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rainbowgardener
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my seed starting operation with pics

I've never posted pics before so I hope this works....

[img]https://i602.photobucket.com/albums/tt102/rainbowgardener/seed_starting.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i602.photobucket.com/albums/tt102/rainbowgardener/thyme_broccoli.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i602.photobucket.com/albums/tt102/rainbowgardener/heating_pad.jpg[/img]

This is all in my basement. They are kitchen cabinets saved from a kitchen remodel years ago. Works great- puts the counter top at a good height and provides storage for all the pots, etc. It's an 8' wooden counter top that I got very cheap as bare wood and stained and varnished. Over that is two layers of wire shelving for closets, each with lights hung from it, so it's a total of 16 running feet. You can see the two blue heating pads, ordinary cheap from pharmacy. They've lasted a decade or so, so far, run 24 hrs a day for several months a year. All the plants are in trays and I just bottom water by putting a little water in the bottom of each tray. I plant thickly in the 1x1" cells. Every seedling is then transplanted 3 times: once to be one plant per cell, once into 3" pots, once into the ground. I'm gentle with the transplanting and it never seems to set them back. I sell off a few hundred plants every year as a fund raiser for my church and have everything I want for my garden, and it keeps me believing in spring all winter (first seeds started mid Jan)! :D

So far I have planted rosemary, fennel, parsley, cabbage, broccoli, red & green basil, winter thyme, coreopsis, 3 varieties tomatoes, green peppers, nicotiana, nasturtium, sweet alyssum, 2 varieties impatiens, 3 varieties pansies. More to come!. The cabbage, broccoli, coreopsis are soon to go out in pop-up temporary greenhouse on the patio, making more room to keep planting and spreading things out. Both shelves will be full before the indoor season is over, and the greenhouse, and trays of plants on the deck....

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hendi_alex
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Nice setup. That is one thing that I've always regretted WRT my house, not building a basement.
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smokensqueal
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WONDERFUL! That's a great setup. The pics look great. I don't have near the garden space to do much but I plan on giving some that I grow to family members that also garden.

Cool idea for the fund raiser thing.

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rainbowgardener
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seed starting

I don't have near the space to use all the plants I start from seed. I just found it really addictive once I started doing it :? Seeds are so cheap (except when they are free :D --I do save some of my own seeds) and you have to buy them in packets, so frequently you have 50 or 100... I'm not good at throwing seedlings away. So I just grow them and then do the spring fund raiser at church and give away what I can't sell..

In the doldrums of winter, all the beautiful little plants in my basement make me happy.

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applestar
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Really does look great! I was thinking I have those shelf bracket thingies stored away in the attic somewhere.... I just might have to borrow your idea IF :roll: I need to expand my Grow Light Area... :wink:

A part of a song that's been running in my head all day:
"I'm so excited, I just can't hide it! I'm about to lose control and I think I like it!"
I think I'll go take one more peek at my seedlings.... :lol:

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Kisal
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All I can say is I am green with envy! :lol:

VERY nice looking setup. :)

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JustPeachy
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You've done a great job keeping everything nice and organized. I love how you set up your growing space to be vertical. This saves a lot of space. Space is a problem that I run across until I get my little friends outside for the summer. Do you have any issues with your basement getting cold or does it stay pretty warm down there? Either way, your plants seem to love it!

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rainbowgardener
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the basement is heated, but no more than the house. We have a programmable thermostat that sets the heat down to 60 at night and during the day when we are at work. Its cool for them; that's why I use the heating pads to germinate things. After that they seem to tolerate it. Maybe grow a little slower, but since I start pretty early, it all works out, and maybe helps keep things from getting too tall and leggy and makes them a little tougher for setting out. I put things out in my garden earlier than most people in my area.

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Alex6015
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OK!!!

good job! :wink: nice setup. i would put them at the window to get natural sunlight but your setup is also very well done.

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wow!

This is an amazing set up!! I am currently trying to figure out a good way to start my seeds out, and this was a huge help!! Once I have mine set up, I'll take some photos and share as well :D Thanks for sharing!!!
Peace & Love,
Rukah

Gerrie
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whoa, I thought I was the only one looking forward already to growing this yr. I can't believe you are so far ahead, I haven't even bought my seeds yet! I am so excited to see your plants. The grange is having a seed sale starting tomorrow, forty percent off, outta my way, everyone!
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rainbowgardener
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Gerri, that's a thread that was resurrected as people start thinking about seed starting again. The date on the original picture post is Feb 28, 2009. I have nothing but dirt sitting under my lights right this minute. I have planted the first tray of seeds, but just a few days ago, nothing is even sprouted yet.

So relax, there's still time! :)

GeorgiaGirl
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So excited to see your set-up since I missed this last year... so excited to try "real" gardening this year!! Thanks for the inspiration!
Julia in Georgia

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Sage Hermit
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:>

:hehe:
make reflectors RG : outa tin foil and cardboard. Mirrors work but are heavy.
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I wish i could start seeds,,but live in small mobile home,,my weener dog would probably eat them if i had a window sill.
thinking about buying my diseased nieghbors 8x8 green house he built last spring,,but i don't think i would want to pay electric bill to heat it.
just day dreaming out loud.
Larry
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rainbowgardener
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Re: :>

Sage Hermit wrote::hehe:
make reflectors RG : outa tin foil and cardboard. Mirrors work but are heavy.
Why do I need reflectors? I have 4 fluorescents tubes over each tray, just a few inches above the tray. Plants grow like crazy. What would reflectors do?

(In the top picture, the top shelf, the lights were pretty high above the tray, but that's because that tray at that point had nothing but dirt in it. The lights are all hung so they can be raised and lowered to stay a few inches above the plants. )

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gixxerific
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I missed this thread earlier. Nice setup RG, it looks like I might need to steal the other light from the garage. Guess I won't be going out there at night. :lol: I have been thinking my one light (4 bulb) setup won't be enough. But the table I made will fit another light with ease. If only it weren't so dang cold in my basement.

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hendi_alex
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Buy a heat mat and place it under your seedlings, and I doubt that they will mind the cold air above. The heat mat should keep the soil between 60-70 degrees. I use a kane mat to start my seeds and to keep the soil warm until the plants get moved into the greenhouse after three or four weeks. I bought two kane mats and they do double duty, providing warmth for the pets when needed during the coldest weather, and then providing warmth for starting seeds when needed for that task. The kane mats are rugged and water resistant.
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gixxerific
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hendi_alex wrote:Buy a heat mat and place it under your seedlings, and I doubt that they will mind the cold air above. The heat mat should keep the soil between 60-70 degrees. I use a kane mat to start my seeds and to keep the soil warm until the plants get moved into the greenhouse after three or four weeks. I bought two kane mats and they do double duty, providing warmth for the pets when needed during the coldest weather, and then providing warmth for starting seeds when needed for that task. The kane mats are rugged and water resistant.
I've been meaning to start a thread on this. I can't afford to buy a heat mat right now. But I have a heating pad for sore muscles. I was wondering what temp that would put out. It has a low med and high setting. I was planning on using this hopefully it wouldn't get too hot.

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Sage Hermit
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:o just wanted to help. I saw another thread where they were used
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rainbowgardener
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gixxerific wrote:
hendi_alex wrote:
I've been meaning to start a thread on this. I can't afford to buy a heat mat right now. But I have a heating pad for sore muscles. I was wondering what temp that would put out. It has a low med and high setting. I was planning on using this hopefully it wouldn't get too hot.
You can see in the picture, a couple of the trays are sitting on blue heating pads. They are just regular pharmacy heat pads sold for people. Work fine for keeping the soil warm. I keep mine on Med most of the time.

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hendi_alex
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I agree with the previous posts, but would add a caution wrt water/dampness issues. I would cover such mats with plastic and would use water tight bottom trays, to make sure that the mats could not bet soaked with water. Also would recommend a low to medium setting just in case overheating or fire could be an issue. Perhaps would also be reasonable to plug the mat into a ground fault interupter receptacle. Those are available, inexpensively, that plug into a regular outlet.
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I have a thermostat for mine. It was expensive. Now that I am on a strict gardening budget I really appreciate past purchases! These babies make it easy to be lazy.

It works with anything that plugs in to 120v ac.
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rainbowgardener
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hendi_alex wrote:I agree with the previous posts, but would add a caution wrt water/dampness issues. I would cover such mats with plastic and would use water tight bottom trays, to make sure that the mats could not bet soaked with water. Also would recommend a low to medium setting just in case overheating or fire could be an issue. Perhaps would also be reasonable to plug the mat into a ground fault interupter receptacle. Those are available, inexpensively, that plug into a regular outlet.
Agree, my plant cells/ pots are all in trays. The water goes in the trays. Can't say no droplets ever get scattered but not much. The heating pads come covered in plastic.

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gixxerific
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So med is fine do you have a thermometer in them you never know the differences between models but I would assume they would be roughly close to the same temp. Thanks for the relief I have been worrying about this for a little while.

Alex we should be okay I would never put water on electric I actually thought about putting another piece of plastic between the 2 anyways. As Apple said (ME, me, I said it -- RBG :) )they are already covered in thick plastic to protect your skin from electric shock, that would not be a good selling point. :shock:

lacythomson
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so, do u have to have special grow lights or can u use some sort of flourescent lighting to start seeds? I'm on a budget!
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hendi_alex
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My least expensive light source for starting healthy seedlings is a reflector lamp from Lowes at about $6. It has a six or eight inch reflector dish and a clamp that allows easy mounting. I put a 100 watt equivalent CFL and run the light on a 14 hour cycle. This kind of clip on reflector is good for a tray that is about one square foot, which can accomodate up to about 9 plants.
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gixxerific
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Oops sorry Rainbow! :oops:

Now where were we.

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Thanks Alex. I will try that.
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wrong section .. sorry
Last edited by KasWear on Sun Jan 31, 2010 12:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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rainbowgardener
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Yes you need fluorescent. Regular (incandescent) bulbs give off too much heat. You need the light to be just a few inches above the plants. Incandescent bulbs would burn the plants up. But they don't need to be anything fancy, just plain fluorescent tubes in shop light fixtures (look at the pictures at the start of this thread). These are very cheap.

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Great! Thanks. U know alot of stuff RG..
"Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God ." -- Thomas Jefferson

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rainbowgardener
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YVW -- not as much as some of the folks that hang out here. But it is the result of almost 20 years of practice at gardening and reading about gardening, 10+ years of starting seeds myself, plus one year here on the forum. I've learned a lot here too!

lacythomson
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Well, I was going to ask your advice on something. My dad passed away in 1999 at a young unexpected time. I have alot of seeds he had saved. I was going to try to start some of them. I would love to be able to start some of them. There are flowers like columbine, cockscomb, hibiscus and many more. Also some tomato and pepper seeds etc. Do u think it would be a waste of time to try to start these seeds?? It would be so cool to actually get some plants that he worked so hard on. I miss him sooo much! What do u think? I cant seem to throw them out.
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rainbowgardener
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Well if the alternative is throwing them out, what do you have to lose from planting them? If they don't germinate then you are where you would have been anyway.

Ten year old seeds will definitely have a reduced germination rate, but if they've been carefully stored and kept dry (and preferably cold or frozen), I think there's a very good chance some of them will sprout. Any large seeded varieties you can give a head start by folding them into moist paper towels (inside zip lock baggie) and letting them soak up water for a day or two. Tiny seeds you should just sow.

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gixxerific
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rainbowgardener wrote:Well if the alternative is throwing them out, what do you have to lose from planting them? If they don't germinate then you are where you would have been anyway.
Double super ditto on that. Plus they are your fathers, how great would it be to have a part of him growing again.

I lost my father a few years back too, JUST DO IT

-wall- :cry: :cry: :cry:

lacythomson
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ok.. thanks guys!
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JulieTAdolf
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Great set-up! It's so nice to have a basement to play in when the weather is nasty! Enjoy!
Julie

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rainbowgardener wrote:Well if the alternative is throwing them out, what do you have to lose from planting them? If they don't germinate then you are where you would have been anyway.

Ten year old seeds will definitely have a reduced germination rate, but if they've been carefully stored and kept dry (and preferably cold or frozen), I think there's a very good chance some of them will sprout. Any large seeded varieties you can give a head start by folding them into moist paper towels (inside zip lock baggie) and letting them soak up water for a day or two. Tiny seeds you should just sow.
I am so excited! I took your advice and started some ten yr old hibiscus seeds in paper towels, checked them again this morning and I have some sprouts! I know, cheap thrills right? :roll: Well I have been so down lately and my marriage is kinda on the rocks and stress etc. However, just the sight of these hibiscus seeds that my father once grew spiked up spirits. Now, I just don't know what I should do with them. I heard you could keep and start seeds in an electric skillet that is set on very low... I don't want to fry anything though. I got it out and plugged it in but I don't have a thermometer, and not sure what them temp should be. :shock: Anyhow, thanks for your advice and I can't wait to see what else I might be able to start.
"Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God ." -- Thomas Jefferson

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rainbowgardener
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I never heard the electric skillet thing and it's not quite making sense to me. I could understand putting your pots on the skillet on low, it would heat the soil, work like the heating pad I have under my seedling trays.
Putting the actual plants on the skillet seems like it could only dry them out and fry them. From where would they get water and nutrients, etc.?

If they are sprouting, I'd put them in dirt (ie.potting soil, not garden dirt). Keep it damp but not wet, give them plenty of light (probably need supplemental light, not just a windowsill).

Sorry about your rough times, but you will find growing things amazingingly soothing and uplifting to the spirit!

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