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Am I making two major mistakes?

Posted by bitsya GA (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 10, 10 at 16:00

Hey everyone,

I had tremendous good luck last year with starting everything from seed; I give most of the credit to all the posts I read on this forum as I was learning how to start seeds.

This year I wanted to improve on everything & I may have messed up. Tell me what you think please...

I germinate my seeds in an unused bedroom at my folks' house. I'm able to close off this room & have a space heater in there to get the temps up where needed.

My lights setup is in an unheated utility house outside. I have put a space heater in there; temps get to around 60 or so on the very cold days. Not sure about the nights, I will be checking that (since I just got a thermometer in there.)

What I've been doing: as the seeds come up of course they stretch out immediately. I've been picking out the ones that have come up & repotting, then moving them out to the lights while those in the same flat not yet germinated go back to the bedroom.

(Last year I was able to have my lights setup on an enclosed back porch at our house; this worked very well BUT we are in the process of renovation & now that enclosed porch is part of the kitchen, so that no longer works!)

The mistakes I might be making & would love your input:

1) These are being transplanted, of course, before they get their first true set of leaves. Is this bad? Should I be waiting a while longer? Most of the xplants have been out in the utility house for about a week; I've lost 5 out of about 200. So I thought I was doing great, but today some of them seem to look a bit puny. (They are not overwatered.) I may be just overreacting about my "babies" but again, would appreciate opinions!

2) I do not have enough lights (yet) to completely cover all the flats I have out in the utility house. This morning I got the idea to cover the lights setup with sheets of tinfoil, so as to get reflection (and also serve as a little more cold protection till the weather breaks.) Is this a good or bad idea?

Thanks so much for any opinions, and good luck, everyone with your seeds!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Am I making two major mistakes?

I'm no expert, but thought I'd share my experience. I think some plants can handle an early transplant, and some can't. Things that tend to be relatively fast-growing don't seem to mind a transplant before their first leaves. But I transplanted a few tuberous begonia (super slow growing) seedlings when they were very, VERY tiny because they had some how sprung up in a clump on the very edge of the container they were in, and were getting dislodged when the container moved. Those guys are still struggling and I don't know if they'll pull through; it appears to be transplant shock, their little leaves are brown, though the new leaves they've sprouted are green. In contrast, the other seedlings from that container grew their first true leaves and were at least twice the size of the little guys, and they've been transplanted without any trouble. It almost seems like, if they still have just that one baby root with no offshoots, they might not stand transplanting as well as seedlings with more developed roots. Just my little bit of experience, ymmv. :) I do struggle, like you, with seedlings germinating and sprouting at different rates, but I guess in your situation, unless you could possibly steal a light or two from outside, I'd sacrifice a little legginess to let them grow some roots before I pricked them out.

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