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Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 7:42 pm
Location: Orange County, California

My seedlings died- help.. advice??

I guess I had beginners luck last year, strated everything from seed and had the most amazing garden ever.
This year a different story.
I used the SFG mixture to start my seedlings. ( I start outside because of where I live). The seedlings grew to an inch or so , and stopped growing........ I thought to transfer them in the raised beds would help, the planters are so much warmer. They all died with in a week or so.
I really don't know what happened other then, we've had cooler then usual weather. I guess my question is is it to late to start seedlings now? Should I sow them directly into the beds? And any thoughts as to what might have happened?
Thank you in advance.
God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. ~Author Unknown
Sunset Zone 24
USDA zone 10

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

"is is it to late to start seedlings now"

Depends on seedlings of what! Some plants take much longer than others and some plants like different temps and conditions than others.

But being there in So. Cal. you have a much longer growing season than many of us, so there are certainly a lot of things you could still start by seeding directly in the ground, including beans and zucchini (plant them now and you will be eating them by mid-August). And some things that you can't plant now because too hot, but could plant later for a fall-winter crop (all the cool weather stuff, lettuce, spinach, chard, broccoli, etc)
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: Facebook page I manage for them: Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Thomas CA
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Posts: 31
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 8:00 pm
Location: San Pedro, CA

I agree with the above comment. Go for it! I wouldn't hurt to try!

I live in SoCal Zone 10 and am even growing spinach and chard right now!

I figure this will be another indian summer here in SoCal, much like last year (I was growing tomatoes thru most of November!), so start now, and I think you'll have something nice in the coming months.

If anything, it'll be a learning experience...which has a value all it's own.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

I did unadulterated, unchanged SFG in 2008, my first year back into gardening after many years of being sidelined after a car accident.

(Well, I *had* taken care of the roses and made sure the blackberries didn't take over everything, but that was about it. And, since making compost is a major trash-reducer at my house, that continued as well.)

Even then, I didn't start any seeds in the "Mel's Mix" as he recommends it. I started seeds in a 50/50 mix of potting soil and my own compost. Then, when the seedlings were of decent size--I planted 2 or 3 seeds in each small (3-inch or so) pot--I transplanted them into the SFG.

It may be that the Mel's Mix doesn't provide enough nutrition for seeds; I really don't know. Vermiculite is there to provide aeration and good drainage; peat is there for acidity and, again, aeration. The multiple composts provide the nutrition. But I wonder whether the pore spaces mightn't be too large for seeds to feel well seated and firmed into the "soil." Maybe they get washed down too deeply to be warmed for sprouting?

In any case, the few seeds I did plant directly into the SFG (root veggies: carrots, beets) were planted very shallowly, right on top of the planting medium, and covered with the 50/50 mix, then patted down with my hand so they wouldn't blow away. I'd say I covered them with about 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) of planting medium.

The major change I've made for myself w/regard to SFG is that Mel's "6 inches deep is enough" recommendation absolutely does not work for me: 10 to 12" is much more like it, and more if I can wangle it, esp. for carrots!

And definitely become familiar with Sunset's Western Garden Book, your Sunset climate zone, and what that means in terms of planting times, growing season(s), etc.: your whole approach to gardening will change! :D (Ask me how I know, or Search the Forum to find out...I've told the story a few times.)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

I was away from the house for 3 hours :D this afternoon, and my patient, Vergil (or is that my patient Vergil :wink:) was just fine. Maybe I can work half-days next week at the office...assuming there's work for me! :?
Last edited by cynthia_h on Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:48 pm
Location: Texas - Zone 9

To the OP:

Was the soil to moist?
Did you perform a feeding?

Both of these will stunt or kill a seedling. Especially too much food. The seed itself contains enough food for the seeding until it grows its first true leaves. If you don't mind straying from sowing in the soil, I recommend a moist paper towel and a glad reusable Tupperware container (the one with a blue top and clear bottom). Place the seeds in the center of the wet towel, fold it up and place it in the container. Close the lid and put this seed germinating chamber on top of a fridge or a modem. Both will supply just enough heat to get your seeds started. I like this method because its controlled. No worries about temp and/or the dryness of the media.

Also read up on the specifics for the seeds you are trying to start. Each seed requires certain variables to be in its favor to progress.
Jared -
<b>Grassroots with Jared and Erin</b>

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