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starting tomato seeds

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starting tomato seeds

Post  martha on 4/3/2010, 7:52 pm

Hello, all! I have started several varieties of tomatoes from seed with mixed results. My blondekopfchen have one tiny seedling. I had trouble with them last year, but I was more careful in my treatment of them than I was last year, and still nothing.

Stupice is responding well, and Camp Joy are also. Sungold currant not doing well at all. (I'll double check if that is really the right name.) All seeds are 2009, and they were all stored together.

Suggestions?

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Re:Starting tomato seeds

Post  Jola on 4/3/2010, 8:27 pm

How do you start your tomato seeds?
I've been starting tomatoes from seeds for years, and have 100% germination rate (or close to it). I start them in Jiffy Peat Pellets (I put 2 seeds in each), and I use Seedling Heat Mat. That heat mat is great investment.

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Re: starting tomato seeds

Post  martha on 4/4/2010, 11:58 am

I do have a seedling heat mat. Interesting that you have a 100% germination rate. That is what I have come to expect from other things, but not tomatoes.

So I have used Jiffy Peat Pellets before - I don't remember if I did last year. This year I used Hoffman Seed Starter, which consists of spaghnum peat moss, vermiculite, limestone and a wetting agent. I used recycled plastic six-packs, and covered them with plastic. It seems to go by variety, but then again, I planted each variety in it's own 6-pack, so maybe one had too much water, or not enough, or...

Would love feedback, since I would like to start some more tomorrow.

PS - last year was the first year ever that I got tomatoes from plants I had started from seeds. Usually I started seeds, ended up killing them when they were a few weeks old, and went out and bought starts at nurseries. I want last year to be the start of my new tradition, of actually successfully raising babies!

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Starting tomato seeds

Post  Jola on 4/4/2010, 7:58 pm

I really have 100% tomatoes germinating, and it has been going for 7 years since I started tomatoes for the first time from seeds (and it was the first time I've started growing tomatoes ever). If you have heat mat, and starting medium, problem might be watering. I do not cover my pellets with anything, but I watch carefully watering. They must be lightly moist all the time. If I put too much water I use turkey basting thing (I forgot how it is called), bought at 1$ store, and suck water out. I use fluorescent light for 12-14 hours per day. Do not put seeds too deep. 1/4 inch is good.
Good luck! I hope that this time you will be successful!

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Re: starting tomato seeds

Post  martha on 4/4/2010, 8:40 pm

I'll let you know - more seeds will be started tomorrow. It is entirely possible that the problem is too much water.

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Re: starting tomato seeds

Post  jerzyjen on 4/4/2010, 8:49 pm

I am growing 2 varieties - moreton and ramapo. Moretons did great, ramapos - i had one not germinate and one just broke off - very strange. restarting them. maybe i need a heat mat but not sure where to get one quicklike

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Re: starting tomato seeds

Post  happyfrog on 4/4/2010, 9:07 pm

here's a weird idea.

what i did to grow tomatoes was to take my work light - the light on a long extension cord that has a plug in it and uses a 'normal' 60watt light bulb.

i put that in a small wire cart (one of those $20 organizer carts that I had in basement gathering dust) and had a 12pack windowsill jiffy seed starter greenhouse over it - so heat from light was heating under it, and another on under the light so the light was shining it. i would flip the greenhouses once/day, so 12 hours dark, 12 hours light but at all times were warmf rom light.

worked great. i ahd too many plants from my 20 cent seed packet, lol.

hth on cheap idea you might already have inhouse. look in your garage/basement or wherever you or your spouse stores tools.

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Re: starting tomato seeds

Post  auntij on 4/4/2010, 9:16 pm

I used a clip on light fixture I had for my lizards and put a small grow/heat bulb in it. I had 100% germination with herbs, tomatoes, and onions (until my cat snacked on the herbs).

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Re: starting tomato seeds

Post  titans01 on 4/5/2010, 1:02 am

I too had problems starting my tomato seeds. I have a heating lamp and out of the 7 or so varieties I planted I only had 2 of them come up. I redid them a few days ago. This time I'm just starting them in vermiculite and keeping them off the heating pad. I could be buying a lot of transplants if this one doesn't work as I'm running out of time.

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Re: starting tomato seeds

Post  pattipan on 4/5/2010, 1:35 am

Here's my method here in this other topic/thread:

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/general-sfg-talk-f5/seed-starting-and-light-question-t949-15.htm#7351

BTW...I used the top of my upright freezer for my heating mat. :o)

Patti

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Re: starting tomato seeds

Post  bullfrogbabe on 4/6/2010, 10:39 pm

I use an old waterproof heating pad, the kind you use for sore backs and muscles. My husband bought a new one with a shutoff timer so I stole the old one to keep my seeds warm.

I use large jiffy pots filled with soil-less seed starter mix. I soak the pots completely before putting them into my tray with the plastic dome cover to hold in the moisture and the heat. I place the tray with cover on top of old heating pat set on low. I spray the surface of the soil every couple days so it doesn't dry out too much. Once the seeds sprout and the leaves are free from the soil, I remove them from the covered tray and let them dry out so they aren't soaked anymore. I start watering the jiffy pots from the bottom and mist the top of the soil at bit. Don't spray the tomato leaves, they don't like to get wet.

So far germination has been pretty close to 100%. I plant 2 seeds per pot. I either snip off the weakest one or transplant the spare into its own pot if strong.

I have heard that storage conditions and age can affect seed germination rates. However I have also heard that some varieties can have variable germination rates. I am not sure what to suggest to help you determine which problem you are facing -- try a newer package of seed of the same variety? Check the internet to see how others are doing with the varieties you are having problems with?

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