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

 o
Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

Posted by Bill1897 6b (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 14, 12 at 22:53

I have four 72-cell Jiffy tray with seeds of various vegetable varieties. I originally had the plastic cover on to keep the moisture on but a few seedlings in each tray began to emerge so I took each lid off. The majority of seedlings have not sprung up so my question is: will watering from the bottom of the tray allow for enough water to saturate the seed-starting (soiless) medium? How do I make sure the seeds that haven't sprouted get enough water so that they can germinate without overwatering the seedlings that have germinated? Am I over thinking this?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

Answer to final question: 'Yes'!

Bottom watering is the best way of watering. It will moisten the mix better than watering from the top. So it's good for germination and growth. You want the roots to go down not stay on the surface looking for a drink. Just make sure the mix is slightly moist but not wet and be patient. It might be easier in future not to mix veg varieties in a single tray as they will germinate and grow at different rates. Could you cut up the cells so you can treat them separately if necessary?

I often think that one of the main problems when you start growing your own is wanting to 'help' things grow faster. Patience is hard but it's really necessary in gardening.


 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

I've been using a mist bottle and watering from the top. I'm growing perennials though.

I planted mine in the same 72-cell seed tray but the trays are actually several 3x2 trays with perforated edges. So I organized the seeds to be the same type in that 6x2 tray. It's pretty easy to target a mist bottle over 6 cells.


 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

I know that seedlings need a thorough amount of water in order to germinate and am worried that the amount of water needed by the other plants that have already germinated wouldn't be enough to germinate the seeds. I'm also worried about the alternative: if I water too much for the seeds that havent germinated and cause damping off to form in the cells that have germinated. Yikes!

But you're saying that the amount of water both stages of plant growth need should be similar enough to satisfy both germination and the sustenance of already-germinated seeds without the threat of damping off?


 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

Yes - ish. Seeds need moisture to germinate but they do not need saturation. But I did say it would be better to grow different varieties separately.

Alshain, I don't think misting is an efficient way of watering seeds or seedlings. Makes no difference whether they are perennials or annuals. For the home grower I really believe bottom watering is a lot less error prone. Wet foliage and wet soil surface can encourage the spores of the fungi which cause damping off. And you can't tell if the lower soil is moist.


 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

I was bottom watering, but I had this crappy "decomposable" seed tray that started to break down only a week in, of course I've just about abandoned that one and moved to the plastic one, but I do have some Coleus and Bachelor buttons there that aren't doing too bad. If I bottom water on that one, I end up with water all over the floor.


 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

I love this little seedling sprayer.

I have never had a problem watering seedling from the top. No problem with damping off or other issues. I use a sterile germination mix, cover the seeds with bird gravel rather than starter mix, and plant in deep plastic six pack cells. I get very nearly 100% germination with this method.

Of course I am careful not to over water (I check the weight of the sic-pack to judge if it needs water).

Works for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seedling Sprayer


 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

But you're saying that the amount of water both stages of plant growth need should be similar enough to satisfy both germination and the sustenance of already-germinated seeds without the threat of damping off?

Yes. Most seeds will germinate just laying on the top of lightly dampened soil, they germinate on top of a wrung out paper towel, on plastic if in a room with high humidity. But if they then don't have access to water they die. So in truth, sprouted plants need more water than seeds do.

As Flora mentioned the primary problem is trying to grow different varieties of things in the same tray. Even seeds from the same variety germinate at different rates. So the solution is to cut the tray into pieces so each cell can be removed as needed. But once a few of the seeds of each variety have germinated they rest will follow or they never would have germinated anyway.

I don't think misting is an efficient way of watering seeds or seedlings. Makes no difference whether they are perennials or annuals. For the home grower I really believe bottom watering is a lot less error prone. Wet foliage and wet soil surface can encourage the spores of the fungi which cause damping off. And you can't tell if the lower soil is moist.

Strongly agree. Further it encourages shallow rooting, root rot and stunted growth. There are many good reasons why professionals recommend bottom watering only for watering seedlings - regardless of the type of plant. Sure it takes a bit more effort but what is convenient for the grower isn't necessarily good for the plants.

Do your own comparison study and see the difference.

Dave


 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

Recently,for the first time bought a tray with 72 expandable Jiffy pots. Plants coming up great! Watered completely to expand them, then have misted on top. They are doing great! I mist them with a little spray bottle. Mix 1 tsp. liquid dish soap, 1 tsp. ammonia, 1 tsp. whiskey and add to a quart of weak tea. Not my recipe, a recipe from one of Jerry Bakers' books. If you aren't familiar with Jerry Baker go to the library and get just one of his books out! My seedlings are growing amazingly! You can also use this mixture outside on seedlings planted outside! I know it sounds strange, but it works! I love his books-take what you have at home and stop buying store-bought fertilizers. Read one, try something, anything and let me know if you do not agree! Oh yeah, I do not have whiskey in my house, but if you go to your local package store or liquor store you can buy little bottles very inexpensively. I bought two and haven't even opened the second one.


 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

What on earth are the dish soap, ammonia, whisky and tea supposed to be doing? Are they supposed to feed, be pesticides or what?

If there are no pests you don't need pesticides. If you use a reputable compost you don't need fertiliser.

I use tap water for gardening. The whisky and tea we drink ourselves.


 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

momof3weeds do you happen to be from CT or New England? I only ask because of your use of "package store"!


 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

If you got Jerry Bakers book from the library, at least you did not spend money for it, which could have been spent for seeds. Al


 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

I'm confused. Was Jerry Baker growing plants or making meth?


 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

  • Posted by Lesuko 5, Boulder CO (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 21, 12 at 12:50

May I jump in and ask a question?

This is my second year starting seeds. This year I'm using Jiffy organic seed starting mix. Has anyone used this? It doesn't seem to soak up water from the bottom- so in a panic (well after waiting 2 hrs to see if the water did indeed get soaked up)I started using a spray bottle. The water just beads on the top. Maybe it soaks through but the mix doesn't seem very wet. I'm also thinking that I think the mix needs to be wet for the seeds, but I see here that people are saying moist?

Last year I used an expensive mix from a nursery and had no problems except a bit of green mold stuff. I've heard that chamomile tea helps with this?

Oh- I still don't know whether to use the dome or not? I have the Jiffy plastic set under a grow light.

And- I noticed today that I have extremely small grey bugs in the soil of some herb pots I overwintered. Would anyone know what these are and if I should get rid of the herbs since I will try to start peppers and tomatoes for the first time this week- so excited but nervous too.

Thanks and let me know if I should repost somewhere else.


 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

Oh dear, Jerry Baker strikes again. I had hoped he'd crawled back into the woodpile where he belongs since we hadn't heard anything about him for several years.

Lesuko - you need to start your own post here with all those questions so we don't get way off track on this one. Basically Jiffy mix needs to be well wet in a bucket first (soaked in warm water overnight) then wrung out in your hand, fill the cells, plant the seeds, cover until they germinate and break the surface and then uncover.

Dave


 o
RE: Seedling Watering w/o Plastic Dome

When I'm going to plant a flat of seeds, I fill the cells with dry germination mix (it's easier to fill them dry) and then water well with boiling water. After an hour I empty any left in the bottom of the flat. I then leave the flat, unseeded, overnight. That way I know the water is well absorbed and distributed through the mix before I plant my seeds.


 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