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Started up the spring seeds!

Posted by t-bird Chicago 5/6 (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 17, 12 at 11:41


I put in 6 each of:
cheddar cauliflower
bright lights chard
sprouting brocolli
brocolli sassantina grossa (rapini? need to check, lol!)
cabbage savoy express
cabbage savoy samantha
lettuce read sails
lettuce green romain
lettuce red romaine
new york head lettuce....

I used a park seed biodome with these little all these are in a little case - seemed very weird to me -but I'll see how it goes. soaking it with the seeds now in water til after work today, then will need to add a nutrient liquid...I am not following directions here, so hoping for the best. directions said to soak sponges, then insert add seeds and liquid feed. But I could hardly get some of the sponges in as is, so didn't want them to swell up more....

Given the winter, I'm expecting an early spring....hoping at least....and I am this weekend going to rig up a kinda sorta hoop house thingy - won't be a hoop. I have a 2x10 bed with a 5 foot cross bar 2x2 across the back - supported by 3 2x2. Will amend the soil this weekend, and cover with plastic for 1/2 A-frame. Give it another week to hopefully warm up a bit with the protection, and then will direct seed spinach, beets, turnips, radishes....

Now with my starts, these plugs are 1x1 or maybe a bit less, so will need to transplant them pretty quickly after sprouting....hoping I haven't jumped the gun too much.....would not want 60 of this in all my mismatched pots, etc. I might need to think this through a bit more, now that I'm trying to figure this out.

The plan is for the lettuces can go into the 1/2 A-frame will be leaving space for them, all the cabbages and chard will go into one of the main beds with some agribon frost protection 4 degrees of date about March 1st (-15th if we take a turn for below normal)......hmmm - I may need to buy some pots!

How large will cabbage and brocolli starts get in 6 weeks? how about 8? Will I need more than a 3" pot per start?

oh no!!! - just measured the sponges....1/2 by a 1/2.....need to start scouting for transplant containers.....

still - very happy to have started!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Started up the spring seeds!

T- Bird,
I'm thinking you may be a little early, could be wrong as I am new this year to indoor starting too. Have you seen the link below? I hope your not out working on your beds today, didn't I hear it is 11 degrees on WGN this morning?

I'm thinking your lettuce might be of use to you indoors before you have time to get it outside. If you are trying to plant out largish lettuce starts I wonder if they'd make it. I say that because one of the ideas of E. Coleman was that plants get their growth before the real cold hits and then just pause their development over winter. But if you take your lettuce that has spent it's life in the warm indoors it won't be as hearty as if it overwintered under cover. I could be wrong, let us (ha ha) know how that turns out. Personally, in the fall I just let my lettuce go to seed outside and in the spring I get free lettuce popping up. It kind of kick starts my spring, letting me know I should be out there getting stuff done.


Here is a link that might be useful: seed start calendar

RE: Started up the spring seeds!

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 18, 12 at 10:21


Thanks for that Seed Start Calendar link. It looks like a very good and handy guideline. I guess you could say that the numbers in the columns aren't "set in stone", but they are good guidelines. For example, the column "Number of weeks to start seeds before setting-out date" is 4 for zinnias. I usually start some zinnias much earlier than that, with the intent of setting some out in bloom or at least in bud. The same with tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. I usually start some early enough to have a few small fruits already set on them when I set the plants out. To do that, I need to re-pot them in larger pots well before the set-out date and also provide soluble calcium in their nutrients. A lot of people might not want to go to that extra trouble just for more advanced plants.

So the table numbers are good if you just want the plants to be well along but not requiring repotting to large pots.

A person needs to be careful to enter their local "spring frost-free date" in the box at the top of the table to get meaningful setting-out dates. I'm not quite sure why you need to enter the year, but the table won't work properly unless you do.

Thanks again. I book-marked that Seed Start Calendar for ready reference.


RE: Started up the spring seeds!

well crazy Z-man your welcome. I bet you got to have your dessert before supper too, haha ;) Just kidding, you work hard to get your blooms before everyone else. I tried to search and read all your informative posts, especially about your light setup. Do you use that Physan 20 on veggies?

RE: Started up the spring seeds!

  • Posted by t-bird Chicago 5/6 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 18, 12 at 14:16

Hi Rexann,

Yes - I'm early, but I'm going to be putting them under protection, so that gives you a few weeks head start....the disaster is if work gets crazy and then I am distracted and busy at a crucial point and I lose them all.

Sadly - 24 hours, and nothing!!! lol!! I checked on them 3 times yesterday too....

I have 9 toms and 1 eggplant, and maybe 6 pepper plants going already.....

Common Springtime!

RE: Started up the spring seeds!

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 19, 12 at 0:38


"Do you use that Physan 20 on veggies?"

So far I have not. Hospitals use it to mop their floors to kill germs, so you wouldn't want to ingest the stuff. You have now aroused my curiosity as to whether it is even approved for food crops. I'll get back to you on that.


RE: Started up the spring seeds!

  • Posted by t-bird Chicago 5/6 (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 19, 12 at 12:14

just to share my crazyness - there is still no obvious signs of growing, however, I saw one seed was kind stuck on the side of the little hole you pushed them into, and it kinda sorta looked like it was in the extreme early stages of sprouting...

Excited, I grabbed a flashlight and shined it as best I could down each individual hole - lots of evidence of sprouting!!! With the brassicas, the first sign is that the brown shell splits and you can see a light whitish color underneath the brown.....I know this from making sprouts for salads and this morning - amazing progress, I can see many tiny tails...sure they are only 1/16th of an inch long, but it's pretty fun to see it already.....

On a note to RexAnne:

I may be 1-2 weeks "too" early, in that not only did I move up my planting dates, but that I upped the quality of materials and technique - therefore seeing thing sprouting sooner and growing quicker. But last year was a total bust in terms of eggplant and peppers, and toms came through only at the very end....I was hoping to have a couple of toms fruiting inside, just some grape the end of the season, my fall crop of beets totally failed, so I'm likely going to be spending 2-300 on some bagged soil to even out whatever evil I did it last year....I had paid someone 100 to bring me a ....dare I say...$h!t load of horse manure from a riding stable. Whether there was something *wrong* with it, or just too much sawdust, etc. still not broken down, not sure, but I think that this compost was the main problem - too much of that into the beds. It was composted supposedly 6-9 months when he brought it, and I let it sit in a huge pile for another 6 months, just using it sparingly in the interim. But when I put 6" onto the beds, covered with leaves and left over winter, I didn't get much cropwise - with the exception of cukes and squashes, so not sure where I went wrong....

It may well be that it just needed to be broken down more and this year will go swimmingly without major amendments - but I'm not taking that chance. Rather than amend again with what is left of this compost - 2 years old by now, I'm going to purchase a good bagged soil. I have leaves on most beds, so will dig the leaves into the existing soil in the bed, and put the bagged soil on to top it off, as much as the bed will take/I can afford. 2 beds without the leaves I'll only be able to put about 3-4 inches at most of the bagged soil, but will try to mound the beds as john jeavon recommends. The other 2 can take about -8 inches of soil to be level with the bed, and will try to do that.

So far - things are still manageable with my early starts, but the potential is there to get out of control. I'm riding a fine line with what I can handle, and overloading myself.....

I was planning to get out into the garden this weekend to do some pre-work on the beds, sunday was suppose to be mid-high 40's, but they have downgraded that high temp about every time I look at it, so may not go out this weekend :(

RE: Started up the spring seeds!

T- bird,
I've got no advice for the horse poo except research, but it looks like you've been doing that. I put a link below for your perusal. I have always wanted to get real manure but have always gone the path of spent mushroom compost because it was easier to get. In the past it has been said "dilution is the solution to pollution" and for once this my be an apt saying.

What you want to bet that when it does get warmer it will be windy and wet. Good luck out there I'll be inside with the hot chocolate :)

Here is a link that might be useful: compost

RE: Started up the spring seeds!

  • Posted by t-bird Chicago 5/6 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 20, 12 at 11:34

Thanks RexAnne, will look that over after my morning chores are done, just taking a quickie break with a cuppa tea.

wanted to report that these little sprouts are really up - some 1/4 - 1/2 inch above the sponge... so time to replace the water with some nutrient stuff and put them under this is quicker than I was expecting....the first night I put them in the downstair bathroom - coldest room in the house - but then was reading that although these are cool crops that will germinate at 40-50 degrees - they germinate best around 65-75 most of them, so put them into the main house area (why someone put a bathroom in where the pantry was - on the northeast corner of the house with no heating element is a mystery to me....)

So overall - this sponge method seems good so far, although I bought 2 xtra round of sponges for the little thing, for about $13 I think, so that is about 11 cent per start but has no soil bulk, no nutrient base, etc so it is in my opinion a slight but significant additional expense per seedling. (yes - I am a huge tightwad......).

I originally saw gardening as a closed loop, once I got started i could compost, save seeds, and never spend a penny on it, once I got everything I needed once.....ha ha - I hear you laughing......naive.

Still I like to keep things as simple as possible (cheap). Even buying dirt is hard for me, I used to dig up grey lifeless soil in the yard, shove into a pot, and wonder why the houseplants never grew.....

However - I am absolutely done with importing compost into the house - a few of those fly infestations, and seeing some tiny millipede tunneling about in the containers <<>> well worth the cost imho just to keep the inside pest free....

RE: Started up the spring seeds!

Physan 20 msds sheet


RE: Started up the spring seeds!

  • Posted by t-bird Chicago 5/6 (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 23, 12 at 7:36

Think I've made an error!! I didn't get them under the lights soon enough - so the early sprouters are fragile little stems 2 (3?!?) inches above the sponge before the sprout leaves - forget about true leaves! Shoot!

I think not being covered by soil or anything else meant they were effected by distant lights as soon as they cracked open the shell! the later developing ones seems more reasonable.

This means I'll have to transplant them earlier than expected, and into larger containers than expected so I can bury some of that long far, non triumphant, bill and ted!!!

My other user error - I thought - I have lights. BUT - what I have is lights for my warm season seed give them the light they need, is putting them into warmer tempt than I want them to get used to....

I can't believe it hadn't dawned on me that I need to set a completely separate light set up in a different temperature setting in the house - duh! i says to myself....

RE: Started up the spring seeds!

Thanks for the awesome link Rexanne! I've been looking for something like this!

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