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I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

Posted by isuhunter (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 13, 10 at 21:12

I'm giving my first shot at starting some plants. I had to go to Earl May and get some seed to start as I couldn't wait for my Sand Hill order to get here. This will be my first attempt at growing seedlings.

I don't have a heat mat like many of you mention, is there anything I can to do help my tomatoes and peppers along? I have kicked the heat up a degree or two in my apartment.

I'm using Jiffy starting mix from Walmart and some small 6-cell plastic trays. Then I am going to move into larger cups. I also planted some in 8 oz styrofoam cups.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

Tomato seeds like 70-80F. Peppers like it even warmer, 78-85F.

And that's the temperature around the seeds, not the air around the pot.

Feel around the top of your refrigerator or freezer and see if it is warmer there. But don't forget them! Put them in a plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap to help trap the warmth.

Water beds are mostly pass now, but if you happen to see one of the heating units in a thrift shop, grab it and use that. (They're usually black or blue, maybe a foot wide and 30" or so long- varies.) You might post on FreeCycle or Craigslist.

Sue


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RE: I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

Other warm surfaces include the top of the DVR, a desktop computer and the tops of fluorescent shop lights. Can you tell I have little bundles of seeds marinating all over my house? :) Obviously, you have to be very careful to avoid getting any moisture on any of those surfaces. I wrap the cup/plastic container completely in saran and make sure it's dry before setting them on any of the electronics. Better make sure my homeowner's is paid up, just in case! :)


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RE: I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

Do you have forced air heating? A cake rack on top of the register and a closed container will work good. Tomatoes do not need light until they germinate. A good thing to use for tray and humidity cover is those larger clear plastic containers that you buy bisquits or cousants in at the grocery. If you don't have any ask to buy one. They will probably sell you one, my grocery does. Hold it closed with a clothes pin or bag clip. You can plant your seeds in a second smaller one that you've separated into 2 pots and poked holes in the bottom.

Transplant into pots or your cups when they get their second leaves.


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RE: I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

I use an electric blanket.

I know some say it is a no-no but it works great for me.

You can also use lamps with regular bulbs because they get warm. Get them close to the soil and then bring your regular shop lights in for the seedlings light requirements.

You do not have to have heatmats or 75+ degrees for most of your seeds, they will just peek their heads out later than with heat.

Keriann~


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RE: I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

Last year, I started seedlings, in disposable seed starting trays, on the heating mat, with the clear plastic dome. When they were too tall for the dome, I transferred them into bigger pots and placed the seedlings into my cool, 65 degrees F, house air. Nearly every one died. The temp shock was too much. Be careful with that - I think I cried.

The younger the sprouts are, the more heat and humidity they need. Peppers usually like it warmer then tomatoes.

Transferring them to too cool/dry of an environment before they have developed the roots can be deadly.

I hope to never repeat that mistake.

Happy Gardening -


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RE: I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

Thanks for all the advice!! Can a guy find a heat mat at a earl may or at a home depot? I'm going to start more seeds in a friends basement and it probably would be a good thing to have.


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RE: I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

Can a guy find a heat mat at a earl may or at a home depot?

I doubt it since it is a specialty item. Never seen one there but Earl May can likely order one for you. Most all the seed catalogs carry one or two types to order.

Keep in mind that it is the soil temperature that counts, not the air temperature. Without a direct supplemental heat source on the containers the soil will always be colder than the air.

Dave


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RE: I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

I use a standard rope light coiled loosely beneath the trays. I turn it on when I wake up and back off when I go to bed. It keeps the soil nice and warm.

However as soon as there is any germination, the covers come off, the rope light is gone and the trays go in the sun and then under lights for the remainder of each day. I like to give the seedlings natural light whenever I can.


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RE: I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

I did see one heat mat for sale at HD. However, it came as part of a set with the trays, cells, etc. Probably not the most quality mat in the world, but it wasn't too expensive.

Kim


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RE: I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

Those heat mats that come with the bubble top flats are not very expensive I use on that was for a dog house pulled it out of the trash there are heat mats at walmart for sore muscles

In the basment dont forget the top of a water heater can be ideal or a furnace air duct


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RE: I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

Mehearty -- Using a rope light, how warm does it get? Would it be a fire hazard? I could use it during the evenings when I'm at home.

I found the top of my fridge to be around 73 degrees. This is the warmest spot I could find in my apartment.


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RE: I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

When they were too tall for the dome-

Oh my! I think you left them in the dome too long- usually recommended to take them off the heat and out of the dome as soon as they germinate. The dome just keeps them moist until they sprout. And the seedlings don't need humidity- it can cause damping-off. I not surprised they died.


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RE: I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

Frank... I'm lost???


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RE: I couldn't wait for seed to arrive... Now I have questions

I think he was referring to the post by austinnhanasmom where she said she kept the dome on until the seedlings hit the top of the dome, then pulled the dome off & all the seedlings died.


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