Senior Member
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Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:02 pm
Location: Pensacola, FL

Too much water?

Okay, I've never started seeds on flats. I got about 25 seeds that I'm starting in flats, and 3 used milk jugs for the salad mix I'm starting. My question is I think I'm overwatering. I'm 3 days into it and have watered once per day, and I've been basically filling it up and letting the water reside. its been staying damp the whole time really. can overwatering kill a seed before it starts, or can it still start if I quit drowning it?

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Senior Member
Posts: 269
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:54 pm
Location: Toronto, ON, zone 5a

As long as they haven't sprouted yet, seeds are pretty sturdy. Just make sure they don't get moldy and keep them moist but not drenched.

Some seeds actually do better if they are soaked for a period of time. But I don't think salad is one of them...

Full Member
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:25 pm
Location: Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5a)

I don't think it will hurt the seeds directly, but a potting medium that constantly stays wet will lead to problems with the seedlings damping off (fungal infection). I'd say keep watering it that often (maybe a little less), but set up a small fan near your seed trays to get some air movement. That will help prevent disease.

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Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:59 am
Location: spain

I think there are two factors which interven in the seeds start.
The temperature and the humidity.If the seeds have the correctly temperature with a single hydration it is sufficient to germinate.
I put the seeds in a glass with water during 10 hours before to put these in a bowl with soil.I water with a espray only if the soil is totally dry during the germination.

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3748
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

Do your flats have drainage holes and are you bottom-watering, BWhite?

My technique for watering flats is to set the flat (with holes) in a basin that contains a couple inches of water. The soil can soak there for about 30 minutes, then the flat is lifted out of the basin and allowed to drain.

Sometimes, I use flats with no holes under that "holey" flat. I am cautious, however, that all excess water has dripped away before I double up the flats like that.

A single, initial soaking is usually sufficient for the time that it takes for whatever seeds to germinate. Often, that "single soaking" is over several hours. Starter mixes are often very dry coming out to the bag but all excess water is allowed to drain away.


Cool Member
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:36 pm
Location: CT

Picture a sponge. You want the soil to be damp just like a wrung out kitchen sponge. Not too wet nor too dry.

Yes, overwatering can rot seeds and can lead to soil bourne disease. Also, soil temp, soil type and seed depth plays a factor. A sterile, light, airy, soiless mix works best.

Is the soil surface drying out to the point that you need to water everyday? Perhaps you need to cover it in the future to help retain some moisture, not now of course if its too wet. What are you using for a mix?

I find a fine peat/vermiculite starting medium is best for my setup. I use a styrofoam seed starting kit that I bought at least ten years ago. It holds one flat over a 15 watt light bulb that provides bottom heat and included a transparent lid. Works like a charm and cheap to.

You must be running on the cool side because lettuce is normally up in two-three days. I've had tomatoes pop through in 60 hours or less.

You'll get the hang of it. Just hang in there.

Wishing you the best of luck.

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Green Thumb
Posts: 425
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:17 pm
Location: Rhode Island - USA (6B)

I once started growing a sunkist lemon seed, it was doing well... but at the time I didn't have proper indoor lighting to help maintain it.. so eventually it died and that's what lead me to get my plant lights (yet to be changed again from all the good advice I've gotten from this forum!)

my attempt

then again, I don't think lemon trees would really grow in Rhode Island lol - might be better off with a dwarf lemon tree possibly.

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