Ideas for seed starting Next year! need help!

heavenlyfarm(zone 6b)November 14, 2013

I also had this posted in growing under lights but I'm posting it here to see if I get more responses as well :)

I'm hoping to start a lot of next years seeds indoors a few weeks ahead of time, well attempt it anyways lol I plan on saving seeds tho to start outdoors if it fails and I'm gonna attempt winter sowing as well! Alot of new things! I recently redid, our one spare room that has two nice sized windows side by side and I installed a rack right under the windowsills to start seeds next year in flats and pots as well as two bay windows. I was thinking of buying germination mats (are heat mats worth the expense and do they really improve conditions? I notice even at my bay windows, alot of the plants already seem cold when i touch the soil. thinking of buying the heat mats for those windows too?) to keep the temp warm and would like to also provide some sort of lights over top to help the seedlings and prevent them from getting leggy....this always seem to be my problem and they topple over.
Not sure what the best set-up would be?(how many bulbs? whats the best brand/kind?) I'd prefer something not too expensive that will help provide healthy seedlings till they are transplanted outdoors....any ideas would be appreciated.
~Michael

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calistoga_al

Most seeds have an optimum germination temperature. Window areas are often the coolest place in the house, and often they are too cool for good germination. Most seeds do not need strong light for germination, so the window location has no advantages. After germination you do need strong light for the seedlings to grow, but you can then use a cooler temperature. In most cases it is to your advantage to move the seeded containers, as needed. Any ordinary thermometer inserted into your soil will help you find the best location, without your spending the money for heating pads. Al

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 9:34AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Have you checked out all the how-to FAQs here? They cover most all the basics.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing from Seed FAQs

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 3:26PM
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heavenlyfarm(zone 6b)

calistoga,
Thank you for the information! I'm thinking I will just use the bay windows for grown African violets I have and for rooting African violet leaves(it may take longer but that's fine :)) I definitely think I will try a flat or two of seeds indoors but I think I'm gonna mainly focus on winter-sowing this year with milk jugs and also purchasing a patio greenhouse to start things in winter too. Has anyone had experience with those shelf patio greenhouses? It basically is the same as the milk jug method I assume. its a mini greenhouse which I can afford! lol also trying to find various containers to plant seeds in to save some moola for other new gardening gadgets this year!
and digdirt, not really but thanks for the link so I can! I printed lots of info on winter-sowing out yesterday and which seeds to winter-sow during the months so now I have more reading material! love learning! Thank You!
~Michael

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 10:27PM
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socalgal_gw Zone USDA 10b Sunset 24

"I notice even at my bay windows, a lot of the plants already seem cold when I touch the soil"

If your soil were to feel warm to the touch it would be too warm for most seeds.

I have heat mats but only use them for some flower seeds that require consistent 75-80F temperatures, and I use them with a thermostat.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 6:50PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

There are TWO issues here: (1) Germinating seeds and (2) Growing from seeds (Indoor):

1) To germinate MOST seeds, you don't need light, but need HEAT. How hot, depends on what you want to germinate. For example, most cool crops seeds will germinate at 50 to 65F or in most indoor conditions. BUT some plants like Peppers, eggplants , ... require much higher (SOIL) temperatures. I think peppers, tomatoes will do best around 75 -85F. When the soil temperature is lower than optimum(say 65 instead 85F) it will take much longer for the seeds to wake up and germinate.

Growing:
Once the seeds have germinated , they need light to start photosynthesis to grow. The soil temperature then is a lesser issue. Most indoor temperatures , 60F+, will be fine. BUT the seedlings will need good amount of sung.

visit "GROWING UNDER LIGHT" forum to read more about it.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 4:52AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Michael,
The patio greenhouses can work wonderfully. I used them to get a head start on tomatoes, peppers and tender annual flowers. You need to be vigilant about opening the greenhouse when there is much sun/warm temps, since they can turn into an oven and cook seedlings, even when the weather is still relatively cool. It's useful to have a thermometer inside the greenhouse to keep track of temps.

Martha

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 7:52AM
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