This is my first time gardening vegetables, as well as growing seeds. Last weekend I started my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant from seeds in a seed starting flat, but I'm a little nervous about there care. I've read lots of contradicting things.
I used a good quality potting soil (Black Gold) and mixed it with Vermiculite (1/2 & 1/2) planted 3 seeds per container and watered them. I've been keeping them on my ktchen table (65-70 degrees) with filtered light. Everything I read says keep the soil moist, but I'm not sure how much watering they need. My flat has a plastic cover, so they shouldn't try out too quickly. Also how much light is too much? I read that seeds germinate faster in the dark, but I'm torn between light and it being too cool.
I know this is probably elimentry for most, maybe I'm just over analyzing.
welcome to gardening :)
I m a begginer also and this is what i have learnded
Everyone has an opinion !! on how to do it. lolol :)
ask 10 people and you will get 10 different answers :)
but in general there are some basics
you need warmth, light and moist soil.
when they say keep soil moist, it really means not soggy . Touch dry soil mix and then add water lightly until it is lightly moist to the touch. YOu don't soup !!
water when needed
what type of containers are you using ? i use plastic dixie cups and then i transfer them to the bigger beer cups at transplant time.
What type of seeds are you doing ?
usually you will need to transplant them two or three times to shock the roots.
IF you like to read there are some really good books out there
The Bible of books i use is Carlolyns book 100 tomaots for the american gardener, she is great and has a great section in her book about seed starting. I know she has posted the instructions here on a thread in the tomato forum , but is has been a while so i don't know where it is .
i hope it helps
i m sure others will chime in on other areas i have forgot or don'[t know aobut yet.lol :)
I'm using a flat with small cells (1 inch X 3 inch) and I'm growing Jalapenos, Bell Peppers, Sweet Peppers, Roma Tomatoes, another type of tomatoe I can't remember, and a Mutli Eggplant variety. I'm not so much worried about transplanting them, more getting the seeds to sprout. One person told me to spray the cells everyday, another said twice a week with the cover. I saw one recommendation to put them on top of the fridge for heat, but then they wouldn't have much light.
I also tried to start some Penstemon inthe same container, but I used only Vermiculite and it was a little soggy. That was almost 3 weeks ago and I haven't seen a sprout.
If you're concerned about keeping the seeds in the dark but also keeping the temperature warm, try putting them by an heater vent in your house that is away from light. If you don't have a place that is dark by a register, then try covering them with a cloth until they germinate. This is my first time started seeds, and I put mine by a register in a dark area. They sprouted in 2 days! Unfortunately, this caused them to grow too quickly and I had to transplant them. The few that survived the transplant later died. I do have one lone green pepper plant though! I am going to try again since they seem to germinate so quickly, and this time I will use plastic dixie cups this time, I think it will make it easier to transplant. I had used a seed starting kit the first time too. As far as watering, once I got the soil good and moist(new soil seems to take awhile to absorb the water) I water them the next few days and then stopped. The best thing to do is just check the soil daily, and if it needs some water, give it some. Basically, I think its hard to have a watering schedule, since the conditions in everyone's house is different. Just don't let the soil dry out completely. Once they've sprouted, they don't need to be water quite as much. That's the best advice I can give you, and if anyone has any advice on how to transplant seedlings without killing them, I'm sure my next batch of plants will thank you ! :)
Oh also, I had checked out the Vegetable Gardener's Bible by Edward C. Smith. I found it very informative...and it tells you the exact germinating temp of each plant and then the growing temp each plant needs after sprouting. He even tells you what plants are benneficial together and what plants shouldn't be grown together. Very informative.
i remember putting my seeds on the washer and dryer ,they seemded to sprout well , then i moved them to a sunny window. The following yr i bought a light set up iwth shelves .
I have 3 kids so i did alot of laundry lol
i think you really just need to look at your plants and if they seem dry spray them with some water , if they still feel damp , leave them alone for a day or two. IT is hard to say excactly since we all live in differnet climants. you just have to read your plants , they never lie to you, so don't worry. :)
sounds like your having fun
those won't need light to sprout. warmth will speed up the sprouting. room temp will still sprout, just a little slower. with plastic cover, you shouldn't need to water until they have started growing. once sprouted, remove from warmth and give light. dry soil is a lighter color and weight than moist soil. too much water is more likely to hurt than too little water.
Wow, thanks for all the great responses. Now for an update, my Tomatoes sprouted in just 7 days. Almost all of the seeds. I'm soo excited. I Originally planted 4 seeds per cell, (someone recomended this incase they didn't all sprout), so now I wait until they have 2 pairs of leaves and then seperate? I'd love some tips on early transplanting.
The traditional method is to use scissors to cut off all but one in each cell. I couldn't bring myself to do that last year on one variety of tomatoes and so pulled them apart at transplant time and they all grew. Actually turned out even better than ones that I used the traditional method. Some plants are more touchy than others though.
Hopefully someone with more expertise on that will post.
As taynors (Sue) said if ask ten people will get ten different answers.
People told me that I would only get spindly weak plants if I didn't use the lights.
I started tomatoes, peppers and broccoli and just moved the plants to sunniest window once sprouted. I did have problem with some flowers not germinating that way but not sure if was method or old seeds. Ones thatgrew progressed the least were a flower (amaranthus) and they took off great once I planted them outdoors.