I just started 72 plants in the Jiffy seed starter greenhouse. Seems to be working well, as many are up already, and it's not even been a week. Mostly lettuces, cabbages, and a couple kinds of tomatoes are up. Some of the others may take their time.
It's the one I got at Wal-Mart with the 72 little peat pellets (look like huge tablets) that swell up when watered the first time.
I had to poke some air holes in the plastic dome lid, as it was staying too damp and condensation was collecting.
I have it under a plain flourescent light held about 2 inches above it.
Has anyone else used these for starting seeds ? Did it work ok for you ?
Take the lids off...their only purpose is to keep the soil and humidity regulated for germination...their purpose is finished. Your little plants need to learn how to live in the regular world. Even if all of your seeds are not up yet, take them off.
When you plant the peat pellets in a bigger container be sure to pull the netting off. It does not decompose very fast and sometimes strangles roots.
You lights sound just about right...be sure to raise it as your seedlings grow.
I've left the dome on for a while longer with tiny seedlings, but only after poking some holes for ventilation as you've done. I like not having to water as often that way. If you don't take the dome off when the seedlings are tiny though, sometimes you have to get them used to the real world a bit more gradually, taking the dome off for increasingly long periods over several days rather than just suddenly removing it.
Peat pellets... some people hate to deal with them, and others wouldn't garden without them... but if you follow Melody's advice about removing the netting, they should work out fine for you.
If you're hesitant about taking the lids all the way off, prop them open with a couple of pencils wedged in at the front. This will give more air circulation than the holes. The air needs to circulate for the best plant health. This keeps down fungal diseases.
Yeah, critter is right, some people swear by peat products...some people swear at them...I happen to be one of the latter.
I'm so glad you mentioned about the netting. I wouldn't have known they wouldn't decompose fast enough.
I had one other bad experience with the pellets, and decided to give it another try. This time, so far, so good.
My seedlings are almost tall enough to touch the dome, so I guess it is time to take it off. Thanks for the helpful advice. I surely don't want them to have fungal problems before I can even get them out to the garden.
you still need to spread out the roots after taking off the netting. Some people dunk the seedlings in a pan of water to unfurl the roots, then plant.
If you don't you will find that the plants never really expand their root systems much beyond the original diameter of the jiffie. I have seen the same thing happen with rootbound annuals from the plastic packs, so I don't think it is an exclusive problem with the peat pellets.
I bought some four inch pots of ornamental grass from a nursery here last year. When I got the containers home and emptied them to plant in the ground you could see the shape of the jiffy size pot they had grown up in and were root bound in the shape of. . So the nursery was just selling the plugs as larger plants. Sigh. I did spread the roots out and they did take off finally but I found that rather deceptive..
I used the peat pellets last year and the ones I left the netting on were annuals that I would have to remove in the fall when they died-It actually helped me to be able to get them up w/ the roots...all the perennials & such I took the netting off. LOVED the peat thing last year-saved my trays and am getting more pellets today for more annulals!!
I started 20 trays of seeds, 12 with a potting mix and 8 with Jiffy pellets. I'm not seeing much difference in germination rate. If there are huge droplets of water on the top, I'll take it off for a few hours and wipe it dry. My reasoning is, if there is that much condensation, then my flats must be too wet. If there is just a mist, I leave them in place.
My problem with them is my fault and not the product. I keep putting things with different germination rates in the same flat, so then the problem. Do I take the lid off when the first ones germinate or do you wait for them all.,, blah blah blah. I think I've learned the lesson, but still have flats that have half germ. half not., so I'll either kill the ones that are up with too much humidity or kill the others with not enough
LorraineR, gotcha...LOL! I did the same thing. My inserts aren't separated into 6 or 9's. It's all one piece. Guess which one I planted multiple varieties in? Of course not the trays with the Jiffys...that would have been too easy. I know I could cut them apart, but I'm afraid I'll disrupt the babies.
I know, I did cut some of mine apart and I'm sure I murdered them. Not many are coming up. Course I forget that it's just Feb. so some of them may just not be ready!!
It's so warm here, it feels like spring
I swear by Jiffy cubes. It is very relaxing watering them, watching them grow, and sowing the seeds. Peppers can stay in the cubes before transplanting outdoors, Tomatoes I start in Jiffys and transplant them into larger Jiffy peat pots. Everybody here agrees to remove the netting, this is easily done, it tears off easily. Any seeds that do not germinate, I shove a French marigold seed in the cube. I have stored old used cubes on trays to plant pansies in the fall, only to have the seeds originally planted to germinate when the cubes were rewetted. Patience is needed I guess.
This is my first attempt at using this product. I'm quite impressed at the simplicity of it. Leaving nothing to chance, I've already got my seeds the old fashioned way in the seed trays and they are doing very well. It will be interesting to see how the seeds in the 72 peat pellets perform in comparison.
I've read the board above and will take note of the tips. For the price though, $5.50 at Walmart I felt this was worth a go. So far I haven't been able to find replacements for these particular peat pellets, presumably Jiffy do these?
If I have any success, then next year I might try and bring on my tomatoes with the 36 sized ones which has much bigger pellets. I already have too many tomato seedlings already this year so no point in doing that. At first glance, I am impressed with the product and the price.
This is my first year starting seeds. I got out my seed packs and used the 4 cell pks. which I pull apart to be able to take them out as each kind starts.
I have put all different kinds of seeds in a tray with the clear dome on a heating matt. When they sprout and have their first leaves I take them out and put them in another tray with the dome and leave the lid cracked a bit and let them acclamate a bit and then move them under my lights. I keep the others in the first tray untill they sprout and then they get moved to the second tray. It is working so far for me as far as starting them.
I am not doing as good with the peat pots but it coud be the grower:-)
I have had trouble with peat pots not breaking down, too. I try to make sure that the netting around the pellets and the peat pots both have at least a split down one side. I take the top rim off the peat pot, too, so it won't wick water up above the soil level.
This is the my first year trying the peat pellets. I bought 3 of the 36 pellet houses. One flat has all tomatoes. One flat has mostly beans. One flat has all types of peppers. I know they advertised the 36 pack for tomotoes but I thought why not try it for the others in hopes that I would be able to directly plant in the garden since they were bigger. I have to say, every single pellet has sprouted and appears healthy. I removed the top after about half of the plants sprung in each flat since some of the plants have different germination rates. Did not seem to impact the non germinated plants much having the top off but I have them in a room in my house where the temp is a constant 75. I provided no light during germination. I now have them in front of the window getting sun 1/2 day. Will move to sun all day next week then outside on the deck. The flats were like 6 bucks at wal-mart and seed packs totaled about 10 bucks. So I got about 28 bucks in for what I spent 100 bucks for last year. I am now waiting to see how hearty the plants get which is probably the true test if I am doing things right, but so far so good.
I just finished planting Foxy foxglove in my Jiffy greenhouse. This is my first time using it. Such tiny seeds! I probably put 6-10 seeds in each pot just because they are so little, it seemed silly putting only 2-3 in each pot. Wish me luck.
wal mart carries the replacements pellet you just need to look around.
this year I'm also using wal marts set up except when I purchase my first group they were at the 6.00 price, and now I like the small discount as every little bit helps.
I have mine on heat mats and they build up a lot of moisture, but at soon as my plants are up to the top of the dome then they are removed and placed under lights. I continue to do this until all have germinated or if after a week there isn't anything then I replant using that pellet and plant with something else. It can get confusing at times as to what is really planted... but I keep pretty good records...
I'm on my 8th set of tomatoes and other vegies... so far so good...
also, when the moisture does keep me from seeing the seedlings I either tap on it or if there is a lot I removed it and drain off the excess..
I bought some of these and I'm trying different plants in them. The ornamental pepper seeds I planted took only 3 or 4 days to germinate and grow sprouts at least an inch high. It looks like the coleus may be the next to sprout, and maybe the bachelor buttons after that. I planted cactus seeds too, but I know those do take awhile to germinate. I'm hoping now that I can keep all these plants alive!
I started several trays of the Peat Pellets, and several trays of the Egg-Carton-like peat pot flats with Jiffy mix in them. One flat of the pellets isn't sprouting - and I can't figure out why. My current theory is that I managed to get it too warm - I'm not blaming the peat pellets - but I think I like the Jiffy mix in pots a little better.
Yes I first soak the pellet in the tray, then I plant the seeds keep cover on with no venting until seedling are touching the top, then I remove and put under lights, once I get the second set (true leaves) of leaves then I am transplanting to individual pots...
if they dry then I have a small watering can ( I love it cause it does a gentle shower flow) to keep them moist.
One thing of interest is even though I'm top watering and have a fan on and off on them, I've only seen 1 maybe 2 nats. hurray.
I think it has helped for me to let them dry pretty good between waterings.
Probably nothing you don't do already, but I've been spraying them with one of the little sprays you get from Dollar General or similar, set to a very gentle spray. Well worth a couple of dollars. Sometimes what I do on my other plants is make it a fine jet which I spray on to my hand and it drips onto the plants like soft raindrops. :) I've also been experimenting with tepid water, which I know tomatoes like and figure that the Jiffy seed trays would like it too. So far so good, all of my pots are showing strong seedlings, some thinning was needed since the twos and threes I planted mostly all seemed to sprout.
I've thought about the price of replacement peat pellets and it is just not cost effective since you can buy a brand new Jiffy Mini Greenhouse for about the same price. I think what I will do is save the greenhouses for future use, but remove the plastic trays inside and replace them with soil filled Jiffy Pots instead (pkt of 50 for under $2 at Lowes/Home Depot - which should be enough to fill two mini greenhouses), and half a bag of 8lb soil seems to do that many.
Well, since I've been able to get plants outside for a few hours each day, this has really helped to eliminate the nats. I water outside and when they come in they are just damp.
I have also switched over to coir fiber for my new starter soil for seeds. No nats at all! Plus it makes for easier transplanting and the fiber falls away from the new seedling with no damage to the roots. LOVE IT.
I'm using the tray and dooms that I originally purchased from Walmart and filling with the coir fiber for new seedlings. I'm done with the pellets. They were ok, but I like the coir fiber better and with not having to worry about the nats is a wonderful plus.
I think I will be making the switch to coir as well, as for some of my W/S'ing adventures were not so successful. No problem with Jiffy Mix so far, but the pellets did not work out for me. I sowed some lupine, in them with the domes, outside on my 4-tiered shelf. I had to remove the seedings, once they were up as they were molded. Hopefully it was just the peat pellets, as I gave them a good soak, and they were probably too wet, so no way to reverse it. (I did not have to pre-soak the lupine...as they were soaking the whole time!!)
So far they look good in their uncovered cell packs. I did not wait until they had true leaves as I wanted to get them out of there in a hurry! It is 40 degrees out there now, and it is snowing. Oh, when will spring be here to stay?
Janet ~ We are at 3500' in elevation...west of Lake Tahoe, southeast of Placerville. The largest city is about 1½ hours away - Sacramento. This is in El Dorado County...a varied landscape of forest, meadows, hillsides and pasture land with farms and many vineyards now...people move up from the bay area (SF) and buy a lot of land and put horses and vineyards on them. this used to be a lot more rural, but still we are 20 mountain miles away from Placerville, the nearest city, which was a "town" when I moved here.
It snows every winter, though usually not this late in spring, and is hot all summer. If it rains usually for one day then it dries up, so we need the moisture. It has cleared up for now, but they are predicting another storm next week. After the storms go, it will be summer, most likely. Some years spring eludes us, but there is no telling what the weathermaker will bring.
Hi! I've enjoyed reading your posts, and I have another question. My first time using trays, I planted a different kind of seed in each row, and except for the peppers (bell and jalapenos, not sure why) everything has sprouted. Planted about 2 weeks ago, seedlings look healthy, have removed top - now it's just a game of keeping them alive! I live at 6000 feet and can't plant outside until June 1. So, I have another month to keep these seedlings alive before transplanting outside. Suggestions? I can't leave them in these tiny trays for that long, can I? What should I do with them?
walmart, homedepot, lowes all carry the 4' shop lights that takes two bulbs. These are what most folks use to continue on growing for strong plants until you can adjust them to outside.
Sams club also carries a metal rack that is perfect (IMHO) for growing seedlings on and there is a place to hang your lights for each shelf.
WOW 6000 feet, makes me take an extra breath just thinking of trying to breath at that height... so do the trees still grow that high?
I went to Pikes Peak one time (that was enough) and the trees after a certain height quit growing...air too thin..
Good luck with your seedlings... The ones that didn't grow read the label they may take longer to germinate. Were your trays on heat mats? If not I would suggest move the others out and recover and make sure they are wet and wait them out a little longer. That is what I do when I accidentally mix wrong germination seeds in a tray.
Denver, the Mile High City, is 5280 feet. Higher parts of the plains of Colorado are 6000 feet -still plenty of trees. Pikes Peak is14,000 plus feet. There is a new theory that it is NOT the lack of oxygen that stops trees from growing at high elevations, it is the lack of soil microbes.
I lived in Charleston, South Carolina, for a couple years. Elevations in that area are only 2 digits. When my Colorado relatives would come to visit, they would get off the plane, looked puzzled, and ask "Are you supposed to swallow the air whole, or do you chew it first?"
Janet ~ The rack that you got at Sam's Club, is it 4' wide? How tall is it? DH and I were looking at racks of shelves and lights at Lowe's the other day when we were down in Folsom for a Dr.'s appt.
I keep telling him shop lites, and we ended up with no racks, as there are some in the garage, but only 2 or 3' wide, which we use for storage, but I managed to clear off one. We bought a fluorescent fixture, but only 2' wide and it was not a shop light and required wiring, of which he already knew...I wonder if I am being sabotaged...oh, maybe he did not know in advance, but he does know how to install it, but I told him, I don't need them to be installed but to hang on chains so I can adjust them. The 2' wide shelves are really not sufficient for many plants, but I am using one anyway, since it is lit tho' "installed", so I had to use things to stack up and then put the flats on top of them and still not close enough to the lights.
Do you have a picture of it? If this is off topic, you can D-mail me, but others might benefit from looking at your setup..
I have had two plug in shop light for years. When I went to buy a third one for this year, I was a little disappointed. There are two diameters of 4 foot shop lights. The fatter ones use more electricity but put out a little more light than the skinny ones. I could only find a plug in fixture for the skinny ones - the fatter ones all needed to be wired in. I went ahead and bought the fixture for the skinny lights.
The top one is the new one - I put it on top to get more window light, & the plants have done as well as the other shelves. It does have the advantage of the pull chain switch, and a longer cord.
My shelves aren't as wide as the lights - if they were I could get two trays on a shelf instead of a tray and a half. I've been considering buying another set of shelves like the one I have and have the light span the two. Now I'm considering renewing my membership to Sam's club and using the shelves I have for books.
I did check their website, and so far, no luck...I will try again. Did you say that your shelves are 5' wide, and your shop lights are 4' long? I am just trying to get the measurment correct, as I need this info for DH, as I need to be precise for him...LOL1
Evelyn, Here is a link to some pictures of the plant stand I made (very cheaply) and also the link to the web site where I found the original plans. If your DH needs a quick project, this stand can be made in about 2-3 hours and mine can hold up to 12 trays at once using 6 four foot florescent lights. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1071830/
Pollengarden, I don't know if you have a Menards Store in your area, but that is where I get all my shop lights. Already wired with plug and pull chain.
The wire shelves are 4' long and the lights are 4', sorry I thought the lights were 5' it just seemed they were almost taller than me when I was trying to get the lights installed, you most certainly need another person when doing that so you can get them in easier...
We don't have a Menard's here, but I may have bought my original lights at one. I may have to go to the old fashioned hardware store - it seems to carry stuff that the big home improvement places don't have.
I myself just started the Jiffy peat pellets. Everything seems to be doing fine, I set them for a few hours a day to get use to the real world, though I forgot about them and left them too long. Now all my strong ones are limp. I watered them and brought them in, I hope they perk back up. I'm also hoping they are ready to put in the garden soon. This is my first time starting a vegetable garden, too. So I'm not sure what I'm doing half the time.
Greetings! I signed up for this forum in the hopes of getting as much feedback as I can.
I'm brand new to germinating my own seeds and have a little mystery.
I have a tray of different seeds germinating in little cups (that will turn into compost when planted).
I have been finding these golden colored balls in my seed cups. At first I just pinched them between my fingers and they burst.
Then I thought, well maybe my seeds have a disease.
And finally I thought, 'is this the process of seed germination?"
I'm including a pic of my tomato plant and you can see a golden round little egg-like ball (my mint also has one of these balls).
What the heck is this?
Thanks for your feedback!!
I'd guess light shade - this time of year, direct sunlight would solarize/sterilize/cook your plants with the lid on. Once they are up, get the lid off - or at least propped up - and start moving them into sun. With the lid off, they will dry out quicker and you will have to water more frequently, maybe several times a day if the pot or pellet is small. Because carrots have a tap root, they won't be happy in a shallow container for very long, and will be fragile to transplant.
Summary: Lid on = too hot in sun, lid off = dries out quick, Carrots need carefully moved to deeper soil ASAP.
Wow, I did not know you could transplant carrots! Has anyone actually done this successfully? And at what time of year? (I would think that the safer time would be in winter/early spring...but that is just a thought...)
The jiffy greenhouse works great for germination, but my problem is once the plants are up, their stems become too flimsy and tall while stretching for sunlight. I have a hard time getting their roots and leaves to grow sturdy enough to transplant. What should I do? If I keep them a light directly above and close would this help?
Yes, moving the light closer should help because more light is the usual recommendation. However, movement helps a little too. Some people use a fan, some gently brush the top of the flat with a rolled up newspaper whenever they are checking their plants.
In addition to increased light, lower temperatures will also help in producing sturdier plants. At lower temps, plants grow slower and the lower light intensity is less of a problem. Temp may be hard to control this time of year, but when I am growing transplants in late winter/spring I keep most of them in the basement under florescent lights at about 62 degrees. As you start getting temps much above 70 - 75 degrees, it is difficult (for the non/greenhouse grower) to give them enough artificial light to balance the rapid growth.
Thanks for the advice. Actually I have never tried germinating and raising plants for fall transplanting. I do this in late winter for spring. I think it is simply too hot to do this where I live in East Texas. I might be able to do this under air conditioning in the house, but there may be too much outside light competing with direct light over the plants to keep them from growing more sturdy and not stretchiing every which way. Any ideas?
My wife and I are going to be starting a garden for the first time this season. We got the jiffy greenhouses to start off our peppers, tomatoes & cabbage. They have been doing really well. My question is that they are starting to lay in different directions rather than standing straight up. Is this normal? If not what can we do to correct them? Im attaching a photo of what they look like right now! Also at what stage of growth is best to start planting in the ground and should we remove the netting? Thanks and Cheers!
I've had good luck getting Adenium seed to germinate in the jiffy greenhouse. I've even planted the pellets without taking off the netting for them, because Adenium don't mind having their roots crowded. Eventually they broke through. For everything else I'll gently take off the netting and then transplant.
My daughter has good luck with it. She props the top over with a spring clothpin on both sides once most of the seeds sprouted. For me, I don't care for them except for those plants that resent root disturbance---Nasturtiums.
Here is a picture of my lights. Got the rack at home depot for about $100.00 with tax. It is 4' wide 6' tall. Only put 5 shelves so you have room for adjusting the lights. We hung 2 sets of lights from each shelf- more money to be sure but I found with only 1 light the seedlings on the outside grew towards the lights. I use deep plastic cell packs- really had no luck with the jiffy pellet or the peat pots- they just do not decompose. I got my plastic from www.novoselenterprises.com. they were the most reasonable and you can buy just what you need. They also stand behind there products - several of my trays came in crushed- UPS's fault I'm sure. E-mailed them and they replaced the whole amount. All this was an expense to start but considering what I used to spend on plants,I'm going to save money- plus I grow what I want. Hope this will help.
Although I have a plant stand, I needed more space last year for daylily and iris seedling crosses I made. I purchased three 12" x 4ft long shelves at Home Depo with brackets, and two 4ft long tube lights that I mounted with plant lights.
Mounted the shelves on the wall in my office. Hung the lights with chains from the shelf above. The plants were placed in the large seedling trays that fit perfectly on the shelves. Actually worked great!. When not using, I can store stuff on the shelves so serves as double duty.
Below is the photo of one shelf with daylilies. Photo taken in February 2011
I've used Jiffy pellets with good success, especially the larger tomato pellets. This year, the tomatoes I started in Jiffy Tomato pellets ended up being significantly larger than those I started in smaller plastic cell packs, even though I potted both of them up into the same size 12 oz. plastic solo cups (see picture). The peppers in the Jiffy Tomato pellets were slightly larger, but not as much difference as with the tomatoes. And the Tomato pellets work great for cucumbers, squash, and snap beans as well, all of which can be transplanted to the garden within 2-3 weeks.
Since the pellets make planting seeds so quick and easy, I find I plant more seeds in a timely manner. You do have to remove the casings when planting outside as others have said, but I have not found a need to spread the roots. When I've potted them up to larger cups, the roots quickly expand to fill the cup. The peat pellets seem to be slightly more susceptible to damping off than coir pellets, but I've managed to control that by (1) removing the greenhouse cover as soon as seeds germinate, (2) bottom watering only, and sparingly, (3) adding 1/3 cup of hydrogen peroxide per gallon to the water, and (4) having a small fan running nearby to keep the air circulating at all times.
I had great success with the Jiffy 5042 Windowsill Greenhouse 24-Plant starter kit, just stick it in the window and sprouted tomato plants real fast. However, now I would like to grow some Cyclamen and I heard they need darkness to germinate. I stuck them under the buffet but nothing is happening, maybe I am just impatient, any suggestions?? (This is what Windowsill Greenhouse looks like.)
I just used the jiffy 72 tray with heating matt .did not work well for me... I guess i did not really do my home work.
I planted tomatos , carrots , cucumbers, green onions in side temp was 65-68 I used NO light . by the 4th day my cucumbers were about 1/2 inch long , on the forth day i had emergency surgery so didint get back for 4 days , thats 8 days total with the dome on and heatting pad on the hole time when I got home the cucumber plants were 8-9 inches long real stringy ..the other ones were about 3 inches long stringy too .. so i tossed them all starting all over again .
this time am thinking off using a light and heating pad .
I never done in door growing so its all new to me .
just did my second batch this time i went smaller am useing the 36 jiffy tray with heating matt and a light the temp with the heating pad is around 60-65
with the light on its 82-85 am growing carrots see how it gos.
Kevin, I don't think you use any fertilizer till they get leaves, they don't need it to germinate. I used the h202 on house plants that had fungus. Then kept using it on house plants to keep the fungus from growing. The organic poting soil was attracting fungus gnats.
When I grew my tomatoes I used the seed-starting-mix it has no soil and no fertilizer. after they start sprouting you can pot them up with potting mix and still you don't need fertilizer because it is in the mix usually.
My jiffy tray was sitting right in the window and out of thirty seed 27 germinated. I had huge plants.
Also I hear that some tomato plants need calcium, no need for expensive additives, just throw in a couple of Tums when you pot them up. (the antacid)
friscomole, let me know how your carrots do. Seeds are cheep and practice makes perfect, but its nice to have a forum where you can talk things over.
Well, I think that would be best. I heard they do not like to be transplanted. But people in the north start a lot of seeds in doors. I use the jiffy peat pots and just plant the whole thing into the ground when it gets warm.
GardenDad wrote:Hi all, I'm starting carrot seeds in this mini-greenhouse today, where outside would be the best place to locate this greenhouse?
Also is there an PDF instruction manual for the green house online?
This message was edited Jul 5, 2010 11:57 AM
You can start carrots indoors or in a greenhouse, of course, but it makes little sense to do it. They will have time to mature when direct sown into the garden even in the shortest seasons.
am running in to a problem cant seem to get the plants out doors after they grow in my jiffy green house am using a plant light agro lite BR30 75W my problem the plats grow to fast in one week there about 8-9 inches long stringy .. and they dont give out anny other leafs what can i be doing wrong?
this will be my forth attempt
Well, sounds like they are not getting enough light. I do not know what kind of greenhouse you have. I had the window seal green house and no lights or heating pad. They did fine, sitting in the window, just morning sun.
Can you set the greenhouse in front of a window? They will get a lot more light. :)
This thread seems to be focusing on food plants... Just an observation - it seems as though vegetable gardening is something that skipped a couple of generations, and hence people are rediscovering what everyone used to do. I suppose vegetable gardening was only observed as the norm by people who are now old dinosaurs (like myself :-) ), and it was probably also something that probably had some social stratification about it (it was probably done more by people who needed to grow their own food, aside from possibly preferring to do that; probably not at all what people with more social status/money did). Some recreating of the wheel going on... ;-)
Aside from that, I'm wondering, what plants have to be started in a greenhouse in zone 10? I've never lived in a warm, long-season climate like that, so have no comparison! Here, the only plants that typically get started early indoors are ones that need a longer season than our zone 3 climate provides (even for short season varieties), e.g. tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc..
Bless your heart. :) If you can grow things outside we all should be able, certainly is more light out there, and rabbits. :(
Anyway, this thread is about Jiffy Greenhouses. We all like to experiment a bit and we need to get the hang of this just in case we have a bad winter we can have some plants ready to put in the ground.
The secret is to wait long enough for the danger of frost which is deadly and also happens in zone 10, I hate living in the city because for the price of my water bill, it's not worth it to have a garden, a few years ago we had a drought and we were not allowed to use sprinklers or hoses and everyone's garden died. I had older neighbors and they could not lug buckets out there, that is the only watering allowed, buckets no hoses.
To get back on topic, how do you start your tomatoes, and peppers, etc. Have you a window seal greenhouse from jiffy or do you use styro cups, how do you get your stuff started?
Okay, no problem, I understand keeping things on topic! :-) As I don't have a Jiffy greenhouse (I have a homemade indoor setup for starting seeds early, along the lines of that shown by pollengarden, and an outdoor greenhouse dedicated to other things requiring a lot of heat here (and only nominally, including tomatoes)), I think I will butt out again soon. :-)
The observations I made earlier were only to reflect on whether or not it is actually necessary to start certain plants early, given the fuss involved which might be saved for plants that really do require starting early. Note that anything I say is only relevant to cold climates - I have no idea what's necessary in warm areas, as I mentioned.
I was absolutely flabbergasted years ago when greenhouses started bringing in cellpacks of lettuce, carrots, radishes... astonishing, as these are all things that would normally be direct sown and do perfectly well even in these short season areas! I guess it was in the name of "convenience"... though how paying a great deal more for very few plants and then having to plant them out anyway is more convenient than simply sowing a row or a pot of seeds remains a mystery to me. :-) I fear though that people who have not gardened before, and have lost that connection (as their parents didn't garden either) might get to thinking that it must be necessary to either buy starts of such plants, or start them early, since that's the way they see them sold. Anyway, that's what I was trying to explain. :-) Out to finish off the spring clean-up on a beautiful day...
Best of gardening,
I think that there are many, any new gardeners, that have been raised in the city, with no parents that have grown plants due to many circumstances, whether preference or not. Some just do not even know that they can grow things from seed and have just not tried. Due to the economic downturn and the plethora of community gardens, which did not previously exist, many are new to seed-sowing. We welcome them all!
I am one of those dinosaurs to which you referred...my folks had a "Victory Garden", and now I too, have one, though not endorsing any kind of war except maybe the kind for fresh organic produce, of which all vegetables were previously until the "Golden Age of Chemicals"!
Also, many people have a very small area in which to do their vegetable gardening as many neighborhood associations allow little of people growing their own produce in many "developments". (I say this "tongue-in-cheek" as to the word development...) We are becoming an undeveloped country quite fast, as so few people even know where their food originates.
Just put a bunch of seeds in the Jiffy Tomato Greenhouse that I killed the previous attempt at starting Beefsteak & Brandywine tomatoes. Hopefully, this time it will work as I think killed the seedlings with the MG fertilizer. Using a H2O2 solution this time so will so if this works.
I think I've gotten bitten with the seed starting bug. This afternoon scavenged the 4' shop light from over my work bench and set it up in the wire shelf rack for a second light there. Now I've got a Jiffy 16 Tomato, a Jiffy 50 Peat Tray GH, and another couple pans with peat pots with various seeds. If it doesn't work this time, I'm really gonna be ticked... I want more tomato plants!!! LOL...
I started 27 plants from seed last year in my Jiffy Window Seal Mini Greenhouse. I planted them outside with weather was warm and no danger of frost. I don't want to make this sound complicated, just share a simple way of starting seeds in your window. No grow lights and no heat mats, that stuff cost a lot of money and it's not really necessary.
You could even use Styrofoam cups if you want, I like the little peat pots better than the peat pellets, for some reason the pellets don't work that well for me. Other people swear by them. :) Both can be transferred easily to garden or large container/bucket.
kevcarr59, Try the MG seed starting mix, you do not need fertilizer to start seeds. Good luck with your tomatoes! :)
Kevcarr59, I have always used peroxide water exclusively for seed starting, whether in a Jiffy greenhouse or something else, and have gotten good results. I even put a splash of H2O2 in the sprayer I use to keep the starting mix moist. I keep using peroxide right up until I set the plants outside. Fear of fungus has made me very wary. Sometimes I even sterilize the seed starting mix in the microwave, especially for my precious tomato seeds. Anyway, the H2O2 is good stuff and won't harm the seeds or seedlings if you don't overdo it.
Yes the peroxide water is wonderful. A must have for seed starting, I forgot to use it in January I was trying to start some Hosta seed and I ended up with the normal fungus I get on the other house plants plus a lot of mushrooms!
Thanks for the reminder Goldenberry, The seed starting mix is sterile and if you clean the seeds you might not need it, but I always need it on the house plants, this organic soil has rotted matter in it and attracts a lot of fungus gnats. Better to be safe than sorry.
Can you remember the correct ratio? I've been using about two or three caps full per quart, I think I should be using more.
Don't quote me on this but IIRC the preferred ratio is about 3 tbsp per gallon. I get sloppy and just put a 'swig' into the half gallon milk cartons I use for watering. So far, no fungus problems. It seems it's a very forgiving compound and a wide range of ratios will produce good results.
Yeah, I know the bags say the seed starting mix is sterile. But paranoia runs deep, LOL.
Also, a sprinkle of cinnamon on the soil gets rid of the gnats. I use self-watering trays for my seedlings and the gnats drove me crazy until I found this trick. Whenever I see one I refresh the cinnamon and they are gone.
For watering plants or soaking seeds, they suggest diluting 3% hydrogen perioxide by another 30-1 for a resulting strength of 0.1%:
1/2 cup per gallon
1 ounce per quart (2 tablespoons)
Double that strength for spraying sick or fungusy plants.
P.S. to the person who had leggy growth: you might nwat soil heat to START seds, but many plants grow stockier as SEEDLINGS with air and soil cooler than the optimal germination temperature.
Some reasons to start plants inside that COULD be direct sowed are:
lots of slugs
cats that think turned soil is a litterbox
lack of outdoor experience, especially with watering
I'm slowly improving my horrid clay and learning more ways to live with slugs. But one little nibble on a 12-hour-old seedling kills it. If I do the etxra work to start and set out a dozen, or 20 seedlings that already have 6 leaves, at least SOME survive the slugs. And the cats around me seem polite enoguh top avoid digging up soil with obvious plants in it.
If my beds were big enoguh that I needed 100 of each variety, I might learn how to direct sow and water so that it didn;t crust up. Indeed I've done that for a few varieties of Bok Choy, Radishes, Snow Peas and Chard. But anything new to me, or less vigorous, I like to start some of indoors so I know what they look like (don't want to weed them!) and get a few surviviors for sure.
On the other hand, you're right: if you have enough experience and decent soil, and can wiat until the soil is dry and warm enough, direct sowing must be 5-10 times less work.
At this point the only thing that hasn't sprouted yet are the Bradley tomatoes. Everything else is poking through and some stuff is already an 1" or so tall, and that's sowing these on Sunday. By this weekend all that is going to germinate should be going strong.
Generally if I see egg masses, they are on a vertical soil edge, between the soil and a paver. To pour, I would have to scrape the eggs and slugs off the soil onto the sidewalk, then pour on them, then mash the paver back down on on top of them.
I'm a first timer in using the 72 cell Jiffy peat pots. I planted two flats of zinnias and marigolds and maybe 15 seedlings have germinated. I did not realize the light source was supposed to be two inches or so above the flats. It has been about four days since the seeds were planted. I have removed the covers. Should I consider this a learning experience, or is it possible to achieve germination?
Probably. You can fix the light and continue germinating. I am not a fan of the lights. I just use these and stick them in a sunny window.
This will hold about twenty peat-pots. Or more than that if you the peat pellets.
Zinnias and marigolds are fast, but I would wait more than 4 days before giving up on them, especially if your room temperature is cold.
If they are in a window and get big temperature swings, or the tray dried out after a day of moisture, then you might expect lower germination rates.
If you have 57 empty cells, maybe push 1-2 more seeds into each empty cell. But you won't want your 15 sprouts at 100% humidity, so if you do replant the tray, you might want to prick out the 15 sprouts first and put them into 3" pots or Dixie cups, just so you c an keep them in drier air.
You don't need extra light for germination. That's for when the seedlings are up so they don't get leggy and weak. Most likely cool temps are slowing things down. Once I started using a heat mat,most things popped up pretty quickly. But there are a lot of people on these forums who not believe in heat mats unless ambient temps are well under 70 degrees. So my advice is to be patient for at least a few more days and see what happens then.
New Gardner here... YAY!! I've always wanted to start a garden, but never seemed to find the time or energy, but as a project for work I am working on a teaching garden. So I will be getting paid to garden... :-)
The problem...I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING!!!
Someone donated four 72 count jiffy mini greenhouse trays for my garden and I bought herbs seeds and veggie seeds...I've been reading all of the post and it seems pretty easy. I planted herb seeds yesterday and stuck them in a spare room with a heater. I was told that they like warm weather and since my apt is kind of cold, I turned a heater on in the room. However, I found that the heater is drying them out, so I turned it off and now the lid is full of condensation. I'm assuming this is a good thing? When should the seeds germinate? My goal is to have them planted by May 23 (we have a deadline with my job...long story). Some of the post I've read had seedlings as early as a week...Can I expect to have them put in the ground by my deadline?
Even if they aren't ready to be planted by then, this is turning out to be a FUN project...
I've also heard that the jiffy trays aren't good for tomatoes because tomatoes need more space? Can I plant anything in the tray?? I read the post about carrots...what else is not good to go into the trays??
If the lid has no gaps or holes, I don't think the heater could actually be drying the soil much, becuase the lid would keep the humidity near 100%. Try to keep the area near the trays around 70 if practical. Most seeds germinate faster if warmish, but after they sprout and emerge, many plants prefer coolish air that is NOT humid. A small fan is good for them after emerging. You'll have to take the lid off after they emerge, or the damp soil surface will encourage mold and rot called "dampoing off".
The fact that you got a lot of condensation when the room cooled (drops, not just fog?) says the soil probably had enough water. I think it is more common to overwater than to underwater, so don't add water unless you actually see dry soil surfaces.
Don't let water stand in the tray under the cells. If that "greenhouse" has some capillary mat that supplies just a little water to the bottom of the cells, I guess that is OK since it is designed that way, but don't let those 72 cells (also called "inserts") SIT in water. That would make soil TOO wet, and roots would never be able to use the bottom half of the cell. Roots drown and die if air can't reach them .
2. How long to emerge?
It's different for every plant. Vegetables tend to be fastest (4-14 days?) Perrenials can take weeks or longer and some need special treatments to "break their dormancy". Annual flowers range from fast to slow.
If you list what herbs you started, and the room temperatgure, maybe some people familiar witbh herbs can guess. What do the seed pkts say, for "days to emerge"?
If you have many different plants in the same tray, some will emerge faster than others. You should take seedlings away from the 100% humididty as soon as they show themselves. It's handy if the 72-cell trays have "tear-apart six-packs" becuase you can cut out or tear away the cells that sprout first and move them to a tray wiuth no lid.
If you can't separate the slow from the fast sprouters, remove the lid as soon as 6-12 of the cells show sprouts. Perhaps lay some plastic film (Saran Wrap) over the other cells to maintain damp soil. Sometimes I cut little 4-5" tent poles from half-wiode or 1/3rd-wide mini-blind slats to hold the film up away fromt he soil surface. Remove the film as soon as a cell sprouts.
>> My goal is to have them planted by May 23
I find that what I want or what I plan, has very little effect on the plants. It's up to them whether they live or die, and how fast they do it.
As you learn every single possible thing that can hurt them or encourage them, and find techniques that are convenient for you and pleasing to the plants, you may entice more of them to live, and some of them to grow faster.
Probably, this year, you'll find a few kinds of herbs that are relatively easy to start indoors, and several ways to kill or stall the more difficult ones. I've never tried herbs, and I wsould have guessed that there are more easy vegetables and annual flowers than herbs.
I love starting seeds indoors. I don't worry about birds, cats, slugs, crusting rain, frost or "is-that-a-sprout-or-is-that-a-weed?"
Also, since my light shelf is in my bedroom, I get to sleep with my seedlings. Once I got past overwatering, they are less demanding as pets than my cat!
>> Now I'm looking for something else to plant.
I always try to plant plenty of easy things, so I don't get disapointed and frustrated. Then, when some tray of fussy perennials just sits there doing nothing for weeks, the other seedlings reassure me that I did SOMEthing right.
That's a good point, Rick. I've had no luck at all with white Liatris, and the Thalictrum was slow and sparse. On the bright side, the Polygonum and Platycodon did very well. And then there are the huge successes-Snapdragons, Nicotiana, Zinnias, Cosmos, Basil, Morning Glories... Whew, I'm must be doing something right!
I loooove nicotiana. Many types are fragrant, but not all. I usually do Alata in white, pink and lime, Sylvestris, which is called Indian Pipe, and Langsdorfii, tall clusters of green bells (pic).
I usually start my tomatoes around St Patrick's Day, 3/17. Peas and spinach get planted outside at the same time. But you could still start them now. The most important thing with tomatoes is to not let them get long and leggy-- like mine did last year (!). In years past I've put them in a cold frame, which kept them compact and the stems got thick and sturdy. But I didn't have the right setup last year and they were ready to go out before I was ready for them, so they really got out of hand. They need lots of light and not too much heat once they're up and growing indoors. If you start them inside now, there's no risk that they'll get ahead of you, they'll be going outside next month. You can buy them all sizes in the nurseries, and they all bear sooner or later. It's only when you're trying for 'first' that it matters... And there is a theory - someone will probably bring it up if I don't, lol - that since bigger plants take longer to recover from being moved, in the end they're all the same.
My gardening theory: when in doubt, go ahead and try it.
I potted my tomatoes up on 4/16, some into 16oz Solo cups, some to 1 gal pots, planted deeply with only the top leaves showing so they can grow roots along the stem. They have been outside in this unheated mini-greenhouse ever since. I filled 2 1/2 gallon bottles with warm water and put them on the bottom shelf to absorb heat during the day and keep the temp up a little at night. When I'm there, the zipper is opened during the day so they don't cook, and closed at night. When I leave, I attach a piece of row-cover fabric over the opening with clothespins, open the zippers and leave the door down loose. When I put them out, night temps were in the mid-40's, day mid-to-high 60's. I was gone for 10 days when I had expected to be away only 3 days, and got back in time for the cold spell over last weekend. Mini-maxi thermometer in the greenhouse showed 35/82 (during the day it heats up fast once the sun is on it). At that point the plants had grown about 3", the stems were thickening, and they looked quite healthy.
Over the weekend, outside the lows were in the mid-to -high 20's in the area, but my outdoor sensor, sheltered on a house wall, showed 32. The miniGH (door zipped closed) showed 35. Highs were mid-50's. My tomatoes looked fine. Luckily the weather improved just as I had to leave again, so it was safe to unzip the door again. I'm still a few weeks away from planting out, by then they'll be ready to get out of the pots.
I got mine last year from Thompson &Morgan, on sale. They are all over the Internet for around $40, google mini-greenhouse and see who has the best deal (don't forget to check shipping costs as well, they really vary!). I'm amazed at what I've been able to get away with, especially the tomatoes. I guess they only grow when it's warm enough, but they don't show signs of suffering, and by planting time they are very sturdy.
Last year I tried peppers a little too early and it was immediately clear that they were sulking so I brought them back in. All the the cool weather stuff goes out early, too- snapdragons, lettuce starts, various perennial seedlings. The Reemay over the opening makes a huge difference during the day, diffusing the sun when it hits it directly, and when I'm not there to zip and unzip everyday it's enough of a barrier at night against the cold (with the door unzipped and hanging loose). It stays packed full until June, a way station between the house and the garden, moving seedlings along as quickly as possible to make room for more.
I've looked at some of these and all of them are so small you can't have any 4' lights in them... Does anybody make one that's about 5' wide so you can have AFFORDABLE lighting and a decent amount of trays on each shelf???
I have a plant light stand purchased in the 80's. It came complete with flourescent lights. One light had a broken piece where the prongs insert to hold the tube. All is 2 ft long. I went to all the stores, including Home Depot without luck. I needed a fixture for 2 lights set apart not close together. LLLLL
Finally got smart and went online. There I found what I needed. A fixture for my plant tubes set somewhat apart. Came with hanging chain.. They also have 4ft tubes and light fixture. Also greenhouse stuff. Check them out. Below is the link
Tomato and pepper plants sulk when the weather at night is cool. Both are tropical type plants. If your tomatoes grow too tall, just plant them deeper. They will root underground all along the stem, plus deeper is less watering and drying out quickly.
I don't grow veggies anymore since my kids are all grown and married. I grow flowers. However, when I did grow tomatoes and peppers, I saved all my gallon milk jugs. and made mini greenhouses out of them. I cut a doorway which I aimed to the East for summer sun. The door can be cut out or left on one side which would act like a hinge. The screw top I removed. The jug was held in place with a dowel sticking up through the top and sunk into the earth. The jug too was planted 1" into the dirt.
1] Will acclimate plants since the plastic softens the sun's rays.
2] Will help keep plants warm.
3] Prevent frost kill of tender plants.
4] Will prevent damage from cutworms.
This idea I have used for flowers also. The opening can be cut smaller. The idea of it is ventilation and morning sun.
I started my tomato and pepper plants mid-March when I lived in zone 5. Keep in mind that the days to harvest is not from when you plant the seeds. It is from when the plant is actually planted in the garden.
Here are the tomatoes as of last weekend. They were started 3/15 in pellets, and moved to 2" pots soon after germination. Just before putting them outside I re-potted them deeply, only the top leaves were showing. This is the growth they've put on since then, even after the cold temps we had at first. Inside, I think they would have been long and unwieldly by now. Last year they got ahead of me and were a pain in the neck to deal with - took up too much space, and very difficult to plant. We have a few more weeks to go before planting out, I think these will be perfect by then.
Definitely. That's why I took out the top shelf last week, as soon as the weather warmed up a little. Last year I also punched a few breathing holes in the top of the plastic cover. I had thought I'd put something over the top this spring while it was still so cold, but never did it. This week they put on a fair amount of growth, and certainly more closer to the top, no pic as yet. But I'm thinking even though the frost date is 6/1, I may do what I did last year. They were so out of control they were outgrowing everything. I had to do something! So I planted early, on 5/13. First I poured hot water over the soil to raise the temp, planted deeply with compost, and put up hoops and frost fabric. Unlike the peppers, which definitely were set back by the cold, the tomatoes didn't seem to notice. This year the size is still very reasonable, but as it warms up that won't be the case. So maybe I'll just get a jump on it and get them in the ground.
If frost fabric is the same as floating row covers, or if it blocks sunlight,
and if you have not already considered this idea ...
If you're going to put up hoops anyway, you might consider putting them up several weeks before planting out, and covering them with clear plastic film. That will solar-heat the soil deeper than the hot water can, or any fabric that shades or lets warm air exit (I think). Where I live, it also keeps cold rain off the soil.
And maybe leave the plastic up for a week or two after planting out - doesn't solid plastic provide more warmth than a frost cover? And clear plastic will continue the process of warming the soil during the daytime.
You're right, I could put up the hoops up earlier, and using plastic would warm the soil. My concern about plastic is that it doesn't let rain in and we're not here to water. I'm hoping to get organized enough this year to set up a drip system, I already have some of the elements. It's complicated because our water source is quite far from that area, and there is no easy way to put in something permanent. Maybe a rain barrel and timer would work...
>> My concern about plastic is that it doesn't let rain in
I understand! For me, at least in early spring, it's a huge plus that it keeps excess rain OUT. Watering would be a matgter of turning the plastic back as I go to work, and re-covering when I come home.
Your zone is even colder than mine. How early do you start using it? Do you use any heat? I've thought of putting a heat mat on a low shelf, or maybe using holiday lights, as I've read somewhere here. That might give an extra few weeks of use.
I started using it mid-April. However, there are no tender plants in there. Iris and Daylilies are all hardy. I wouldn't have put tomatoes in there that early.
Your idea of a heating mat is good. I thought of but didn't think I needed. Mine is not freestanding. It is up against my garden shed due to the high wind we get here.It faces east so screened from western sun.
Below is a photo of what I used 2 years ago. It worked nice also but it is too low for me due to back problem. Bought that one from Parks seed co.
I considered that one, but since I'm away during the week, there's no way to adjust ventilation. Years ago I had a real cold frame with a solar opener, that worked well. But since I seem to be getting away with what I'm doing here, the urgency is gone.
I would never have thought to put the tomatoes out so early either. But last year they were a nightmare inside. My fault, I know, I started them too early based on past experience in a warmer zone. But they were HUGE. And weak. So I stuffed them in bigger pots, winding the stem around in a circle to get them in, and threw them out there, do or die... At that point I was so mortified by my miscalculation I just had to get them out of my sight. And they did fine! Who would have thought?!
So this year I figured what the heck and did the same thing.
But thanks as always for your input and good sense. I always learn from you.
This is good and cheap, I started about 25 plants in here last year. Jiffy Window seal Greenhouse, just sit it in the window for morning sun only. As long as you don't start them too early, you can transfer them right outside. No lights or heat mat needed. :)
Question for those of you who have used the Jiffy Greehouse either the Tomato or Professional: do you have to use liquid fertilizer on them, or is there some fertilizer in the peat pellet already? Will the plants do fine in the 50 mm (Tomato) pellets with just regular watering for six weeks? Thanks!
I've had real good luck with the Tomato GH's. I like the 16 cell half tray, and want to find the 36 count again. After the second week use a liquid fertilizer at about 1/2 or 1/4 strength. I don't think there is any fertilizer in the pellets because it could be too much for certain plants, and that lets us decide when & how much fertilizer to use.
I have not been following this posting but I did a quick scan and didn't see any references to using the COSTCO roasted chicken containers as mini-seed starting trays. I am a fan of peat pots and two peat pots will fit nicely inside a roasted chicken container. The clear lid has four vent tabs which can either be removed or bent back. I like to sow tomato and pepper seed using this method. Three roasted chicken containers will fit on one of the small heat pads which can be placed just about anywhere, leaving my plant stands free for the larger plant trays. I can easily plant enough seeds in a single peat pot to provide seedlings for and entire flat or tray of 18 peat pots. These roasted chicken containers are also great for starting onion seeds.
I WAS PRICING THE HEAT MAT AND THEN AN IDEA CAME TO ME. SINCE I HAVE BASEBOARD HEAT AND I KEEP MY THERMOSTAT ON 70 DEGREES I PUT THE JIFFY WINDOW SILL GREENHOUSE USING PEAT PELLETS ON IT AND MY SEEDS GERMINATED , I NOW HAVE THEM UNDER MY GROW LIGHT . EVERYONE MIGHT THINK ITS FUNNY!
mraider3 wrote:I have not been following this posting but I did a quick scan and didn't see any references to using the COSTCO roasted chicken containers as mini-seed starting trays. I am a fan of peat pots and two peat pots will fit nicely inside a roasted chicken container. The clear lid has four vent tabs which can either be removed or bent back. I like to sow tomato and pepper seed using this method. Three roasted chicken containers will fit on one of the small heat pads which can be placed just about anywhere, leaving my plant stands free for the larger plant trays. I can easily plant enough seeds in a single peat pot to provide seedlings for and entire flat or tray of 18 peat pots. These roasted chicken containers are also great for starting onion seeds.
I think those chicken containers are great. Next best thing to the milk jugs for winter sowing but I also like the idea of having three on a heat mat. I saw this one recently on pinterest.
Every year I buy flowers for my porch, but decided to start seeds this year instead. I was inspired after buying a pack of Forget-Me-Nots from Dollar Tree a few weeks ago. I'm in an apartment, so my space is somewhat limited, but here's my terrarium with two Jiffy greenhouses! I planted them on Friday, and just noticed the sprouts tonight. For those more experienced, how tall do they need to be before I remove the lids? Thank you!
I would pop the lid as soon as anything green emerges form the soil.
Especially inside a terrarium, you'll be fighting excess humidity, which encourages 'damping off' - what happens when the soil surface stays too moist, encouraging fungus that can attack seedling stems right at the surface of the soil.
Drier soil surface, drier air, moving air, watering less: all those help avoid damping off. Got a small fan ? Sprinkle something on top of the soil that will dry out faster, like grit, crushed rock, bark chunks or Perlite?
Brighter lights will encourage the seedlings to mature faster than the fungus can attack them.
Some people sprinkle cinnamon to discourage soil surface fungus. Or water only with chamomile tea. Or diluted hydrogen peroxide (one-three ounces of 3% drugstore peroxide per quart of water).
My two biggest sins are over-watering, and leaving seedlings in the starting container too long. Probably you could "prick them out" and "pot them up" as soon as they have 1-2 pairs of "real" leaves. The very first pair of simple, rounded, "seedling" leaves don't count.
I have decided to go green and recycle as much as I could so I recycled Dunkin Doughnut coffee cups since my daughter buys on the weekends. I use them under my seedling cups to with water to water the seedlings
I am really concerned about not seeing any sprouts from any of the seeds that I planted in the 72 cell Jiffy greenhouse, nor the seed that I planted in my homemade newspaper pots. This is the first year that I have increased the number of plants that I'm trying to start. I did a test run over a month ago by planting some left over seed from Juliet cherry tomatoes that I grew last year, plus some seed that I saved from bell, cayenne, and jalapeno plants that I also grew last year. I had great success with starting those seed, so I ordered seed online from Park Seed and tomatofest.com. This is the first time that I ordered costlier seed from what I figure are quality seed suppliers. I started my seeds February 24th and as of today, March 10th, I do not see any sprouts yet. This is the first time that I am using a Hydrofarm heating mat, too, which by all accounts, should have accelerated the germination process. I set the seed per instructions in non-soil starting mix. Some of these seeds should have sprouted within days, especially with using the heating mat. An example of one of the things I'm trying to start for the first time ever is Organic Clemson Spineless 80 Okra Seeds. I soaked them for a day, then planted them as per instructions about an inch deep in starting mix in a homemade newspaper pot. I moistened the starting mix before putting it into the pots and tamped it down a little to remove any air pockets, as I had read that I should do. I placed each pot in a bowl. I have made sure that all of these has stayed moist, checking them each day. The heating mat is on the floor (floor is above a crawlspace, not concrete) and the bed flat and bowls are sitting on that. I have also started peppers in the same fashion, except without pre-soaking the seed. The house is kept very warm, about 72 degrees. In the 72 cells, I have set cucumber, squash, heirloom tomatoes, marigold, and lavender. I see only two possibilities here. Either I am doing something horribly wrong all of a sudden or the seed is faulty. I would think that I have provided ideal conditions for germination. I am perplexed.
Although on the whole I've been successful at starting many different kinds of seeds, every year there are some disappointments. I keep experimenting until I find just the right set of circumstances for those that fail. Here are a few things you might consider trying differently:
If your house is that warm, you probably don't need the heat mat. Also, do you have a thermostat on the mat? It may get too hot.
I usually plant my seeds 1/4" deep or less when starting indoors. I don't want them to work too hard to get to the light and start growing. However, I do mostly annual and perennial flowers, not so many vegetables, so that may not apply.
Are you using a plastic dome over the flat? This works as a humidifier, keeping the top layer of soil moist, and the seeds need moisture to germinate.
What mix are you using? I had trouble this year with Miracle Grow because it's too dense for some things that require good drainage- there's a fine line between enough moisture and too much.
Most likely you will get some sprouts soon, but some things may not show up. Tomatoes are usually not too fussy and fairly quick, so I'm surprised you haven't seen those yet.
If you're really worried you might try digging down carefully in a cell or two to see if you find any evidence of growth.
Thank you all for your input and encouragement. For the homemade newspaper pots, I'm using a starting mix by American Seed simply called Starting Mix. It's a mixture of sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and other ingredients. It's not clear what those "other" ingredients are. I wet this before putting it into the pots. The Jiffy Greenhouse was purchased this year when Walmart first put garden stuff out. Yes, I am using the dome that came with the kit. I have successfully started some Burpee herb seed (basil and oregano) in some left over Jiffy pellets that I did not use in the previous couple of years. I also had good success with some cilantro grown from coriander seed that I saved from cilantro that I'd grown a couple of years ago.
I tried leaving the heating mat turned off for a few days, too. I do not have a thermostat on it. I may need to get one of those. It's a Hydrofarm heating mat. I just looked at the information printed on it and it indicated that it raises the temperature 10 to 20 degrees above the ambient temperature, so that would be between about 82 to 92 degrees. I've turned it off, because that might be too warm. It is laying on a couple of layers of towels directly on the floor though and room temperatures are going to be lower there as opposed to the rest of the room, I think.
I would think the tomatoes and peppers, which like really warm temperatures, would have done something.
The okra does require the inch depth on the instructions, most of the others I planted 1/4 inch deep and some 1/8 inch deep.
I have thought about digging down in a few of the cells to probe for signs of growth. I am going to call the horticulturist today at Park Seed, where I purchased most of the seed, except the heirloom tomato seed. I can post what the horticulturist instructs me to do.
I find Parks no better or worse than the other mainstream suppliers. It's unlikely that all their seeds would be NG. I'm inclined to think the heat may be the problem, nothing else seems out of the ordinary.
After a long hiatus from seed-starting, I started again in a different (colder) zone with less ambient indoor light. I lost 90% to damp-off. It was quite a shock, I can tell you! But since then I've added heat and lights, peroxide for fungus and cinnamon for gnats, and I have a terrific success rate. Still, as I mentioned before, there are always at least a couple of recalcitrants, and I keep learning more specialized techniques for those plants.
So don't be discouraged, just keep trying things until you find your own magic formula for your conditions. It's sooooooo rewarding!
Perhaps one big factor is how fast the seedlings are growing, and how vigorous they are, for the first few days or a week. They seem to be most vulnerable to soil fungus when very young. Maybe older stems have better defenses.
Maybe if they are growing fast, they are vulnerable for a shorter period.
Or, "vigor" lets them fight off fungus better.
Thanks, all! I talked to Parks' horticulturist earlier today and he said that it didn't seem like I did anything extremely damaging to the seeds, but suggested either turning off the heat mat or getting a thermostat for it, because it was probably too much heat. The dome had mostly misty, small drops and some larger drops. Since turning off the heat mat, there are just misty droplets.
*I think RickCorey_WA is correct about too much heat probably driving the water out of the cells too fast. Hopefully, I have that in check now that the mat is off.* Thank you for your wetness monitoring suggestions, too, according to the kind of condensation on the dome.
After talking to the horticulturist, he said that the cucumbers, squash, and okra should have done something by now, so he referred me to customer service for replacement seeds. I did not get the tomato seeds from them, so I will have to deal with tomatofest.com if those don't do anything. Parks was nice about handling the problem, but I'll give some thought about ordering from them again. I wouldn't think that all of the seed that they sold me would be NG, either, so I'll chalk that up to a learning experience on my part.
I had used all of the squash seed from the pack, since it was a medley pack of four different kinds and I couldn't tell which seeds were which and I want to grow some of each kind. I don't think that I will buy medley packs again, since I don't want to plant a whole pack of seed. I don't need that many plants. The replacement pack will provide me with the insurance of another try at it. I still have some cucumber and okra seeds to try again. I'm going to give the current plantings, with the heat mat turned off, another 3 or 4 days to see if they still do something. The horticulturist told me to give the peppers another 3 or 4 days to see if any sprout. If they don't, he said I can get replacement seed for them.
Thanks Pfg for the encouragement! I learn something new each day. It is so very rewarding to learn to grow your own plants from seed and become successful at it!
Another thing that I'm doing now that I have learned here is using the peroxide water mixture. I had never heard of that before and it sounds like a good fungus preventative!
The only problems are finding the exact seeds you're looking for, and the cost of postage. Many postal centers use high-speed sortation machines with rollers that crush regular First Class Letter envelopes. Bubble wrap in the envelope may save your seeds, but if the envelope is too irregular, it MIGHT clog the crusher and tear up a bunch of envelopes.
My Post Office is very srious about the First Class letter rule "less than 1/4" thick and uniform thickness".
A bubble mailer is safe, but postage on those is now up to $2.07 for the first 3 ounces. Bubble mailers are First Class parcels unless they're acceptable as a "Flat" or "Large Envelope" (over 11.5" x 6.2" wide, and 1/4" to 3/4" thick. Those are $0.92, $1.12 or $1.32 for 1, 2 or 3 ounces. (But I didn't think to buy 7"x12" bubble mailers!
Thanks, Rick, for the seed saving/trading idea and invitation to that forum! So helpful! If I find myself with more seed than I can use, I'll check it out. I have had no problem using seed from a few years back.
I have some 6" x 9" bubble mailers that I bought from Walmart, Duck brand. Scotch also makes some that size. Those would probably be fine to mail seed. I just did a google search and found that 4" x 6" bubble mailers can also be purchased.
>> 6" x 9" bubble mailers ... probably be fine to mail seed
I obsess on trying to pad an envelope less than 1/4" thick, with very uniform thickness and no floppiness, so it won't jam "the crusher". I would rather spend 46 cents than $1.12 or $2.07!
A friend worked on the original post office sortation automation, and the idea of high-speed jams made him flinch and go pale. He said the speeds were so high that even if the software and electronics detected the jam at time zero and immediately applied the brakes, the rollers could not be stopped before 100 or more envelopes were jammed tight into a big hard ball.
Rick, a high-speed jam does bring about a gruesome visual in my mind, too. I wonder if the post office processes bubble mailers on the same track as envelopes. Seems like it couldn't be accommodated the same way. The seed swap idea is great and we definitely would want to receive undamaged seed. I'm still watching and waiting for signs of sprouts in my jiffy greenhouse. I'll give it another couple of days before I start probing and digging into the cells.
>> I wonder if the post office processes bubble mailers on the same track as envelopes. Seems like it couldn't
You're right: "parcels" like bubble mailers have different processing. I thin k that "Flats" (large envelopes) also have their own set rollers.
Several different PO clerks all told me the same thing: it doesn't help to mark a regular envelope or anything else "HAND-CANCEL ONLY", not even if you pay the 20-cent "non-machinable surcharge". One clarified that the only way to keep something out of the rollers is for it to be OBVIOUSLY too big to fit, like a bubble mailer.
I was told: "If they CAN jam it into the 1/4" rollers, they will try to, because it's easier for them." So I assume the clerks who push things into the rollers, or load that hopper, or whatever, are NOT the same ones who have to un-jam the mess it causes.
Sometimes I receive a regular envelope with small seeds and a thin piece of bubble wrap. Usually some of the bubbles have been popped, and sometimes the whole piece of bubble wrap is squished flat. Small seeds are usually not visibly crushed, but I have seen the dents they made in the soft plastic Ziploc bag they were in.
I think the people who have had success sending seeds in regular thin envelopes ("First Class Letter") must live somewhere without a high-speed sortation/crusher in the outgoing path.
Rick, one thing that can be tried is to add several "peanuts" packing material or add a layer of bubble wrap around the seed, then put it in the bubble mailer. Maybe that would deter any mail handler from trying to run it through the 1/4" rollers and shouldn't make too much of a difference on the cost of postage. Just a thought. :)
>> add several "peanuts" packing material or add a layer of bubble wrap around the seed, then put it in the bubble mailer. Maybe that would deter any mail handler from trying to run it through the 1/4" rollers
I might try that next time I have a very thin mailer, but most of my bubble mailers are quite thick by PO standards. I think the horror stories about jamming rollers mostly come from things slightly over or under 1/4", but irregular or squishy.
Usually, once I'm sending out a mailer to some, I try to pack it with lots of spare seeds, especially those I've saved and have in excess. If I'm already paying the PO for three ounces, why just send one ounce? And then they would be UNABLE to force it into the rollers even if they ran over it with a forklift, first!
On the other hand, for a while I thought about going the other way : I bought some very thin bubble mailers (UNDER 1/4" thick), and thought I would try to get them accepted for 66 cents as a First Class Letter plus "non-machinable surcharge".
By their rules, they should theoretically have had to to accept it, but I'm thinking the clerks might be smart enough not to push it into The Crusher. "Might be smart enough" was the phrase that keeps me from trying it, because they would have be smart enough, and also not too lazy!
Saving seed is an obsession, even more than the rest of gardening.
My neighbor like "neat and tidy" so I don't think she appreciates my leaving plants standing until they turn brown and dry and the seed pods start to open!
Of course, I don't appreciate the way she chopped down everything alive on her property, including flowering azaleas and two healthy trees and many bushes. It's neat and tidy now - and only slightly greener than her driveway!
Hi, I'm a newbie to the fourm and have a question about mini greenhouses. We bought two from Menards today but are worried they aren't heavy enough to hold up against spring winds here in Zone 5. Is it best to use them on a southern wall with protection from a house/building? They are 27"w x 19"d x 63"h with clear plastic covers that zip in the front for opening. Big Hubby Man is putting 4" posts in the ground behind our garden and wants to zip tie the frame to the posts for stability but that means we must poke small holes through the plastic cover. It also means there is less protection from the wind since there isn't a building behind them. What has been your experience with using these mini-greenhouses out it the open? Has anyone tried using tent stakes to stabilize the frames? Our seedlings aren't ready to move outside yet, but they will be before long! Thanks for any advice!
First time ever trying this. Just bought 72 plant Professional Greenhouse. Directions state: add warm water & when pellets are fully expanded pour off excess water, how long does it take for pellets to fully expand? Thanks
It takes no time at all, they puff up right away. But be careful the pellets don't fall sideways in the cell. The planting medium will expand into the sides of the cell and compact. It is then very difficult to to loosen so you can plant.