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Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

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Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  tumtumsback on 2/9/2014, 2:42 pm

Hey all,

I am not sure if I am misunderstanding the book when it says "Keep warm until sprouted -- move to full sunlight as soon as first shoots appear."

Most recently, I started out some seedlings indoors under some 20 watt T-20 cool fluorescent bulbs; two different types of Broccoli 2 weeks ago, and will be starting my Onions tonight.

When glancing harder at the book, I noticed that for both the Broccoli and the Onions, it mentions to move to full sunlight as soon as first shoots appear -- can anyone define "shoot? and can anyone define "full sunlight?"

If a "shoot" is literally just green plant matter (stem, leaf, etc.), and if "full sunlight" is literally in the actual sun and not a fluorescent bulb, then I must totally be doing something wrong. Considering that it is going to be dropping to 5 degrees Fahrenheit for the low tomorrow, and 1 degrees Fahrenheit for the low on Tuesday, there is no way that I feel I should be moving these outside into full sunlight. Does my 20 watt T-20 cool fluorescent bulb act as the substitute for "full sunlight" as mentioned in the book?

I have been told not to put these seedlings in direct sunlight via sun-room, windowsill, etc., as the seedlings will become "leggy."

Also, for the Onions, it mentions that I should "Pot Up" into a seedling tray (which would be the case if I am starting in Vermiculite, but I am starting directly in soil in a seedling tray because I don't have pure Vermiculite.) I am a straight up newbie, and have been learning as I've been going along, and am now concerned about how much space is required for seedling roots. My Broccoli should be fine, because I've started them in plastic cups (which take up a lot of physical space), but I realize that I will soon be running out of physical space to keep all of my future seedlings under my limited amount of lights and so I've been looking into starting my seedlings in a more consolidated manner. Will a re-purposed egg carton be large enough for the Onion seedling roots? And if so, will it be large enough that I won't have to "Pot Up" my Onion seedlings into a larger container before doing the transplant to my beds outside? I wouldn't want to have to move these seedlings from the egg carton container, to something a bit bigger, and then finally to the beds outside (unless this is a preferred method and I am just being lazy/frugal).

Sorry to be such a pest, but any help is greatly appreciated  Embarassed 

SO CONFUSED?!  thinking

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  boffer on 2/9/2014, 3:25 pm

Most seeds don't need light to germinate.  Folks will put their germination trays where ever they can find convenient/cheap heat that the ungerminated seeds like.  It might be in an unlit furnace room for example.  Once some green is showing, they'll move their trays to another convenient location where there is light, and heat is less important.

For those of us in 4 season climates, 'full sunlight' in winter/early spring means anything we can get.  Some members get sunshine nearly everyday, despite freezing temps, and they can grow seedlings on the windowsill just fine.  They just have to be careful that the space isn't too cold next to the window.  Then there are those of us who seldom get adequate sun to grow seedlings, and artificial light is a practical necessity.

When I first see green in the germination tray, I get the tray under light within a day or two ie as soon as convenient.  Some sprouts can get leggy in a few days.  'Leggy' is not always a bad thing as the plant can just be transplanted deeper to grow more roots; tomatoes are a good example.

I can't answer your onion root question, but I'll show you an egg carton.  Wink 

Egg carton:



Edit:
@tumtumsback wrote:Does my 20 watt T-20 cool fluorescent bulb act as the substitute for "full sunlight" as mentioned in the book?
Yes.


Last edited by boffer on 2/9/2014, 3:31 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Provide short answer.)

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  sanderson on 2/9/2014, 4:02 pm

Boffer, Love those Peeps!  Very Happy 

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  tumtumsback on 2/9/2014, 4:11 pm

Omg hahahaha, loving your version of an egg carton:rofl: 

Boffer, you should be payed for your advice  Cool  but really though, your karma points must be astronomical; I cannot thank you enough!

you rock

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  quiltbea on 2/9/2014, 4:34 pm

When you are told to move to sunlight, that means full sunlight in a window, which doesn't give much light in the winter, or under track lights in a room or basement suffices for the early sunlight needed to start plants.

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  Marc Iverson on 2/9/2014, 11:28 pm

@tumtumsback wrote:Also, for the Onions, it mentions that I should "Pot Up" into a seedling tray

This is confusing to me.

A seedling tray is what you pot up from, not into. The pots or spaces in seedling trays are the smallest planting spaces you will find, and not something you would plant into from another pot.

The progression depends on the plant, but usually goes from seedling tray/seedling pot(germinate there and get first set of "true" rather than seedling leaves) to larger pot of 2 to 4 inches(give the plants a little time to grow before transplanting) to either a still larger pot(like a 1-gallon) or directly to the garden.

Plants that get quite big before they're planted out into the garden, like tomatoes, are often started and then kept inside for months, because you have to start them so early in cool climate areas or you won't have a long enough growing season for them to grow much fruit. So you start them in tiny seedling trays or pots, and move them up in one or two stages as they grow, sometimes even to gallon-size pots. By the time you plant them, they're already well on their way and may be ready to produce fruit immediately, or already have a few blossoms or small fruits on them.

It's not really a goal to pot up into larger pots, but you don't want plants to become root-bound in pots that are too small for them. That can permanently limit their growth, especially if the roots start to circle inside the pot, or if you don't trim any circling roots before plopping the plant into your garden.

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  quiltbea on 2/10/2014, 12:40 am

You can start your seeds in small soil blocks or cell paks of seed starting mix on a heat mat covered with a dome to contain warmth and dampness til the seeds germinate.  They do NOT need light while germinating, unless its lettuce, which seems to appreciate light.
Then you can move them under lights.  The basement of your furnace room is perfect since the temps range around 62*F more or less which is ideal for new plants to grow. 

You don't have to 'pot up' to larger cups or pots, those filled with potting mix or Mel's Mix which has fertilizer to feed the new plants, until the plant is crowding its current home or you are thinning a container with several new seedlings.  Lighting should be kept only 1"-1 1/2" from the tops of the greenery (to prevent legginess) and on for 16 hrs a day.  They need to have some night time rest like everything else on the planet.

I find that cutting 3 or 4 slits in the bottom third of any cups or pots and putting them in waterproof trays and watering from the bottom, works perfectly for new seedlings.  What you are doing with the slits is making an air-pruning pot.  When the roots hit the air, they stop circling so you don't get the girdling and root-bound circles you can get if you don't air prune them.  It means the plant can slip right out of its pot when you transplant thereby preventing transplant shock.

Just a few things I've learned in the last 5 years of gardening that's helped me.

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  plantoid on 2/10/2014, 6:45 am

Tum Tum..
Perhaps think of the use of the words " Potting up into a seed tray " as when the seeds have sprouted in the original container , are quite densely set and are about 1 & 1/2 inches or so tall   read it as ;-
" TRANSPLANT them in a spaced apart grid in a deeper filled seed tray where they will develop better roots and not be so crowded ".

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  camprn on 2/10/2014, 7:18 am

@plantoid wrote:Tum Tum..
Perhaps think of the use of the words " Potting up into a seed tray " as when the seeds have sprouted in the original container , are quite densely set and are about 1 & 1/2 inches or so tall   read it as ;-
" TRANSPLANT them in a spaced apart grid in a deeper filled seed tray where they will develop better roots and not be so crowded ".
In some of the other seed starting threads there are some good photos of this.

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  martha on 2/10/2014, 11:55 am

Brilliant, Boffer, simply brilliant!

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  tumtumsback on 2/10/2014, 3:23 pm

@quiltbea wrote:I find that cutting 3 or 4 slits in the bottom third of any cups or pots and putting them in waterproof trays and watering from the bottom, works perfectly for new seedlings.  What you are doing with the slits is making an air-pruning pot.  When the roots hit the air, they stop circling so you don't get the girdling and root-bound circles you can get if you don't air prune them.  It means the plant can slip right out of its pot when you transplant thereby preventing transplant shock.

Quiltbea,

Do you have pictures of this?

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  quiltbea on 2/10/2014, 3:59 pm

Tumtum,
Here's some air-pruning pix....

Making slits in solo cups.


Can you see the slits in the bottom of the soda bottles?

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  sanderson on 2/10/2014, 7:22 pm

Nice photos clearly showing the slits. Thanks QB

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  FamilyGardening on 2/10/2014, 7:43 pm

TumTum

Here is a good video showing how to start onions and transplanting them,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHcEOf2EK2E 

we are using the same method with dollar store tubs, the last couple of years before we used plastic cups, but decided the tubs will work better on our shelves in doors

as soon as our onions started to sprout we stuck them under lights on a shelf, we keep the greens trimmed and will trim them again right at transplanting ....the greens start out looking like thin grass, but as time goes on the stalks will thicken....

we use this method with any type of onion and leeks... that we want to start a head of time, before putting them into the garden....

hope this helps
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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  tumtumsback on 2/19/2014, 1:58 pm

FamilyGardening: Thank you very much -- I am not sure if I am going to be starting my onions indoors, as I plan on planting 144 onions for the springtime (96 yellow onions, and 48 green onions/scallions) and would not have enough room inside under lights for all of these -- plus I don't think I could manage 144 transplants without going too crazy!

Quiltbea: Thank you so much for the pictures! This makes a lot more sense now -- I am going to definitely do the same. Question: I assume you start your seedlings in some sort of seedling tray, but what do you Pot Up to? I see you have both these red Solo Cups as well as bottoms of 2L Soda Bottles. You don't go from Seedling Tray > Solo Cups > 2L Soda Bottle bottoms > Garden Bed // do you? If so, why? I figure the Solo Cups are synonymous with the 2L Soda Bottle bottoms, and these are just pics from different years/different batches. ----> Also, when you transplant to your beds outside, do you cut the cups/bottles open on their side, and move the entire body of dirt and plant into the bed square? Or do you lift the dirt right from the cup/bottle leaving the cup/bottle undamaged. If you do lift out, how do you do so without disturbing the roots?

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  sanderson on 2/19/2014, 2:16 pm

FG, thanks for the video. I couldn't help but think, if he was using MM he could have planted a lot more onions!

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Re: Move to Full Sunlight when First Shoots Appear

Post  quiltbea on 2/19/2014, 2:44 pm

tumtum....Untill This spring.....I'm one that used 3/4" mini soil blocks to start my seeds first.  They take little room and can be dropped right into the next 2" size soil block after they get some size.   Most gardeners are happy with using cell packs which work very well.

When my seeds germinate in the 3/4" soil block (I let them germinate in the dark on a heat mat) I move the tiny blocks to a tray under the lights.  When they are about an inch or so tall, I dropped the whole tiny block into the larger 2" midi soil block.

When the 2" midi soil block plants had some size, I dropped them whole into Solo cups or 2-liter bottle pots.  Most of the time I drop tomatoes into 3-liter bottle pots to give them lots of root growing room.

Here are several in the 2" midi soil blocks under the lights.


Some larger pots under lights.

Please note that its costly to buy the soil block makers and they need a special seed starting mixture.  You can't just use a commercial seed starting mix because its too loose.  If you want to learn more about soil blocks, type the words in the search section upper left of page.  You'll find more info.

THIS Year, because I don't have any seed starting mix prepared and I don't want to buy it (that too, can be costly because of shipping), I'm going with commercial seed starting mix in cell blocks.
I'll grow the seed in the cell blocks until they look too large for the space, and then I'll gently fork them out and move them up to either Solo cups or air-pruning bottle pots, depending on their size and how soon they will be going outdoors.  I found that 3-liter bottles are terrific for tomatoes.

Re:  transplanting from the air pruner pots.  Its very easy.  They slide right out of the pot.  I press the pot a bit all around and then turn it upside down and it'll slide right into my palm and the whole root system goes intact into the ground.

If I were a newbie here, I'd check out the threads available to you in the search section.  You'll find lots of good ideas.  We're not all alike in our preferences but you have to work with what you've got and what works best for you.

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