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New to Seeding Help

Posted by bigbob777 6b (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 10, 11 at 16:54

Hi everyone. I am a new member that has been "lurking" for a while now. PLease allow me to ask a couple newby questions. I would love any/all ideas and suggestions.

I live in zip code 28906 in North Carolina. I am right between zones 6 & 7.
I have just built an unheated greenhouse.

I went overboard and bought many seeds and want to jump in with both feet. I am retired; so time is OK.

Here is my scenario: I have about a 4000 SF garden that I have raised using 2 X 12 lumber. My focus will be primarily vegetables. I will put some flowers around for aesthetics.

Now for questions and plans about starting seeds:

1. I have seed trays, flats and domes that I bought from TEK supply. The flats have slits in the bottom for drainage and watering. When 1st starting inside the house, is this correct: fill flats with soil-less soil; set flats in trays; put about 1/2" water in trays and let soil soak it up; next day, add seeds (as per package and also according to approximate germination times); put dome over flat; put tray under shop light; remove dome when seeds have started to sprout. Keep under shop light.
2. Do I keep water in tray, thus allowing soil to soak up as needed or do I empty the tray of water after about 24 hours?
3. How do I know if soil is moist enough (droplets inside dome)?
4. I know some seeds require darkness to germinate and some require stratification. These will be handled separately.
5. When 1st true set of leaves sprout, transfer to styrofoam cups (16oz) with drainage holes in bottom. How much soil do I put in cups? Allow seeds to grow until able to transplant outside.
6. How will the unheated greenhouse figure in this plan?
7. When do I fertilize seedlings? What kind of fertilizer is best?

PLease help. It seems the more I read, the more confused I get. I will try to get photos of garden and greenhouse soon (it's snowing outside now).

I really respect ya'lls opinions.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: New to Seeding Help

Hi Bob - you can follow the instructions on those seed trays and end up with leggy seedlings even in your greenhouse. If you want to grow vegetables and flowers and have an amazing garden, winter sowing is the best method to achieve that goal. It's completely natural, costs virtually nothing and the results are nothing short of spectacular.

You don't have to take my word for it--check out the winter sowing forum on this website. It's a simple, legitimate growing method recognized by experts around the globe that works for annuals, perennials, vegetables, & shrubs.

Most folks don't believe it can work because they've been conditioned to think that seeds need warmth to germinate. They don't. They need a combination of moisture, light & temperature to flip the switch in their genetic code. Mother Nature is in charge unless you're a commercial grower with a few dozen greenhouses.

I encourage you to check out the winter sowing forum, ask questions, and give it a shot. It doesn't cost anything...and you won't regret it.

If you don't want to post, feel free to email me with questions. Winter sowing wasn't my idea but I've done it and have pictures to show it works.

RE: New to Seeding Help

bigbob it sounds like your instructions are pretty good. You will learn a lot more as you go and make adjustments. Growing vegetable seeds is pretty straight forward, and most seeds are very fast to germinate at a very high percentage. Your seeds will probably be cooler than ideal germination temperatures which will mean they take longer to germinate. Moisture is always required but be careful not to keep the seeds in a bath without oxygen which will cause most to rot instead of grow. Good luck and when you get stuck if you ask a specific question, someone here will respond. Al

RE: New to Seeding Help


I tend to do things a bit differently, due to space constrictions. I sow bunches of seeds in things like 8x8 inch plastic to-go containers, ones that have the plastic cover. Drill holes in the bottom, nearly fill with potting mix, place the sides in it, sprinkle more potting mix over them, set them in a tub of water until they are soaked, then let them drain, put the lid on and set them over a hear source.

Once the first seed or two sprouts, they get removed from the heat and put under lights.

When they get about 2.5-3" tall, they get transplanted into nursery flats. The flats are (usually) the 3" square ones that are 3.5" deep. They stay there until transplanted into the garden.

I disagree that you will end up with leggy seedlings even if growing in a greenhouse. I guess you could - if you water them a bunch, add a lot of nuits and have warm but overcast days. If anything, the GH seedlings I have seen are better than any of those grown indoors.


RE: New to Seeding Help

I am trying Oasis root cubes this year. I like them because they keep my seeds really organized, they are not messy, and they hold around twice as many seedlings in half the space.

I start mine on a radiator (not too hot) for the first night and then move them under the lights. Except Spinach which I sit by my coldest window because it needs colder temps to germinate. When they get higher than my shelf accommodates, it gets too crowded, or if it warms up enough outside, I move them to the greenhouse. I use a propane heater if it is too cold.

RE: New to Seeding Help

Been looking at something like the Oasis cube. see link

Here is a link that might be useful: Grodan

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