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Help for a beginner?

Posted by mandolls 4 (My Page) on
Wed, May 5, 10 at 7:42

This is only my second year trying to grow anything from seed. Last year I did it with no grow lights, just had them all next to the french doors in my studio. Yes they were leggy, and yes I lost 25% to damp off, but the rest survived and my garden was full of blooming asters, ganzia, and lobelia, and the columbine and forget-me-nots are all blooming this year or are about to.

This year I found Garden Forum, and am begining to educate myself. So....... while I didnt start them under lights, I have moved everything to light and they are responding well.

My question is about transplanting - Last year I didnt transplant anything before putting them in the ground. I just left them in the little peat pots (those ones they sell as dried out discs) some of them for almost 2 months. I am using the same "seed starter kits" this year - how important is it that every thing be transplanted to larger containers ? I'm trying some vegetables this year and it looks like every one here moves them to cups or some sort of larger containers. Official last frost date here is in a week or two - but I am seeing a lot of exposed roots coming through the peat pots. Should I transplant everything? or will they be ok ?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help for a beginner?

So.. here is the deal with those peat pots/Jiffy things.

Imagine stuffing a child into a sock for their whole life. With enough food and water, they will not die but be very unhappy and sickly looking.

Same thing with peat pots. As long as you water them and fertilize them on a tedious schedule your plants will live, but not be as happy as they could be.

So that is why we run away from them.

Planting up into larger containers has it benefits such as stimulating root development better moisture control, more room for roots to develop to grow stronger thus larger plants ect.

So, this late in the season I would just wait out the few weeks, harden your plants off, pull off the peat pot, and then sink it in to its final garden spot.

Congrats on a better second year from seed :)

Keriann~


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RE: Help for a beginner?

What kerrianne means is to take off the outer coating of the peat pellets. It won't decompose and the roots will stay in that little ball


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RE: Help for a beginner?

Thanks ! Makes complete sense.

If every year I get a little smarter and my garden gets a little more beautiful, then I am a happy man


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RE: Help for a beginner?

mandolls-----A word on transplanting and watering---

When you read about people transplanting them into cups--with holes in the bottom, it is because they start the seed in shallow small containers with seed starting mix. A small container is easier to keep moist without being too wet as to cause damp off.

When they get the second true leaf--the first ones are seed leaves--they transplant into the cups. Then they have more room to grow roots. Just make sure at this point that you let them dry to at least half way. Try an experiment--fill 2 pots with soil and wet one by bottom watering. Bottom watering is setting the pot in water until the soil darkens a bit on top. Now that pot is thorough;y wet. Feel the difference in weight. You want your plants to feel something like that before you water. Always bottom water and then wait until you have to water again. Plants benifit from drying out--they make better roots.


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RE: Help for a beginner?

The whole point to the peat pots is to avoid the shock of transplanting to cups. On the other hand they can stun root development. It is a trade off. You really need to experiment a bit, and by the sound of things you are pretty much committed to keeping them in the peat pots this year. Not much point in going through the trauma of transplanting to cups and then again to the garden. See how they do when you put them in the ground in a few weeks time. Then you will know what to do next year.


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RE: Help for a beginner?

Thanks Oilpainter (I am a potter) - One of the reasons I have liked those little jiffy peat plugs is that they dont dry out for over a week, sometimes more - I thought that was a good thing.

Next year I am definitely going to have to expand my light set up or I wont have room for everything if I move them to containers. The only pics that I have seen posted of transplanted seedlings are vegetables, and it seems many people are using plastic 12oz. "disposable" cups. Could I go with something like a dixie cup for the annuals? they dont seem to grow as fast or as large as most of the veg, but would the wax be an issue?


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RE: Help for a beginner?

Some annuals have a big root system like marigolds and a lot of tall annuals have big root systems too. A 12 oz. cup may be too big for some veggies too and a 6 oz. better. Lobelia would definately be better in dixie cups. Some flowers are better started outdoors. It really depends on the roots and the plant.

The long and short of it is yes put all your plants in dixie cups except tomatoes and peppers. If you find them drying out too fast then move them up to a bigger container

Over the summer go over the FAQ's at the top of the forum and maybe you can learn more. There is not a gardener alive who hasn't killed a plant or made mistakes or started as a newbie. We all had to learn and for most of us it was through trial and error, but we take those mistakes and turn them into success the next time


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RE: Help for a beginner?

I move a lot of my annuals up to dixie cup size (3 oz) after pricking them out from the germinating flat, but find that all of them need to be transplanted up a size at least once before reaching a size and root mass that I prefer for planting out. I like the root mass to be equal to or larger than the plant above the surface; therefore, were I to leave them in smaller containers, for one thing, they tend to stop growing, or if they do grow, the root mass must remain smaller by necessity. Virtually everything I have now waiting to plant out is in 16 oz cups, including pansies, snapdragons, petunias, begonias, etc. Particularly important to move to larger containers are those fast-growing annuals like asters, which you mentioned, or similar such as dahlias.


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RE: Help for a beginner?

You guys are great, thanks for the advice. And thanks for pointing out the FAQ's, for some reason I hadn't even noticed that. There is a lot of info that will help.

As a professor, I know that answering the same questions over and over from beginners can get tedious.


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RE: Help for a beginner?

You're Welcome Prof.

I love flowers and gardening and never get tired of helping make this world a prettier place. Besides there are a few of us here so if one doesn't answer another will.Good luck with your plants and happy gardening.


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