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tn_veggie_gardner
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I have a few favorite seed starting methods. Believe it or not, the peat pellets (in the mini, dome-covered greenhouses) work great for me for seed starting. For tomatoes, I do not use a heating pad, but for peppers, I will. I always make sure, with the peat pellets, that once the seed has sprouted & straightened up pretty well for a few days, that I pot it up to a 16 oz cup. The peat pellets are excellent only for seed starting, IMO. Once the seedling starts to grow a bit, they must be potted up & the netting 1110000% has to be removed (don't make me find the horror story pics of this not happening...lol). This method has always given me a 90% or better germination rate!

I also like to start some herbs and other various non maters/pepeprs in peat pots or squares, but they must be kept extremely moist, as those things soak up more water than a sponge! =) Both this method & the peat pellet method, I leave the items in complete darkness until seeds germinate.

One new thing I'm trying this year is one of the "Germination Stations." I have mixed opinions on it so far, probably because I made the mistake of filling the little holes with Jiffy seed starting mix, which is about impossible to get to soak up water. I think, with the proper seed starting mix, these can be great, as they come with a heating pad that is kept underneath the greenhouse.

Anyways, figured i'd put in my two cents about this topic. =)

- Steve

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gixxerific
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Applestar: I Don't really need drip tray, it is my unfinished basement, there is soil and wetness everywhere around my planting station, that's how I like it. :lol:

I don't have the basil on the heating mat yet, I might switch out the toms with them tomorrow thanks for heads up. I loaded up 4 flats with soil and seed and I only have one heat mat. Toms come first.

Not sure if you knew this but Chard seed are like 4-5 seeds in one that's why there is always extras. Didn't know that till recently I wondered why all my plants last year were doubles or more.

Sounds like you got it going on as well, that's good now I won't be alone when I have 500 things need to be potted up all at once. As you know good luck to you. Oh yeah I finally bought a thermometer it usually about 65-70 under the lights.

Veggiegardener:I heard about the Germination station I believe I called Lowes about heat pads they said they had something like you are talking about. I bought the heat pad insted and when I went to Lowe's I couldn't find it but I didn't look super hard.

Ozark Lady was saying that Jiffy seed mix was imposible to hydrate as well I suggest mixing it with something else like maybe manure or something that will hold water, not sure if you already knew that or not.

Good luck Steve (by the way from now on you are "TVG" tn_veggie_gardener is just to long to type :lol:)

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Ozark Lady
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I agree, the Jiffy seed starter is almost impossible to get to take water...
It might be impossible... 11 hours with water, and still alot of dry peat...

That does it... tomorrow I get some basic potting soil, and mix it together.
I bet I won't buy Jiffy again!
The other soil will hold water and the peat will lighten it up... there is a way out of this... I hope.

No seeds started today.. but I tried..
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applestar
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That's a bummer, Ozark Lady. :?
Hope you get lots of seeds started today. If at first you don't succeeed, right? :wink:

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Here is a seed starting tip that I don't think I have seen mentioned. For tomatoes and peppers (you could try with some other varieties, I've only done it with toms and peps), soak the seeds in lukewarm water overnight (no longer) before you plant them. If any are floating then next morning, discard them, they are no good.

I did this with my tomatoes and had the majority of them germinate in about three days.

A word of caution: Do not let them dry out after soaking until they germinate. If a seed drys out once it has absorbed moisture, it will die. Now, with that being said, don't keep them in a muck puddle; just keep the soil they are in moist, like you ordinarily would. Just be sure not to miss a day or two and let it dry out.
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wolfie
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I bought that jiffy seed starter thing too but haven't tried to use it yet. gotta go to lowes to get my shop lights so will pick up some potting soil and mix the 2... gonna do alot of seed starting today WHOOOO HOOOO

oh ya, couldn't find a heating pad that didn't auto shut off so bought an electric blanket, now I can put ALL my flats on it at once lol
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gixxerific
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Wolfie a couple of things, I bought the GE 6500K (daylight) bulbs. At my store they are not with the light fixtures they are over by the garden furniture in a long row of lights where the compact florescent and MH stuff is yours could be different. These may be the perfect to some peoples standards but they work for ME.

PLEASE be careful with that heating blanket, DO NOT get any water on it, I would have to assume it is not water resistant much at all. I could be wrong, I just don't want to see you post your house burned down. Look at me giving electrical advice (i do know my stuff there though) but I think I might have burnt up my rigged up trickle charger that I was using to power some PC fans due to a dead short cause I wasn't paying attention. :oops: :x But still BE CAREFUL PLEASE.

Off to Lowe's myself now maybe I'll see you there. :mrgreen:

One more thing I have noticed I got some potting soil at lowes that had "Moisture control" in it (not so organic but it was the only one that wasn't frozen solid to the others at the time). I didn't like that stuff it seemed to never dry out like out should to some point at least. So look at them good. I have been using the Black Kow composted manure to solve moisture issues myself.

Again shop around and don't follow me to the "T" use your best judgment.

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If you're mixing in the heavy potting soil, it helps to cut it with about 1/4~1/3 perlite by volume. Be careful with the dry perlite dust not to breath it in.

I have to add: I don't like perlite and prefer to use sand, but I confess I'm currently *reduced* to using perlite because my sand is all buried and frozen under a foot of snow! :x :roll:

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I was just going to get regular potting soil to mix with the jiffy seed starting, about half to half ratio, will that work?

as for the heating blanket.. no water near it, its in my living room on my coffee table at the moment!
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Ozark Lady
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I have to go to a political thing today, where all the politicians have opportunity to tell us why we should vote for them.

So, I will pass through 5 towns to get there. And lots of box stores, and Garden City. Garden City was closed last Sunday, season isn't kicked off here yet. But they should be open today...

That is like a kid turned loose in a candy store! You know, interestingly, last year, the Garden specific site was cheaper than the box stores, across the board, supplies and plants.

All those drawers of seeds, with the little scoops, the rooms kept cool for strawberries, the green houses... oh man... my reward for listening to speeches!

I am reviewing my seeds and starting supplies, I know that I need better soil to mix some seed starter. Can anyone recommend a good plant food, so that I am not bringing manure inside to make manure tea? I am organic only. I have never used commercial plant food or fertilizers, so I am totally ignorant here... Oh I do know what the npk is... and basically, that I want a balanced one, since I will be growing a variety of plants... Do I need more than one? Like for plants that like less nitrogen and more potash? Help!
I have cotton seed meal, bone meal, wood ashes... what else do I need? I am only talking about seedlings to transplant, once they are in garden then the manure, etc can take over.
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wolfie wrote:I was just going to get regular potting soil to mix with the jiffy seed starting, about half to half ratio, will that work?

as for the heating blanket.. no water near it, its in my living room on my coffee table at the moment!
Cool on the heating blanket, as far as the potting mix, mix it up a bit at a time. You should be able to tell when it is good. Grab a handful if ti feel like soil somewhat it is getting good. I don't know how else to explain it. But I go my feel myself. Half and half might be good maybe less maybe more without having here in front of me. Experiment with it you will get it right. :mrgreen:

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My tom's are JUST now getting their true leaves. You can't see them in the pic but here they are.
[img]https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/Gardening/DSC03353.jpg[/img][img]https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/Gardening/DSC03354.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/Gardening/DSC03356.jpg[/img]

wolfie
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well my cucumbers are the only ones that have fully come thru so far. I know for sure now that I planted the seeds all way too deep, I think I lost the peppers but the squash may be able to still come thru.

Here is a pic of my cucumbers moved under the lights that I just set up, whoo hoo me!

[img]https://i821.photobucket.com/albums/zz139/packersmom/cucumberbabies.jpg[/img]
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wolfie
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Started a new flat today:

12 broccoli
12 cauliflower
18 jalapeno
6 banana peppers
12 bell peppers
12 early girl tomatos (had to buy these seeds at walmart, my seeds from gurneys haven't come in yet so now toms planted yet!)

these were planted at the correct depth, are immediately set on the heating blanket, and I am keeping the house at 60 instead of 45... praying I have better luck with these!
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Ozark Lady
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I have seeds in the germinators, (plastic shoeboxes).

I had to mix the Jiffy with another potting soil, after 2 days, in the shoe box, and with about 2" of water in the bottom, after it ran through... there were lots of dry spots remaining...

I mixed it 50/50. And the other soil will get wet readily.

I started:
Broccoli, Cauliflower, Dill, Pak Choi, Celery, Cabbage and Brussel Sprouts.

My information says the celery is slow to germinate... has anyone raised celery?
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rainbowgardener
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OzarkL I've never tried the PakChoi and don't do celery any more. The celery is difficult. As you say, quite slow to germinate and then slow growing and finicky. All the rest should be easy.

Wolfie - I really don't bury seeds at all. I put them on the surface and then gently press them down, just to be sure they are fully in contact with the soil. For tiny seeds, petunias, etc, that's it. For larger seeds (all the tomatoes, peppers, etc) and things that need dark, I just drop a light layer of the potting soil on top of them and maybe very gently firm it down a little bit.

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So when should I start feeding my starts? Should I do some right away, or wait until they fully germinate?

I've got a solution of organic fish stuff (kelp et al - I'm new at this) that I can use, but just want to know the best time.

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Wait to feed them at least until they have the first true leaves (the first pair of leaves you see will be the cotyledons or seed leaves and will look different from the true leaves). The seed provides food for the baby seedling and you don't want to force growth while it's just trying to develop a root system.

When you do start feeding them, be very gentle with it. 1/2 strength or less.

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Lookin great, everyone! =) I found out the hard way about the Jiffy seed starting mix, for sure, this year. It's easier to get water into it if you take like a small, but lengthy nail/screw & puncture the outer rim of it, which allows water to flow into it. This is only necessary if you've already made the mistake of using it for seed starting, like me. ;-) I've already moved my tomato seedlings out of the germination station & will be moving 25 or so pepper seedlings out if it today & tomorrow. So, I think that will be everything. Anyways, on another note (somewhat), the Jiffy mix does have its uses. It contains vermiculite, peat & lime, which are great additions to a permanent potting mix (along with perlite, bark, etc.). So, I am actually still using it, but mixing it into my semi-final potting mix. =)

gix: That's fine...TVG will do. I know it's a long name. ;-)

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Ozark Lady
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Okay, got labels ready for peppers and tomatoes today.

I fill the planting cups half full, and make sure that it wets well for me, prior to planting. This is because, I am notorious for underwatering plants.. I just don't water them enough... :-) I don't cover seedlings at all, I do cover the shoe box so light is excluded. And I place it on top of my refrigerator.

When the seedlings pop up, I will sprinkle a better grade of potting soil around them, to strengthen them, and anchor them better, gradually, I will keep doing this as the plant grows, prevents legginess, and gives them better roots, I think.

Due to needing to repot African Violets, Rex Begonias, and some cactus types, I also bought African Violet potting soil, and a cactus mix.
Once, I get these transplanted, I will mix those in with my other mix. Especially the African Violet mix, it will really help me keep my soil moist.

I tried to find potting mix without fertilizers, that is easier said than done.
I read the labels on some of them... they are high in nitrogen and low on phosphorous and potassium. So, that could explain some legginess folks are experiencing... the big nitrogen bang... makes the plant jump right up there. I like a better balance, or even a little leaning towards more phosphorous and potassium to promote green growth particularly in plants that I am growing for fruit and leaves.

My answer was: I got one with fertilizers, mixed it with the Jiffy (no fertilizers) amended it with a light dusting of bone meal and wood ashes, to get it closer to a balance. I know not needed right now, but these that I added are slow release, so I am giving them a head start.

And I will get the others repotted prior to needing to add soil, and amend this mix with the others, and see what it feels like.
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I brought home some plastic from work. Would it be worth it to lay this out on my garden bed to help warm up the soil? It is frozen solid right now.

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Ozark Lady
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Yep.

To really get the soil warmed. Lay black plasic down... then make a tunnel of clear plastic... it will warm it up sooner, with the double plastic.
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I don't start many plants from seeds there really isn't much need to. I plant about 30 tomato plants very year that is the most expensive thing to buy they are about $3.50 for 6 plants. I may grow tomatoes from seeds this year. I put the trays in a plastic garbage bag to hold moisture when the seeds sprout in about a week I remove the bag and turn on a fan to keep them from getting stem rot. Then I put them outside during the day and bring them in the house at night. In 30 days they are ready to plant in the garden about late April or early May. Not sure its worth it I have to buy composted cow manure in bags and seeds it is a lot of work to save to same $10.

You can throw pea seeds in the snow and when the weather gets right they will grow. Pick the harvest about the time the weather gets warm enough to plant the rest of the garden.

Carrots require about 3 weeks of pretty cold weather other wise the seeds will not sprout. Sprinkle seeds in a row or patch in the garden cover them over with sand.

I never grow anything in my garden that I don't eat a lot of.

I plant corn, okra, bean, squash seeds right in the soil in rows 3 ft apart.

I can't grow a good onion or potato the soil and weather here is not right so I buy those at the store.

When the sweet potatoes in the pantry sprout I plant them in the worse soil spot I have. Lots of gravel and sand I have added some peat moss but it composted away you can't tell the peat moss was every there. Soil is pretty bad weeds have a hard time growing there. Sweet potataos do very well in this spot I planted 4 plants last year and dug up about 25 very large sweet potatoes.

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That is interesting, Gary. I've always heard that sweet potatoes preferred rich, better quality soil.

I've wanted to try sweet potatoes for some time. Do start yours from seed potatoes or slips (shoots that come from the seed potatoes)? How far apart to you space the plants and do they take up a lot of space? I can't seem to find much information on this.

Thanks and good luck with your harvest.
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We have.... germination... so 2010 is up and green...

These were all started 2/21

Today, moved to the light is:

Green Mountain Broccoli, Natale Lopa Broccoli, Waltham 29 broccoli, calabrese Broccoli.

Danish Ballhead cabbage, Golden Acre Cabbage, Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage.

Long Island Improved Brussels, Catskill Brussels.

Early Snowball Cauliflower, Snowball x Cauliflower.

And Pak Choi.

Up in 4 days, no bottom heat, no added water, just in moist soil, in plastic shoebox on top of the fridge.

Now, where am I going to put them? The light is still in the box...
The south window will have to do for now.

Germination percentages look to be better than 67% but I will give them a few days, in case some seed are slow.
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Sounds good OL but have patience, something I don't have. :P I said before I have sprouts just coming up while their direct neighbors are getting the second set of leaves. So take your time, and remind me to do the same. :wink:

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garden5 wrote:That is interesting, Gary. I've always heard that sweet potatoes preferred rich, better quality soil.

I've wanted to try sweet potatoes for some time. Do start yours from seed potatoes or slips (shoots that come from the seed potatoes)? How far apart to you space the plants and do they take up a lot of space? I can't seem to find much information on this.

Thanks and good luck with your harvest.
I had 4 grocery store sweet potatoes in the pantry that were growing sprouts on one end. I cut off the end with the sprout and planted it. Covered it with about 2" of dirt. Sweet potatoes grow a vine that spreads out over the ground. I kept turning the ends of the vine around to make it grow back the other way this kept the 4 plants in a spot about 5 ft circle. You let them grow until frost kills the plant then you grab the vine and pull the potatoes out of the dirt. Then use a shovel to find any potatoes that are still in the dirt. Potatoes are pretty large, much larger than the original grocery store potato.

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Gary350 wrote:
garden5 wrote:That is interesting, Gary. I've always heard that sweet potatoes preferred rich, better quality soil.

I've wanted to try sweet potatoes for some time. Do start yours from seed potatoes or slips (shoots that come from the seed potatoes)? How far apart to you space the plants and do they take up a lot of space? I can't seem to find much information on this.

Thanks and good luck with your harvest.
I had 4 grocery store sweet potatoes in the pantry that were growing sprouts on one end. I cut off the end with the sprout and planted it. Covered it with about 2" of dirt. Sweet potatoes grow a vine that spreads out over the ground. I kept turning the ends of the vine around to make it grow back the other way this kept the 4 plants in a spot about 5 ft circle. You let them grow until frost kills the plant then you grab the vine and pull the potatoes out of the dirt. Then use a shovel to find any potatoes that are still in the dirt. Potatoes are pretty large, much larger than the original grocery store potato.
Thanks for the reply. About what time of year, in relation to your last frost date did you plant them?

A five foot circle is not that much space to take up to get about four dozen sweet potatoes :D. Although I'm going to be crowding the garden this year as it is, I'm already thinking on how I can free-up some more space. Now, let's see; if I put the radishes there, I can move the onions over here, which would give me some open area over here...... :lol:.
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THAT is the perils of pre-season garden planning. It goes something like this:

You had a full day and are just drifting off to sleep when the BEST IDEA for where to plant that vegetable just pops into your head. Your limbs are already limp and your body feels like they grew roots into the bed, so you just turn the thought over in your mind. But gosh darn it, it is an EXCELLENT IDEA. You say to yourself, well, I'll write it down in the morning....

Then your eyes SNAP OPEN. NO! It'll be gone by morning, lost in the recesses of your mind. You have to write it down... no DRAW a diagram, that's it. So the lights go back on, and you're scrambling/scribbling. But! How does this relate to the seed planting schedule? Direct seed or start seeds ahead? Succession planting? What did I grow in that bed last year? How long until maturity? Can something else go in that spot after it's done?

...but all that data is in the computer downstairs. You look down at the notes you've made so far... They're UNBEARABLY incomplete. Gotta get down to the computer and figure out the rest.

... well, now that I'm sitting at the computer, might as well present the question to the HGG Forum, see what everyone else's been up to.... Oh look, the West coast folks are still up and posting away....

Lost sleep.... :roll: :lol:

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I couldn't have said that any better Apple. :lol: I am probably going to wing it somewhat like I am used to. But I will have a basic plan. And yes every night I lay there and TRY to organize everything I have thought about all day.

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I started seeds a bit late(I garden in zone 24 or 10), but some of my cucumbers already are opening true leaves. They sprouted out first. Except West Burr Gherkins - those were slow for some reason, but two out of three already out. Watermelon and peppers are still not out after more than two weeks...I don't want to spend money on heating pad. Is it too cold for them? Tomatoes finally came out, but slowly.
I have some fish emultion - how much per gallon of water should I put in for the seedlings?

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It normally is a tablespoon I believe for a gallon of water. So half that for starters and you might want to wait for them to get to upotting size and maybe a little after that. You want them to get strong on their own first. They are still feeding off the cotyledon, the first leaves. At least that is what I'm gathering so far. I don't fertilize much maybe that is wrong but it's just how I am, maybe I should start. But when I do I go for fish and kelp emulsions.

Sorry just looked my stuff say 1 teaspoon of Fish for transplants. 1 tbl per quart for transplants with kelp but check your stuff it may be different, maybe more or less concentrated than mine.

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JoyF - Welcome to the forum ! It's hard to know if it is too cold for your seeds unless you tell us how cold it is there :) .

But it's a good guess. Peppers need soil temps of 70-75 for germination. So if you have less than that, that's why it is germinating very slowly. Risk of that is if the seeds sit in cold moist soil too long, not germinating, they can just rot, and never germinate.

Your watermelon seeds like it even warmer, around 85.

You don't have to spend a lot of money on fancy seed heat mats. Browse seed starting (Search the forum) and you will find lots of alternatives people use - drugstore heat pads like for back pain, putting the trays over christmas lights, setting it on top of the frig, adding an incandescent light to the lighting set up, just for heat production, water your soil with hot tap water (NOT boiling), etc.

Here's a thread going on now about how to provide heat:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=22059&highlight=

Don't fertilize at least until your seeds have not only sprouted but put out at least one, probably better two pair of true leaves (the first leaves that come are the seed leaves, which look different from the true leaves). You want the baby seedling to focus on establishing a root system, not on growing stems and leaves yet.

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Thank you, guys! I think, it would be the easiest to get a heating pad without automatic shutoff with low setting. Do they have to be for the moist heat too or just waterproof?

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Just waterproof, and they come that way...

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OK, here's one: how do you measure the soil temperature? Do you just stick a regular thermometer in there and let it sit for like a half hour?

Thanks for clearing this one up.
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garden5 wrote:OK, here's one: how do you measure the soil temperature? Do you just stick a regular thermometer in there and let it sit for like a half hour?

Thanks for clearing this one up.
Yes I just picked up a digital that is pretty accurate at Wal Mart for about $5. This one is a whole lot faster than 30 min though. :wink:

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garden5 wrote:
Gary350 wrote:
garden5 wrote:That is interesting, Gary. I've always heard that sweet potatoes preferred rich, better quality soil.

I've wanted to try sweet potatoes for some time. Do start yours from seed potatoes or slips (shoots that come from the seed potatoes)? How far apart to you space the plants and do they take up a lot of space? I can't seem to find much information on this.

Thanks and good luck with your harvest.
I had 4 grocery store sweet potatoes in the pantry that were growing sprouts on one end. I cut off the end with the sprout and planted it. Covered it with about 2" of dirt. Sweet potatoes grow a vine that spreads out over the ground. I kept turning the ends of the vine around to make it grow back the other way this kept the 4 plants in a spot about 5 ft circle. You let them grow until frost kills the plant then you grab the vine and pull the potatoes out of the dirt. Then use a shovel to find any potatoes that are still in the dirt. Potatoes are pretty large, much larger than the original grocery store potato.
Thanks for the reply. About what time of year, in relation to your last frost date did you plant them?

A five foot circle is not that much space to take up to get about four dozen sweet potatoes :D. Although I'm going to be crowding the garden this year as it is, I'm already thinking on how I can free-up some more space. Now, let's see; if I put the radishes there, I can move the onions over here, which would give me some open area over here...... :lol:.
I planted them very late. Wife was going to throw out the sproting sweet potatoes so I got them and planted them about the first week of July. We don't get frost here usually until late October so that is almost 4 months of growing.

Tennessee State University has been doing some research on the addition of gypsum to the soil. In all cases it increases plant growth. They collect sheet rock scraps from constructions sites and till it into the soils. There data shows gypsum has increase the sweet potato crop by 3 times. It was on TV. I did a web search and found it too last Fall.

After reading this link I can see why sweet potatoes did so well where I planted them. The soil is sandy with lots of lime stone gravel. The peat moss I used for compost probably helped to loosen the soil. It is very hot and very dry that may be one reason weeds don't like to grow here but sweet potatoes love it. My herbs like this soil too.

https://www.tropicalpermaculture.com/growing-sweet-potatoes.html

Here is a link I found from Australia https://espace.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:141083

garden5
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Thanks for the reply, Gary. That's really interesting about the lime and gypsum, but I wonder, wouldn't it increase the alkalinity of the soil? I'm not certain about the gypsum, but I know the lime would.
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gixxerific
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Gary both great links and have inspired to go bigger than I wanted to this year whit sweets. I grew them last year for the first time, and they were awesome. I love sweet potatoes but the ones from the garden blow anything I have ever had away. Like the first link said the will take over and choke weeds out as well. Can you say companion planting for weeding issues?

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