Photo by Melody
It's time now to VOTE in our 14th annual photo contest! Voting ends November 7, so be sure to cast your votes for your favorites in each category here. Good luck to all contestants!

Seed Germination: What do you use to start seeds? Survey:

Communities > Forums > Seed Germination
bookmark
Forum: Seed GerminationReplies: 105, Views: 1,612
Add to Bookmarks
-
AuthorContent
NDFarmgirl
Page, ND

February 12, 2009
12:44 AM

Post #6126176

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?
NDFarmgirl
Page, ND

February 12, 2009
12:45 AM

Post #6126181

I meant DG (Daves Garden) friend, not DH
KaperC
No. San Diego Co., CA
(Zone 10b)

February 12, 2009
12:52 AM

Post #6126235

I'd like to know what others use, too. I used peat pellets and/or pots once, but they never disintegrated.
Lala_Jane
North West, OH
(Zone 5b)

February 12, 2009
1:18 AM

Post #6126346

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.
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 12, 2009
1:35 AM

Post #6126418

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.

Jerry
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 12, 2009
2:03 AM

Post #6126536

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.

Thumbnail by joannabanana
Click the image for an enlarged view.

noQgarderner
Black Creek, WI

February 12, 2009
2:21 PM

Post #6127949

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.
KaperC
No. San Diego Co., CA
(Zone 10b)

February 12, 2009
4:47 PM

Post #6128595

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
ladygardener1
Near Lake Erie, NW, PA
(Zone 5a)

February 13, 2009
2:49 PM

Post #6132855

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.
KaperC
No. San Diego Co., CA
(Zone 10b)

February 13, 2009
4:46 PM

Post #6133389

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.
cedar18
Lula, GA
(Zone 7b)

February 13, 2009
8:36 PM

Post #6134302

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.
NDFarmgirl
Page, ND

February 13, 2009
8:57 PM

Post #6134395

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!
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 14, 2009
1:17 AM

Post #6135471

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.
beakerlj
Galien, MI

February 14, 2009
1:24 AM

Post #6135506

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.
passiflora07
Fern Park, FL
(Zone 9b)

February 15, 2009
3:44 AM

Post #6140440

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.

Thumbnail by passiflora07
Click the image for an enlarged view.

lybzephyr
Grovetown, GA

February 17, 2009
2:34 PM

Post #6150745

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.
NDFarmgirl
Page, ND

February 17, 2009
3:55 PM

Post #6151061

soil blocker?
NisiNJ
Bordentown, NJ
(Zone 7a)

February 19, 2009
6:41 PM

Post #6161240

This is a link to an example of a soil blocker.

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?category=292&subcategory=616&item=9527

I have never used one; just trying to be helpful.
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

February 19, 2009
9:38 PM

Post #6161923

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!

Thumbnail by JoParrott
Click the image for an enlarged view.

passiflora07
Fern Park, FL
(Zone 9b)

February 19, 2009
10:12 PM

Post #6162055

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! :)
KaperC
No. San Diego Co., CA
(Zone 10b)

February 19, 2009
11:19 PM

Post #6162293

If not, they're easy enough to unfold at the bottom, aren't they?
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

February 19, 2009
11:48 PM

Post #6162407

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-

Thumbnail by JoParrott
Click the image for an enlarged view.

texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 20, 2009
2:25 AM

Post #6163100

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.

Jerry
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 20, 2009
2:29 AM

Post #6163117

Great idea for cutworms texasrockgarden. This is a great thread!
PlantiMcPlanter
Spokane, WA
(Zone 5b)

February 21, 2009
12:38 AM

Post #6167251

Toliet paper rolls?? I love it! Thanks for the tip...
geraldine87
West Warren, MA

February 22, 2009
12:46 PM

Post #6172857

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!!!
ladygardener1
Near Lake Erie, NW, PA
(Zone 5a)

February 22, 2009
1:17 PM

Post #6172920

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.
Happy gardening.
donbo7011
Brooksville, FL

February 22, 2009
1:31 PM

Post #6172940

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.
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 22, 2009
2:51 PM

Post #6173132

[quote]Does anyone have problems with 'dampening off' of new growth emeging in pots?[/quote]

I have always associated "cold and wet" with damping off as opposed to "warm and moist" to healthy seedlings.

Jerry
ladygardener1
Near Lake Erie, NW, PA
(Zone 5a)

February 22, 2009
3:08 PM

Post #6173166

http://www.hillgardens.com/dampoff.htm

Good article for the seed sowing beginner.
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 22, 2009
3:50 PM

Post #6173367

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.

[quote]Remember that excessive warmth, too much water, poor circulation and low light levels create the ideal environment for problems with damp-off.[/quote] This taken from the link ladygardener1 posted above.

Thanks ladygardener1.

Jerry
geraldine87
West Warren, MA

February 22, 2009
11:34 PM

Post #6175401

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 $$$$$.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

February 23, 2009
12:53 AM

Post #6175780

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.

Thumbnail by blomma
Click the image for an enlarged view.

geraldine87
West Warren, MA

February 23, 2009
9:34 AM

Post #6177147

Great way to start those perennials!!
NDFarmgirl
Page, ND

February 23, 2009
1:55 PM

Post #6177612

How did/do you separate all those little seedlings though!?

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

February 24, 2009
4:44 AM

Post #6181575

NDFarmgirl
Very carefully like the photo shows

Thumbnail by blomma
Click the image for an enlarged view.

DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

February 24, 2009
1:04 PM

Post #6182221

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.

Donna
geraldine87
West Warren, MA

February 24, 2009
1:16 PM

Post #6182255

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...
DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

February 24, 2009
1:24 PM

Post #6182270

Oh, I like the plastic fork tip! Thank you Geraldine87

Donna

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

February 25, 2009
9:08 AM

Post #6187351

geraldine 87
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.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 25, 2009
11:35 AM

Post #6187460

I have tried them all... from the soil blocker all the way up to the APS they all have goods and bads... swore off any pellets... I loved using newspaper pots until it was time to harden off... after getting rained on a few times they became too mushy and I had to lift each with a trowel or it would fall apart... I love the cow pots for anything that doesn't like to be transplanted or going in my beds... since they are made from compost and anything will help my poor soil... and they are just tough enough to start indoors and some I bottom water... harden off and get in the ground without breaking apart... and the roots still grow through them

I will try out the tp rolls for the last min stuff this year instead of using bathroom cups... thanks for that
geraldine87
West Warren, MA

February 25, 2009
3:36 PM

Post #6188209

Thanks blomma, when I get my morning glory seeds in I will plant them into a large plastic cup to start germinating and grow inside til I can plant outside.
You mentioned the large root system plants need that's why I will use the big cups.
Also will keep deadheading plants and give away blooms to seniors that live nearby.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

February 25, 2009
6:56 PM

Post #6189050

geraldine 87
Your welcome. I forgot to mention that if you can find a small fork, or else use a plastic and break off some of the teeth, it works even bettter.

If I remember correctly morning glories don't like to be transplanted so do it after first set of leaves, very carefully.

I use the foam coffee cups to transplant seedling in. Cheap in Walmart. I like them because the foam insulate the roots, and the sides can easily be torn away from the root system when time to plant. Less disturbance on roots. Can easily puncture drainage holes with a pen, or similar.

I used to live in Gt. Barrington, MA during the 70's and 80's. until I moved to WY. What a difference in gardening methods that is. Had to start learning all over again due to different climate and soil.
geraldine87
West Warren, MA

February 25, 2009
11:24 PM

Post #6190086

Thanks blomma, had to learn gardening in Fl. when I was there...much different from MA.
Picked up some lg. peat pots for mg...waiting for them to come in...
A seed seller said not to use peat pots for tomatoes because they promote fungus infections with die back of plants. True ??

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

February 26, 2009
2:18 AM

Post #6190923

geraldine87
MA and FL, not that is a huge difference
I have used peat pots for all kinds of plants without any problems. I have never heard of them promoting fungus infections. I really doubt it. Fungus comes from the bacteria in soil, I belive. No soil, no fungus.

Personally I don't care for peat pots anymore because they do dry out quickly and tend to soften when wet. Hard to pick up. I use foam coffee cups for temporary pots. They insulate the roots, are cheap in Walmart, and stand up, yet the wall tear off easily when you want to get the plants out of it so you get the whole rootball. You can easily write on it with a marker. Making drainage holes in foam is as easy as it gets. To me it is the perfect first pot.
kitchenshop
Craig, CO
(Zone 3b)

February 26, 2009
12:24 PM

Post #6192228

I have some plastic containers and also use foam cups. Fill them with potting soil. Last year I used the Jiffy Mix seed starting mixture and all my tomato seedlings turned purple/black. Transplanted them into different dirt right away, and they survived. But I won't use the Jiffy mix again. Don't know if I got a bad batch, or what was wrong. I've been starting tomato seeds for 30 years, and never saw any seedlings turn those colors before!
geraldine87
West Warren, MA

February 26, 2009
1:38 PM

Post #6192418

Thanks, will return peat pots and go with the plastic, was going to do that at first.
They will be easier to handle!!
summer_girl
Germanton, NC
(Zone 7a)

February 26, 2009
2:02 PM

Post #6192540

Iíve used peat pellets in the past but this year decided to make my own newspaper starting pots filling with seed starter soil mix. I placed the pots in stackable baskets to keep from having to handle them much. When itís time to water, I just take the basket(s), sit them in the bath tub, run some warm water & let the pots soak up the water from the bottom. Theyíve worked great!!!
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 26, 2009
4:27 PM

Post #6193218

I'm going to try cowpots next year if I can find them in 2" size.
PlantiMcPlanter
Spokane, WA
(Zone 5b)

February 26, 2009
5:14 PM

Post #6193432

I know what cow pies are but not cow pots. Can you tell me?
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 26, 2009
5:23 PM

Post #6193475

Cowpots http://www.cowpots.com/

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 26, 2009
5:29 PM

Post #6193503

don't make them in 2"

:(
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 26, 2009
5:32 PM

Post #6193513

Bummer :( I won't be trying them then. Maybe one day.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 26, 2009
6:14 PM

Post #6193702

the 3" is not far off... not exactly 3 square... the only thing annoying is the lip takes up too much room in a flat... until they loosen up you have to squeeze the 4th one in side by side... I actually thought about cutting it off... the decided it was too much work

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 26, 2009
6:18 PM

Post #6193726

the 4" are the same way... only have to squish 3 across

Thumbnail by onewish1
Click the image for an enlarged view.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 26, 2009
6:20 PM

Post #6193739

here is the 3"

Thumbnail by onewish1
Click the image for an enlarged view.

dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 26, 2009
6:24 PM

Post #6193766

forget the cowpots, your geraniums are looking luvly onewish!

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 26, 2009
6:24 PM

Post #6193769

thank you my dear
summer_girl
Germanton, NC
(Zone 7a)

February 26, 2009
8:10 PM

Post #6194255

onewish1 - I have to agree with dahlianut, your geraniums are coming along very nicely. I've germinated marigolds, vinca, alyssum, primrose & african daisey's so far. I've got thuja green giant seeds in cold stratification (since 2/2) to try as well. I can't wait to get them in the dirt, hopefully I can wait a full 90 days. :) I'm also trying to root stem cuttings of of leyland cypress & dogwood trees but haven't had much luck with them. They've been in peat pellets for 4wks & no roots yet. Maybe I should stick with the tried & true yellow bell bush when it comes to rooting stem cuttings but darn I would love to root some trees. Direction / advise anyone?
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 26, 2009
8:21 PM

Post #6194303

With woody cuttings, I've only had success with softwood cuttings dipped in rooting hormone and grown in sand. This might be helpful http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-8702.html

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 26, 2009
8:40 PM

Post #6194376

my neighbor always does the same with her azalea cuttings... hormone & sand
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

February 26, 2009
8:48 PM

Post #6194408

joannabanana...I use ProMixBX for everything as well. Have Earthboxes so buy 3.8 cu.ft bales. Not everyone carries it but I found this year ACE hardware will order it.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 26, 2009
8:50 PM

Post #6194418

I will have to see if my ACE will do that... some of these places around here wanted to charge me $60.00 for a bale... but I found a hydroponics place not far from here that the price was something like $38.00
summer_girl
Germanton, NC
(Zone 7a)

February 26, 2009
8:54 PM

Post #6194430

Thanks, the link was helpful. One more quick question though, why use sand for rooting?
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 26, 2009
9:01 PM

Post #6194453

Good question. I was taught that way when I worked at a nursery and I don't remember why. I bet someone on the Propagation Forum will know. That is another great forum
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

February 26, 2009
10:02 PM

Post #6194776

onewish...last week, ACE quoted me a price of $33 a bale for ProMixBX.

Last year I bought a similiar product (without the "BX" fungi) for $24 a bale at an Agway in CT farm country.
PlantiMcPlanter
Spokane, WA
(Zone 5b)

February 26, 2009
10:36 PM

Post #6194907

Hey, thanks, dahlianut! Cow pies weren't all together off the mark. What a good idea...

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 26, 2009
11:12 PM

Post #6195047

I am going to call them for sure DP... thank you!
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

February 27, 2009
2:59 AM

Post #6195974

onewish...the main warehouse for the Ace Hardware out here in eastern CT is in New York. I bet that is the one your local Ace would draw from too. I wanted fish emulsion and the NY warehouse didn't have it but the owner I think said she could get that from another Ace depot someplace. Anways...they got it..its a matter of the local Ace getting it. Freight is free...they just add it to their regular shipments.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 27, 2009
4:28 AM

Post #6196299

I emailed them... if I don't hear back by tomorrow I am going to call.. that is great... thanks again

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 28, 2009
12:08 AM

Post #6199651

well it doesn't sound like the manager can get the pro-mix... but he said they carry Southland in 3.8 bales... anyone ever use that brand?
lblackwell
Reidsville, NC

March 1, 2009
4:36 AM

Post #6204973

I used peat pellets then potted up to a larger potting soil pellet in a peat pot this year.

Thumbnail by lblackwell
Click the image for an enlarged view.

lblackwell
Reidsville, NC

March 1, 2009
4:40 AM

Post #6204986

I used seed starting mix for my coleus and then put seedling in plastic cups with potting soil.

Thumbnail by lblackwell
Click the image for an enlarged view.

geraldine87
West Warren, MA

March 1, 2009
1:04 PM

Post #6205580

Hi!
Was great looking at those seedlings...I planted some seeds and sprinkled some perlite on top to help prevent damping off...will this work ?? will the perlite burn the new shoots ??
Am new to starting seeds and need all the help I can get!!
Thanks ::)

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 1, 2009
9:14 PM

Post #6207520

I use pearlite all the time in my mixes... don't think it's a problem

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

March 3, 2009
8:38 AM

Post #6214994

Since my last post here, I have been on a roll. I discovered a new use for kitchen paper towels---germinating seeds indoors. Others use coffee filters with this method. I prefer paper towels because they are soft and easier to squeeze excess water from.

From now on, kitchen paper towels will be my favorite for germinating seeds that are large enough to handle.

While looking for something in my garden shed, I came across a plastic shoe box full of different varieties of old seeds I had forgotten about. All are hardy perennials. I had given my daughter a bunch of seeds 2 years ago thinking I had given her all of them. I didn't. Gosh, this must be a sign of aging!!

I haven't started plants from seeds for a few years. This year I wanted more plants since I am redoing my borders. Likewise is my daughter. Since I found all those seeds, I figured I may as well test them out using the damp paper napkin method. I usually sow seeds in my coldframe but I am out of space in there. Nor did I want to waste seeding mix if the seeds weren't going to germinate.

The first variety of seeds I sowed were the C. macrocephala from 2004. I placed 10 seeds in a moist paper towel and placed it in a ziplock bag. Left the ziplock bag on top of my refrigerator where it is warmer than the house temperature. Seven out of 10 germinated in 7 days. The average time is 5 to 10 days. I have already potted them up 2 to a 3" pot, since I was unprepared for such fast germination, if at all. Next came Datura with the same method. I tried both the 2002 and the 2004, without any difference. Germination count was a bit lower. Six out of 10 seeds have germinated but others may be stragglers.

Now I am on a roll. I have 26 varieties of seeds so far in little packages of paper towels in baggies. Some I am stratifying in the refrigerator, other not. All were started between 2/18 and 3/1. To mention a few:
Scabiosa---2 varieties, germinated
Geranium 'Vision'---2 so far
Dianthus plumarius---in frige
Armeria---in frig
Euphorbia polychroma---in frige
Asclepia tuberosa---in frige
Callirhoe involucrata---in frige
Catananche caerulea
Salvia argentea---4 so far
Heliopsis helianthoides---9 germinated
and more to do

I hadn't planned on that many seeds germinating. Forget window space. I will have to drag out my 4ft long plant light and set it up again over a shelf. Too early to plant outdoors. Once through the real baby stage, I can bring them over to my daughter's sun room.

I came to the conclusion: never toss out old seeds. They do not have to be fresh to germinate. Also, I just want a few plants of each so this method prevents oversowing and wasting seeds. Love it!!

Caption: Germinated seeds of Centaurea macrocephala just prior to potting up.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

March 3, 2009
8:41 AM

Post #6214995

OOps! I forgot to include the photo

Thumbnail by blomma
Click the image for an enlarged view.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

March 3, 2009
8:42 AM

Post #6214997

And here are the same cuties potted up. Two in a foam pot.

Thumbnail by blomma
Click the image for an enlarged view.

geraldine87
West Warren, MA

March 3, 2009
1:21 PM

Post #6215418

Wow, just checked mine top of fridge, the black millet is 'sprouting' in container.
I used a clean (used bleach and soap ) plastic strawberry container from grocery store!! 'I feel good' never did good seed starting til I came to DG and met you all!!
20 today and 0 chill factor for tomorrow but smiles here...got plenty of snow, am sending some to friends in Fl..Ha Ha Ha...
playinindirt
Harwinton, CT

March 3, 2009
8:15 PM

Post #6216927

I've been using ProMix for many years and always have excellent results. I've also tried the pellets, the peat pots, the fancy schmancy flats with domes and water tray bases. . .they're all a waste of money. A plastic flat or a homemade wooden one with heat cable if required, a flower pot, and ordinary plastic stretched and thumbtacked over, or a plastic bag. That's all that's really required. Oh, I forgot the lights. I use a homemade setup where I can raise or lower fluorescent lights. Another thing I use is a heavy duty set of shelves I got from Home Depot. It cost $60.00 but I use it every year and the shelves can be spaced any way you want. I hang fluorescent fixtures on each shelf; it works out great!
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

March 4, 2009
1:07 AM

Post #6218169

Go Blomma Go! I seeded quite a few seeds that I found in the seed fridge from 2005 this year. Amazing germination with some. Others... sigh. Unfortunately my big bummer is I have f*u*n*g*u*s g*n*a*t*s this year in my indoor grow op for the first time ever (I wrote in secret code so they will be confused and won't spread) so I will probably not be moving any seedlings from the indoor grow op to the greenhouse :(

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

March 4, 2009
6:31 AM

Post #6219268

Finally got the light set up on my shelf today and moved all my babies under it. More had broken through the soil in the flats after germinating with the paper towel method, including Daturas, and 12 Helianthus maximillian (Prairie Sunflower) for my daughter. Also 7 Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Weed).

The Prairie Sunflower seeds I stratified in the refrigerator first. They germinated when placed in a warmer location.

I forgot to take a photo before I started writing.

What really amazes me is that some seeds I that had trouble germinating when sown in seeding mix, germinated easily in moist paper napkins.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

March 4, 2009
8:50 PM

Post #6221471

Checked on my Hibiscus moscheutos that I had sown in moist paper towels and stuck in baggie after I nicked, then soaked them overnigth. These seeds were old so didn't expect much. I tried them when I first bought them and only one came up.

I sowed these on March 1, 2009, the photo is taken on March 3, 2009

What a surprise!!!

See for yourself. Already placed in a seeding flat for further growth.

Thumbnail by blomma
Click the image for an enlarged view.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

March 4, 2009
8:54 PM

Post #6221477

And here is the Helianthus maximillian in seeding flat after germinating in moist paper towel and baggie.

Some have not broken through the soil yet.

This message was edited Mar 4, 2009 1:55 PM

Thumbnail by blomma
Click the image for an enlarged view.

NDFarmgirl
Page, ND

March 4, 2009
9:59 PM

Post #6221677

playinindirt - I'd love to see your shevles from Home Depot. Do you have a picture?
2ndChance
Tempe, AZ
(Zone 9b)

March 4, 2009
11:05 PM

Post #6221998

Once I got a hang of peat pellets, I love them. Took a few years though. But I internet order the tall 3" ones so I can produce deeper roots before planting.
ibartoo
Pawleys Island, SC

March 7, 2009
12:54 AM

Post #6231183

I may have mentioned this, but I start all my seeds in ziplock baggies. I mix fafard 3b right into the bag with the seeds and about 1-2 ounces of water, then put the seeds under lights or on heat and they germinate right in the bag. When it is time to pot them up, I use a plastic fork and then I toss whatever sowing mix is left into my "recycle bucket". When it gets full I use the recycle bucket to top dress a flower bed and if there are any seeds left in the mix that hadn't germinated when I potted the seedlings, they germinate where I have top dressed them. I can always move the seedlings to a permant home when they are larger.

I tried the papertowels in the ziplock bags, but it seemed as though it took twice as long to me.
Linda

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 7, 2009
1:41 AM

Post #6231409

must be fun finding something growing you did not intend to plant in that spot
NisiNJ
Bordentown, NJ
(Zone 7a)

March 7, 2009
2:46 AM

Post #6231653

ibartoo (Linda):

Do you put any holes in the tops or bottoms of the bags? Do you ziplock them completely closed?

Denise
2ndChance
Tempe, AZ
(Zone 9b)

March 7, 2009
1:30 PM

Post #6232907

There must be a trick to transplanting the sprouted seeds because I kill them every time.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 7, 2009
1:37 PM

Post #6232928

I am not good with ity bity ones either... when they get a couple of sets of leaves.. then I am good

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

March 7, 2009
1:50 PM

Post #6232994

The only trick to transplant sprouted seeds is to make a hole with a pencil, use tweezer and grab the seed shell and carefull guide the root into the hole and tuck it in from the sides. Then add more mix to the level the seed was suppose to be at, had you sowed it in soil.
ibartoo
Pawleys Island, SC

March 7, 2009
2:02 PM

Post #6233046

Denise, I zip the baggies completely until the seedlings emerge. then I open them and let the little plants get fresh air.
As long is there is condensation on the inside of the baggie, the seeds are moist and humid enough.

The neat thing is that you can leave the seedlings in the baggies until they have a couple of sets of true leaves.
Sometimes I transplant too early, but other times I actually wait until the plants are a couple of inches or so above the baggie.
I will try to post some pictures later on today.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

March 7, 2009
2:23 PM

Post #6233176

KaperC:
If I licved in CA I would certainly garden myself to death. By fall, I'm ready for a break to do other things, like crafting.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 7, 2009
2:35 PM

Post #6233240

how do you keep the baggie of the babies?
KaperC
No. San Diego Co., CA
(Zone 10b)

March 7, 2009
4:34 PM

Post #6233696

blomma - when it hits the 90s here, I'm pretty much done except for early morning!
cedar18
Lula, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 7, 2009
6:01 PM

Post #6234030

I didn't have good luck with the paper towel method; maybe I waited too long? But the roots were stuck to the towel, which I just tore pieces off and left intact with said roots. And the seeds had shifted and the roots were intertwined...

I may try the baggie idea, but I too want to know about keeping the plastic away from the plant-lets.
ibartoo
Pawleys Island, SC

March 7, 2009
7:08 PM

Post #6234219

Onewish & cedar 18, there are 2 ways, 1 keep a lot of air in the baggie, and 2 if you have already opened the baggie
you can stick plastic knives or popsicle stick in the mix to keep the baggies off the babies.

I will go take pics.

I stumbled on to this because I failed at germinating them in baggies on coffee filters and paper towels. The idea came to me, what if I just put the soil right in the bag.

This is my 3rd year germinating this way and my success rate has improved dramatically.
Linda
paracelsus
Elmira, NY
(Zone 6a)

March 9, 2009
12:16 AM

Post #6239814

I've been using peat pellets for a lot of years. I don't like that the mesh doesn't disintegrate, but it has not stopped roots IME. I tried the super-long pellets but found that the top tended to dry out in my setup. I tried using cellpacks a couple of times but didn't like them much because if every slot didn't sprout you had slots going to waste. Which just offends my sense of efficiency, lol! However, I have tons and tons of cellpacks left.

I used to use plastic cups for pots with holes made in the bottom with a phillips screwdriver--a little top-heavy. Finally one year I caved and bought a bunch of 4" plastic pots. I've been using those same pots for years now and I am glad I have them.
NDFarmgirl
Page, ND

March 9, 2009
2:42 AM

Post #6240465

Question - if a seed doesn't germinate - do you reuse whatever method you were using? i.e., put a different seed in the pellet or cell or cup????

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 9, 2009
2:44 AM

Post #6240474

I did that last year and ended up growing sunflowers & tomatoes in the same cow pots... LOL

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

March 9, 2009
2:48 AM

Post #6240493

onewish1
To keep the plastic from laying flat, zip up the baggie to 1/2" from end. Blow in it so that it becomes like a balloon. When you feel that no more air will go in, quickly zip up the rest. Make sure the tracks on the baggie are lined up or the bag will not keep the air inside.

cedar18
You left the germinated seeds in the paper towels too long. Remove the sprouted seeds when you can see the radicals (roots). Check every days because those can grow overnight. See my post on March 4. I have a photo of Hibiscus seeds that sprouted in 2 days after nicking and soaking. They are now planted in a flat and just broke through the soil.

CAPTION: All the plants in the photo was started in moist paper towels. The Hibicus is growing on the left side in the flat in upper right. It is just breaking through the soil. The other plants are hardy Geraniums, Asclepias incarnata, Heliopsis, Helianthus, and the tiny seedling of Dianthus in the flat upper left.



This message was edited Mar 8, 2009 8:49 PM

Thumbnail by blomma
Click the image for an enlarged view.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 9, 2009
2:50 AM

Post #6240505

thanks for the info
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

April 5, 2009
12:03 AM

Post #6365078

Every year I drive up to an Mackey's Agway in Colchester, Connecticut to get fertilizer, potting mix and other supplies. It is still farm country up there and prices are much better than on the coast.

This year the prices were amazing. Lambert potting mix was $11.99 for a 3.8 cu ft bale. I bought three. Asked if they had made a mistake because last year the same mix was $21. No...no mistake. Last year I used Lambert and ProMix. Saw no difference between the two except that ProMix runs around $33 a bale here.
BlindingBrown
New Rochelle, NY
(Zone 6b)

May 1, 2009
4:22 AM

Post #6487238

Hello everyone. I'm new to the forum, and have learned a lot about seeds today. This year, I'm trying egg cartons to start some seeds. I'm using the clear plastic kind, and I punched hole in the bottom of each egg holder. You can keep the top of for a mini greenhouse, or cut them in half like I did for double the trays. I use planting soil and bottom water. We'll see how it turns out.
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

May 1, 2009
3:11 PM

Post #6488618

Welcome to DG BlindingBrown. What a great idea!

You cannot post until you register and login.


Other Seed Germination Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Propagation: Why are some seedlings "leggy"? gardendragon 18 May 8, 2013 6:47 PM
Welcome to the Seed Germination Discussion Forum! dave 20 Dec 23, 2009 2:56 PM
Jiffy Mini-Greenhouse for starting seeds PeggieK 188 Mar 21, 2013 11:19 AM
Stratification kimmers 27 Mar 26, 2014 4:37 PM
Sowing in Spaghnum moss Laurie1 3 Mar 8, 2007 11:55 PM


We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2014 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.
 

Hope for America