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Seed Starting!!

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  JackieB999 on 1/18/2013, 7:53 pm

I just bought a grow light on a stand from Walmart but it's not here yet. In it's absence, I have been putting the seed tray on my stove and turning on the hood lights. They create warmth and lots of light, but I am getting some leggy plants (I think). Will leggy plants still grow ok? I have some very strong and healthy looking cucumber and squash plants.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  quiltbea on 1/18/2013, 8:25 pm

jackie....Welcome to the forum.
Your plants are struggling toward the light source so they are too leggy. You need to raise your container closer. The top of plants should be no more than 2" from the light itself. Pile books or boxes under your container to raise it.
Some leggy plants can make it if you correct the light source quickly enuf. Others will need to be repotted and buried a little deeper, as in peppers or tomatoes. Good luck.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  cindre2000 on 1/20/2013, 11:28 am

I actually think it is more likely that the light in your stove hood is not producing enough PAR. You need a light designed to grow plants (5000=6700K), not the usual (3000-4000K) lamps used for home illumination.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  camprn on 1/20/2013, 12:11 pm

What is PAR?

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  littlejo on 1/20/2013, 12:24 pm

What "k" does an actual grow light have. I could not find 'grow' light bulbs, so I bought 'sunshine' bulbs, which are 5000k.
Jo

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  bwaynef on 1/20/2013, 3:41 pm

Its my understanding that closer to 6500k is what's necessary for vegetative growth. If flowering (and fruiting) is desired, something closer to 4000k will be necessary as well ...which is why cool whites and daylights alternating are recommended usually ...but for seed starting cool whites are all that are necessary.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  plantoid on 1/20/2013, 7:50 pm

Put grow light into wikki ... follow the link to temperature

K is kelven or absolute in grow lights it refers to the range of light and the frequency of that light plants need a varied range ( spectrum ) to grow from seeds to cropping
But we can usually get away with only using part of the light to get seeds started growing , we thenhave to either move up to a better artificial light source or put the seedling somewhere that they can get natural day light for a set number of hours per day , if at all possible it being at an even rate all around the plant.

The new/ latest LED grow light bulbs and arrays have the full spectrum of required light available in one package apparently .

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  peanut0915 on 1/20/2013, 9:01 pm

Jumping in to this thread. I will be giving seed starting another shot this year. So far, I have NOT had good success. Last year I purchased a grow mat and grow lights. The seedlings got leggy, so I lowered the lights, but then they seemed like they were too hot (many withered and died). Did I get the wrong kind of bulb? They are specifically called grow lights. Am I missing something? :scratch:

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  camprn on 1/20/2013, 10:57 pm

Peanut keep the lights low from the time the seedlings emerge. Also, you only need the heat mat for germination. Once the seeds are up remove the growing trays from the heat mat. Also, it is important to not sow your seeds too early.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  peanut0915 on 1/20/2013, 11:38 pm

Camprn, thanks so much! I promised myself I wouldn't start too early this year. I think I also made the mistake of keeping the growing mat underneath after they emerged. I will give it another go this year, with some adjustments. thanks

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  TN_GARDENER on 1/21/2013, 8:22 am

@peanut0915 wrote:Camprn, thanks so much! I promised myself I wouldn't start too early this year. I think I also made the mistake of keeping the growing mat underneath after they emerged. I will give it another go this year, with some adjustments. thanks

An idea that I'm going to try this year is to create some sort of curtain/shield out of foil/mirrors to capture and reflect more light.

I might also use a small electrical fan. They say the breeze will force the seedlings to grow sturdier (I guess it's sorta like yoga/pilates for plants Very Happy )

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  cindre2000 on 1/21/2013, 10:30 am

You can also run your hand through the seedlings a couple times a day to have a similar effect. A white sheet is about 5-10% less reflective than aluminum foil/mirrors but is far easier to use.

--

PAR is photosynthetically active radiation. It is a way to measure the luminous output of a light source as it relates to photosynthesis. Basically you need a light that is intense enough in the right spectrum, the 'best' being fluorescent t8's or HOT5's, or power compacts [PC's].

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  CindiLou on 1/21/2013, 10:41 am

@cindre2000 wrote:You can also run your hand through the seedlings a couple times a day to have a similar effect. A white sheet is about 5-10% less reflective than aluminum foil/mirrors but is far easier to use.
.

That is what I do. I found that a fan was sometimes to much. Or would get tipped the wrong way and actually hurt the fragilest of the seedlings.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  GWN on 1/21/2013, 10:57 am

What about MM? It seems to me that if we can start seeds in it outside, why not inside?

CC
I used mels mix for all of my plants last year starting them out... Well actually I used the peat pucks for some, just until they germinated, they replanted them asap into MM.


cindre2000 wrote:
You can also run your hand through the seedlings a couple times a day to have a similar effect. A white sheet is about 5-10% less reflective than aluminum foil/mirrors but is far easier to use.
In following this thread I am unsure what this was referring to...........
.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  GWN on 1/21/2013, 10:58 am

cindylou

Just noticing your temperature......wow must be cold.. I guess we are having a mild winter.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  quiltbea on 1/21/2013, 11:56 am

My feeling about grow lights is we are not growing orchids year round here. We only need enuf lighting to get our starts going for a few weeks. I use the daylight bulbs only and have terrific results as can be seen in my photos above.

Want to learn how to make seed starting tubes that can go right in the ground? Try this from Eric Rochow on his Gardenfork.tv channel to which I subscribe. I enjoy his vids. Funny, love the labs, I learn something, and you get a normal person.

I plan to try this with my zukes, cukes, and corn this year.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  camprn on 1/21/2013, 1:16 pm

I too use the fluorescent tubes listed as full spectrum, I don't buy the gro-light tubes.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  CindiLou on 1/21/2013, 1:33 pm

You sent all your cold down here rofl

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  quiltbea on 1/21/2013, 1:40 pm

If you want to learn how to make your own newspaper pots for nothing, check out this video......


You can make them any size you like, depending on the size jar you use.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  CapeCoddess on 1/21/2013, 1:43 pm

I planted cabbage, broccoli & onion seeds yesterday in MM in a 1 lb lettuce container.

Since I keep my house at 55 when I'm gone or asleep, I decided to put the container on a heating pad (not mat) on low til things warm up, then turn it off and place a pillow on top of the box to keep it warm when I go to bed or to work. Well, I forgot to turn it off when I left for work this morning so I’m hoping they don’t cook. The settings are 1-15 and I have it on 1. I'm sure they'll be fine - they probably LOVE all this warmth.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  quiltbea on 1/21/2013, 2:28 pm

Cape.....I hope things are OK on your seeds. Sometimes we just have to experiment and try this or that and hope something works just great. It often does. Good luck.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  quiltbea on 1/21/2013, 4:22 pm

Another couple of growing tips....
1) Seedlings don't need light to germinate (except lettuce) so they don't need a sunny window. They DO need heat so a heat mat is a good item to have if you like to start your own seeds. Keep the soil moist or better yet, spritz lightly then cover with a plastic dome or bag to keep them moist til they germinate. When they've germinated, move them under the lights.

2) Don't leave your light on 24/7. The plants need rest from light. Sixteen hrs a day is maximum. If you don't have a timer, turn on your lights when you wake in the morning and turn them off when you go to bed at night. Remember, keep the light source only an inch or so above the tops of the plants.

3) To strengthen the plants, you don't need a fan that can be a bit too harsh sometimes. Just take a piece of printer paper and brush across the tops of your plants a couple times a day when you are checking them for dryness, health, etc.

4) Bottom water if you can. Place your pots in a waterproof tray under the lights and pour an inch of water in the bottom of the tray. Let the pots wick up what they need from the tray. They'll take what they need. You don't need special wicking devices. When the tray is completely dry and the tops of your plants are feeling a little dry, add another inch of water.

5) Don't forget to harden them off a week to 10 days before you intend to transplant outdoors. Take them outside and place in a shady spot for a few hours the first day, longer then 2nd day, still longer each additional day and add a bit of sunshine for short periods so they can adjust to the outdoors, sun and wind both. After transplanting in the beds, providing a bit of shade for them during the sunniest hours for the first few days will prevent sunburn.
I use cheesecloth pinned over wire clothes hangers formed into short hoops.

Good luck everyone and enjoy the experience.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  GWN on 1/21/2013, 5:15 pm

thanks QB, I can see now why run your hand over the seedlings, never knew this before.
cindylou, it has not been below 20 F thus far this year....perhaps I should have left all those artichokes in the ground..

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  Lavender Debs on 1/21/2013, 6:35 pm

Awesome tips Bea! I love garden fork (I've had one Lab, cannot imagine having 5 AND a garden). I've made paper pots, I've made paper tubes (but wasn't smart enough to square them up and close up the bottom...kewl!) I would still use them EXCEPT that when we still had an income my husband gifted me with soil blockers. I'm not looking back.

In the first video (of Bea's) there was a brief suggestion to use plastic containers. I use those for winter sowing BUT I like to put coffee filters in the bottom. Makes me feel better about not loosing soil mix through all those holes.

Debs....looking out the window at the 7th day of pea soup fog in the PNW

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 1/21/2013, 8:19 pm

First really nice day of the new year and coming up on the end of our risky freeze portion of the winter, so I spent the day planting seedlings that I will take outside each day and bring in for the evening. We're zone 9a, but this has been the coldest winter in a long time and we froze down to the low 20s so we still have risk until mid-march.

I hadn't seen the great videos above before I started. However, last year my sweetie bought me planting peat pots anyway so I used those. I think the most exciting thing for me with SFG is the success starting seeds... that may sound silly, but every year I would get so excited to start some seed - do them at the wrong time, forget to water, plant in the wrong medium and it was a constant failure. I love that since making up my MM, I've been able to actually grow things from seed.

I have 3 table tops with mini greenhouse covers on them and most of my seedlings are up and running. So far nothing with either my broccoli, cauliflower or carrots - is there anything I should know about starting them from seed? All help is great appreciated - I'm as green (as in rookie green, not green thumb) as they come, LOL!
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