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Seed starting

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Re: Seed starting

Post  Old Hippie on 1/28/2011, 1:23 am

@kimbertangleknot wrote:

3. Just asking anyone's opinion on this one. We don't usually drink from 2-liters, but I do drink about 1 Diet Dr. Pepper a day from their 16.9 fl oz bottle (six pack size). I also don't keep anything bigger than a half-gallon for milk, and I don't go through it fast because I don't use it that often (cheese makes up for the milk Very Happy ), so does anyone have a recommendation that I could use instead of the 2-liters? The dollar store I know has the plastic cups that you reuse (not like the solo cups, like the heavier duty ones). Do you think those would work/be big enough?


Can you get friends, neighbours, co-workers, etc. to save soda bottles for you if you want bigger ones? I plan to raid the the recycling bin at work and take what I can use from there. It goes against everything I believe in to BUY things like that. Possibly yogurt or cottage cheese containers would work as well and you would not have to cut them down.

Just a thought......

Gwynn

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Re: Seed starting

Post  kimbertangleknot on 1/28/2011, 1:31 am

@Old Hippie wrote:
@kimbertangleknot wrote:

3. Just asking anyone's opinion on this one. We don't usually drink from 2-liters, but I do drink about 1 Diet Dr. Pepper a day from their 16.9 fl oz bottle (six pack size). I also don't keep anything bigger than a half-gallon for milk, and I don't go through it fast because I don't use it that often (cheese makes up for the milk Very Happy ), so does anyone have a recommendation that I could use instead of the 2-liters? The dollar store I know has the plastic cups that you reuse (not like the solo cups, like the heavier duty ones). Do you think those would work/be big enough?


Can you get friends, neighbours, co-workers, etc. to save soda bottles for you if you want bigger ones? I plan to raid the the recycling bin at work and take what I can use from there. It goes against everything I believe in to BUY things like that. Possibly yogurt or cottage cheese containers would work as well and you would not have to cut them down.

Just a thought......

Gwynn

Well, I don't work (I have a sugar daddy that spoiled me, lol), and I don't really have a lot of friends where I am. The few I do have don't drink soda much anymore. I DO have a whole bunch of those clear plastic cups (like the solo's just a little smaller) that I was going to use, I was just concerned that the size would be too small for the 5 - 6 week part.

@CarolynPhillips wrote:Speaking of Gurneys-----I just cannot let that $25 go to waste ---so I am willing to spend $25 that I do not need to spend just so i can get 25 for free.... (seriously) I am sure I will find something in that catalog that I just cannot live without.

Years ago, before I had a greenhouse business, I used the 2 liter cola bottles too and I loved that they were clear so I could watch the roots grow. I miss that. Now all my plastic containers are green or black. (i could do just one or two---for old time sake)

I can't let that $25 go either. Last year it pretty much covered all of my shipping and a little bit more. They have those dwarf fruit trees too. I want to buy a few of them, but at least one so I can make a small memorial for our precious pup that passed away. I wanted to last year, just ran out of funds. I've not bought any seeds from them, just the actual supplies because of that $25 off. Really.. you can't beat that.

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Re: Seed starting

Post  kimbertangleknot on 1/28/2011, 12:14 pm

My other question that I finally remember was, are you using Mel's Mix for your transplants?

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Re: Seed starting

Post  chocolatepop on 1/29/2011, 12:51 pm

@kimbertangleknot wrote:I've been looking for this thread for an hour now. Amen, I was starting to go cross-eyed.

Questions I have (please forgive me if you've stated it before, I tried to read every post fully) for quiltbea (mostly):

1. Do you start your seeds in some of those planting soil things? Like the peat moss disks, or do you make your own. I know you've said something about soil block you move them too when they germinate, but I'm still a little confused. About the first and second step and what your using.

I either use the peet pots, then snip the mesh before I pot up, or I start in newpaper made seed starters (google).

2. How long you do keep them in the second phase before you move them to the 2-liter air pruner pots? I know you said you keep them in the air pruners for the next 5 - 6 weeks, so I'm assuming it's only about a week?
NA

3. Just asking anyone's opinion on this one. We don't usually drink from 2-liters, but I do drink about 1 Diet Dr. Pepper a day from their 16.9 fl oz bottle (six pack size). I also don't keep anything bigger than a half-gallon for milk, and I don't go through it fast because I don't use it that often (cheese makes up for the milk Very Happy ), so does anyone have a recommendation that I could use instead of the 2-liters? The dollar store I know has the plastic cups that you reuse (not like the solo cups, like the heavier duty ones). Do you think those would work/be big enough?

yup. anything of anysize would work, just be careful with temp and water so they dont get too hot or too soggy

4. When you start your seeds, do you start more than one in the same piece of soil and thin them out when you're putting them to the second stage or do you just start only one seed at a time and make up for a few not sprouting by starting more than you need?

I start between 2-3 per seed pot. then snip snip.

5. Do you soak any seeds you start, put the chill on, anything like that, or do you just take them out of the packet and start them? I know some seeds your suppose to chill them because you have to trick them into thinking it's fall/winter, and I've read a few places that soaking the seeds for about 30 minutes before you direct sow or seed start indoors is suppose to help.

I have heard of this, but I've never done it :/


My other question that I finally remember was, are you using Mel's Mix for your transplants?

I use a modified mels mix (more peat). They usually dont need the nutrients from the compost until after they get their first or second set of true leaves (if I remember correctly). Sometimes Ive started in vermiculite and peat, and then once I potted up did mels mix.

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Re: Seed starting

Post  quiltbea on 1/29/2011, 2:23 pm

I start my seeds in soil blocks. I found they work the best for me and I have fewer losses, especially due to root disturbance.

Here are some of my 3/4" blocks (just to show you the size) and 2" soil blocks under lights. I start all my seeds in the 3/4" size on a heat mat in a corner of my living room where I can watch them for germination more easily. Then drop that little block into the medium 2" block for its next step of growth after they've germinated.

You don't need 2-litre bottles for the 4" pots. You can buy plastic 4"-5" pots and saw the corners up from the bottom for about 3" to allow the air pruning to work. You want narrow slits at all 4 corners on both sides of the corner. These pots you would keep year to year. Just wash with a brush to clean them, then disinfect them in 1 part Clorox and 9 parts water with a few swishes and dry in the sun.

I keep them in the 2" blocks in some cases, til the plant is transplanted outdoors, as in cabbages, lettuce, melons. For the larger plants, peppers and tomatoes, I transplant to the 4-5" tall air-pruning pot until its time to go outdoors.

You can also cut slits up from the bottoms of 'cut-in-half' light cardboard milk cartons for seedlings for your larger 4" pots. Those you can wash and toss in the recyle bin later.

If you have to keep your 2" block seedlings indoors longer than necessary, you can always move them into the larger pots to await transplanting so the roots continue to grow.

The plant will drop out of any air-pruning pot easily if held upside down over your open hand. There is minimal root disturabance with air-pruning pots.

In our community garden they use that starting medium that swells when watered, and when outgrowing that pot, they transplant into 16 oz drink cups that are disposable. That seemed to work very well for most seedlings but not for melon and cucumbers which dislike root disturbance immensely. Those we started right outdoors in hills when the soil was warm enough. They also kept them in a greenhouse we have on the property.

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Re: Seed starting

Post  quiltbea on 1/29/2011, 2:39 pm

I was afraid my answer would be discarded for using too much time. Its happened before so I'll continue with my answers.

I drop my 2" blocks into the 4-5" pots when they assume some size and the roots are starting to show at the bottoms.

As for numbers of seed, I only put one seed in each of my 3/4" soil blocks and cover them with vermiculite. Water them by spritzing with a weak tea solution which seems to eliminate dampening off for me.

If I start anything in the 2" blocks, like melons or cukes, I sow 2 or 3 and then thin out all but one with scissors to not disturb the stronger one.

I use a special soil starting mix from Johnnyseeds.com for my blocks but it can be made at home. I'm just too lazy to do it so I buy it. One bag started all my seeds last year and I have some leftover.

When I put them in the 4" air-pruning pot, I buy a local soil starting mix from Home Depot or Lowe's to full the pots first.

Here are some of my seedlings in air-pruners early in May last year.

I keep my seeds in the crisper in my fridge at all times except for when I'm sowing them. If outdoors, I keep the seed packet always in the shade. I use dessicant made with dry milk in each baggy, jar or container in the crisper, to keep them dry. I don't have a problem with seed losses this way.

That means they have had their cooling period before I start. I also soak the seeds I plan to start in jars lids, several to a lid, with warm water in them. This way I can keep varieties separated for labeling properly. I put the seed in anywhere from 1-6 hrs (I may be busy with other things) before I intend to plant then use a pencil point to lift each seed to place in its block.

I always start more than I need. I have a a daughter in a nearby city and the local community garden with others who can use seedlings and also our local library has a June Plant Sale and I give them a dozen or more 4" pots to sell. They go like hotcakes.

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Re: Seed starting

Post  Lavender Debs on 1/30/2011, 9:34 am

Check out Bea's blog. She has some great posts about growing different veggies. Good work Bea!

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Re: Seed starting

Post  Old Hippie on 1/30/2011, 2:11 pm

Okay......I was looking for more information on 'air pruning plant pots' since I didn't know what everyone meant by that. So I did a Google search. OH MY! I stumbled upon a site which specializes in growing wacky tobacky. Shocked Boy, I gotta say....you can pick up some fantastic gardening tips on those sites. They know their stuff!! ROTFL! I have to be careful not to spend too much time on sites like that since I am setting up my grow lights in the basement soon. With increased electric bill and sites like that on my computer..........I might end up with the local Gendarmes at the door!

Gwynn

PS. They have the funniest smilies on their site too!

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Cheap is Good, but Free is Better

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/25/2011, 6:43 pm

I needed a bunch of 3 inch pots to up-pot my tomato and pepper seedlings. The artichoke seeds I germinated on wet paper towels also needed to get into 3 inch pots immediately (they get really long roots even before the leaves come out).

So I was calling around to see who had them for sale and not having a lot of luck finding them. Most places seem to carry the Jiffy Pellets and the 72 count germination trays, but not much more unless you want to buy expensive flower pots.

One local landscape nursery owner said, "When can you get here and how many do you want?"

They had up-potted some of their shrubs and gave me 80 used 3 inch pots for free!

He also told me that the Medical Marijuana group tends to get his used larger pots.

Just an idea you may want to try if you are needing pots for transplants.

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Re: Seed starting

Post  camprn on 2/25/2011, 6:49 pm


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Soil blocks

Post  Megan on 2/26/2011, 6:25 am

Quiltbea, how do you make your soil blocks? Do you have one of those block maker tools?

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Re: Seed starting

Post  quiltbea on 2/26/2011, 12:13 pm

Hi Megan,
I got my soil block makers from Johnnyseeds.com last year. They made it easier for me to grow my own.

The mini makes 20 blocks only 3/4" square which are great for starting ONE seed in each block. No thinning required later and if some don't germinate, the block can be tossed back into your soil mix when you mix up another batch. The minis also mean I can put plenty of them on my one heat mat til germinated.

When the minis germinate, you place them into a 2" soil block known as the midi for medium. That makes 4 blocks at a time. The midi has a hollow for seeds or square (you get the attachment for the square) opening so the tiny one pops right in and with a little nudge, its settled. No root disturbance.
Some plants can stay right in the 2" block til transplanted outdoors but large plants like peppers and tomatoes need to get transplanted once more into something larger.
They have a larger soil blocker, the maxi, which makes 4" blocks but I couldn't afford it, its over a hundred bucks. Ugh. I make my own air-pruning pots with plastic soda bottles instead and they work just fine. You can also make your own soil blocker with a plastic container, a screw thingy and a square wood block to make the insert but I'm not handy enuf so I use plastic bottles with cut strips in the side with my scissors for the air-pruning.
I have no financial interest in the blocks nor Johnny's but I found this so easy, I had to share.
The soil mix you need to make yourself, I have the recipe, or you can buy it there.
I know that Blackrose got the two smaller ones as well and is doing fine with her seed starting this year.
No cleaning used small pots, no thinning, no transplant wicking with peat pots, no root disturbance when transplanting since the whole thing fits right in your outdoor hole and there's no root circling, no bleaching pots, no storage problems. I don't have extra space like some of you. I live in a basement apt in my son's home and the storage space I have in his workshop has to be dedicated to cuke towers, row covers, trellises, stakes, tools and the plant containers for flowers, etc. This saves lots of space for me.

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Re: Seed starting

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