Mini GreenHouse Jiffy GreenHouse Seeds not sowing any ideas?

Toronto, Canada

I purchased a few seed starter kits

One a "JiffY' mini greenhouse I didn't purchase the one the peat pods I'm using regular soil

the other seed kit I purchased is similar to the "jiffy" one but without the name brand plastic clear plastic lid and planters.

I have planted flowers in one and veggies in the Jiffy, along with this I have planted some seeds in regular pots watered them and placed them outside in the sun .

Temp range 17-22oC Days 7-14oC nights

Instantly the green houses fogged up with moisture, every day Open the green houses and spill out about 4 Table spoons of condensation out, the bottom of the container is dry.

It's been 2 weeks almost and not a sign of growth, my outdoor pots after 1 week are showing growth.

I'm concerned that the seeds just rotted in the humid wet environment. Is this likely? Maybe it gets too hot? too wet? I'm running out of time to germinate seeds and willing to dump it all and try again this time without the lids, or if I use the lids I'll put them indoors and NOT water it, hoping the soil is already moist enough.

Any tips are appreciated.


Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> I'm using regular soil

Not soilless mix? A light, fine soilless mix is better for starting seeds. Outdoor soil or potting soil (and even many potting mixes) will be very heavy and maybe airless indoors in small cells.

Plus even the best outdoor soil will have many more fungus spores, bacteria and bugs than a "sterile" mix.

Many like peat + Perlite mixes. I like shredded, screened pine bark plus 20% to 30% commercial peaty mix.

>> I'm concerned that the seeds just rotted in the humid wet environment. Is this likely? ... too wet?
>> dump it all and try again

Yeah, I would think so. But then, I'm obsessed with drainage and good aeration. Even commercial peaty mixes will hold too much water if you don't lighten them by adding 20% or more Perlite, grit or small bark.

Before dumping the tray out, dig up a few cells and look for tiny roots or fungusy dead seeds. Wash the tray and your hand and tools well afterwards! You could even put things through the dishwasher or soak in 10% chlorine bleach ("Regular" bleach = hypochlorite, not 'oxygen' bleach).

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> Instantly the green houses fogged up with moisture,

That may hint that the soil is too wet, whether it drains well or not. Too much water in any mix prevents air circulation. If oxygen can't get in, the seeds tend to rot and soil microbes go anaerobic, fermenting instead of using respiration. That gives off organic acids and alcohols that poison root hairs.

I think successful seed-starters "just know" what is "moist enough" but not "too damp".
Some say it should feel as wet as a well-wrung-out sponge.
I judge by how much the clear lid or plastic film fogs up, but by then it's too late.
- No fog = too dry.
- Slight fog = around right
- drops = too wet, remove the lid most of the time and let it evaporate

The key trick is "use less water". I struggle every year and still over-water seeds. They are not potted plants! Potted plants may have enough roots and leaves that they can drink up enough of the water and evaporate it from their leaves before the roots drown.

Seeds and seedlings are more like babies and c an drown in a teaspoon of water (5 ml). Al / Tapla gives a great lecture on "perched water" in small containers. A seed cell is a very very small container!

If you're like me and just can't avoid over-watering, make you mix VERY fast draining.

Maybe also use capillary action to pull water down and out of the cell. Put a m at of cotton flannel, towel or old Tee shirt between the seed-cells and the tray they sit in. That will help to wick excess water out of the cell. If the towel is damp, don't water! If the towel dries out, add a little water to the tray, not the top of the soil. The peaty mix will wick more than enough water up from the towel. No standing water in the tray! Suck it out with a turkey baster and picture the water level in the soilless mix dropping until the roots get their noses above water level.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

P.S. Besides
keeping the soil much less wet,
and giving it better drainage & aeration with grit, Perlite or small bark shreds,
or a c apillary mat and turkey baster,
you can dampen the soil with 0.1% to 0.3% Hydrogen Peroxide instead of water. Kill some of the fungus.

If you have "drugstore peroxide" at 3% strength, diluting it 30:1 or at least 10:1 is good . 1.5 teaspoons / cup, 1-3 ounces per quart or 30-100 ml per liter.

Others do the watering with Chamomile tea.
Other sprinkle cinnamon on the surface to reduce risk of fungus damping-off after they emerge.

Toronto, Canada

thank you for all the tips, I'm a very armature gardener and usually I don't use kits. I usually put seeds in pots from the soil I pull from my garden then transplant the pots into the ground when the plants get a decent size, this has worked well for me in the past but I find I'm limited to a short growing season this way. I have purchased an LED light and have started some peppers in my basement they have germinated but are still very week.

I thought this mini greenhouse would be the answer to issue, I'm disappointed as I had put a lot of varieties in and nicely labels them all but this is the nature of the hobby.

I'll start from scratch tomorrow I almost find having the lid on my be causing the issues, without the lid on the heat may be reduced but the airflow and moisture seem to naturally control itself.

Thank You,

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Best of luck! I hope I guessed right and this time goes better.

I killed many trays of seeds my first few years ...

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I have been starting seeds for many years, and this is the method I use:

Use seed starting mix, not garden soil. Use the lids and keep the containers out of direct sun, probably best controlled indoors. The humidity is necessary for the seeds to germinate. Once you have sprouts, acclimate the seedlings to light and air by propping the lid up on one side for a day or so. Then add light, probably best inside at first, depending on outdoor temps. Before putting them in direct sun, they need to be 'hardened off,' either moving them out during the day in filtered sun and in at night, or, if it's warm enough, leave them out for at least a couple of days but in filtered light before putting them in the garden.

Good luck!


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