tedln
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applestar,

My seed starting and onion planting start in Mid January.

The experiemtn is in progress. I should know for myself which is better within a week or two.

Ted
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Duh_Vinci
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Ted,

Nice experiment, tried similar last year, and my results appeared to be similar to yours, all up-potted seedlings indeed had greater vigor. Actually up-potted twice for the earliest varieties.

Regards,
D

tedln
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D,

The up potted plants did so well that I cut them off yesterday and replanted them as short cuttings. I'm hoping to be able to plant them out along with my germinated seedlings in March. I did finally up pot the plants still in the cells to see if it would improve them. It did, and they have also become more vigorous.

At the same time, I was messing with the up potting, I was trying a few different things simply to determine the effects. I was curious about applying fertilizer to seedlings at different stages of growth and if a folliar or root application was better. I then wanted to know if some of the products designed to cause the follier application to stick would effect the leaves in other ways.

Very dilute solutions of fertilizer (miracle grow) at about three weeks did improved the growth rate and it corrected some mineral deficiencies which were becoming apparent in the leaves. The root application seemed to have the quickest and best effect.
The product I used to attempt to assist the fertilizer in the follier application had an interesting effect. The foliage I applied it to developed a very rugose appearance with very bumpy or wrinkled leaves. Leaves which have developed since the application also appear with the rugose effect.

It has been an interesting winter.

Ted
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applestar
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I couldn't help picturing tedln in a lab coat and black gloves with bottle-bottom glasses (and bald) -- as in Bugs Bunny cartoons' mad scientist.... LMFAO

garden5
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Ted, this is a great experiment!

Part of me wishes I'd found it sooner but I'm glad I didn't since I'd be in constant anticipation of the outcome!

I've wanted to do an experiment like this all year, but didn't have the time or else forgot.

Anyway, I grow all of my plants in 72 cell trays because I only have one light and like a lot of plants :roll:. However, I know that by the time I plant them out, they are root bound and only about 4 or 5 in. high. The peppers were even smaller.

If you've noticed my postings about wanting a greenhouse for seed-starting, than you how I'd like to be able to up-pot LOTS of plants (without the increase in electric bill that comes with more lights)

I'd been wondering just how much bigger the seedlings would get by being up-potted and you certainly answered that question.

Now, I do have a few more questions and I'm wondering if anyone can lend their experiences with them.

1. Did plating larger, up-potted tomatoes vs. smaller, cell-grown tomatoes really make much difference? That is, did the bigger ones produce earlier and more overall, or did the small ones catch up (as different sized plants oftentimes do) and produce the same?

You'll have to continue this experiment, Ted, when you plant your garden and let us (me) know :wink:.

2. Is there a difference in size between plants planted in a smaller cell and then up-potted and plants that were just planted in the bigger pot to begin with?

3. All of the above....but for peppers! I noticed that my pepper plants went into the ground fairly small (3 or 4 in.) and occasionally root-bound. last year and while they did put out a good harvest, I can't help but think that they could have done better.

As peppers seem to be a little slower growing and less vigorous than tomatoes, I'm wondering if up-potting them would yield as noticeable results as with the tomatoes?

Keep us posted with the experiment :)!
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wordwiz
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I mass sow seeds in plastic to-go restaurant trays. Once they get 2-3" tall, I re-pot them, last year into 3" and 2" containers, burying them to their bottom leaves. In six weeks time, they are plenty large enough to transplant.

For a potting mix, I love Ferti-lome Ultimate. It's not real easy to find, but not impossible.

Mike

tedln
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Garden5,

This little inquiry is over. I think it answered the questions I was curious about. For me, it demonstrated plant growth is accelerated by up potting at an early stage with no other changes to the environment. Equally important, it demonstrated plant growth could be retarded by not up potting. The information gained from the second question allows me to plant seed as early as I choose, nurse the seedlings through the cotyledon stage insuring good germination; and start a rapid growth phase by up potting when I choose. I'm currently growing my spring garden in thirty six cell flats which are 3 1/2" deep. I don't plan on up potting unless I see growth retardation greater than I want. The up potted plants grew almost double the rate of the non up potted plants. The higher growth rate produced taller plants with stems that possibly will not with stand our spring winds as well as the shorter, sturdier; non up potted plants.

Many people have commented in the past their observations that when short, sturdy plants are planted in the garden at the same time as taller plants; the short plants quickly catch up. I'm going to make that comparison in my spring garden by up potting a few plants before planting them out in the garden.

I also learned that tomato plants are tough little plants with a built in determination to ignore abuse and simply grow. I purposely abused the plants to see how they would react. They always seemed to ignore my efforts and keep growing.

Ted
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Jalopy19
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I want to make sure I understand one concept here. Would it be better for starting seeds in your estimation to start in a small pot then transplant or would it be better to start in the larger pot without transplanting? I think these are all cool experiments.

I would like to know because in the past I only have one year seed starting experience. Frankly I think last year I started too soon and in peat pellets which were too small. This year I have decided to try to start fewer plants (primarily peppers and tomatoes) in larger pots to start with. I am thinking of starting things out in 3 inch peat pots (then removing the peat pot upon transplanting because the roots never seem to make it through them).

I would appreciate any help.
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tedln
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I think you get the most consistent, good results by germinating in small containers in high quality, sterile soil; about eight weeks before you plan on planting out in the garden. The newly germinated seedling should be up potted to a larger container after they develop their first true leaves. I don't recommend the use of peat pots for germinating, but some people get good results with them.

I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking what I do is the right way. I believe it works for me because I'm interested in germinating many varieties at the same time. I want to delay development and growth of the germinated seedlings until I have good germination of all the varieties. If I have about four weeks left after all varieties have germinated, I will probably not up pot. If I only have three weeks or two weeks left before plant out, I probably will up pot to accelerate growth. My goal is to have seedlings about 8" tall with heavy foliage when I plant them out.

I'm still new at starting from seed and just enjoy trying different things.

Good luck.

Ted
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rainbowgardener
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I germinate seeds in the little cells and then up pot them. There are a lot of reasons for this, including that I am germinating a lot of seeds. I start most of them on a heat pad because except for the cold weather crops, they germinate a lot better that way. But I refuse to run more than two heat pads, so the little seedlings have to come off the heat pads as soon as they have true leaves, to make room for more seeds to be sprouted. So everything has to be really crowded at first, to get all those seeds germinated.

I don't use peat pots, for sprouting or growing. Most of my seedlings stay under the lights for two months, some a little more, some a little less. They sit in trays and are watered from the bottom, by pouring water in the tray. Peat pots get all moldy sitting in water like that. They tend to hold too much water in which can ruin the seedlings and if they finally start drying out, they wick water away from the plants. You are better off using plastic drink cups or plastic pots.
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Jalopy19
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That is a really interesting idea! I like the concept of using small plastic cups. I think in the past I have had problems with water retention issues. Of course I will have to do some drilling to get the holes right. I could even use clear ones and see once the roots make it that far. Really cool idea. Thanks.
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tedln
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Okay, here is what I am doing with my home made germinating bench. I use four 6500 K, daylight bulbs. So far, I've had good luck germinating the seed with the trays considerably below the lights. I do have reflective material on three sides of the table and I guess it helps prevent the seedlings from getting leggy reaching for the light.

(Click photos to enlarge)

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/IMG_2693.jpg[/img]

These seedlings will eventually be my spring tomato garden. There are thirty varieties planted. Each variety is planted in two cells with two seeds in each cell. The weaker of the two plants in each cell will be removed, leaving one plant in each cell. Each cell is 3 1/2" deep and my intent is to not up pot them unless I feel I need faster growth. The seedlings have just begun adding foliage and seem to be on track to be eight inches tall around March one.

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/IMG_2697.jpg[/img]

I'm also growing a few plants in expanding coir pellets to see how well they do. So far, they are doing well. They were planted a couple of weeks after the seedlings in the cells. I also am not planning on up potting them.
My intent is to remove the netting from each seedlings root ball and plant them into hanging baskets as gifts at the appropriate time.

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/IMG_2695.jpg[/img]

Ted
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DoubleDogFarm
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Wow! Looking good Ted.


Eric

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GardenRN
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Love the experiment! Wish I had caught this thread a while ago, I'm not sure how I missed it. I was wishy washy on up potting myself, but now I think I'll definitely go for it!

Those peat pellets that say the netting is biodegradable are full of poop. I still find them in my garden from two years ago. They may break down, they just don't tell you it'll take 20 years!

Thanks for the photos and a good experiment! I think I'll up pot but plant deeper every time.
Jeff

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Failure is only a fact when you give up.

Jalopy19
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I also had bad luck regarding the peat pellets and their casings. Certainly wouldn't recommend them.
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tedln
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Jeff,

Up potting is probably your best choice if your wanting to maximize growth. I want to limit growth to about 8" until plant out.

In the photo with the seedlings in the netted pellets, one type has an open bottom so the roots can grow out the bottom. The other type is totally enclosed and I know I will remove those nets. I haven't decided on removing or not removing the nets with the open bottoms. I'll make the decision when I plant them.

Ted
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Jalopy19
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I can't decide if I want to start small and up-pot, or just start in a larger pot.
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DoubleDogFarm
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I can't decide if I want to start small and up-pot, or just start in a larger pot.
I would like to encourage you to up-pot. Like said, many times before, it gives you a chance to plant deeper if leggy. Also you can start 50 or more plants in a open tray, then prick and transplant. How will you grow fifty plants in large pot? GMHO.

Eric

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GardenRN
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Ted,
Since the roots spread out in all directions, I'd remove any of the netting. The ones I used were the open bottoms as well and the plants I used them on last year didn't do so hot. I blame it on the pellets/netting.

BUT, as usual I will say, different strokes for different folks. Do your own experiment and if that's what works for you, roll with it! I'm enjoying watching all of your results. Keep up with the great pics too!!
Jeff

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Failure is only a fact when you give up.

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GardenRN
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ok, I'm adding to the experiment. I am doing the same with one of my basil plants. I took it out the same way you did, lifting by the leaves and, as hard as it was for me to do, letting some of the roots break off in the process. Here's to seeing what happens!!

[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v687/grnpez/Photo02091938.jpg[/img]

Ugh, I felt so bad feeling those little roots breaking beneath my fingers
[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v687/grnpez/Photo02091938_1.jpg[/img]

[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v687/grnpez/Photo02091939.jpg[/img]
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

DoubleDogFarm
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What is that saying? Ah, no pain no gain. :>

Eric

tedln
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I wanted to give a little update on my "up potting" experiences. I planted 36 varieties of tomatoes in cells on Jan 2. They have now been under fluorescent lighting for about six weeks. Since my goal was to limit plant height instead of maximizing plant height while under lights, I decided to not up pot my seedlings. After six weeks under lights, my seedlings are 4" to 6" tall. Since I plan on planting out around March 1. I moved my seedlings outside to harden off in a mini greenhouse I constructed. I expect them to be about 10" tall around March 1.

My greenhouse is constructed to allow me to totally enclose the plants if the weather turns cold or leave one side open for ventilation in warm weather.

(Click photo to enlarge)

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/2011%20Garden/IMG_2702.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/2011%20Garden/IMG_2706.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/2011%20Garden/IMG_2701.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/2011%20Garden/IMG_2700.jpg[/img]

Ted
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DoubleDogFarm
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I like it, I like it a lot!

I may get my tomatoes started this week. :(


Eric

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