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Seed Starting Report - Observations

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Seed Starting Report - Observations

Post  cautery on 3/24/2013, 2:41 pm

OK... Here are my seed starting observations thusfar...

Started the following in 2" peat pots w/ 100% Vermiculite under a grow light and on a heat pad set at 80 degrees F (50 pots) on 18 March:

Cucumber Marketmore 76 - 10ea (2per x 5 pot): 90% apparent germination in 72 hours. 100% total germination. Transplanted to individual 2" peat pots with MM on 3/24/2013 (Day 7 and Day 4 after germination). Note: this transplant was likely done at least a day too late. While there is only minimal evidence of first "real" leaves beginning to show, the root systems on the seedlings are EXTREMELY well developed. One of the 10 had found its way out of the pot drain and had a 5" long root string. Trimmed all root systems by just under half on transplant. Extremely easy to grow, seed depth apparently not a critical deal.



Basil, Genovese - multi-sown, barely covered x 5 pots: Didn't show until 4th day. Seems to prefer very shallow seed depth. Seedlings are very small. Don't know when to transplant. Will try a couple of different intervals to see which is best.



Green Bell Pepper, Emerald Giant - 10 ea (2 per x 5 pot): 0% germination in 7 days. Called myself only "slightly covering" but replanted on March 24th with just enough covering to not see seed.

Cilantro - 10 ea (2 per x 5 pot): 0% germination in 7 days. Checked seed at 1/2" depth, no indication of germination. Over-seeded same pots with additional seed at 1/8".

Oregano, Vulagare - surface sown x 5 pots; Seed are tiny, tiny. No germination apparent until day 5-6. germination good, but seedlings are tiny. Must wait until they are large enough to handle before transplant. May consider starting in MM next time



Pumpkin, Big Max - 5 ea (1per x 5 pots) 20% germination in 7 days. Only 1 of 5 plants showed up at all (day 5). On Day 7, I dug the 4 non-germinating seed and dissected them. 3 of them were clearly dead, 1 appeared like it MIGHT have some sign of life, so I stuck it in the corner of the pot when I re-planted all non-germinated pots with seed closer to the surface and seed point up (just a hunch). Transplanted the 1 seedling to 2" peat pot w/ MM. had extensive root system, trimmed lightly (left center, large root in tact)



Okra, Eagle Pass - 10 ea (1per x 10 pots): Planted 19 March; soaked 24 hours in well-water on a sunny shelf prior to planting. Addressing all Okra together below.

Okra, Louisiana Short Pod - 10 ea (1per x 10 pots): Planted 19 March; soaked 24 hours in well-water on a sunny shelf prior to planting.

As of Day 7, only 1 of 20 plants had broken the surface (Late Day 5). On Day 7, I carefully checked germination on the other 19 seeds. Less than half of them had any signs of germination. The ones that had signs, were single main root signs. I left these in place and recovered loosely.

It would appear that Okra are seed depth sensitive for germination. The seeds that were not yet germinated were generally slightly deeper in the vermiculite. I moved these seed nearer to the surface and firmed the vermiculite to encourage better moisture wicking.

A contributing factor to low/slow germination could also be partially due to older seed. This was 2011 seed.... but the hard seed coat should protect it longer.

One cool observation I made... The okra plant breaks through the seed at the point... If you plant point up, the initial sprout must sprout around the seed and start down BEFORE it can begin to lift the seed coat/leaves toward the surface. IF you plant point down, it seems apparent that the plant will be ahead of the game some as the root and leaves will be oriented correctly from the start.



General Observation 1: Starting in 100% Vermiculite appears to be just the thing for many plants. The vermiculite stays uniformly damp due to its inherent wicking ability. AND the new seedlings appear to really put on the root system fast due to the interstitial spaces and the search for nutrition.

General Observation 2: You MUST keep a visible level of water in the 1020 pan when using pure vermiculite or you'll be too dry somewhere (near the tops).

General Observation 3: There is a happy medium point as to how firmly to have the vermiculite packed in the pots. Too loose, and it will either settle and the posts will be under-filled .... OR they won't settle and the moisture wicking ability of the pot will be compromised due to the excessive interstitial spacing and reduced particulate contact.

I will test on my next tray, but I believe that filling the pots, then TOP watering them FIRST to settle them followed by a "top-off" of vermiculite, PRIOR to planting will work better. After the pots are well saturated, bottom watering will keep them uniformly moist. However, misting the tops MAY be of benefit to surface sown seed that is not covered to insure that the seed doesn't dry out.

Note: I sprouted all of these seed thusfar with the grow light fully elevated rather than just above the surface of the pots, and have seen no tendency toward "legginess" yet. This may be due to the type of grow light (6 x 40 watt T5 bulbs) or due to the warm environment, I don't know yet.

Direct planting to 2" peat pots with MM:

Additionally, today I direct seeded additional Ali Baba water melon, Burrell's Jumbo cantaloupe, Mule Team Tomato, Sweet Corn, and Dakota Black Popcorn into 2" peat pots with Mel's Mix.

1) Want to see what the results will be by skipping the vermiculite.

2) backup on the water melon and cantaloupe that I seeded directly to the garden with the next THREE DAYS of near freezing temperatures coming up.... pretty uncharacteristic cold temps for us here for late March.


cautery

Posts : 134
Join date : 2010-12-11
Age : 53
Location : Haughton, LA (8a/8b Elev. 219')

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Additional Plantings....

Post  cautery on 3/26/2013, 10:33 pm

The three days of freezing weather may/will either kill my direct sown seed in Boxes #1 and #2, or will drastically slow it down. I've decided to duplicate most/all of the direct sown plantings in the seed start area:

Edamame, Purple Hull Peas, KY Wonder Beans, Amish Paste Tomatoes, Broccoli, Carrot, Lettuce, Spinach, Oregano, Dill, and Stevia.

Transplanted 10 basil and 1 Eagle Pass Okra to 2" MM pot. Half of Eagle Pass is coming in now, and see signs of one LA Short Pod. Scrapped the Oregano in vermiculite as it is simply too tiny to transplant.

I've almost filled 4 each 1020 trays... I track them with a simple Excel Spreadsheet. Here's a link to a PDF view of the spreadsheet:

Seed Starts PDF

Put in 14' of Yukon Gold on 6" spacing in the "easement potato bed". Using whole seed potatoes as it's late, and the seed is well sprouted from multiple eyes per seed. Planted at bottom of bed on weed barrier, which is approximately 6" deep. I will hill as required just to keep covered.

A couple of Broccoli broke ground in Box #1, no other signs of germination from Box #1. Nothing from Box #2 yet at all.

cautery

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Re: Seed Starting Report - Observations

Post  cheyannarach on 3/27/2013, 12:02 pm

Sounds like you're off to a good start! Peppers can take a long time to sprout so be patient (so can herbs)! Sounds like you are going to have tons and tons of plants! Have fun and happy planting. Careful when you plants your cukes and squash, they are more sensitive to transplants. When I start them indoors I start them in MM if 5 inch pots so I only have to transplant them once!

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Re: Seed Starting Report - Observations

Post  quiltbea on 3/27/2013, 12:30 pm

Cheyann....Good tip about the sensitive crops. They don't like their roots disturbed so the least transplanting up the better.

Another tip: When transplanting those tiny germinated sprouts, hold them by the leaves, NOT the stem. The leaves are stronger than the stem, which are easily crushed.
Stick a knitting needle or a pencil point into the new soil so the roots have room and just lower them in.

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Oops...

Post  cautery on 3/27/2013, 3:51 pm

@cheyannarach wrote:Sounds like you're off to a good start! Peppers can take a long time to sprout so be patient (so can herbs)! Sounds like you are going to have tons and tons of plants! Have fun and happy planting. Careful when you plants your cukes and squash, they are more sensitive to transplants. When I start them indoors I start them in MM if 5 inch pots so I only have to transplant them once!

Hmmm... Alrighty then... I'll watch out for it... I transplanted the cukes from vermiculite to 2" MM peat pots, and they don't seem to have missed a beat. I will be extra careful when I up-pot and/or transplant to the bed... Put them out in the full sun for the first time today... they seem to have really liked it. My grow light is great, but it ain't the sun.

cautery

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Re: Seed Starting Report - Observations

Post  cautery on 3/27/2013, 3:55 pm

@quiltbea wrote:Cheyann....Good tip about the sensitive crops. They don't like their roots disturbed so the least transplanting up the better.

Another tip: When transplanting those tiny germinated sprouts, hold them by the leaves, NOT the stem. The leaves are stronger than the stem, which are easily crushed.
Stick a knitting needle or a pencil point into the new soil so the roots have room and just lower them in.

Smile Yep... I heeded the "hold by the seed leaves" tip from the book or elsewhere... can't remember. I use my 0.5mm tip Pilot V5 pen to probe/loosen the sprouts... One tool multiple uses. Wink

I MAY have learned a lesson yesterday or so... I transplanted an Okra seedling from vermiculite to MM, and I trimmed the roots... It's not happy today.

Weird though, because I trimmed ALL of the cuke seedlings when I transplanted, and they are still going ape... :scratch:

cautery

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Re: Seed Starting Report - Observations

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