Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:09 am
Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:08 pm
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Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:39 pm
Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:50 pm
Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:02 am
rainbowgardener wrote:I start mine in the little cells like that also, but once they have a pair or two of true leaves they go into the 3 inch pots. The cells are too small to permit much root growth, so your plants will stay very small and shallow rooted. When I transplant the little seedlings into the 3 inch pots, I bury them deeper than they were in the cells and when I move them into the ground, I bury them deeper again.
This thread http://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/v ... tion#60396 has a couple pictures of my seed starting operation. (There were three but one got deleted when I reorganized some things on Photobucket.) It's 16 running feet of shelves/ lights, but it takes up a minimal footprint in my basement and its all materials that were cheap or recycled/free. I built it up a little bit at a time, starting with just the bottom shelf, so I never spent much $$ at once.
Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:43 am
Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:00 am
How much electricity do the grow lights use? I don't really know Are they simply regular fluorescent shop-lights? Yes Do the grow lights have to be fluorescent lights Yes or will any kind do?
No incandescents give off too much heat. To be as close to the plants as they need to be, it would burn them up.
Do you have the lights on during the day or at night? I'm assuming that you only have them on for about 12 to 15 hours daily. 16 hrs a day, more or less from 6AM to 10PM
Would plants do better in a basement with artificial lights than in front of a window or sliding door with natural light?
Yes, 16 hrs a day of light directly on them. Right now where I am we are having 9.5 hrs of daylight, but the days are grey, cloudy, very little sunlight. My seedlings will do a lot better in the basement. Also it's 12 degrees out right now. To be close enough to the window to get much benefit of the weak daylight, they'd probably be very cold.
This is the reason for my lack of space: I'm trying to keep everything in front of a window or door to get the natural light. I never even considered having the seedlings in a dark basement with only fluorescent bulbs for light. I felt that even on cloudy days, the plants would still get some light since the living quarters are always lit, as opposed to the basement, which is usually dim. I thought they would do terrible in a basement; it looks like I was wrong.
Thanks for giving me such a great idea. Although I might not be able to do it this season, a basement station is definitely something I will consider for next year if it will work. That would give the space I need to "pot up" my toms and other plants so they can achieve more growth and get a better head start.
If I can't swing a setup like yours this year, I will just try my luck with the little cells and see how the plants do.
One last thing, does Feb 1st. sound too early to start tomatoes? That is when I'm starting my peppers (which is literally a whole other thread). Since the toms will probably be kept in the small cells, they might not get overly large.
A little bit too early. I start my tomatoes about Valentine's day, but as noted, I pot them up when they start to get crowded. I worry about yours in the cells getting too potbound and choking/starving.
Thanks for answering all my questions, YVW !! sorry for large quantity (eager to learn). I can see why you were made a moderator.
Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:25 pm
Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:52 pm
I have heard about bottom-watering before, but never fully understood it. I now see that all consists of is setting the plant containers in some water and letting the soil draw the water up through the holes in the bottom of the container. How long can the containers be in the water for? Since I am using 1020 trays with cells, couldn't I simply fill the trays with water whenever the soil looks dry? What are the advantages of bottom-watering over top watering? I'm concerned that if I used bad or the wrong kind of soil, it wold not draw properly. Is this possible?
Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:45 am
Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:31 am
Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:15 am
garden5 wrote:I have heard about bottom-watering before, but never fully understood it. I now see that all consists of is setting the plant containers in some water and letting the soil draw the water up through the holes in the bottom of the container. How long can the containers be in the water for? Since I am using 1020 trays with cells, couldn't I simply fill the trays with water whenever the soil looks dry? What are the advantages of bottom-watering over top watering? I'm concerned that if I used bad or the wrong kind of soil, it wold not draw properly. Is this possible?
Any decent potting soil will draw the water up. But the number one killer of little seedlings is over-watering, staying too wet, leading to damping off, a killer fungus. I grow mine in the cells or pots in trays. I add like 1/4" or so of water in the bottom of the tray, just enough to reach the bottom of the soil so it can be soaked up. DON'T fill it -- way too much water and it's a pain to have to lift all the plants out and empty the tray. Putting just the little bit in, I just leave it and let it soak up. I usually do that every AM as long as the tray has totally dried out in between and the soil is starting to dry on top a little. If not, I skip a day. Bottom watering is much safer for baby seedlings, less tendency to over water and less chance of washing soil away from the tiny roots. [/i]
Lastly, for those who, like me , would prefer to stay away from MG, couldn't the seedlings be fertilized with fish-emulsion instead. I'm not quite sure what this is, but I believe its organic.
[i]Fish emulsion is an organic product, fish hydrolysate, high nitrogen and readily soluble and accessible to plants. However, I gave up on using it because I have indoor cats and outdoor cats, raccoons, and other creatures. The fish emulsion drives them wild and they dig up all the plants trying to get to the fish! You can use bone meal, blood meal, kelp extract and other organics.
Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:17 am
Please Share. Thank you!