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Starting seedlings in vermiculite

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Starting seedlings in vermiculite

Post  jymarino on 3/31/2011, 10:06 am

I saw somewhere on here that someone had started seedlings in just vermiculite and then transplanted straight to the garden. The crop was lettuce but I wonder if that will work for any crop. I am starting pretty late and would like to do some seedlings if I can but want to purchase as few as possible. Would it be better to just plant directly in the ground? We have about 2 more weeks until our frost date here.

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Re: Starting seedlings in vermiculite

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/31/2011, 3:51 pm

I started lots of seeds in vermiculite.

I have only transplanted lettuce directly to the garden and they have settled in very nicely. Most of my seedlings were up-potted to little cells filled with Mel's mix and kept inside because they are warm weather plants and it is too early for them.

In Chapter 6, page 124 of ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING, Mel says you can plant directly from vermiculite into the garden if it is the proper time for these seedlings to go outdoors. I just started some cauliflower (cool weather that can be planted outdoors now in my region) in vermiculite and will try putting half of them into the garden and half in little pots inside until they get a little bigger.
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Re: Starting seedlings in vermiculite

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/31/2011, 3:58 pm

Twas I. It worked VERY well, too. Things Mel says in his Appendices aren't supposed to be transplanted because they are too fragile went right in with no problem....like spinach and carrots and peas.

His point is that vermiculite is so loose when used alone that you just pull the little guys by their "seed ears" and they come right out. If there is any tension, you use his favorite tool...a pencil....to dig underneath and gently loosen the vermiculite and lift the sprout out.

But, right now, I would just put things right in the ground. There is no inherent growth or harvest advantage to starting them in vermiculite when going straight in the garden now. The reason I did this was because the outdoor temps were so cool that spinach, peas, carrots, and lettuces would take longer to germinate outside. By putting them on a seed mat, inside, that had temps in the upper 70s, I got them to sprout in HALF the time! That was the only advantage.

Now, being so close to the frost date, it won't likely make any difference which you do.

For those up north in our region, though, I would strongly consider starting indoors to cut the germination times down.
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