Starting seeds to be transplanted into 5-1-1.

capoman(5a)December 7, 2011

Just looking for advice on the best way to plant seeds with the intention of planting into 5-1-1. Up to now, I have used other peat based seedling soils, waited for the roots to get large enough and then bare root them before putting into the 5-1-1 mix. I'm not a big fan of seedling soils.

I think there must be a better way. Planting directly into 5-1-1 doesn't seem feasible as it is too coarse and small seeds would just fall through. I want to use a medium that will go directly into 5-1-1 with less manipulation. Tapla has mentioned that you should have consistent media throughout the pot, reason to bare root before putting in. I have a few ideas on how to do this without bare rooting, and looking for input from others on how they do it. Here are some methods I have thought about but have not yet tried:

1. Screen 5-1-1 very fine, use it as seedling mix.

2. Germinate in perlite/peat mix and plant directly in 5-1-1

3. Fill a pot with normal 5-1-1 and then put a small square of peat or peat/perlite for the spot you will plant the seed

4. Use normal 5-1-1 but put a small piece of newspaper just under where you plant the seed to keep it from falling through.

Let me know what works for you.

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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

The 5.1.1 shouldnt be to coarse to do this but I guess some of the really small seeds could fall to deep. I would start them in a small container like a seed starter tray and then pot the whole plant medium and all into the new mix, no bare root. I think a little bit of peat around the undisturbed roots would be far better for the seedlings then bare rooting them.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:03PM
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I did that originally, but I found it stayed too wet near the bottom of the stem, reason I started bare rooting before putting in 5-1-1.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 3:35PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I have germinated fine seed directly in the 5:1:1 mix by mixing it with a little sand, then sprinkling the sand/seed mix on top of the 5:1:1 or the gritty mix. I then cover the seeds with about 1/8-1/4" of screened peat. I keep the mix moist by watering it with a 1/2 GPM Foggit nozzle, but you could use a hand spritzer to do the job.

Seedlings LOVE plenty of air in the root zone, and abhor soggy soils, so keep that in mind when hatching your next plan for starting seeds.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 4:20PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, guys!

Every year I start my pepper seeds in Gritty Mix, then plop them into 4-inch containers
of 5-1-1, and from there into 5-gallon containers of 5-1-1.

I use a piece of plastic wrap over the top of my seed tray, and I remove the plastic
as soon as I see the green signs of germination. Thereafter, I top-water normally.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 4:53PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I am using a 50/50 mix of Turface and sphagnum peat for clivia seedlings, which take a very long time to be ready for moving into their "adult" quarters. Clivia seeds are different from most vegetable and flower seeds you might grow. They are very large and prone to fungal infections because of their slow growth. This mix is perfect because I can keep it damp but never soggy. The mix is fine enought that I believe even tiny seeds would not "fall through." I plan to use it for all my vegetable seedlings next spring.

I've been growing five seedlings from a variegated Chinese clivia in this mix since August, and the mix has held up very well. The clay bulb pot the seedlings are growing in is on a heat mat. I water them every two or three days and fertilize weekly. Here's a photo of the mix after four months:

Here are the seedlings:

Variegated Chinese clivia seedlings are notoriously difficult to grow, but these are very healthy. I can get my finger into the mix all the way to the bottom of the pot, where I feel the strong roots. It's very "fluffy." I really like this mix.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 10:20AM
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Are you screening the bark for your 5-1-1 prior to use? If you are, just use some of the screened material - the very fine particles that fall through the 1/4" screen - and dust a fine layer on top of your 5-1-1. Place the seeds and then cover to a depth of 1/8". Even though this is finer than the balance of the mix, the amount is inconsequential and will work very well.

Alternately, if you don't have too many different varieties, you could use the paper towel/baggie method. Once the seed radicle has emerged, just place them in the 5-1-1 and cover lightly. I use this method for pepper seeds with great success, but checking the baggies every day is laborious if you have many, many different varieties.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 11:31AM
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Thanks for your ideas guys. I may try a couple of your ideas to see what works best for me.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 8:01AM
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