 days inside a moist kitchen towel, then placed in a baggie. These seeds are from 2006 and I was testing the how viable the seeds were. As you can see, the seeds are very much alive. These 3-year old seeds had 7 out of 10 germination.

Now to plant them in regular soil so they will continue to grow. Will give them to my daughter since she has a sunroom. I don't have the space or sun in my small house.

I usually sow all hardy perennial seeds in my coldframe for better germination since many perennials require stratification.

Thumbnail by blomma
Click the image for an enlarged view.

blomma

blomma
Casper, WY
(Zone 4a)

February 23, 2009
6:14 AM

Post #6177005

And here is what a mature plant of Centaurea macrocephala looks like, blooming summer.

Thumbnail by blomma
Click the image for an enlarged view.

michigander
Lachine, MI

February 23, 2009
4:00 PM

Post #6178144

I have been reading this thread with fascination. Has anyone tried cuttings using this method? Like possibly hydranga's or roses or leaf cuttings?

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 23, 2009
5:42 PM

Post #6178684

Blomma I think you should plant the sponge instead of trying to get the seedling out

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=765944

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=765948
2ndChance
Tempe, AZ
(Zone 9b)

March 2, 2009
2:26 PM

Post #6210492

Thanks for bumping this thread! I'm off to buy sponges!

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