Return to the Growing from Seed Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Seed starting kits and lighting

Posted by neuf 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 13, 14 at 9:31

I started posting under someone's previous post ("Seed-starting cell kits") and was advised to start a new thread. I have been spending way too much on annuals for the 20 to 30 containers I plant outdoors for the spring-summer-fall. My urban lawn soil is terrible, shady, and infested with Maple tree roots from trees I do not own, so I do most all my gardening in containers. Considering the concept of growing from seed was prompted by the fact that I am to the point where I cannot grow grass in my back yard from conditions I cannot control. I need to just mulch the lawn and then plant a significant amount of ground cover. When searching for Ajuga (Carpet Bugleweed) and Vinca Minor seeds, I noticed the "Biodome". Comments from flora_uk and Dave suggested that I use more common trays, pots and medium, which suits my financial situation. I found what appears to be a good, cheap kit: http://www.novoselenterprises.com/products/single.asp?Ia D=5676. My questions are 1.) should I use the pellet type medium sized for the cells or just use seed starter soil? 2.) Can I just set the kit on a work bench under a regular fluorescent fixture w/ timer, or do I need a more sophisticated rig to position the lights closer to the tray(s)? 3.) Do I need to move the seedlings into bigger pots prior to sticking them in the ground or flower pot?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Seed starting kits and lighting

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 13, 14 at 11:21

First suggestion, read through all the FAQs on this forum for all the basics as there is far too much info to have to lay it all out again for each person, ok?

So assuming I fixed your link above correctly (couple of letters left out), you have chosen a 60 cell tray of 6 packs with tray and dome. IF you use it to start 60 cells of the same thing - great. Otherwise it imposes some limitations on you.

If you use it to start several different things with different germination times, be prepared to separate all of the 6 packs and seed only 1 thing in each 6 cell pack. Follow me? You will need to be able to remove the cell packs from the tray and move them under the lights immediately after each germinates and leave the rest until they germinate. So also order a separate carrying tray without holes.

Use seed starting mix, well wetted first, fist-squeezed out and fill the cells, not peat pellets.

You can germinate without a heat mat but it will take longer. How long depends on Different seeds have different soil temp requirements so don't plant things that need 50-60 degree soil in the same cell pack as things that need 75 degree soil.

Those cell packs, if used for germination, cannot be used for growing on. That is why most use other things for germination and then transplant into them. So yes you will need some bigger containers or cell packs for growing on.

The plants you buy at the nursery were not germinated into those cell packs. They were germinated in mass in one container and then transplanted into those cells later.

Lights is a whole other discussion and there are many detailed discussions here about the lights needed so there is plenty of "homework reading" for you to do. :)

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Your link


 o
RE: Seed starting kits and lighting

Thank you for your response Dave. I think I've read all of the FAQs for various facets of germinating, growing on, lighting, heating and other aspects of growing from seed. I've also read a ton of posts. I think maybe I have learned enough to know that I better just get my Carpet Bugleweed going and call it good. Maybe growing a weed is easier than growing other plants from seed, but according to the seed company, it sounds like I need to get some 2" cell packs, let the seeds germinate, grow on a bit, then put them in the ground a foot a part. Or are they setting me up for failure?

http://www.swallowtailgardenseeds.com/perennials/carpetbugle.html#gsc.tab=0


 o
RE: Seed starting kits and lighting

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 14, 14 at 11:10

Don't you have something easier to start with than Ajuga? It is very late to be starting any perennials even in your zone and ajuga requires 3-4 weeks of cold stratification first. You very likely won't see any germination from them for a couple of months.

With those seeds I'd go over to the Wintersowing forum here and follow their instructions and containers for doing those seeds outside. Could save you several weeks.

Ground covers when grown from transplants can take years to spread enough to cover an area of that size. Why not use one that can be direct seeded like clover or creeping thyme or Dichondra? Much less expensive and much easier to do.

Dave


 o
RE: Seed starting kits and lighting

I chose Ajuga because all indications in my research were that it was well-suited for my application. I am feeling like I have wasted a bunch of time. As stated in my intro, my area is dense shade, which eliminates creeping thyme. If you saw the picture, I can't grow anything back there save, maybe, an invasive weed which is what Ajuga is often described as. I am completely discouraged by all of this...I was just going to mulch the area and try to get something to grow after having spent hundreds of dollars on grass seed and fertilizers. After all I've been reading here, I may just go with the mulch and bail out on the rest all together.


 o
RE: Seed starting kits and lighting

  • Posted by ZachS z5 Littleton, CO (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 15, 14 at 11:17

For the future, as Dave and you have both mentioned it is kind of late for starting perennials, there are many plants, native species, that do very well in the shade. They also tend to be better suited for poor soil conditions, drought, etc. than many non native plants.

Xeriscaping, which utilizes ornamentals mixed with stone/rock/gravel in place of grass may be an option for you to look at too, due to the dense shade and roots.


 o
RE: Seed starting kits and lighting

Thanks Zach, but the whole point was to just do shade area ground cover as inexpensively as possible. I guess my problem is with the seed merchants that made the whole concept look like the perfect solution. Nowhere in Swallowtail's description and instructions was there anything to let me know that it would be a failed project if I started right now or even later. Link below. Our place is a two-family mirror image double and if we move (which we have done and probably will do again) no tenant would ever take care of the yard more than mowing once in a while. Does my intro stating that I do almost all container gardening make more sense now?

http://www.swallowtailgardenseeds.com/perennials/carpetbugle.html#gsc.tab=0


 o
RE: Seed starting kits and lighting

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 15, 14 at 12:19

Didn't mean to be discouraging to that degree as there is always a solution to any landscaping problem. Been in the business for over 50 years so I can swear to that. :)

But to find the best solution, first you have to prioritize your goals for the space. You have listed shade, poor quality soil, root infestation, budget, trying to learn all about growing from seed yourself, mowing, possible moving, possible future new owners, failures with grass seeds, etc.

There are solutions for each of those issues - soil improvement, grass seed that thrives in shade, ways to eliminate the root infestation, budget limitations, etc. and most any qualified landscaper can advise you on them. Some even consult for free. But when you lump them all together it's way too many variables to find any ideal solution for.

So decide what you want for you to care for while you live there and how much you can spend. Forget about the moving and the possible future owners - you can never please them no matter what you do when it comes to landscaping.

If you were going to live there forever what would you want the yard to be like?

And please don't rule out Xeriscaping. When on a tight budget, if you want minimal care with high degree of success, a nice appearance, and since you like to grow in containers, it could easily be the ideal solution.

Dave


 o
RE: Seed starting kits and lighting

It is a two family rental property, Dave. I've owned it since 1980 and while we lived in a suburban neighborhood for 12 years, the tenants refused to take any interest in keeping up with the lawn as do my neighbors that rent. Such will be the case if we rent out our side again. The lawn will be covered with cypress mulch and I'll be done with it.

Thanks for keeping me from jousting with windmills :)

Jeff


 o
RE: Seed starting kits and lighting

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 15, 14 at 13:52

Then if I may suggest browsing the photos in the link below for ideas. Keep in mind that containers can be used in place of the permanent planting shown in some of the photos.

Especially partial to this one and also some parts of this one looks ideal for your yard for small areas where extensive shade is an issue.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Xeriscaped yard photos


 o
RE: Seed starting kits and lighting

1: Coco coir pellets work great for me
2: don't waste money on a seeds starter kit. My advice is setup something like i have picture i will post below. a wire shelving unit for 75$ 6ft tall one. Then get yourself 2 4ft by 2ft T5 florescent light set ups if you want a cheaper option. If you want more long term growing results and better seedling invest in some 150watt HPS Sun-systems for 50$ if you can find them at a hydroponics store. if not online they are like 65$ I get better vegetables with the HPS than i do on florescent. You will have to buy two sun-system per level if you go 150 watt. if you go higher like a 400watt just one per level is needed if its set up like mine is. if you like my input check out my youtube channel i will be posting lost of how too's as well as cool garden ideas.
P.S. these were taken before i had 2 HPS on bottom and 2 CFL on top

Here is a link that might be useful: TheItalian Garden


 o
RE: Seed starting kits and lighting

High wattage lights are overrated particularly if all you're doing is growing seedlings. A 2 tube or 4 tube fluorescent 4 foot shoplight is sufficient. Cool white F32T8 bulbs work great and very easy to find. Don't bother with expensive growbulbs. The 2 tube shop lights can be better for seedlings because the 4 tube lights can be a bit warm for seedlings unless you set it high. But then what would be the point of having the extra light? I prefer starting my seedlings under the 2 tube light then advance the seedlings to the 4 tube light after they've grown and I want to get them ready for hardening them off.

I've been growing cactus plants under a 2 tube 4 foot shop light for years using Cool White F32T8 bulbs. They do very well and my light bill never notices the energy expenditure.


 o
RE: Seed starting kits and lighting

Mossonarock I do agree that they are little spendy for just seed starting the CFL bulbs and the HPS. but the HPS i have seen a huge difference in my seedling development when i move them from my CFL's on top to my HPS lamps on bottom. I am not running a very high wattage of HPS just 150 watts so it does not get very hot. but i do have the set up in my colder garage with a exhaust fan to push fresh colder air up toward the top of the grow area. I have been experimenting with this for some months now and i believe when the plant is in its 4 to 5 week stage of development putting it under a Metal halide or High pressure sodium lamp really helps the plant make more chlorophyll than a CFL bulb does, giving larger leaves and more dark green foliage.

Here is a link that might be useful: TheItalian Garden


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Growing from Seed Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here