Was I just LUCKY ?

SneakyP86(7B)February 2, 2013

Let me start by saying this just my 3rd your for vegetable gardening. The 1st year I bought plants from the local hardware store and was dismayed by the cost. But I saved all the cell packs and trays that I accumulated. Last year I ordered some seed (well actually alot of seed)and started a of my plants using those cell packs and trays but still bought my tomato plants.

Now after reading through the growing from seed section of the forum I find myself wondering if I was just lucky with my results.

You see I didn't do any of the prescribed recommendations that seem to be the tried and true methods for growing from seed.

I didn't bleach my cell packs or trays, heck I didn't even clean them out. I didn't use a soiless planting mix I just used miracle grow garden soil.I didn't use a heat pad or grow lights, I just put them on the floor in my bedroom that wasn't even all that close to a window. All I did was to put them outside during the day and bring them in at night and water them in my shower each morning before setting them out. My seed sprouting rate was over 90% and plant survival was what sprouted lived. My harvest was leaps and bounds better than the year before and my costs were far less than the year before. The one thing I did that seems to be recommended is to get a soil test done from the local county extension office.

So my question is have I just been lucky and need to change my ways or do I do the same thing again this year. If I do need to change I am going to need some advice.

As last year I will be doing about 100 corn plants, 100 to 120 different tomato plants,100 - 150 onion plants, 40 different cucumber plants, around 40 different pepper plants, about 30 or so Okra plants, around 50 bush bean plants, 30 or so broccoli plants, a couple zucchini, a couple egg plants,a couple cantaloupe and maybe a couple watermelon plants.There may be some more but that is the bulk of it.

I have no greenhouse and to be honest don't have the room for one in the yard for one. So as you can see I would need to have a pretty big light and heating setup to do it the way I have been doing it in the cell packs and really don't to change from that as I don't really like all the transplanting. I just want to go from sprouting to inground planting with as little fuss as necessary.

BUT I am more than willing to change just need to know why.

Also I am going to need to put up some fencing as I have acquired a rescue beagle and I think trying to break him from digging would probably kill one of us and I'm not to sure which of us it would be. Any ideas on a cheap fencing material would be greatly appreciated by us both. I dont have to fence everything as the cucumber are in raised beds and the tomatos will be in cages but I need to put something around alot of the rest at least while they are small.

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I've always heard, that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

It isn't the way I've been taught to do it, or the way that I DO do it, but, if it has proven successful for you, onward and upward.....

That being said, if you wake up one morning and some, if not all, of your seedlings are dead, you'll know why.

My main concern would be your seed starting mix. MG garden soil has stuff in it that may cause your seedlings to die from damping off, among other things.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 5:05PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree with Susan and as mentioned in other threads here, there isn't only 1 right way, just some ways that are well proven to work better than others.

Been doing it as a commercial business for almost 50 years now and making a good living out of it as well as for our acre or so of gardens here at home. And while I sure wouldn't use MG, especially the MG Garden Soil that says right on the bag "not for use in containers", we do:

routinely clean and disinfect the greenhouses and all the equipment and containers,

use heating pads and grow lights (yes, even in the greenhouse),

and transplant seedlings for many very important reasons - all discussed on various forums here and supported by decades of botanical research.

But there are no seed-starting police that will come to arrest you if you don't do all those things so the choice is yours.

So have you been lucky? Very much so IMO and I wish you continued good luck.


PS: the fencing discussion would best be discussed on one of the more relevant forums.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 6:25PM
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I am trying to imagine your bedroom floor covered with all of those seedlings you are starting this year. My bedroom floor isnt nearly big enough!

Are you starting plants for a lot of friends? or planning on selling them? 600 plants is an awful lot to be dragging outside every morning, not to mention the amount of garden space they will need as they grow. If you dont have room in the yard for a small green house (neither do I) then you sure dont have room for 120 tomatoes, even planted way to tight, thats over 1000 sqft.

Like you, I am a relative newbie. This will be my 4th year with a vegetable garden, and like you, every year I have been expanding, and starting more and more seeds. Its exciting and addicting. You dont have to follow all of the recommended ways of doing it, but yikes! you may be biting off more than you can chew.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 8:09AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

No it is not that you were lucky. You planted seed that will germinate at your house temperatures, you did not mind taking them out into the bright light of the out of doors everyday. As long as you stick to growing vegetables you will succeed even if you break a few rules. Keep it up. Al

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 10:21AM
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Like one of the future post, "If it ain't broke dont fix it. As far as cheap fencing goes galvanised chicken wire( 2ft.) is about as cheap and long lasting as you can get. You can get little 3 ft metal fence post and the chicken wire at local garden centers like Lowes, Menards or Home Depot. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:02PM
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I think I am going to split my seeds in half to do a little experiment. I will clean and disinfect all the cell packs and trays. But than I will do half the seed in the Miracle-Gro garden soil and half in a seed starting mix. I'll have to do a little research for that unless someone wants to recommend a good mix. That way I can see which has a better germination rate and seedling survival rate.

Dave I realize that the fence question was better off in another forum. But I had just come in from doing some clearing in the garden and was fighting with Max trying to get him to stop digging. My fingers were already flying across the keyboard and I just couldn't get them to quit.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 4:41PM
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Gretchen Wood

As in the other posts above your best bet is chicken wire and get stakes of wood or metal for the four corners to help support the chicken wire.
I don't bleach my plastic pots. I do however wipe my cutting tools down sometimes with alcohol as I read this in some thread.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:31PM
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I was doing some looking around on amazon and saw this heat mat and was wondering what some of you think of it.I like the idea of being able to get it in a length and width that I choose instead of having to get several different ones. Do you think that it will have adequate power to cover say a 6' length?

Here is a link that might be useful: heat mat

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 3:49PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Not enough specs are given to make a guess. No wattages mentioned for any of the sizes. No thermostat control, only claiming to raise the temperature over some unknown temperature. I would not risk my money for as little as is known. It would have been better to start your own thread, as this has no relation to the original post. Al

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 7:36PM
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