Need help starting seeds!

csj50May 13, 2014

Hi all!
I am a VERY amateur gardener ( really don't know anything) and have recently planted a few seeds using the Jiffy seed starter kit. I am overwhelmed with all the information on seed starting found on the internet! The kit and many websites state to keep the seeds covered until germination- but don't the seeds need oxygen? How are seeds successful if they are covered without any holes on the cover? Secondly, once they germinate, can I place the tray outside? (Temps here have been mid to upper 80s).

I tried starting some basil seeds a few weeks ago not using the seed starting tray, just a plastic cup. Once they germinated, I placed them outside for a few hours and they completely died (had plastic wrap covering with a few holes for ventilation). Can someone explain as to why this happened? I read that basil like sunlight. Seed starting is not as simple as I thought!

Any basic information on starting seeds are appreciated also!

Many thanks!

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I use the jiffy products. You open the lid every so often and let it breathe. Or at least i do. I am however, not sure about herbs. i just think they dont like me, because no matter what I do.... they die on me. If you are moving the tray outside after germination make sure it is for short periods of time growing into full time. Just in case the shock of the temp change messes with them. Ive had crappy weather here. Fluctuates between high fiftys to lower 80s and most of my veggies have done well. But the herbs.... may they R.I.P

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:26AM
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Keep in mind that there is NO one-size-fits-all solution to seeding. It's also not voodoo. Seed starting really IS simple.

The covering thing is, I think, to keep the seeds moist, and as long as the seeds (and later the roots) can be kept moist, you don't need to cover things.

Peat pellets are fast draining and can dry up very quickly in a dry warm atmosphere. They are one of the few media that you can completely soak and get away with it. Just keep the seeds warm and moist and you can put the seedlings outdoors in full sun for the most part.

The plastic wrap thing in the sun probably made a good solar oven. If you're germinating successfully in a Dixie cup then do that. Peat pellets do not do well for me with tiny seeds. Keep the dirt moist, not wet or dry, and don't cover. Lotsa light!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 1:55AM
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With those temps, you could actually just take a medium pot with potting soil, water it, and poke about a dozen basil seeds into the soil so they are barely covered. If you just spritz the soil so it doesn't dry out you should have sprouts quickly and you won't have to transplant them.

At this point you really don't have to start them inside or bother with covers. I agree that starting them in soil in Dixie cups like mentioned above is a good idea, or even re-using pots is fine.

Don't let the trouble you've had discourage you- I think your next attempt will be much better! Let us know how it goes!

Here is a link that might be useful: how to start seeds with pictures

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 2:50PM
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Thank you very much everyone!!! I actually started the seeds yesterday, some broccoli, arugula, and mesclun. (I know I started kinda kate for sowing, but already have some container started plants going and wanted to experiment with seeds).

Once I get seedlings, is it safe to keep the tray outdoors 24/7 with no cover? (Assuming I don't get a crazy rainstorm or other harsh weather). Or should I alternate between cover/uncover, direct sunlight/shade?

And just for confirmation...I transplant the seedlings into their "permanent" once they have true leaves, correct?

Sorry for all the pesky questions. Was very bummed my basil seedlings had died so quickly after reading online that they were one of the easiest to plant/grow.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 10:51PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

For the Arugula and Mesclun you would really do better to direct sow straight into the garden. Both grow fast and neither transplants well as they tend to bolt (run to flower and seed).

All inside grown seedlings need gradual introduction to outdoors. So no, you can't put them straight out 24/7.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 4:23PM
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Since the weather here is quite warm, I am starting more eggplant and basil outside, no cover. If rain is forecast, I'll get them under the porch.

I agree with floral_uk-if you already have sprouts inside, let them get used to being outside gradually.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 10:33PM
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bragu_DSM 5

indoor alternative:
start seeds in container. water lightly.. place container in a zip bag. zip bag. wait until they germinate. open zip bag a little each day, you are slowly changing their environment. once they are on their own (the bag is completely unzipped). Remove from bag. wait a couple of days and, then you can start taking them outside for a couple hours each day, hardening them off.

good luck


    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 1:30AM
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