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Tue Dec 20, 2011, 04:59 PM

Seed Starting methods

This discussion thread is pinned.
There are lots of ways to start seeds. I start LOTS - due to our seedlings business. I've got a series of YouTube videos on this...

Please post your own - or ask any questions - in responses to this.

these run from starting seeds to the initial transplant.











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Arrow 27 replies Author Time Post
Reply Seed Starting methods (Original post)
NRaleighLiberal Dec 2011 OP
JDPriestly Dec 2011 #1
blissedsadge Sep 2012 #13
Autumn Mar 2013 #14
JDPriestly Mar 2013 #15
Autumn Mar 2013 #17
JDPriestly Mar 2013 #18
Autumn Mar 2013 #19
wildeyed Dec 2011 #2
NRaleighLiberal Dec 2011 #3
Retrograde Apr 2012 #10
H. Cromwell Feb 2012 #4
NRaleighLiberal Feb 2012 #5
HopeHoops Mar 2012 #6
NRaleighLiberal Mar 2012 #7
JDPriestly Mar 2013 #16
Viva_La_Revolution Mar 2012 #8
messenger of god Mar 2012 #9
Worried senior Apr 2012 #11
Viva_La_Revolution Apr 2012 #12
ColumbusLib Jan 2014 #20
NRaleighLiberal Jan 2014 #21
ColumbusLib Jan 2014 #22
jtuck004 Mar 2016 #23
Olive Birch Apr 2016 #24
hermetic Apr 2016 #25
NRaleighLiberal Apr 2016 #26
peacebuzzard Apr 2017 #27

Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 04:45 AM

1. Looks great.

I have been starting my seeds in moist paper towels. I then transfer the seeds into small (or large) pots. (I do most of my gardening in pots due to the small amount of dirt surfaces in my yard.)

My question is how I can transfer the many tiny seedling plants from small pots into large ones and from clumps of seedlings into better spaced seedlings.

It's too late for me to watch you videos tonight. I hope to do that tomorrow. Thanks for posting this.

On edit, I stayed up and watched your first video. It's just great. I don't need that many seedlings, but your video really taught me a lot.

Thanks again. I'll be watching all of them.

I'm in Southern California, so my lettuce is starting to do very well now. Lettuce goes to seed in the summer heat here. This is the first year I have tried growing lettuce this early. So far it is doing very well.

Again, I loved the first video.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 04:47 PM

13. Great!

 

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 04:31 PM

14. How do you start them in moist paper towels? That sounds interesting

and at what point do you transfer?

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Response to Autumn (Reply #14)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 07:06 PM

15. I wrap the seeds in a bit of moist paper napkin or a towel that is not too absorbent

and then plant them. I wait till they start to sprout a bit before planting.

Remember, I live in Southern California where it is very, very dry.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #15)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 08:31 PM

17. Do you plant them straight in the ground?

I want to try that for my Columbines.

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Response to Autumn (Reply #17)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 08:39 PM

18. Yes. Until this year, it worked for me.

I think that I did not wait until some of my lettuce seeds were sprouting and placed some in the ground in my pots. Those seeds did not do well.

I did wait with my peas this year. I put the seeds in bits of paper napkins, left them to sit in a closed plastic container until I saw sprouts, and they are flourishing.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #18)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 08:44 PM

19. I used the peat post last year and mine didn't do well at all. I'm going to try the

parer towels. Thanks for this tip.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 04:52 PM

2. I use the Gardener's Supply system.

It has the bottom water reservoirs which are a big time saver. I have been starting in my laundry room, but it is getting too crowded what with the worm farm, the pet food storage and actually doing laundry. Oh yeah, and some years I have chicks in there. I may switch to the garage this spring. I have one commercial heat mat and another water bed heater that I can use for under heat, so that may be ok.

The last few years I have purchased or bummed seedlings from friends, but they are never as nice as the ones I start myself and don't produce as well down the line. I am not good at maintaining my garden over the entire season, but I start some really nice seedlings if I do say so myself

Hey, do you think I can grow micro greens in my new cold frame starting soon (I am also in NC, Charlotte)? I have it set up in the sunniest/most protected spot on my deck. It would be nice to have fresh greens over the winter, even is small quantities.

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Response to wildeyed (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 11:27 PM

3. I don't see why not - I've got spinach growing in two large pots in my driveway -

minor frosts (to 28) hasn't hurt it a bit - also got some lettuce/arugula growing that is going to get transplanted soon.

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Response to wildeyed (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 07:27 PM

10. These are great, especially for older seeds!

I have some of the old ones with the styrofoam reservoirs that help hold in the water heat - I'm limited to an unheated back porch for seed starting. They're beat up, and I've replaced the tops a few times, but they're going on 10+ years.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 07:24 PM

4. Time frame for seed starting question

 

I don't have enough posts to start my own thread. I live in NE PA, For the firast time I've decided to start my tomatos and peppers from seed.
I have a small garden. I bought the following seeds from Pinetree Garden Seeds:
Wild Cherry Tomatoes---55 days
Tomato Polbig Hybird 56 days
Tomato Grandeur Hybrid 75 days
Hot Pepper Cayenne-long Heirloom variety 70 days
I was thinking of staggering the seedling plant times so as to have tomatoes from the end of June thru August...I have room for 3 or 4 of each tomato plant variety...The peppers I am not too worried about.
Is it too soon to start the seedlings in the middle of March?
Should I start some sooner?
Thanks in advance

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Response to H. Cromwell (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 10:04 PM

5. I tend to use the month for major step rule - so you can work backwards.

So for me to have tomatoes ready in mid April, I separate and transplant them in mid March, meaning I plant them in mid Feb.

It all depends upon your last frost date (when you can safely set out plants).

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 04:28 PM

6. NOTE TO TEACHERS: No video, but here's the formula...

 

It is inexpensive, educational, and few if any of the seedlings will survive regardless of what you do. By mandate, my wife has to do her unit on seeds next week - same as every other classroom under the same restrictions. None of them will survive long enough to be transplanted, but the educational part of it is what matters.

Materials:
- Plastic disposable cups (small beer cups - clear)
- Seeds of your choice (extras from our garden in this case)
- A permanent marker
- "Sprouting Mixture" soil, not "potting soil" - the former is lighter, fluffier and won't cause root rot.
- A tray. At the low end, that's aluminum foil squares around each cup. At the high end it is a baking cooling rack in a plastic tub lid. Whatever works to keep the water from going everywhere.

1) use a hammer and nail to poke three holes in the bottom of each cup.
2) write each kid's name on the cup along with the type of seed.
3) fill each cup 3/4 full with sprouting mixture (you'll need to add more later - trust me)
4) have the kids make three finger holes and put a seed in each (and cover).
5) LIGHTLY WATER
6) keep the water light until the sprouts break the surface.
7) give them as MUCH sunlight as possible after they sprout.
8) when they are viable, send them home.

Now as for what KIND of seeds, if you are close to Mother's Day, marigolds are great. If the objective is to show the roots, you'll see them in the plastic cups. Lettuce makes a huge root system, but it isn't particularly obvious even in a glass box. Beans are probably your safest bet. Soak them overnight before planting. Only use the ones with their husks on and that are firm and not wrinkly. They also sprout quickly. Radishes almost always sprout and are only a 20-30 day crop for most varieties. Unfortunately, most kids don't like those. Carrots take too long. Squash is a fair bet for sprouting, but it won't survive unless it is close enough to planting time. Pansies are always a good option. Forget nightshades like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes unless you've got a LOT of room to transplant them. Herbs such as basil (get something simple like Genovese) sprout well and make a pretty plant, but you can't transplant until after the last frost.

It doesn't have to be at all expensive to have fun. One packet of beans runs about $3.00 (BUSH style ONLY for this). Same with flowers. The beans will give you the best root display and are probably the most likely to handle transplanting from classroom to home (they can be container grown). A $6 bag of sprouting mix will cover ALL of the plastic cups. A bag of plastic cups is a couple of dollars. Sunlight's free and water's included with the gig.

Enjoy!

On Edit: Make sure the SCHOOL pays for the materials. Teachers don't earn enough as it is. If the plants get lanky, that's why I said to leave 1/4 of the cup empty - so you can fill in more soil to keep them upright without staking.

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #6)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 04:56 PM

7. good post - thanks!

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #6)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 07:08 PM

16. Thanks. Beautiful.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 06:18 PM

8. Thank you!

I was dreading starting seeds this year because I'm really short on space inside.

solves my problem X10

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Tue Mar 27, 2012, 09:04 AM

9. Can we start planting now that it appears we've skipped the end of winter

 

and went directly into late spring/summer?

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Sun Apr 22, 2012, 12:48 PM

11. My husband read an article about starting seeds right in the garden

so we've been saving all empty plastic bottles that will work. Will plant the seeds this wk I hope, cover and see what happens. Suppose to act like a little green house and if it doesn't work we'll still have time to buy plants and get them in before the end of May.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 08:45 AM

12. I'll be transplanting to 4in pots in the next few days

this has been so much easier this year thanks to you. I even have several extras to sell to friends for cheap

Siletz
Oregon spring
Black Prince
chocolate cherry
san marzano
stupice
and Yea! Indigo Rose
the seeds I saved from a yellow heirloom failed to sprout, so I'll pick up a Taxi, just for more color

Jalapeno and whitney mini peppers

I love spring

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Thu Jan 2, 2014, 09:20 AM

20. 2014 seed starting

I ordered lots of seeds in the last couple of days- lots from Baker Creek and Swallowtail, and a few from Jung and Select Seeds. I use peat pots and either labelled seed starting mix or a mix I make of 1/3 vermiculite. 2/3 peat moss- it works fine. I start my tender annuals, etc., on a heat mat, and mostly everything else on a cold windowsill with morning sun. Have generally found that fridge/freezer time is not helpful, but virtually all hardy perennials and biennials start fine on my cold windowsill. Very easy!

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Response to ColumbusLib (Reply #20)

Thu Jan 2, 2014, 09:24 AM

21. Wow - is it that time? I need to finalize my plans - I get things going around mid Feb,

but am severely scaling back this year for my own sanity - bit off way too much the past few years!

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #21)

Thu Jan 2, 2014, 09:34 AM

22. I know what you mean

I always say I'll start less next year, but seeing the seeds sprout and grow is what keeps me going in the winter. ( : I order pretty early because there are a few seeds I need to start quite early (perennials & biennials) in order for them to have a shot at flowering this year. Most of my seeds start in February or March.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Tue Mar 15, 2016, 02:11 PM

23. Great stuff, thank you! Glad it is pinned here. n/t

 

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Tue Apr 26, 2016, 09:57 AM

24. I always cringe

when separating seedlings, I imagine ripping and tearing sounds of the delicate little roots. I was poised to cringe at this video but watched thinking you might be onto a kinder, gentler way - and you are. Thanks for posting.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Sat Apr 30, 2016, 01:43 PM

25. Seeds from storage

I have pea, zucc and cuke seeds left over from last year that I sealed up and put in the back of my fridge. What do I do now before planting. Warm them up first or plant them cold? Any advice much appreciated.

Happy gardens, everyone!

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Response to hermetic (Reply #25)

Sat Apr 30, 2016, 02:50 PM

26. best to let them come to room temp before opening...

moisture is the enemy of seeds - leave them out for 15 min, open, get your seeds, plant - and you will be off and running!

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Mon Apr 17, 2017, 08:09 PM

27. Great info!

I need all the help I can get.

Glad to have found this group, I am enjoying the great know-how from everyone here.

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