Starting seeds in outdoor flats

fellenfMarch 9, 2014

I'm in far north Georgia and would like to try starting some seeds in flats for transplants outdoors -- trying to avoid the pricey buy-everything-from-the-nursery scenario, which as we all know can be a wallet buster for sure. I have four raised 4x4 beds and am planning to put other plants in some new open areas. I had success sowing lettuce and chard directly into the beds, but not so much luck sowing into plastic trays for tomatoes (didn't use the right soil). Any tips for using plastic or peat trays to begin seedlings OUTDOORS for squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, or peppers? If using plastic flats, do I water by pouring water into a tray underneath? Soak peat pots instead of misting overhead? I don't have that extra sunny window or indoor plant lights, either ^_^ Thanks!

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

It can be risky since you will be so dependent on the weather. Possible, but more risky.

You can cut the problems by not doing it with squash or cucumbers as both do so much better when direct seeded at the proper planting times. Few grow them as transplants.

Tomatoes and peppers (especially) require very warm soil temps to germinate so will you be using heat mats? If not then your germination rate may be reduced and will definitely be slower. Peppers need 75-80 degree soil temps until they germinate. Tomatoes 65-70 degrees.

I never recommend peat pots or pellets for germinating seeds. Both are very problematic. Plastic with a good seed starting mix is 10x more successful.

You might want to explore over on the Wintersowing forum here for their tips on outside seed germination. Watering should always be done from the bottom. Be sure to check out all the FAQs on this forum - the blue button - as they cover all the basics.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 7:54PM
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fellenf

Thank-you (and I'll take that one peat pot tray back to Walmart!). I did mean for seeds that would be ready to go in the ground in springtime, I thought it might be a more cost effective way, since one packet of organic seeds costs less than $3 -- the price of probably one seedling that I would buy at the nursery or store. I have always planted that way, and it gets too expensive!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:04AM
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