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Ozark Lady
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A word of caution on the peat plugs.
I used them last year. And I also only spritzed them, I kept the surface soil damp... and at first true leaves or soon after... I would spritz and the next spritz...find them dead...beyond recovery.

I finally realized, I needed to actually soak the peat plugs at least occasionally... the surface spritz made me feel good, but the plants were simply not getting enough moisture at the roots.

So, be careful... check below the surface... You may be good to go... I wasn't and I killed alot of seedlings learning this.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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gixxerific
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Bottom water only on those as far as I'm concerned. As Applestar and Rainbowgardener say over and over put 1/4 - 1/2 inch of water in bottom and let it soak. I put that much or more in when they are FULLY wet I take out the tray and dump off the extra water. Than put a fan on them for a bit to ward of damping off fungus.

But if what you are doing is working for you than by all means keep doing it.

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Ridiculous
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well, i've been totally slacking on updating this thread. it doesn't seem that i have much time to be on the net lately anyways.

but today i took some pics for ya'll and just thought i'd show em off!

i've got a lot of seedlings...some are doing great and some not so much. keep in mind this is my first year starting seeds and planting this large of a garden...

any comments welcome!
[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/IMG00295.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/IMG00291.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/IMG00292.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/IMG00293.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/IMG00294.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/IMG00296.jpg[/img]

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gixxerific
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Looking good there Ridiculous.

Only comment I have would be to take the cover off that light. The lenses is stopping a lot of available light. Other than that not a bad setup you got. Good luck "THAT" time is right around the corner for a lot of us to be planting outdoors. I myself can't wait. :D

Ridiculous
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thanks gixxer!

it's funny cause when i got those lights i was debating whether or not to remove that cover. i guess i'll do it now...i was just bein lazy about it i guess.



and yes, i can't wait for spring either!!!

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Ozark Lady
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I am running out of room, and out of time...
Gee whiz, May is only 7 weeks away.
I filled up 3 flats of tobacco today... And will fill more tomorrow.
I didn't even scratch the surface of the varieties that I have on hand.
And haven't even started the "preferred ones".
Oh time, where did it go?
I see our 10 day is calling for 60's and up for the next 10 days...
Always, no spring... straight dive from freezing to oops should be planted already!!!
Tomorrow, the onion sets, and early direct sow crops will be going into the garden! The tulips and daffodils are popping out everywhere, up about 6 inches now. Not fully up, but getting there.
The fruit trees are still dormant, I really need to prune that peach tree.

But, I need to make growing room for these guys, so I can keep rotating from germinating, to infant nursery, to toddler day care! ha ha

And the crunch is on! Here we go folks, ready or not!
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seagullplayer
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Those plants are looking great!

How long have the ones in the cups been planted? Is that the first transplant for them?
Moved on.

Best of luck to all.

Ridiculous
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seagullplayer wrote:Those plants are looking great!

How long have the ones in the cups been planted? Is that the first transplant for them?
the ones in the cups were planted real early. i wanna say in feburary. and now that i think of it, those never got transplanted, i was just testing some seeds left over from last year to see if they'd germ.

maybe i'll do that tomorrow! :)


one of those tomatos in the cups is having a problem though and i just can't figure it out! i almost wanna say it's got root rot or something but not sure...maybe i'll get some pics up of it or somethin

toxicburn1
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hi guys! you have some nice gear with lights and stuff. i think i know my problem withought posting it here. but lets start from beggining:
this is my first year planting. i got some tomatoes, cucambers, peppers and mellon.
Cucs don't seem to have problem...yet :) Mellons look good too, as far as i can judge. Peppers took a wile to get sprouted (must be just luck of knowledge) And lastly - tomatoes, darn em
I have used little compost sells for planting, and "Suppersoil" potting soil (it looks like wood chips though) with enreached plant food and blah, blah, blah. Tomatoes are few kinds - Beefstake, big boy and some others. I have planted 'em around Feb 10. 4-5 seeds per cell. once they brocke through, i cut some down leaving 2 max / cell.
please, tell me thaty they look ok, cause i think that they are about to die. I keep soil wet, even fed them today with weak mix of some plant food.
I also don't have any lights around it, i keep em in my garden window (i live in California, SF area)
Please tell me what if they look okay and if i need to put some lights over it.
[img]https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/xdEc6QN1eiX8AEE6MKT2xQ?feat=directlink[/img] [/img]
[img]https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/lZn3Scqy9rn0Gq-E_CkkuA?feat=directlink[/img]
[img]https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/101vjtsP12IvncCcbbCeCA?feat=directlink[/img]
lets see how will it turn out:)

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great :evil: images are not coming up :(
lets see how will it turn out:)

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rainbowgardener
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toxicburn -- I can see your pictures. You are right they are looking a little bit spindly and pale. Definitely need more light! Sorry but you just cannot grow tomato seedlings in front of a window, without supplemental light.

DON"T feed them any more.... it will just make them more spindly. What you have are just sprouts with seed leaves. The baby sprouts like that have the food they need from the seed. Usually we don't fertilize at least until it has the first true leaves, and then gently, half strength. You want it to be building roots at this stage not stems and leaves.

And be careful about watering... you want the soil damp NOT wet. If you can press it and water oozes out, you are overwatering and will start losing seedlings to damping off.
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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live2garden
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Wow, everyone has such nice set ups for starting their plants.

My husband built me a large "garden" window a few years ago for starting my plants.

I also used to use those peat pellets, but I lost a lot of plants due to them drying out so fast. Now, I start my plants in a flat that contains a mix of play sand and peat moss. I have much better luck with them that way.

Once they get their second set of leaves I transplant them into pots with regular potting soil. They seem to grow great that way. Here is a picture of my set up this year.

[img]https://live-2-garden.com/tomatoes_2010.JPG[/img]
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toxicburn1
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rainbowgardener wrote:toxicburn -- I can see your pictures.
Thanks a LOT! Already put em under light!!! Will let you guys know the progress :)

You are awesome !
lets see how will it turn out:)

garden5
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Also, I don't think that you would want to keep them growing 2 to a "point" in the soil...that might cause some root damage when the time comes to separate them.

Welcome to the Helpful Gardener! :D
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wjcmpbll
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I made some changes to my setup as recommended by rainbowgardener. First I bough a shoplight and installed it above my china cabinet, which actually sits between the 2 windows I was using for light. I consolidated my plants (both new seedlings and those recovering from feline assault), removed them from the windows and placed them under light. Some of the peat pellets were stuck in place and I had to use a little bit of force to move them so I hope I didn't hurt them. Hopefully they will respond favorably to the new lighting. It's the bottom 5 photos after clicking link.

[url]https://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=7790&id=100000645081027&l=17d17f216d[/url]

Do yall think I should just keep them under the light all the time or just use the light to supplement the natural light - which would mean moving them to and from the window every day? I believe I read that they need about 16 hrs/day or so. I'll double-check that. Thanks for the help!

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gixxerific
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Only thing I would say is to lower that light a few inches. Your plants may get "leggy" where it is at. Normally with florescent lights the height is about 4 inches or so. But if you have an external light source (the window) maybe it won't be as important.

wjcmpbll
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The lightbulbs are about 3 or 4 inches from the tops of the plants. I think it looks farther in the photos. :)

toxicburn1
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Darn IT !!! We had a nice warm and sunny day today - why not to bring my "garden" out? WRONG! I guess direct sunlight is not so god for lil' plants either... Tomatoes' and peppers' leafs turned from light green to almost dirty white and few of my cucumbers that use to stay strong and high (about 5'') fell down.
But on the other hand i already can see some of the first true leafs coming out (about 1-2 mm) on tomatoes and about 2-3 mm on cucs. IN ONE DAY !!! WOW :) sorry, my excitement :oops:

Fallowing your suggestions, i have build a little incubator... out of stroller's box, 4'' double light bulbed shop light (40W; T12 type) + 40W UV party light. Put food foil on the inside to increase reflection of the light and to redirect the UV light that i decided not to put directly over plants.
so... keeping my fingers crossed :roll:
Also, you have inspired me on not to throwing any extra sprouts when thinning... so, i got one whole new tray of Jalapenos :)
lets see how will it turn out:)

wjcmpbll
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Just got home from work and first thing I did was check the plants. After 12 hours under the fluorescents all the new seedlings are straight as a board just reaching for that light! I love it. The cat-affected ones not so much, but that's ok. Still debating whether or not to move them back and forth from window to light... I guess it doesn't really serve a purpose to do so? After all, they should be fine under the light until it's time to transplant them... I guess?

Sorry if I'm over-posting. I'm just excited it's working! :)

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rainbowgardener
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Yup, skip the window. Just leave them under the lights! 16 hrs a day!

toxicburn1
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took some pix of my "incubator's guts". About 5 hours total time inside, and plants already turning to the light :D
[img]https://lh6.ggpht.com/_8deVzOVFZMk/S5PcOa_1XoI/AAAAAAAAE3Q/E9JP0CsWiOk/s400/IMG_1703.JPG[/img]
[img]https://lh4.ggpht.com/_8deVzOVFZMk/S5PcOon2ZRI/AAAAAAAAE3U/7qvR0ZqhI9M/s400/IMG_1704.JPG[/img]
[img]https://lh5.ggpht.com/_8deVzOVFZMk/S5PcO4k622I/AAAAAAAAE3Y/TI1Tc1xqUpo/s400/IMG_1705.JPG[/img]
lets see how will it turn out:)

toxicburn1
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Little update

I'm getting a little disappointed with my gardening skills :(
1. Yesterday, I took a tray (3X6 cells) of tomatoes out on the sun and watered the soil... at the end of the day they all had a sign "KILL US!" Baby leafs (not the true leafs) turned dirty white, and they all sag. Hmm... looks like direct sun is bad. Point taken
2. I also had thinned ALL of my plants. I was surprised to discover that when you snip the top of the sprout, root still lives and lives pretty darn good! Most of the plants that i snipped the tops off (stupid) had healthier and thicker roots than those that had tops on. Now i know: Never snip the top - plant it somewhere :)
3. My cucumbers... i thought i had luck there... Some of my cucs started falling. I know that Cucs are vine and they grow long. I have em about 5-6" inches tall and almost all started developing first true leafs. but no good without bad in my beginners luck: some started getting soft right in the middle of the vine and fall. HELP!!! I have put them on a supports already, will take a picture tonight.
...So, first thing in the morning i turned on the light in my incubator , but decided to hold on UV light... don't know why, i have a feeling that too much of UV will kill em.
P.S. Please, let me know if I'm boring you to death with my newbie's ups and downs, i can handle the truth :)
lets see how will it turn out:)

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rainbowgardener
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Don't get discouraged! :) Like everything else worth doing, it takes practice and learning and it sounds like you are doing a good job of learning the lessons.

Re the little tomatoes, you are right, the white leaves means it got burned up in the sun. Direct sun is great for tomatoes -- AFTER they get used to it. Coming from indoors to direct outdoor sun is too much. The transition from indoors to outdoors is hard and it's where I lose the most seedlings. They need to get hardened off (adapted to the sun, wind etc outdoors) gradually.

I put things out on my deck, which gets only morning sun. To start with I don't put them out until late morning, so they are only going to be in the sun a few hours. If possible don't leave things outdoors all day the first few day, or if you have to, find a very protected spot.

Right, again-- I plant thickly and then I transplant everything, I don't throw perfectly good little plants out, unless I just have way too many of them. But I also find that the process of separating them out for transplant lets you inspect the roots and pick the plants to save based on what has the best root system -- a much better gauge of how well it is going to do.

Apparently you didn't believe me when I told you before that UV is harmful to plants ( https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=115685&highlight=light#115685 ). Go back and look at the link I posted.

I'm not sure what happened with the cukes, the picture might help. They are vines, they don't grow upright. But you said they were 5-6" tall and started developing first true leaves. In that order? That sounds like maybe leggy and not getting enough light (in wavelengths they can use). They should get the true leaves a lot sooner than 5-6". The soft in the middle might be over watering or holding too much water (I'm guessing now). If the soft spot is close to the soil line it might be damping off, a fungal condition.

Those are peat pots in the picture? Is everything in them? Peat pots are notorious seedling killers. When the soil is wet, they hold the water in and keep everything too wet. If the peat finally starts to dry out, then it wicks all the water away from the soil and makes it too dry. And despite what they say, they are NOT biodegradable (in any reasonable amount of time). Never plant anything in the ground still in the peat pot. In the future, plastic works much better and can be reused, year after year.

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Halfway
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That is good advice on the peat pots. This will be my last year using them and I only have about a half dozen still in use. Between the mold and the problems with them drying out, they are more trouble than worth.
Zone 4a.

RyanDe680
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rainbowgardener wrote: Peat pots are notorious seedling killers. When the soil is wet, they hold the water in and keep everything too wet. If the peat finally starts to dry out, then it wicks all the water away from the soil and makes it too dry. And despite what they say, they are NOT biodegradable (in any reasonable amount of time). Never plant anything in the ground still in the peat pot. In the future, plastic works much better and can be reused, year after year.
+1 for this advice.

Plastic/foam cups are great and can be reused. You can then control the amount of draining, which in this stage, is a big factor.

toxicburn1
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rainbowgardener wrote:Don't get discouraged! :)


Thanks :)
rainbowgardener wrote: Re the little tomatoes…
Bummer… I should have known
rainbowgardener wrote: Right, again-- I plant thickly and then I transplant everything…
That is the only way!!! Was soo good to refresh my biological memories :)
rainbowgardener wrote: Apparently you didn't believe me
Apparently … I should have red more carefully :( I must have been so excided with the whole idea that my eye did not want to see anything against it. Gonna remove the UV light at all.
rainbowgardener wrote: I'm not sure what happened with the cukes, the picture might help.
I’ll post pix tonight.
They started developing true leafs at about 4â€
lets see how will it turn out:)

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gixxerific
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The above advice holds true.

I will say with my cuc's had true leaves and were barely out of the pot, heck they are still short and full. Though I will probably not plant my cuke starters, I will more likely direct seed them. They grow too fast to started too early like I did. But I did it just to do it. I may plant them but i will also direct seed.

I have never been a hardening off kind of guy, but I will try hardest with my starters. I did throw a baby tom out in the garden still in pot the other day i haven't checked it lately but it was okay the other day (I ran out of room so I threw it outside. My VERY early plating of a tomato has pretty much gone outside as soon as it got above freezing and has done well so far, very stocky with a little bit of hurt but if it goes down I have plenty more to take it's place.

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ok, got a question.

when should one officially start to harden off?

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Dono, I started my cukes and squash way too early too... not sure what i am going to do with them at this point.. I took them out from under the light to slow em down, and i think that is working lol
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Ozark Lady
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I would keep moving them up into a larger sized pot, keep them where they get good light.
Keep them growing well.
If you stunt the plants in anyway... you will set them up to fail when you transplant them outside.
Runts seldom recover.

My accidental fresh cantaloupe seed that is growing, is getting it's first leaves, and I am going ato just give him a large pot and say... go for it! He doesn't have a true leaf yet, and I put him in a 4" pot, in front of the south facing sliding doors... Grow baby grow... cantaloupe by the 4th? :lol:
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toxicburn1
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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:
honestly... is it time for me to replant the seeds from the scratch? everything is dieing like there is no tomorrow

here are pix of my cemetery :(

[img]https://lh6.ggpht.com/_8deVzOVFZMk/S5XSJ0YR1dI/AAAAAAAAE4o/eSYq7b8WdOw/s800/IMG_1729.JPG[/img]

[img]https://lh3.ggpht.com/_8deVzOVFZMk/S5XSK4DOCVI/AAAAAAAAE40/8nO4lZdhR_s/s800/IMG_1732.JPG[/img]

and here are the cucumbers. almost all about to die :(
Problem - stem shrank. is that because i have touched it (not squished... well there was a bit of pressure)
[img]https://lh4.ggpht.com/_8deVzOVFZMk/S5XSKjQsvuI/AAAAAAAAE4w/y6c5eCKUwWw/s800/IMG_1731.JPG[/img]
[img]https://lh5.ggpht.com/_8deVzOVFZMk/S5XSKEHzGJI/AAAAAAAAE4s/JrsdGLGJboc/s800/IMG_1730.JPG[/img]

i looked at the soil, it is pretty wet - no watering for few days at least

i think i have enough time to start all over again. what do you think?
or just let it go?
lets see how will it turn out:)

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rainbowgardener
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Not because you touched them. The bottom picture definitely looks like damping off. The combination of too much water, peat pots, and no air circulation has lead to damping off fungus. The ones that are pinched in at the stems or flopped over (like the one in picture 2, bottom left) are goners.

A lot of the rest don't look happy or thriving, but might be saved, if it is worth it to you to go to the trouble. Repot them (again! sorry :( ) out of the peat pots (plastic nursery pots are perfect, but it can be dixie cups, yoghurt cups, etc as long as you put drainage holes in the bottom), take down one side of your reflector set up so air can circulate (or put a fan in the tunnel if you want to keep it), and don't over water. Or you can start over.

I'm sorry, it makes me mad that they still sell those peat pots and advertise them like its a great thing. How can they get away with it after all the seedlings that have died in them! :twisted:

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I think you'll be better off re-planting the cucumbers. They look like they really needed more light. Generally, you want to see color in the hypocotyl (stem between soil and seed leaves), and sometimes fuzz. It would be best if the seed leaves open by 1/4"~1/2" for tiny seeds, 1/2"~1"H for small seeds and by 1"~2"H for larger seeds.

Put different kind of seeds in separate sturdy drip trays so as they grow, you can raise them on supports individually (e.g. peppers and cucs should be in separate trays). I've been mostly using plastic take out trays (aluminum ones are generally too flimsy so I use them as reflectors along the edges, though you've got that taken care of)

You definitely need a fan like rainbowgardener said if you don't have one. For small fans, ingenious folks have used salvaged PC fans, there are also personal clamp-on fans, pet crate fans, and car window fans.
Last edited by applestar on Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

garden5
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As Apps and RG said, that is the dreaded damping off.

I'm not certain about the cukes, but if you catch a tomato plant in time you can save it, at least I did.

When you just notice the "pinch," re-pot it deeper. I did this about 3 days ago and, so far, it looks like it will be just fine. I can't guarantee this will work for you, as I have only done it once, but it might be worth a try.

In addition to the fan that was previously suggested, you should water them with chamomile-treated water. You do this by filling a container with warm (from the tap, not the stove) water and then soaking a chamomile tea bag in it for a period of time. I do it for a few minuets and squish it around with my fingers to get a lot of the chamomile into the water, but others let it sit overnight.

Once the water has a nice tint and sweet smell, use it to water your plants. The chamomile has an anti-fungal effect, which helps combat the damping off.

Good luck.
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wjcmpbll
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Ok, here goes...

My tomatoes, broccoli, and cucumbers are about 4" with their first true leaves and they look good. I've thinned most of them, but not all. I have today off from work and I'm gonna try to pot up into 4" containers. Never done this before. I just think it's time to get them out of the peat pellet thing. I've read so much about how to do this that my head is starting to spin. Here's my plan.

1. Go to Home Depot and get good quality soil mix. Hopefully I'll know it when I see it and I can use the same soil for each of the 3 types of plants.
2. Check prices of 4" plastic pots. If affordable, buy what I need. Otherwise hit the grocery store and buy clear plastic Dixie cups in appropriate size.
3. Prep the pots. Thin remaining plants. Carefully cut away the net surrounding the plant (from the peat pellet) and plant tomatoes down to their first leaves. Same with cucumbers but not all the way to the first leaves, being extremely careful. Broccoli not as deep.
4. Water thoroughly, label, put back under lights.

If anyone sees any errors with this plan or has any suggestions, please let me know. It'll be about 2 hours before I'm ready to start. Wish me luck!

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Ozark Lady
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Good luck!

If any of them are leggy you will need alot of luck.

I bent or broke alot of my leggy cabbage, broccoli, etc. I simply went ahead and planted them deep enough to cover the bend/break with soil.. none have died as a result.

My suggestion? For what it is worth, the really leggy ones, use your fingers, not a spoon, and if you remove most of the soil, and gently lift by the seedleaves, you will break less, then I carefully held them up by that leaf, and used a spoon to spoon the dirt in around them.

I found if I tried to get them with a bit of soil... the weight broke the thin stems.
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toxicburn1
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thank you very much rainbowgardener, applestar and garden5 ...and Ozark Lady (had to edit it in :) )

you have just proved that i should have gotten on this forum earlier :(

Oh well... i have plenty seeds left, lots of red plastic cups, 2 bags of pot mix, new T8 tubes (that apparently don't fit into the T12 holder GRRRRrr )

and looks like i'll be staying up longer tonight planting.

Once again, thank you for all you advises. few questions though :oops:

1. what is the temperature for optimal seed bootstrapping (85F ?)
2. once they brake the soil, at what hight should i replant and thin them to a bigger pot
3. what is the optimal temperature for little plants growing
4. Lights: 6-7" from the plants; T8; 16 hours. Blue spectrum deficiency? or should i not to worry about it yet ;) ?
4. Air circulation: tear down the incubator...

any other ideas?
lets see how will it turn out:)

wjcmpbll
Full Member
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:03 pm
Location: memphis

So I ended up only transplanting 16 plants into 16oz cups that I had drilled drain holes into. Here's what I did...

It was hella cheaper to buy 16oz cups from Kroger than 4" pots from Home Depot, so I shelled out $5 for 100 cups. This is the cup...

[img]https://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs419.snc3/25218_103386143026221_100000645081027_102619_1530468_n.jpg[/img]

I used a 1" spade bit to bore drain holes into it...

[img]https://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs459.ash1/25218_103386163026219_100000645081027_102625_7719640_n.jpg[/img]

which made it look like this...

[img]https://hphotos-snc3.fbcdn.net/hs439.snc3/25218_103386146359554_100000645081027_102620_994446_n.jpg[/img] [img]https://photos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs439.snc3/25218_103386149692887_100000645081027_102621_2586869_n.jpg[/img]

I knew that because I was working with young plants, I would have to distract Sir Purrs-alot. So I took the black pants I'd just gotten back from the dry-cleaner's and gave him an invitation he couldn't refuse. It worked like a charm, enabling me to transplant the seedlings unhindered.

[img]https://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs419.snc3/25218_103386159692886_100000645081027_102624_5860410_n.jpg[/img]

After transplanting each plant into its own container, I placed it in a pool of shallow water, thinking that watering from the bottom would be smart.

[img]https://hphotos-snc3.fbcdn.net/hs419.snc3/25218_103386156359553_100000645081027_102623_6129312_n.jpg[/img]

But after about 45 minutes the top still wasn't moist, so I decided to just water each transplant from the top. I gave each about 100mL of warm water.

I guess I'm an idiot because it hadn't occurred to me that 84 peat pellets takes significantly less space than 84 individually potted plants. Needless to say they don't all fit underneath a 48" shop light. So I had to stop the transplanting until I figure out what to do. And I think I have. I knew that I would have more plants than I can handle, and I expected to give them away once they were able to be planted outdoors, BUT... I don't really see the point in investing in more lighting just so I can grow the plants more before I give them away, right? So I guess I'll have to give them away now. Which makes me kinda sad.

So that's what happened. :)[/img]

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gixxerific
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Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

When I transplant I soak the containers before I put the plants in. That way the soil is thoroughly soaked and no need to water after the transplant. Maybe just a little splash. This I find helps speed up the process.

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

Yup, gixx nailed it! Always moisten the potting soil (or whatever medium you are using) before you transplant into it! Then you can get it to just the right dampness and then you can do the bottom watering after that. But dry potting soil won't suck up the water from the bottom-- like pouring water on a bone-dry sponge, it just rolls off.

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