Ginger86
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Best seed starter kits

This will be my First time starting seeds indoors and I have no idea what I’m doing... I ordered a heat mat and now i need to get a seed starter kit... I will be trying to start Pepper seeds... I guess the main question is what stater kit should I get? It looks like there are two main players burpee and jiffy... which one is better?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Best seed starter kits

Neither one. Don't bother with a seed starter kit. You don't need it and those ones with peat pots and humidity domes are seedling killers. Both the peat pots and the humidity domes hold in way too much water. Little seedlings are very sensitive to too much moisture and too little air circulation and usually die of fungal diseases.

Here's a thread with basics of seed starting: viewtopic.php?f=48&t=44183

You will need light and your heat mat and some plastic pots and trays. This https://www.greenhousemegastore.com/ is a great source for the pots and trays. They have everything you need at very reasonable prices and they deliver quickly.
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Gary350
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Re: Best seed starter kits

I never buy kits. I buy a 3.3 cu ft bag of peat moss for the bell pepper row in the garden then I use some of the peat moss mixed 50/50 with garden soil to make soil mix to fill plant trays. I fill the plant trays with soil mix then 6 seeds in each then put a dozen plant trays on a cookie sheet & water them. Keep plants warm 75 to 80 degrees is good soon as plants start coming up the trays go outside in real sunlight. We usually have 50 degree weather in the day most of the winter plants do ok with that. When plants are inside the house they need a fan set on LOW speed blowing on them this helps prevent stem rot. Plants go outside every morning to get real sunlight then come inside after dark every day. Get seeds started 4 to 6 weeks before your last frost.

Pepper seeds and tomato seeds are slow to germinate soak them in warm water for 2 days before planting them in soil. These are the only seeds I grow in the house.

Corn, beans, squash, okra, melons, cantaloupe, peas, potatoes, onions, garlic, herbs, seeds all get planted directly in the garden when soil is 65 degrees or warmer.

This year I am not starting seeds in the house. After last frost about April 20 I will soak tomato and pepper seeds in warm water until they start to sprout a small root then plant them directly into the garden.

PaulF
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Re: Best seed starter kits

Plastic trays and plastic insert pots as suggested by Rainbow, and a light set-up (I use fluorescent shop lights...no need for expensive grow lights. Some are switching to LEDs). I use soilless mix for the growing medium because I am too lazy to try and formulate my own. There are seed starting mixes and then repot to soilless mix but I use soilless mix (like Miracle-Gro) for the entire process; those with moisture savers are not a good idea, just get the plain or fertilizer added mixes. Most seeds get direct planted but we are farther north than Gary and we need the extra several weeks for peppers and tomatoes so they get started in March for May planting outside. Once you get started you will see just how easy it is and will be an expert after season or two. Have fun.
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Ginger86
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Re: Best seed starter kits

Thanks everyone for your feedback... I started mine today so we will see how it goes! Thank y’all again

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Best seed starter kits

Glad you got some started. Did you get one of those kits or what kind of set up do you have?

If you have one of those humidity domes, be sure to open it up as soon as the first seeds have sprouted or you will kill your seedlings.
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Ginger86
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Re: Best seed starter kits

I just got the 72 cell trays that’s all my local stores had other than the jiffy kits and I’m using a two bulb shop light I had.. changed out the bulbs to the ones needed... not sure my light is strong enough though or it may be to low... it’s about 8 inches above trays... I have a heat mat under them as well... my plants are leaning in towards the light which make me think it’s not high enough to cover the trays or something like that!

Ginger86
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Re: Best seed starter kits

Here are a few photos...
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applestar
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Re: Best seed starter kits

Yeah, it looks like you have t12’s — the fluorescent tube sizes are in multiples of 1/8 inch, so t8’s are 1” diameter and t12’s are 1.5” diameter. T12’s are least bright and need to be as close as 1”-2” above the foliage. This means 2 tube light fixture is not going to provide wide enough pool of light.

Things you can do to improve the situation
- remove the light tubes and double-side tape something reflective like inside of chip bags or Mylar or aluminum foil to line the reflector if it is not bright white or shiny. You’ll notice the difference right away when you replace the tubes and turn it back on. I have a grey reflector 4-tube light that I always line with Mylar (emergency blanket cut to size).
- You can also extend the existing reflecto — the one you have is a bit narrow — by crafting extensions with lined cardboard or something... or if the reflector is steel, you can use magnets to put up a shiny curtain/tent that drapes from the edge of the reflector to the base of the trays.
- You could also set up a reflective surface by lining the surface the trays are on.
- I also line the walls and underside of shelves above, etc. My “Garage V8 Nursery” is on an old 80’s black and gold lacquer dresser and the big mirror is on the wall to reflect all the lights right back.

...what you are seeing is one of the reasons I don’t like single connected sheet of cells — ones that can be separated can be shuffled around and rotated, so the seedlings are not leaning/reaching in one direction but are made to change directions. Flexing them this way will help strengthen the stems so is not a bad thing, but ideally, the light would be strong enough and evenly distributed so that they grow straight up. — some people will cut them apart anyway, even if they are not made to be.
...I also don’t like to start seeds in them because of the empty cells that didn’t sprout taking up prime realestate under the lights. I think it would be better to start them in something else, then transplant healthy seedlings that are same size in one tray, if using them at all... but even then they might grow at different rates and cause problems later when their heights become uneven and some are too tall while others are too short.

..... out of curiosity, are those blue strips rows of cells covered with masking tape?
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Ginger86
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Re: Best seed starter kits

Thanks, that’s what I was afraid of... I’ve been looking at grow lights on amazon and they are fairly cheap... thought about ordering one of those!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Best seed starter kits

Alternatively, you can just get one of the four tube shop light fixtures and two more fluorescent tubes.

Then it would provide wide enough field of light even when it is close enough to your little plants.

I have the ones like this:
four tube shop light.jpg
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PaulF
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Re: Best seed starter kits

I would suggest you lower the lights down to about an inch above the plants. Keeps them from getting leggy and helps the stems be stronger. As the plants grow, move the lights up to maintain the 1 inch distance. I use a double tube fluorescent shop light without any of the added reflectors like applestar (not that it is wrong, it's just that I don't). The lighting schedule I use is 16 hours on and 8 hours off. This mimics the day/night schedule. During daylight plants collect the energy and during the night the plants use that energy to grow. After the plants get sprouted tomatoes do not need heat, but peppers still need the extra temp. Different plants do better at different temperatures. Good luck and have fun.
Paul F

Ginger86
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Re: Best seed starter kits

After doing a little research sounds like t5 is the way to go... so here is the million dollar question... which one of these should I get? Both are 4ft 4 bulb t5. Or would I be better off getting an 8 bulb or is 8 bulb over kill for what I need? Price wise I would rather go 4 but if 8 would be better I could swing it. Thoughts?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Best seed starter kits

Eight is over kill. You want the one with the chains. The second one is designed to be flush mounted to a ceiling.
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applestar
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Re: Best seed starter kits

I agree. I have the same 4-tube t8 ones as rainbow’s — local big box stores stock them. I use the wire bulb protectors to hang light weight stuff from and tie up plants for support. That one is heavy and unwieldy enough. Can’t imagine what 8-tube would be like. It’s imperative that you can raise and lower the fixture.

I replaced the S-hooks and chains they come with, with somewhat stronger ones.

In my Garage V8 Nursery, upper shelf light is an old 2-tube t12 and a new 2-tube t5 hung side-by-side. T5 side is brighter so I hang the t5 slightly higher, and rotate the plants — part of the “musical plant lights”. When errant seedlings grow taller than the others, I can put them on the t5 side... so there can be an advantage to mismatched lighting set up.


... I have a 2-tube 24 inch one of the one like the 2nd one pictured. It has two heavy-duty wire V-shaped hanging loops on top but you have to figure out/supply your own hanging method. I have mine secured to the upper wire shelf with hooks on bungee strap... actually it’s currently raised and secured with s-hooks. It’s designed with daisy-chain feature so you can plug another one to it for power source. Good for exapanding the set up some day.
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Ginger86
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Re: Best seed starter kits

Thanks yall I ordered the top light and now thinking about ordering a bigger heat mat to cover up to 4 trays... applestar I forgot to reply about the tape... the tape is there to cover empty cells and to work as a divider for different peppers... I wanted to use different tray cells but only ones I found were online and shipping was 17 dollars for them so I just used what I could find locally here in oxford, ms! I’ve almost pulled the trigger on ordering the cells and trays a few times but 17 for shipping seems crazy! Quick question as well should I leave the peppers on the heat mat or is there a point in time I should remove them?

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