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Starting Seeds.......

Posted by Handsome54 6b (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 6, 12 at 15:43

Who germinates their seeds in wet paper towels/baggies, etc. rather than sewing them directly in the seed starting medium? What are the advantages of germinating before planting?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Starting Seeds.......

You can calculate the germination viability percentage if you start 10 seeds but I usually germinate large seeds such as morning glories or squash seeds in the windowsill to get a head start on the season. It takes up less room.


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RE: Starting Seeds.......

I use the baggie method because I start small quantities and I end up with fewer "no shows" taking up valuable space. I put 2-4 seeds in each cell(depending on cell size). If they all germinate, I separate them into their own cells. It's also easier to give certain seeds like peppers the heat they need to germinate as opposed to finding space and a heat source for a whole tray of cells/containers. It's easy to check on their progress too, just hold the baggie up to a light to see if there's roots.


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RE: Starting Seeds.......

"I put 2-4 seeds in each cell(depending on cell size). If they all germinate..."

That should be...I put 2-4 'sprouted' seed in each cell, and if they all grow I separate them into their own cells.

Never type when tired...

And...if a sprout doesn't grow it's usually because I planted it too deep or damaged the root in the process. HTH


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RE: Starting Seeds.......

Thanks HTH for the input ! I've never tried germinating before planting, but I may this season! OBTW my sis just moved back to Kansas after 15 years of living in Beaverdam WI!


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I like to soak them first cause I've planted seeds that didn't get enough moisture when sowed in flats and didn't sprout.


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RE: Starting Seeds.......

Handsome54,

"Who germinates their seeds in wet paper towels/baggies, etc. rather than sewing them directly in the seed starting medium? What are the advantages of germinating before planting?"

The baggie/wet towel method takes up less space and lets you have more options for keeping them warm. I don't use that method for anything other than germination testing, because it is tedious and time-consuming to move the sprouts from the baggie into a pot, and you run the risk of breaking the root, which is probably fatal to the seedling at that stage. And the sprout roots can grow into difficult-to-place curved shapes.

I prefer to use heat mats and humidity domes to start my seedlings directly in 3.25-inch clear plastic square pots. The clear plastic lets me see the roots at the side of the pots so that I can judge when the seedling needs to be set out or re-potted to a larger pot.

ZM

P.S. Over in the Annuals forum you mentioned you were in Topeka with a zone of 5b, which sounds about right. Am I right in assuming that your 6b zone here is a typo?


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RE: Starting Seeds.......

Thanks ZM! I'm arthritic, so pregermination prolly aint for me! :) Yeah, I need to change that profile!Like the clear pot idea. OBTW do you overhead water your seedlings?


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RE: Starting Seeds.......

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 13, 12 at 21:34

Handsome54,

"...do you overhead water your seedlings?"

Occasionally, but usually I just pour water (with a small amount of soluble nutrients in it) into the trays and let the pots soak it up through their bottom holes. I plant my seeds in medium that has been pre-soaked. I keep the pots under humidity domes until the seedlings emerge. The water that is already in the medium is usually enough to get them to germinate because the humidity domes keep the water loss to a very low value.

Overhead watering could promote disease (such as Damping Off), although in those times when I chose to do it I didn't have a problem. As the seedlings grow larger, I like to foliar feed them some, and that implies overhead watering, or spraying or spritzing them with the weak fertilizer solution. That also helps keep their leaves clean.

ZM


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RE: Starting Seeds.......

You might check out winter sowing, low mait way to get things started, no hardening off , little chance of mildew ETC.


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RE: Starting Seeds.......

  • Posted by t-bird Chicago 5/6 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 15, 12 at 13:31

zenman - where do you get the clear pots?

Also - I have some plants going right now. I potted them up in "natural and organic happy frog potting soil" and watered with diluted (to container specifications) seaweed emulsion.

I have taken the humidity dome off them now - toms are 8", basil 4" and peppers and eggplants just starting first true leaves.

Should I always use the seaweed for watering? dilute more to do so? I'm thinking without the dome, and heated indoors, they will need water every day or every other day - use the emulsion 1xweek - more or less?

In watering from the bottom, is there a size plant/container which wont work? For example, I put my little basils into large pots - 4 seedlings to a 6.5 deep pot - the intention for these is to harvest as indoor potted herbs. When I put them in, of course the roots were 6" above the bottom of the containers, so I didn't think that water would effectively wick up that to those baby roots enough, so watered overhead.

Can you give some guidelines on what is needed size-wise for bottom watering to work?

TIA!


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RE: Starting Seeds.......

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 16, 12 at 0:35

Hi t-bird,

"...where do you get the clear pots?"

They are available from many Internet sources. I ordered my square clear plastic orchid pots from Amazon, because I purchase from Amazon fairly frequently.

I prefer the 3.25-inch size of orchid pots. I first started to order several of the 10-packs, but each 10-pack had a separate shipping charge which would have run the total shipping cost up well over the cost of the pots themselves. At that time the shipping cost of a 10-pack was the same as the shipping cost of an 80-pack, so shipping-wise, the 80-pack was a better deal, so I ordered an 80-pack of 3.25 Inch Square Clear Plastic Orchid Pots. At that time the 80-pack, the 30-pack, and the 10-pack were all being shipped in the same US Postal shipping box, so the shipping was the same for each. That may still be true. This is a picture of some of the seedless tomatoes I started in my clear pots last year. (Burpee's Seedless tomatoes are my favorites -- I'll be growing more of them this year.)

You can just barely see the roots appearing at the bottom of the pots. As they become more rootbound you can clearly see the roots growing down the sides of the pots. When that happens, I repot to 5-inch black plastic square pots.

If you needed lots more than 80 of the orchid pots, they are available from some Internet sources in case quantities of 500 pots per case, as I recall. On a per pot basis, that is the cheapest way to buy them.

I wash the pots up and reuse them each year. If you forget and leave them outdoors in the Sun for several months (I accidentally did that with a few of mine), the ultraviolet light in the sunlight will make them brittle, even though they are UV-resistant. For use indoors under fluorescent lights, you can get many years of service out of them.

"In watering from the bottom, is there a size plant/container which won't work?"

Any size will work as long as you start your seedlings in smaller pots and re-pot them as they outgrow the pot. That way the plants always have at least some roots in the lower part of your pots. In your case, with the basil seedlings in a 6.5-inch deep pot, you did the right thing in watering from overhead. Overhead watering can be OK in a lot of situations. Greenhouses and nurseries do it all the time.

"Should I always use the seaweed for watering? dilute more to do so? I'm thinking without the dome, and heated indoors, they will need water every day or every other day - use the emulsion 1xweek - more or less? "

I don't use seaweed or Happy Frog potting soil, but the principles are the same. It is much better to feed your plants a very weak solution of fertilizer daily than to use a stronger dose weekly. And if you want to foliar feed your weak solution, that is fine, too. Just make sure that your fertilizer is very diluted. A plant doesn't use very much fertilizer in any given day, so it will be happy if the solution is much weaker than the label says.

"Can you give some guidelines on what is needed size-wise for bottom watering to work?"

As long as the pot and the plant aren't extremely mis-matched, bottom watering can work with any pot. For indoor gardening, it is much more convenient to flood the trays that the pots are in than it is to water the pots individually. I get 18 of the 3.25" square pots in each of my 11" x 22" PermaNest trays. It would be really tedious to water each pot individually.

ZM
(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)


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RE: Starting Seeds.......

  • Posted by t-bird Chicago 5/6 (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 16, 12 at 19:24

yes - it is tedious! LOL! Late for work this morning tending my flock!!!

Thank you so much for your thoughtful answers! I appreciate the time you took to do so!


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