I'd like to know what everyone finds to be the best way to start seeds. I have used peat pellets in flat the last 3 years. Now I see Rootcubes that a DH friend uses. Anyone prefer something over the other?
What do you use to start seeds? Survey:
I'd like to know what others use, too. I used peat pellets and/or pots once, but they never disintegrated.
I just use seed-starting soil. Usually I buy the commercial bags but this year I made my own mix with Miracle Grow and perlite. I chopped it finely in an old blender and so far it's worked beautifully and was considerably cheaper than the store bought soil.
It seems like peat pellets are one of those things that people either really like or really dislike. My experience with them was not so great. LOL.
Being a gardener most of my life (65) I always bought transplants at a nursery or sowed seed directly into the garden. This year, however, I thought since I was retired that I would like to start some seeds early indoors. Yesterday I finished moving 97 plants from Jiffy peat pellets into 4" square plastic nursery pots filled with straight coconut coir. I planted 108 Jiffy peat pellets. Some of the seeds were planted too deep and therefore have not germinated.
Next year I may use some of the remainder of my Jiffy pellets, but I will also plant some seeds in straight coir in the 4" pots. The 4" pots come 18 to a flat made specifically to hold the pots and it is designed to bottom water.
I use PROMIX BX for everything. Seed starting and container planting. It doesn't compact as much and the seedlings do well. I hate those mesh jiffy things. The plants don't seem to root past them, they do not degrade at all and end up wicking the water and depriving the roots from moisture. I have bought all my seed starting cell trays from Lee Valley tool. Love them. They taper nicely and the roots don't end up in a ball. I have 2 size. 72 cell & 32 cell - larger 2" cell). They are super easy for transplanting, just stick your finger in the hole & pop it out. Also use a wicking mat at the bottom of the water pan/tray.
I used toilet paper tubes (if I remembered where I saw how to make them into pots or I would post the link) with seed starting mix and I have some new 72 and 96 flat inserts that I will fill with seed starting mix. I also have a tray of peat pellets I mostly want to see what I like best which is why I am starting so many methods.
TP tubes! I can imagine that if you folded one end it could make a pot. What a good idea for recycling.
Edited to add:
Found this link - http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/2008-02-01/Biodegradable-Seed-starter-Pots.aspx
This message was edited Feb 12, 2009 8:48 AM
I use the 36 and 72 cell packs and seed germinating mix from Gardeners Supply. I have tried some of the Styrofoam planting trays with the plugs and gave up on them. Also the expanding peat disks, hate the plastic mesh, root growth restricting.
I reuse the trays and humidity domes, but buy the cells new every year.
The TP tubes would be great for the plants that do not take well to transplanting, I'll have to try some of those, thanks.
I have received hanging baskets as a gift with geraniums in them, the geraniums made it through the season and I like to save them by removing them from the basket and hanging them in the basement over winter, I find the roots are encased in those plastic mesh plugs, then I cut off the plastic mesh I can almost hear the roots take a sigh of relief.
I have to admire you gardeners in the cold areas of the world. Starting from scratch every year with your seeds and overwintered plants is a huge task and I don't think I could do it. Of course, I would be curled up in a corner waiting for warm weather, so it would be pretty hard from that aspect! LOL
My hat's off to you all.
I've tried many methods but have never done a 'scientific study' of growing the same seeds in different systems. I too have mostly given up on the styrofoam cell systems. I've been using the mesh peat pellets; I like them okay. I saw when I pulled up annuals that they were still intact, but the plants did fine and did grow roots out of the mesh.
I tried some paper pots in a mesh configuration that I did not like and some little coir pot-lets that were terrible.
Mostly now I do some in cell packs and misc. containers as well as the jiffy trays of peat pellets.
The mesh never has really disintegrated for me either, but the roots seem to grow out of them just fine. I think it's just amazing when I start canna's from seed, then in the fall when I dig them up, there's a beautiful tuber and stuck on the side is this mesh thing where the seed started and I think it's so cool that this huge plant grew from this little seed!
Peat pots and Promix BX in trays for me. I seed alot of perennials that spend several months in the peat pots. They hold up.
144 cell trays work best for me, although I also use some plastic cups. This year I'm trying some of those homemade plastic grow bags, 3x5 inch variety. I use a combo of seed starting mix, or peat-n-perlite, or professional container mix. Lately I have been putting a bit of pine bark mulch at the bottom of my cups or 2 inch pots, as plants really like it and it transplants well. I used to use the jiffy peat pots, but never had much luck with keeping things alive in them. I always use a bit of H2O2 in the water as I prep them, or soak the seeds.
I've used store-bought and homemade seed starting mixes in the past, which have worked great. This year, however, I bought a kit, which came with a 72-cell tray w/ lid, heat mat, and coco plugs (coconut coir plugs). This is my first time using the coco plugs. I just sowed my seeds last Monday (5 days ago), and already there are lots of things sprouting. I will have to wait and see how transplating goes.
I have used every product under the sun to start seeds. Got a soil blocker last year and fell in love with it- can't imagine using anything else.
This is a link to an example of a soil blocker.
I have never used one; just trying to be helpful.
WOW! I have heard about TP rolls for pots, but never tried it. I just now made 2 from a roll- I will be saving them from now on-(how many rolls does the average person use in a year? :-) )
I just cut it in half, folded it flat once, then again to make it square- then cut each corner about half inch in- crease, fold flaps to "lock" and there are 2 perfect pots. I will save my rolls flattened all year for next year-too late to have for this year. Also, paper towel rolls- Thanks for this great idea!
I'm loving the TP roll idea! Do you think the cardboard would disintegrate fast enough if you planted the roll and the plant together?
Lookin' good, JoParrott! :)
If not, they're easy enough to unfold at the bottom, aren't they?
This is TP pot thing is gonna get me in trouble! Being a packrat all my life, hating to waste anything- can you see me going around the hood asking neighbors to save me their empty TP rolls???!!!
BTW, here's a photo of what I just sowed today- I used JiffyMix- the container is supposed to be an apple ripener, I think- there's a clear vented cover that goes on it. Of course it came from a thrift shop! I have planted pelletted Wave Petunias, Tumbler tomato (for HBs) Totem tomato, and cutting Celery. I am getting anxious to do more, but will try to control myself! Here in WA, it gets warm late-
Good idea! Paper towel rolls should work also.
When plants are ready to go to the garden open the bottom and slide the tube up to where 1/2 is above ground. This should protect plants from cutworms.
Great idea for cutworms texasrockgarden. This is a great thread!
Toliet paper rolls?? I love it! Thanks for the tip...
Great idea for tp....recycling is great!!
Does anyone have problems with 'dampening off' of new growth emeging in pots?
Planning a victory garden and new to vegetable gardening and need to start plants from seeds..
All help in starting seeds will be appreciated!!!
Geraldine, I found that a good reliable "clean" germinating mix is the key. Everyone here will have their favorites, some are a homemade mix. Also starting in clean containers, some reuse, but clean in bleach water and a good rince and dry. Others will say keep air circulating with a fan on low.
My method, I only use germaination mix from Gardeners Supply, new 6 pack cells. Lights close to the seedlings, no fan. So far knock on wood no problems. I really think the mix and the containers are the most important part.
I use a resealable plastic food container(for maintaining high humidity),white paper napkin
(to see better), water with dilute potassium nitrate(KNO3), a little watersorb, and a warm,
dark place. constant temp(80-90) and high humidity is key. Sunlight will cause big swings in temp and isn't necessary for germination. Move to soil, sun, and breeze when some
green is showing.
Does anyone have problems with 'dampening off' of new growth emeging in pots?
I have always associated "cold and wet" with damping off as opposed to "warm and moist" to healthy seedlings.
Did I ever get it wrong! ...and after 65 years it's little wonder I've lost so many plants. Never too old to learn - Now if only I could remember.
Remember that excessive warmth, too much water, poor circulation and low light levels create the ideal environment for problems with damp-off.
Thank you so much ladygardener,
I printed out that article and will keep it with my notes. Am going to try the powdered natural charcoal unless I find what Safer's has to use and not too $$$$$.
I use a seed starting mix in seeding trays to sow my perennials in. I don't like the pellets since they dry out too fast and I think when they are wet, they are too wet.
The seedlings in the photo is of Pelagonium, Dianthus, and one I can't remember since this was taken years ago.
I don't do much indoor sowing anymore. I use my coldframe to sow seeds of perennials in teh fall since many varieties require stratification (cold treatment). They germinate when condition is right in the spring.
I'm with Ladygardener1. I've been using Garden Supply Company's Accelerated Propagation units (APS) for many years. I get a soilless seed starting mix from any store with a garden supply section. I use mostly the 12 and 24 unit trays and like the fact that I can order replacement parts when I need them. I grow hundreds of seedlings every year, under shop light on timers in my basement. For plants like annual salvia I will put three in a cell to create a mass effect in the garden. Since they will be gone at the end of the season overcrowding is not an issue.
Hi! Loved your 'baby' seedlings!
Can't wait to start mine in MA. Waiting for my morning glory seeds to come in to start them early.
I did read that if you use a plastic fork, you can gently raise and seperate seedlings.
Might be worth a try!!
Sunny but COLD ! Hight 30 today...
Oh, I like the plastic fork tip! Thank you Geraldine87
Look at my post on 2/23. You are correct, a fork is great to lift up seedling with. Doesn't have to be made of plastic. I used a metal fork, which works the same way.