Germination Observation........

gltrap54February 18, 2012

This being just my 3rd year starting vegetable & annual seeds, I still consider myself a noob by all measures. My failures far outweigh my successes. End confession........ One observation I've made thus far is, germinating seeds in paper towels/baggies (vs medium)seems to produce far stronger seedlings. Those (broc/caulif) germinated in paper towels seem to be far less prone to becoming leggy. Hmmmmm......

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mandolls(4)

Hmmmmmmm...............The method of germination shouldnt have anything to do with leggy-ness. That is all about light. Maybe since you have to transplant the seedlings that are paper towel germinated, they are transplanted deeper that the soil sown seed. That could account for it.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 8:07AM
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zen_man

mandolls,

"The method of germination shouldnt have anything to do with leggy-ness. That is all about light."

I concede that Handsome's observation is a bit counter-intuitive, but an observation is an observation. I have noticed that if I leave the humidity dome on after the seedlings have emerged, that they tend to become leggy under the dome. That could be an effect of light, because several of my humidity domes have become a bit yellowed and may transmit less light. But temperature and humidity are other variables that are significantly modified by the humidity domes. Perhaps even the carbon dioxide level is affected negatively. Years ago, the notion that talking to your plants could encourage them, fell into disfavor. But in all likelihood, they were getting extra carbon dioxide from that close-up talking, and may have benefited.

I am not dismissing Handsome's observation. However, I reserve the paper towel/baggie/Ziploc method for germination testing, because it is a lot of extra work if you are growing a lot of seedlings. But I am a big fan of the power of observation, because our plants can tell us a lot if we just pay attention.

ZM

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 9:50AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The method of germination shouldnt have anything to do with leggy-ness. That is all about light.

Agree. Light AND temperature. Too many folks wait too long to remove soil-germinated seeds from the heat mat, to remove the cover if using one, and to move them under the lights. That is what makes them leggy.

They need to be removed from the heat, cover off, and put under the lights just as soon as they break the surface of the soil, as soon as they show a hint. Waiting until they are standing up, or worse until ALL of them are standing up guarantees leggy seedlings.

Dave

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 9:51AM
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honnat

Is there such a thing as "mini" domes?? I have a flat for 72 seedlings. I started a wide variety of things under it. The echinaceas and blanket flowers germinated right away. I'm waiting for cardinal flowers and I haven't even put my annuals in it yet. So I'd like to get the dome off of the germinated seeds; but want to keep it on the others. It'd be great if they had mini domes that could go over 6 seedlings at a time.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 12:09PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Just separate the cell packs. Remove the ones that have germinated and leave the rest under the dome if you wish.

Humidity domes are not required for germination. They are just a convenience item for those new to the process in helping to keep the soil moist.

Dave

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 2:47PM
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mandolls(4)

I hadnt heard that heat could contribute to leggy seedlings - thanks for the correction. To warm is never an issue in my growing area, so its not something I have had a chance to observe.

And Zenman - I am also a believer in firsthand observation as the best learning method, but what we think we see isnt always what is actually happening.

Consider Aristotle's theory of spontaneous generation "So with animals, some spring from parent animals according to their kind, whilst others grow spontaneously and not from kindred stock; and of these instances of spontaneous generation some come from putrefying earth or vegetable matter, as is the case with a number of insects, while others are spontaneously generated in the inside of animals out of the secretions of their several organs."

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 7:12AM
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zen_man

mandolls,

"...but what we think we see isn't always what is actually happening."

Agreed.

ZM

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 10:37AM
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gltrap54

Once again, Dave is spot on here..... Obviously, the mistake I'm making is failing to get the germinated seeds under light as soon as they break the medium. The reason my paper towel/baggie seeds are less leggy is because I'm getting them under the lights quicker. I didn't realize how critical timing was upon germination. Hey, I'm (very) slowly grasping the basics, don't give up on me GW!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 8:52AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

You are doing great! Leggy seedlings happen to all of us now and then. Thank the seedling gods that there is an easy solution - just transplant them deep. :-)

Dave

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 9:34AM
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naturemitch(3/4 WI)

I don't do the paper towel technique...too much work for me! But, I do have light above my sand bed, so the minute seedlings emerge they have light. I too don't wait for all seedlings to sprout before taking them off the heating bed(I do wait for a majority to sprout though), but I am a bit slower to remove my peppers. I have seen peppers absolutely stall once off that
heat:( Providing light when seeds germinate solves many issues.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 1:10PM
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nhardy(5b)

It sound like more work to sprout the seeds in towels. More chance of damaging the sprouts & roots. I'm starting seeds like my father showed me. I plant in Rubbermaid trays and use sheets of thick plastic to trap the moisture while on the heating pad. But I hold the pepper on the heating mat longer too.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 7:07PM
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