Starting from Seeds - Corrections of Mistakes

saoodhashimSeptember 25, 2013

I am a new gardener (starting with container gardener on the roof as I don't have any garden space) living in the hot climate of Saudi Arabia in Al Khobar (these days the highest temperature over here exceeds a bit above 100F - Ranges from 80-105 and expected to remain that way until mid of October).

Last time (My first time) I started my seeds in May and they started off but in June the temperature got so high (upto 120) that everything just stopped and died in a months time.

Back then, I bought a potting mix and it was really moist when it came out of the bag and I could grow seedlings without first moistening it (I only used to sprinkle from above after sowing the seeds and was able to see seedlings emerge in a week to 10 days time). I thought perhaps all the soil mixes are that way.

Later, just a few weeks back, I found bit cheaper option and I planted my seeds only to realize a week later that the mix was not at all moist and my sprinkling is not providing it enough water for any sufficient length of time.

Then I thought to bottom water it today (after reading some posts on the Gardenweb). I have 12 small 4" pots in which I have sowed the seeds. By bottom watering I was only able to get 5 of them reach the surface of the soil in about 2 hours and the remaining still stand in water with no sign of surface becoming any darkish like the remaining.

Will appreciate your advise in this scenario. Should I discard the seeds and start afresh by following the proper procedure? Should I water deeply from top? Should I do something else?

Will really appreciate any experienced advice.


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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Full sun in your temperatures is too hot for most seeds to germinate. Can you rig some type of shade over your seed starting area? If not I would keep them in my living area until germination, usually that will be around 70 degrees. For your new mix that will not hydrate, it is probably heavy on peat which becomes hydrophobic if allowed to dry completely, and will probably require submersion to wet. Newly seeded pots I cover with cling wrap to prevent too rapid drying of the surface. Al

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 9:52AM
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Thanks. Appreciate your reply.

Yes, i have placed it inside my house. But I think I have made a huge blunder. I kept it soaking in water for almost4-5 hours and the surface did get wet. But I think the bottom of the soil is too soggy.

I am thinking of just starting over again for all the twelve pots. I dont want to waste 2-3 weeks in the process only to realize later that my time and energy got wasted.

What do you suggest? And also if you could give me how to do the entire thing.

As for the cling wrap, do you cover them such that they become air tight or is there some room for air? Do the seeds not need air to germinate?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 12:20PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I don't think you need to start over, but if that would be reassuring to you, and you have plenty of seeds, that's fine. Could you keep the containers you have and start new ones, also?

When I start from seed, I fill the pots with potting mix and soak with water from above until water runs freely out the bottom. If you are trying to conserve water, you can stack the pots so the water flows through them all. Or, you could moisten the soil in a bucket or plastic bag before filling the pots. Gently press the soil to avoid settling later. Then sprinkle the seeds on top and press them into the soil, or cover with a sprinkle of soil. Cover with plastic wrap, but poke a few holes in the plastic to allow for some air and moisture exchange. Place the containers where the temperature will be around 75F, and ideally in bright light. I agree with the previous poster that you should provide some shade if you are placing your containers outside in extreme temperatures. Once most of the seeds have sprouted, remove the plastic and allow them to grow. I usually plant my seedlings out in the ground, so I can't advise you on fertilizers or other details relevant to container growing. I hope that helps.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 8:24AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

New seedlings are fed from the seed storage of food until green leaves have grown and photosynthesis starts producing food. About this time some feeder roots have grown and can be fed a very weak chemical fertilizer. Not more than 1/4th of the recommended strength. If inside the light needs to be strong enough to photosynthesize or the plant will be very weak and the stem produced will usually not support the leaves grown. If you are depending on light from a window the container will have to be tuned daily. Hope this helps. Al

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 2:28PM
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You can try using white colored fabric lace to help filter out the sun. I haven't tried it, but have heard of many others doing this with great success. You just tarp it above your plants when the sun is too hot for some plants.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 2:06AM
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