New House and New Seedling Setup!

syntria(8a - South DFW Area)February 3, 2014

Hello friends!

Now I know I've been all over the place with questions, from raised beds in landscaping to soil selection in Veggy Gardens and here awhile back with some seed germination issues!

Anyways, I'm here now to show off and ask some more questions!

I just moved into a new home, our first home (five years together now

I started some seeds on 1-20-14

Tomatos Roma
Tomatoes Silvery Fur Tree
Tomatoes Green Zebra
Tomatoes Cherry Super Sweet 100
Pepper Chili Jalapeno
Pepper Chili Pasilla Bajio
A few varieties of Marigolds and Milkweed for my butterfly garden

I also started germinating egg plant and cherkokee purples on 1-27-14 via plastic bags/damp papertowel, they appear to be doing well but no pictures atm. Need to transplant them into soil (I assume?)

Still in the process of moving a little. I plan to get an additional T8 Light (or does anyone have other recommendations) to put on another tier for taller plants and then have the other one be much lower via chains (still in a box, can't find them). I know the light should be much closure to the seedlings and they will be tomorrow.

I plan to set it up so the lights come on around 4am and go off around 9pm on a timer, so the neighbors don't think I'm growing the Mary Jane. I'll also keep that back window open which faces East/South so it can get some direct morning sun and indirect light throughout the day.

I also need to set up a small fan, which I will be doing tomorrow.

Tomatillo - two weeks old

With all that said, how am I doing? Do I need to be concerned about my Gas-Heat system doing any damage to the seedlings?

How are they coming along? Are they doing well for two weeks or are they underdeveloped or don't look healthy?

:Slightly unrelated subject - This new property has ants really bad--not in the house but I've counted at least 6-7 major mounds and I think they are red ants, I'm not positive but they certainly aren't black--rusty colored but not vibrant red. I don't want to have Orkin come poison the property and put bait down since I'll be doing raised beds. I was thinking the boiling water method but I really don't want to get bit by any of the little guys x_x

Here is a link that might be useful: My YouTube Channel dedicated to Gardening

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It looks to me like you are doing great. Seedlings look healthy ! congrats on your first lights set up.

I see four questions spread out in your post.

Yes - Anything germinated in paper towels should be moved into soil as soon as they start to sprout.

I think t-8 lamps are the way to go. There are much more expensive lamps out there, but for starting seedlings there is simply no reason to invest in them.

I don't think your furnace is going to effect your plants unless you have them situated right where hot air is blowing on them - that could dry them out really fast. But in Texas, your furnace probably isn't on that much, or at least not for much longer.

I have used "do it your self" ant bait with pretty good success. Unless you are building your raised beds right over the ant hills I wouldn't worry about contaminating them. Ants are generally considered garden neutral, so unless they are biters, or the infestation is really out of hand, I wouldn't worry about them.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 7:35PM
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syntria(8a - South DFW Area)

Thanks for the reply mandolls!

Here's a close up of the roots of my Tomatillo - They seem to be doing well but at what point do I want to transplant them to an even bigger pot? They seem awfully small ontop, but I read its better they grow lots of roots then grow big on the top this early on. See the tops of it in the first post.

I also know I should thin him out but I haven't had the heart yet :

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 11:56PM
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I haven't grown tomatillos, but I am assuming they have the same needs as tomatoes.

Its hard to see what size that plastic cup is, but its certainly plenty big right now. I start my tomatoes in little 3oz cups, then pot them up to 9 oz, then to 16oz. I plant them out somewhere between 6 & 8 weeks. Tomatillos may grow slower, as that looks small for a 2 week old tomato.

When are you expecting to plant your tomatoes outside? I can't even think about starting mine until mid March.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 8:05AM
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syntria(8a - South DFW Area)

I'm sure there's a post somewhere, but I wonder where I should be looking for expected growth from tomatoes?

I believe I started germinating them 1-20-14 and they sprouted between 2-6 days, so they've had uh about 10 days since they germinated and a few are getting a second set of true leaves, most only have one set. *fuss fuss*

I was thinking early March, but I'd actually have to look. I'm not sure exactly when our last frost is.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 1:46PM
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I'm down near Beaumont, TX and I was told by a 40 year veteran gardener of the area that mid March is when I want to set out my tomatoes. He's also predicting a cold spring for us :( I've got fire ant problems myself and I haven't decided what route I want to take to eradicate the lil suckers but I know last summer I was bitten way too much. I'm fussing over my seedlings to, my husband is worried that I've lost my mind lol.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 4:29PM
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syntria(8a - South DFW Area)

Oh gosh Viv!

I got bit for the first time last year, twice and that was enough for me. I was walking barefoot in my container garden and saw the little dude following my foot but kept stepping away from him---I thought he was cute!!!

Then boom, then I was like okay annoying, ow, then boom again and I ran inside and stripped because I saw several of them after the second boom. Maaaan. Didn't hurt that bad at first but over the next few days----eeeeeeeeee.

Yeah, I need to kill them. I wanna be organic, but I think I might bait them because I'm fairly certain my neighbors aren't going to manage them in their yards either. Still, boiling water sounds good but i'm worried about just pissing them off <_>

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 12:31AM
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Nice setup. Move lights much closer to plants. They're stretching stems to get more light. Plants should be an inch from lights.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 10:35AM
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I'm definitely going to kill them in some form or fashion. I've toyed with the idea of burning the entire yard, but they'd just move back in. Last year we used amdro on the mounds and it worked fairly well. I don't really want that stuff near my beds but I also don't want them having an all you can eat Viv buffet either. I'll have to do some more reading...


    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 12:28PM
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syntria(8a - South DFW Area)

My plants for the most part seem to be growing very slow over the last seven days, that's since I made this and since I moved the lights down (leaves are brushing the lights slightly on a few). I have the light a little higher on one side and a little lower on the other and arranged hte plants by heigth so I could keep it close. I know they've been too far away and most are now leggy.

I did find the old packaging for the bulbs and realized to my dismay that they were 2000 lumien neutral bulbs, not the 6500 lumien bulbs I had thought I got. I switched a set of those in two days ago and haven't' seen marked improvement. I actually have two sets of lights now and am going to use the 6500 x2 lumens on the seed starts then move the largest plants/ my house plants to the next shelf with the 2000 lumen and 1-2 hours of sunlight through the window.

I'm using 'black gold seedling mix' from my local nursery and the ones I can see the roots on seem to be doing well. I'm moving some of them out of their little containers into plastic cups with drainholes and burying them deeper (the tomatoes/tomitillos) but I don't believe this is safe to do on peppers?

The room itself is at about 70-80 degrees. I'm thoroughly watering them every 2-3 days, until he top feels dryish but not crusty but its still a little damp under it. I don't let them stay soggy and I remove any excess water out of the drip tray.

These plants are about 3 weeks old now, is 2-3 inchs tall with 1-2 sets of true leaves where they should be or should they be much bigger by now? I'm not in a rush, I just wonder where they should be. Should I use fertilizer or will the nutriatns in my Black Gold mix suffice? How can I check for any damping off? I don't see any growth around the stems though a few seem to be burning since I have them to close to the light.

I'm about to start another set of peppers and tomatoes, different varieties and growing a few starts for co-workers. I plan to use the seedling heating mat I have to germinate them then keep them super close to the Daylight bulbs I bought (with 3x the lumiens as the ones I grew this batch with). Will I see marked improvement?

In Addition - I would like to grow inside during this coming winter, what could I grow inside well in a indirect light window and grow lights? Will my T8 6500L bulbs be sufficient for things like herbs and lettuces?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 4:21PM
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xiangirl zone 4/5 Nebraska(5)

I believe in ant bait because they drag it back to the Queen and the entire ant house gets a dose of it. I think of it as imploding the nest from the inside out. Any ant who wants to live can go to the neighbors if they're smart enough!

If your tomato plants get too leggy you can add soil around the stem and more roots will grow out of the stem.

Other than that I'm no help. I'm very jealous. Does that count? I'm trying to grow seeds in sunlight, no grow lights. I love it that you're worried what the neighbors think! Once they see the garden they'll know you're not packing up your plant leaves to sell on the corner. lol


    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 5:05PM
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syntria(8a - South DFW Area)

Update on lighting set up

These should be at the most 2-3 inches and some within half an inch of the light. I have it tilted on one side so I can have the larger plants under it as well.

I have a mix of bulbs in the fixtures, 1 Daylight 6500k and 1 Cool Neutral 2000k in each. There's also some supplemental light from outside, but very little if any direct sunlight.

Did my seedlings have to rough of a start to truely thrive? I'm thinking buying another light (oh gosh lol) since I've run out of room and start another set of plants. Its getting a little late now but its time to start squash and zukes inside I think?

I also have a few low-light plants below the seedlings, which is why I have the seedlings in the clear trays (upside down domes since they're useless now that I've learned they promote damping off) so that they can get some light on the lowest level.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 11:47AM
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