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Seed starting and spacing indoors?

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Re: Seed starting and spacing indoors?

Post  camprn on 1/12/2011, 10:15 am

@Blackrose wrote:I plan on having a similar setup camprn. Just waiting for my hubby to build it for me.

As for the soil... Are the greensand, phosphate rock and blood meal necessary at the seed planting stage? I was under the impression that the seedlings didn't need any kind of fertilizing until they have their first set of true leaves. Am I wrong?
I don't think so. Beneficial for young transplants more likely.
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Re: Seed starting and spacing indoors?

Post  acara on 1/12/2011, 11:20 am

Same opinion as camprn ...

I think I get some benefit from the "N"(leaves) & "K"(roots) in PNK, when I dose them with a 5-0-0, or something under 10-0-10.

*opps...sorry....NPK = Nitrogen(N), Phosphorus(P), Potassium(K) ...fertilizer contents *

Blackrose .... I don't think what you heard is wrong .... I've heard similar, but it was spun to me as a don't use too strong of a fertilizer on new plants, because it's easy to fry them (i.e. 5-0-0 fish emulsion would be good, "bloom-buster" 20-10-20, or undiluted bloodmeal or potash (High "K"), would be bad) .....

This is probably tomato specific, but I usually hit them with 5-0-0 at each transplant , 20-10-20 at maturity, and then go to a low-N, high P & K while there is developing produce.

Also, whoever told you that (new seedlings don't need fertilizer) is probably correct, in a perfect world, with perfect planting medium prep and perfect soil/medium conditions ...... but my garden is (and always has been) located a few miles South and slightly West of perfect Very Happy ...... so I'll take all the help I can get from fertilizer Laughing
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Re: Seed starting and spacing indoors?

Post  quiltbea on 1/12/2011, 11:59 am

Some seedlings are in their startng pots up to 6-8 weeks so probably having a little organic fertilizer in the mix is beneficial so its there as soon as they need it. Also, when they are transplanted outdoors, their roots may need it to start growing as they reach thru the soil. I'd rather have some than none.

I got chains with my shop lights but I wasn't able to suspend them from the ceiling so I made sure the shop lights had the shade all around, including at the ends so I can prop them up on bricks and then old VHS videos when I need them propped higher. And No, there's no heat problem and no fire problem this way. Everything keeps cool.

Here you can see bricks holding up my 1st setup. As the plants grow, I just add VHS tapes to the bricks. I can even have one side higher than the other if I need the light closer to shorter plants at one end.
I now happily have 3 shop light setups placed in a "U" around the two banquet tables and it worked great for me last year. At the open end of the "U" I have my mixing area atop layers of newspaper with a soil mixing container and spare pots and labels ready.

Here's a view of all 3 lights at work, some at different angles and with VHS tapes propping.
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Re: Seed starting and spacing indoors?

Post  Odd Duck on 1/12/2011, 12:20 pm

@camprn wrote:I don't think so. Beneficial for young transplants more likely.

Exactly what I've heard. Those supplements, especially the mineral ones - greensand and phosphate rock (AKA rock phosphate) are very slow release type supplements and are at low levels in the quoted mix. The blood meal will release a little faster, but is still considered a slow release compared to a chemical fertilizer. It's really those chemical fertilizers that are the "high risk for burning baby plants" stuff. Organics are far less likely to do so, especially at low application rates.

Like others said, if you're looking to use a mix that will take you straight from seed to garden without up-potting, you MUST use some sort of fertilizer somewhere along the way. That recipe will do it for you, or you can use sterile seed mix and add fertilizer later (at least by the time you get the first "true" leaves). This transition is one of the reasons I up-pot, so I can pot into a blend that has a bit of organic fertilizer in it.

Another quick note - there are very, very few organic fertilizers that total more than "10" if you add up all 3 of the NPK numbers. There are a few that have added urea (still considered organic by most), but even then, they will be like "12" or less added together - ie worm castings (considered the best organic supplement ever) is 0.5, 0.5, 0.5 - adds up to only 1.5 all together. You can actually mix in as much as 80% worm castings into a planting mix, but most recommend 20%. Most fertilizers are more than that, but if they add up to more than "10" all together, you're probably looking at a chemical fertilizer.

When something adds up to 15 or more, it's pretty much guaranteed chemical and above 30, be VERY careful not to overapply as burning the plants would be at increased risk. There are lots of folks out there that are thinking that the chemical fertilizers are actually hurting our soils in the long run by damaging the "soil food web" since they kill so many of the beneficial organisms. There is info that chemical fertilizers, even at the recommended application rates, may increase disease risk in plants because it strips away the commensal organisms that would otherwise protect our plants.

I have had very little disease in my plants (except for occasional tomato hornworms and cabbage worms, and of course, the dreaded squash vine borer Evil or Very Mad ), but I've always gardened organically (even years ago we only ever used manure) so I don't really have any comparison to chemical. I also have plenty of bees of different types to pollinate. Just a few more thoughts to run around in your head.

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Re: Seed starting and spacing indoors?

Post  acara on 1/12/2011, 1:35 pm

Something else to consider, especially in annuals, tomatoes and orchids; is the "crash" that plants go through with excessive chemical fertilizer application, once you stop or change the frequency of application.

Even if you don't burn them, the plant can experience assymetrical development (i.e. bearing larger size or quantity of fruit before the plant structure can support it).

Tomatoes will actually fail to flower/fruit or drop flowers, if they get too much. High "N" is also contributor to BER. Unfortunately,it's hard to tell you dorked-up, because the plant is covered in growth (leaf) and a gorgeous and health shade of green....LOL

If your one of those "daily tenders" of your plants, you can actually see a "droop" in plants once you scale back the application.

The posters above made some good points ... Low NPK/organics are the best way to go when the plant is young. I'm as guilty as the next person of hitting a tomato plant with a dose of 8-32-16 or 6-24-24... but I learned my lesson a while back (the hard way) and now only do it once (at maturity/bloom onset) & then go back to the 5-0-0 stuff.
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Re: Seed starting and spacing indoors?

Post  Blackrose on 1/12/2011, 5:27 pm

@Odd Duck wrote:
Another quick note - there are very, very few organic fertilizers that total more than "10" if you add up all 3 of the NPK numbers. There are a few that have added urea (still considered organic by most), but even then, they will be like "12" or less added together - ie worm castings (considered the best organic supplement ever) is 0.5, 0.5, 0.5 - adds up to only 1.5 all together. You can actually mix in as much as 80% worm castings into a planting mix, but most recommend 20%. Most fertilizers are more than that, but if they add up to more than "10" all together, you're probably looking at a chemical fertilizer.

I am actually looking into either buying some worm castings and/or getting a worm chalet of my very own. Could I just add some worm castings to my existing starter mix in place of the greensand, phosphate rock and blood meal?
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Re: Seed starting and spacing indoors?

Post  Odd Duck on 1/12/2011, 6:43 pm

Yes, you can. The going recommend is that 20% is safe even for seedlings and the tiniest of transplants. I read somewhere on a "gourmet" strawberry website that's what he does and he reduced his damping off by about 15% if I remember right. Oh, wait, I think he also used aerated vermicompost tea, too.

They talk about it alot at "The Helpful Gardener" website and a little (I expected more) at vermicomposters.com. Let me go find those links, BRB.

Here's one:
http://www.helpfulgardener.com/phpBB2/
and the other:
http://vermicomposters.ning.com/

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Re: Seed starting and spacing indoors?

Post  Blackrose on 1/12/2011, 7:31 pm

Thank you Odd Duck! Those are great links. I have a lot of reading to do. Wink

I think I will go this route. I was planning on adding Worm Castings to my Mel's Mix anyway. cheers
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Re: Seed starting and spacing indoors?

Post  camprn on 1/15/2011, 6:11 pm

From High Mowing Seeds blog seed starting work station.<~~~click What a Face
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Re: Seed starting and spacing indoors?

Post  Blackrose on 1/15/2011, 10:33 pm

@camprn wrote:From High Mowing Seeds blog seed starting work station.<~~~click What a Face

That is an excellent tutorial. Looks simple. I may not have to wait for hubby to build it for me after all! Very Happy
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Seed starting chart

Post  camprn on 2/4/2011, 10:20 pm

I'm being lazy and did not look through the whole thread to see if this link has been previously posted.Organic Gardening Seed Starting Chart
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Re: Seed starting and spacing indoors?

Post  Blackrose on 2/4/2011, 10:50 pm

@camprn wrote:I'm being lazy and did not look through the whole thread to see if this link has been previously posted.Organic Gardening Seed Starting Chart

First I've seen it! Amazing! I have copied it into a spreadsheet to modify for my personal use.

thanks
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Re: Seed starting and spacing indoors?

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