Starting seeds for 2013, Part 2

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

We came from here:

Continuing to share methods and experiences on starting seeds, what works, what doesn't, everyone welcome.

I'm growing my seedlings in a city apartment window until the end of March, when we re-open the house in Connecticut. I use the Deno Method, damp paper towels in a baggy, to germinate most seeds, chilling the ones that need it in the refrigerator first. Lately I've been experimenting with different techniques for some which have been more challenging.

Pic is my current set-up.

This message was edited Feb 18, 2013 10:22 PM

Thumbnail by Pfg
Blue Ridge Mtns, VA(Zone 7a)

Still following along, Pam.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Thanks, Pam!

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Great! So glad you're here!

No new sprouts at the moment, but I still have hopes for some laggards.

Soon I'll be starting petunias, then more annuals. More tomorrow...


Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

I'm here...Sorry fruity..will get your package mailed today.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Here a pix as of Sunday

Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy
Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Ok..will try again.

Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy
Calgary, Canada

That looks great!
I am just going to start this week.

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the new thread! One of these days I'll quit dialup...sigh.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Sure, happy to do it... Sorry I didn't think of it...

Last year I started my petunias 2/21... But I don't feel like it right now... I'm taking a little time out...

All my perennial babies are happy at the moment, and the few holdouts are still holding out- Salvias, Veronicas and Verbascums. I was chilling them In the frig, but then turned off the heat mat and put them back on the windowsill. It's in the mid 60's during the day, maybe 10 degrees cooler at night. When I do start the petunias, I know they like more heat. If the others haven't done anything by then they go back in the frig and the mat will go on again.

But not today...

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Ok...pix button is gooffing.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Here's some new pix from today..Just got 2 more light units up today...making more room so potting on can ensue....

Hey, I got 4 of those blankets from Walmart, they were $2.97 each (52.5"x82.5"), can see in pix. I have it taped to the front of my plant stand with painter's tape, then I can remove and tape to the wall when I need to get to my babies.. Next stand I will put up one one each long side. Sure does brighten it up... might want to try and hang a sheet on the room side of your grow stand....they are soooooo light too. I need to look into some of that aluminumn type paint for next year too, will paint my whole stand, and shelves....

Pix 1: Asclepias incarnata 'Ice Ballet'
Pix 2: Centranthus ruber (Jupiter's Beard)
Pix 3: Anthemis tinctoria/ left and Delph. grandiflora chinensis/right
Pix4: Digitalis grandiflorus (yellow foxglove)/right and Papaver orientalis 'Marlene'/right ( this is 'spose to be a burgundy colored flower (reddish/purple) oooh, I wanna see this one, hopefully I can get it out next month into my plastic covered area (cold frame/shed area (will have to come up with a name for this, might be able to trick it into bloom if I can get it some cooler temps. for a month or so.), hopefully can trick some of my other perenns. too ( Delph, foxglove, and anything else I can get out there that can take the cold night temps.
Pix 5: Delphs.: D. grandiflorus. c. ; D. elatum Blue/dark bee; D. e. Dark blue/white bee; D. e. Hybrids mix colors from Dowdeswell herre at Dave's; D. e. 'Galahad' white, D. g. 'Guinevere' light lav-pink; D. requienii, new this year from the Netherlands in Rare Seed Trade this last fall, listed as Biennial or Annual or first year bloom, kinda curious about this one, and it's suppose to reseed, gets to 4 ft-ish.;

This message was edited Feb 22, 2013 5:12 PM

Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy
Holly Springs, NC(Zone 7b)

I'm nosey Kathy. Whatcha growing in those first 3 pictures?

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Lol...Sorry, I was put names with pix when you posted.....

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Wow, that is sooooo much more reflective than foil! And I think your lights are higher than mine? I wouldn't mind that, makes it easier to see what's going on. I've been busy doing other things, but I did pot up the last of my Platys yesterday. I do think the brighter lights are keeping the plants from stretching, no haircuts necessary as yet.

Tomorrow is a free day, and I have lots planned. I have more Alchemilla seedlings that need separating, and it's time to start the petunias and see what else is in my stash.

(susie) Hastings, MI(Zone 5a)

GOOD Morning Nice Assortment Kathy Love to see your garden it will be a great showcase for sure .
Yours also Pam My land is Mostly flat here Not many trees Only out back in the woods , My brother had it logged off this last fall Looking open & Very Nice back there He & I have talked about the type of plant to put back there . so i have many type in mind & I just hope I can get them to grow .

Well My Sisters whom I've Not seen or heard from since daddy passed away called to say she was going to be around town & wants to come out for a visit , so guess i better get off here . & Go take care of my Molly Duck :)
ya all have a great day & HAPPY GARDENING

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I have spent the day off and on reading all of the posts on this thread. Lots of information. I usually Winter Sow my seeds with great success. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do the WS this year. So recently, I have been studying the "under lights" method.

I have done research on hydrogen peroxide but don't find a lot of information.
Do you use a mix of water and hydrogen peroxide on All of your seeds or just the ones that need scarifcation?
If you use hydrogen peroxide on all of your plants, do you give them a bath in the solution and then plant?
Or use the solution to water the seeds into the growing medium?
In the past, I have been too aggressive with nicking my sweet peas so am thinking about using the hydrogen peroxide instead of nicking the seeds. I think I will let them soak in the H. P. solution for 48 hours. Suggestions?

Also, Pam, you mentioned something else you give your seeds when you plant them, what was that?

Pam, I wonder how your Penstemon p. has turned out? I am wondering if the problem was the Miracle Grow medium you used. MG holds moisture and gets crusty on the surface. I used MG one year for my WS with poor germination and seedlings were unhappy. I am sure you have read Tom C. suggests 8 weeks at 41 degrees. I grew this from seed one year by WS and got good germination.

I use ProMix seed starting mix for my sowing seeds which has worked well for me.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I mix the peroxide 1:10 with water and use it for everything. Some people mix a higher concentration for soaking, but I don't. There's a website that gives detailed information and directions.

The first year I used their proportions, but when I found out that many people here use 9 or 10 parts water to 1 part peroxide, I stopped making myself crazy with the math and now keep it simple:
1 qt water = 32 oz, 3 oz peroxide.
1 gallon water = 128 oz, 12 oz peroxide.

I also add a drop or two of Superthrive, which stimulates rooting. Then I sprinkle cinnamon over the surface after sowing or planting to prevent damping off (peroxide helps with that, too) and to keep the gnats away.

I am limited to shopping at HD in NYC, and they have very little available other than MG. I'd love to find Pro-Mix, but so far have had no luck. I have experienced the crustiness in the past, but it seems less of a problem this year. I have started mixing a little vermiculite in the top layer, seems to make a difference.

Verbascum Wedding Candles germinated in vermiculite in a little baggy. Yippee!

Started petunias today... 2.5" pot, seed starting mix topped with vermiculite, pressed pelleted seeds into it and put under the dome.

Just potted up a chia pet of Alchemilla into 6-packs, some multiples just in case. The first batch are doing great, so are all the Platys and Dianthus. All the older seedlings love the new lights, including my 1 P Palmerii.

Also have another full pot of Campanula babies, must get to that soon.

Ran out of tape for my label machine, and cut another batch of markers from a few more slats of the Venetian blind... Ordered more Perma-nest trays, I've expanded again...

That's all my news for today.


Thumbnail by Pfg Thumbnail by Pfg Thumbnail by Pfg Thumbnail by Pfg Thumbnail by Pfg
Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Pam ~ What kind of label machine do you use?

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I t's a Brother P-90. I haven't had it long, already love it.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Wow, Pam your plants are looking great>>>>> Was trying to do the peroxide method and have been using too little of it...

Getting snow here today...actually they are saying blizzard....I hope we get as much snow as they are saying.....My fingers are crossed!

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Oh no, I wrote a long post hours ago, and it disappeared!!!

Thanks, Kathy- how cool, you're using peroxide and I'm using vermiculite... Always more to learn, and nice to share, yes?!

Speaking of learning... I went on line (Amazon) and ordered tapes for my label maker, then thought I'd better check to make sure I got the right kind. Turns out Brother makes a laminated tape, especially good for outside, there's a clear layer over the printing that must help prevent fading, and that's what I ordered. So then I ordered the machine that it fits (PT200) for only $22. Then I went to Staples and bought tape for the machine I have so I could make the labels I need now. Whew! I figure I'll take the new one to CT for outdoor labels, leave the other one in the city for other uses.

Good luck on the snow, we have rain...

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Gorgeous day here, nothing new except my DD is on DG. She's been a member since last summer, but not active. Now that spring is on its way, she'll be starting some annuals, herbs, and veggies. She has already WS'd some things, now they're under a layer of ice. Some of my extra perennials will be going to her to nurture until planting time as I have to make space for my annuals, etc.

How was the blizzard? Kathy, did you get enough?

Thumbnail by Pfg Thumbnail by Pfg
Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

When I grew sweet peas years ago, I nicked then soaked overnight in hand hot water to plum them up. Likewise with any seeds that have a hard coating, including Hibiscus. Then place in a moist paper towel inserted in a ziplock bag. If the sweet peas are perennial kind, place in fridge for 2 or 3 weeks. If not, place in room temp.

I used to use 1part Peroxide to 9 part water. In an experiment a few weeks ago using Deno method, I found that Peroxide is useless to prevent fungus and rot, at least for daylily seeds. I am going to buy and try a fungicide to see if it works better.

In several towel packages, I had 3 daylily seeds. One sprouted, another did not, and the 3rd was soft and rotted. Also showed a white film like mildew. In other packages, all rotted, and so on.....

I think that regarding daylily seeds, they may have had rust...or something...when I bought them. The healthy seeds in the same package sprouted and grew when planted.

I concluded that Peroxide don't work on Daylily seeds. Perhaps on other seeds it does. Mother Nature don't have all the fixings such as Peroxide, cinnamon, and the like, yet seeds sprout in Nature. It lead me to believe that in the seed world, healthy seeds will sprout, and unhealthy seeds won't no matter what you do. It may be Nature's way of seperating the fittest, from the non-fittest in seeds.

Below is hardy Hibiscus seeds after soaking overnight, then sprouted in a moist paper towel in 2 days.

Thumbnail by blomma
Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I have looked at the Burpee trays with dome.

Also looked at Parks Seed Starting Kits.

Are the ones from Grower's Supply better? What is the advantage?

Where do you get the Superthrive? Lowes? WalMart?

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I've been getting trays, etc from IGC. much sturdier.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Blomma, thanks for the information about sweet peas. They are annuals. I seem to nick my sweet peas too severely. In the past, I have nicked them, put them in hot water and then planted out. However skipped your last step re: paper towel and waiting until they sprout.
How do you keep from nicking the seed too aggressively? I have read somewhere recently the main cause of sweet peas not sprouting is nicking too severly. I have tried using a knife to nick the seeds and also tried using a rasp. When I use the rasp, a big chunk of the outer shell breaks off. There's got to be a technique.

I "thought" the peroxide was a speedy way to get rid of seed germination inhibitors? Thus, eliminating my over aggressive nicking problem. Or perhaps, it was to do the aforementioned as well as keep fungus away.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

So, the advantage to the "ICG" seed starting supplies is they are studier? and I assume would last more years? Thanks for the link. I had not heard of them.

You mentioned in an above post "you ordered more Perma press trays from Amazon. Are these the same as the ICG supplies? When I checked out the Perma Press Trays at Amazon, they said they were from Grower's Supply. I am a little confused. Of course, I stay a little confused so no big deal!! :)

Arroyo Grande, CA(Zone 9a)

I went out to the greenhouse yesterday and it was so hot I had to move all my little seedlings outside!
What a project, it took me all day to get the shelves and trays out into the potting area and then the potting area bench had to be moved into the greenhouse.
I am unofficially announcing Spring is here! All that's left in there are the unsprouted seed trays and pots, which will be sprouting with all the heat. I think it's time to put some tomato starts in there. Any suggestions on other veges that like lots of sun and heat? I was thinking maybe melons?

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Almost all of our snow has melted now...we got about 6" on Thursday.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Wow...if you girls pay that much...whew....GROWERS SUPPLY is just fine!!!!! And they have great prices!!!!! Those are the type I have been using for almost 20 years now. Although I can get the open # 1020 trays here in Denver for .99 instead of $1.55 (sold in 10). And regular dome cover for$2.39 is a great price, think in Denver I paid $1.99 a few months ago. And no real need for tall domes unless you're rooting cuttings....

Yup, our blizzard came and went....and thankyou soooooo much Mother Nature, I got between 7-9+ inches of that white stuff. Now I just have to try and get down my 250ft. driveway cuz I'm not shoveling...have done so in the past and learned my lesson the last time.......HA, Ha, Ha, been there DONE that!!!!!!!!

This year started fertilizing my babies and am thinking I might have over done it as I have lost some seedlings..Phooey!!!!!! Don't have as many of the P. palmerii and some of my snapdragons as I did a few weeks ago. Shucks... Too much fert. and not enough peroxide in my water....(Gosh I was only adding a coup;e of drops of peroxide per quart bottle). Am thinking for the measurements you all have listed above, doesn't it get a bit $$, to water with every time? Or just that I have so many they sell it by the gallon? LOL...Ideas welcomed.

Dome...Nope spring not here yet....3 more weeks

Am making up the last of my peat into potting soil after lunch....went through a 3.5 cb. ft. bag already..gotta see if I can find another...

Superthrive can usually be bought at any nursery or might even have at box stores....I've seen it here in some of the grocery stores in the floral dept. for house plants too...And it's not cheap.....Don't have a price for ya but remember it's rather pricey for a small bottle, but people swear by it!!! Think I need to dig my bottle out... Also, anyone ever use Vitamin b1 for their plants, gosh I think that's what it is. "Spose to be a root stimulator. I've used it in the past when planting new babies, but not on seedlings...any experiences? And the stuff use to sell for $3 a gallon but no more, prices have gone up, (am thinking it's gotten to be a fad so they charge more now....2-3x's.

Hope you like the pix.....LOL.

Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy
Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Welcome Snarva!!!!!

Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy
(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I'm still on my first bottle of Superthrive, bought last spring. I only use it indoors for seed starting, etc. outdoors for transplanting I use Biotone, or Root Blast or something like that.

Perma-Nest trays are also from IGC. I've had the standard 1020 trays spring leaks indoors- it happened more than once last year, so I switched everything over. I have no problem with standard domes.

Amazon is for labels.

We buy peroxide at Cosco, I think it's cheaper there. If you follow the directions on the website it calls for much less. I'm not really sure what difference it makes, maybe I should experiment on things I'm sure of, like snaps and nicotiana or other annuals...

What contrast, Kathy has snow and Dome has spring! I'm somewhere in between, no white stuff, but no sign of spring yet, either :-(

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Pam...that storm is headed east and another behind it.....
Does it come in a gallon size?

Holly Springs, NC(Zone 7b)

Don't be too hasty to discard ALL of your Deno-method seeds if there is evidence of fungus. From his book:
"There was much evidence that pathogenic fungi were not a problem and that only dead seed and empty seed coats were attacked by fungi in the moist paper towels. [...] Close examination with a lens showed that these were associated with empty seed coats or pieces of chaff and debris."

For those of you nicking your sweet pea seeds, you may want to try a week of Deno without nicking and then only nick those that haven't germinated yet. Again, from his book:
"...many species in this genus have microfissures already present in varying degrees. Lathyrus latifolius (sweet peas)...germinated immediately at 70 degrees. [...] but the remaining will not germinate until a hole is produced in the seed coat."

Sorry if this is too much blah, blah, blah, but both cases reminded me that I had read 'something' in Deno's books about that so I went back to find the info. Hope it helps!

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Two years ago I soaked sweet peas in hand hot water for 24 hours, then used the Deno method with great success. Last year I tried WS and got nothing. I've never nicked, maybe the combination of soaking and Deno is enough? Anyway, that's my plan for this year.

Interesting info about fungus, Lanakila. Hmmmmm... Maybe I was too impatient with a couple of my laggards...

Good thing not everything I tried worked... I have so much more to get going soon, and it's still a month before we get to the house and I can spread out some. Claustrophobia is setting in... Yikes!

Only rain is predicted here, I guess the snow will miss us. Although its been cold at times, we haven't had much snow at all this year.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

lanakita and Pam, thanks for the sweet pea information. I am afraid of nicking my sweet peas and hope not to do it this year. It makes sense to get a "crack", a teensy siesure in the hard shell of the seed to get the water inside. Mine aren't "teensy"!
It appears most people don't scarify the sweet peas but let them soak in hot water instead. Should you change the hot water out to try to keep it warm? Hmm, maybe on a heating mat.....

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Superthrive or transplanting solution can be found in Walmart (see below) Different name but same product. I use it for both indoors and outdoors when transplanting.

I use the corner of a regular nail clipper to nick seeds with. The seed doesn't need much of a nick, just a bit. Also, do it on the side since most seeds sprout at the ends. Then, when you soak them in water, the seed is able to take in water. Since your sweet peas are annuals, they don't need to be stratified. (cold moist). Just allow the hot water to cool naturally over night then place in the moist kitchen towel over warm or in room temp. I found tht the top of fridge is ideal temp.

If you want long lasting seeding trays, I bought them from in 1980 and still using them indoors under the lights. If I need more, I buy the cheaper ones in Walmart. They came out with what is called Window Greenhouse Seed Starter, intended for window sills. Actually, it is a tray that measures 21" long x 5" deep and have the 1.5" little pots inside, my reason for buying. It comes with a clear cover.

While you are in Walmart pick up a bag of Jiffy seed mix. It is great to use. Very fine peatmoss and vermiculite. Does not dry to form a hard surface. It is new as of last year when I first tried it. Easy to spot in its gold bag.

Thumbnail by blomma Thumbnail by blomma Thumbnail by blomma
Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Better clarify. The trays I bought in 1980 are the green ones, minus the domes. They are made from hard plastic instead of the more flimsy plastic found in Walmart. I use them on my flourescent light stand. where they are made to hang. The cheaper ones I use on shelves under flourescent lights.

Just wanted to add that you don't need fancy or expensive trays. The seeds don't care what you use, only the care they receive.

This message was edited Feb 25, 2013 8:18 PM

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Agree the seeds don't care about the pots etc. It's just a little neater & fits better on shelves and perhaps will stack and store better. It would be nice to invest once instead of buying every year and seed pots falling off the trays because they are flimsy.

Warrior has a nice set up, but I don't have an opportunity to dig through the dumpsters--only dumpsters are at Lowe's, and they won't let you get too them. Too bad, as we could re-cycle stuff instead of filling up the land fills. I almost always use my own heavy duty cotton cloth shopping bags when grocery shopping. I collect all the bags that come home when we don't use our own bags and give them to a lady that runs a second hand store for her to use for her customers.

I will cautiously try to nick the sweet pea seeds or perhaps do a little of both. When you nick them with the clippers does a very big piece break off? That's what I am afraid of.

Post a Reply to this Thread

You cannot post until you , sign up and subscribe. to post.