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PunkRotten
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On the site wintersown.com they use containers with lids and put this out during the winter and say it does a great job of germinating the seeds. The seeds pop on their own when it is time and your plants get hardened off better this way.

Tonio
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cynthia_h wrote: This public service announcement brought to you by a mod who has seen way too many seedlings needlessly killed by the use of "moisture domes," and way too many new gardeners discouraged by same. :(

Thank you.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9
+100 , get that dome off as soon as the seed comes up !! :D

I prop the dome a tad to let some air circulate for germination, then remove it when they come up.

T
San Diego / Z10
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GardenRN
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Bobberman wrote:Since I buy like 20 for the same price as 5 from lowes its better for me. I simply put a sheet of plostic on the top till the seeds emerge. I put 4 flats together with one sheet of clear plastic to keep in moistue! For broccoli , cabbage brussele sprouts or peppers the smaller cubes are great but for tomatoes or zucks or any vine crop I prefer the 48 cells!
Its nice to have the 72 because then you can cut out a few from a corner and it makes watering them easier. Just pour some water down into the bottom tray and let it wick up.

I didn't get to read all the responses, just wanted to throw my 2 cents in. But keep in mind, one problem you may have with starting several different varieties of seeds in the same domed tray is that different veggies have different germination time. Usually you leave the dome on until they pop out of the dirt and take it off to avoid mold and damping off. But if you have, for example, tomatoes and cukes in the same tray, when they sprout can be a week or more apart.
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Failure is only a fact when you give up.

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GardenRN
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lol....that was definitely heartfelt cynthia! And while I do see the inherent dangers of damping off, I have been quite lucky. I have had quite a good run with the cell packs and domes. I have been very good though, about removing the dome when about 1/3 of the seeds have sprouted and letting it to a good bit of drying out. I'll use mine again, cautiously.

Would using a sterile seed starting mix and purified water prevent, or at least slow down damping off? Or is it strictly from the amount of moisture.
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

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Peat moss deters damping off! Most potting mixes have it in!
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soil
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I have the 72 cell tray, actually twenty of them. Along with a 120 cell, 200 cell. I love them all. I highly recommend the support trays that go under them, otherwise with soil they get heavy and crack when you try to pick them up. I use them for everything from propagating cuttings to veggie seeds to tree seeds.
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GardenRN wrote:lol....that was definitely heartfelt cynthia! And while I do see the inherent dangers of damping off, I have been quite lucky. I have had quite a good run with the cell packs and domes. I have been very good though, about removing the dome when about 1/3 of the seeds have sprouted and letting it to a good bit of drying out. I'll use mine again, cautiously.

Would using a sterile seed starting mix and purified water prevent, or at least slow down damping off? Or is it strictly from the amount of moisture.
Damping off is carried in the air, to my knowledge. I've had seedlings go down to it while planted in native soil, raised-bed mix (Mel's mix and also my "improved Mel's mix"), and potting soil/compost mixtures in seed-starting, 2- to 3-inch pots. None of them were under moisture domes, but I live in a climate which can have fog most months of the year. :(

Cynthia

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So you are saying you are in a fog all of the time! Just kidding!.Damping off seems to occur more ofen when the plants are weak or are not getting enough light. Weak plants can't fight off fungas as much! So I think what you say is right the damping off disease is in the air and effects weak or over watered plants more often! Peat moss gets dry on the surface and that may be what protects the plant stems!
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cynthia_h
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Bobberman wrote:So you are saying you are in a fog all of the time! Just kidding!.Damping off seems to occur more ofen when the plants are weak or are not getting enough light. Weak plants can't fight off fungas as much! So I think what you say is right the damping off disease is in the air and effects weak or over watered plants more often! Peat moss gets dry on the surface and that may be what protects the plant stems!
1) Please don't shout at me with exclamation points.

2) Seedlings are, by their very nature, weak. They are the plant equivalent of infants. We wouldn't expect infants to fight off, say, the flu or something else, so we protect them as best we can. Same with seedlings: we protect them as best we can by giving them the best conditions we can provide. However, as every gardener knows, Mother Nature has the last say, and in my climate (and perhaps others?), it's simply not possible for every planting cycle to be successful.

Cynthia

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rainbowgardener
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In my experience potting soil with peat moss does NOT deter damping off. The nature of peat moss and why they put it in potting soil is to hold moisture. Holding moisture is what creates conditions favorable to damping off. And it is not my experience that damping off only happens to "weak" seedlings (except in the cynthia sense that all seedlings are weak and vulnerable) or that it has anything to do with lack of light. I've posted pictures of my set up. My light tubes run cross ways of my seedling trays so 4 tubes cross one tray, 3" above the plants and on for 16 or 17 hrs a day. And I have still had some get damped off at times.

In my experience damping off relates only to two things: amount of moisture and amount of air circulation. One thing about my set up, all those lights down that close to the trays makes for limited air circulation. I really need to get a little personal fan to move some air around. I think that would help alot. I somehow never manage to do that, because they only sell those little fans in the summer and then I'm done with seed starting and not thinking about it :)

But in the meantime since I started keeping a little cinnamon and chamomile in the pitcher of water I water with, I no longer have trouble with fungus gnats or damping off.
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PunkRotten
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I am thinking about getting this to start my seeds https://www.amazon.com/Gardman-R687-4-Tier-Mini-Greenhouse/dp/B000NCTGQE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325962439&sr=8-1

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Those are pretty good, just watch the temp depending on where you put it- as it can get pretty warm in there with direct sunlight.

I just assembled mine this past weekend. I will be using it for hardening off seedlings and misc started plants. Just trying to find the best location as the sun angle really weird now.
I'll be putting a thermometer in there to test the temps.
T
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PunkRotten
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Can I use this exclusively for starting seeds?

Bobberman
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When peat moss gets dry water runs right off of it and so I think it protects the surface from damping off plants! peat moss under the surface may hold more moisture since the air does not hit it directly! makes sense to me!
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Tonio
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PunkRotten wrote:Can I use this exclusively for starting seeds?
Should be OK, YMMV but I started arugala and some others I can't remember years ago. I made the mistake then and kept them in there and when it got hot out, they fried. So may want to move them out soon after seeds emerg, or change the amount of direct sunlight it gets. You can ventilate to a degree since it has a zippered opening. Obviously the top shelf would get hotter than the bottom.

Toms, peppers- really can't vouch if will work, it needs to be about 75F+ to germinate. May bee too cool @ night.


I suppose opening it would give some wind exposure for the minor hardening off the seedlings may need prior to transplanting in ground. You still may need a hardeneinig off period.
Thats always the hard part for me - hardening off. Working hours prohibits getting progressive sunlight - how do you folks do it away at work?

T
San Diego / Z10
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PunkRotten
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I was doing some readin about the pros and cons to some of those mini greenhouses. And a lot of people said things like the plants can get mold, dampen off, fry etc if kept zipped up. Soem other people said a solution is to leave open/ventilated during the day and then zip up at night.

This is once the plants are up. I was thinking that since they are outdoors they would get hardened off on their own.

Tonio
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Well yeah..

open during the day so it don't cook, then close at night- lower temps, protect em !

Its still a enclosed ( even if partially :wink: ) structure. It does change the ambient nature of being totally outside & in ground/pot. Damping off, mold is of course possible- in or outside. Its all related to all things considered.

BTW man, Amazon raised the prices? Your link had a higher price when I got a new one late last year- my old one- the plastic covering is starting to disintegrate around the zipper stitching and such-guessing about 5 years old.
Suppose everyone's itching grow eh?

T
San Diego / Z10
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Tonio
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PunkRotten wrote:
This is once the plants are up. I was thinking that since they are outdoors they would get hardened off on their own.
oops, forgot about this...

Good question! Not sure, can anyone confirm? It is enclosed even in a partial manner.

I'd say the only way to now is ,try it. Its all about the situation and microclimate and what you provide as a means of growing the plants since man(us) is manipulating the germinating/growth in some degree. So , for us its a matter of frugal expenditure vs what we can afford for our benefit, no?

Share with us which ever way you go, and experience. IMO, that's where the fun is-learning from our mistakes and successes.


T
San Diego / Z10
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PunkRotten
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At first I was going to use newspaper pots and take them outdoors during the day then indoors at night. But I was thinking instead of all that work, I could use containers to make mini greenhouses. They have a site called wintersown.com that shows you this.

The problem is that with the mini greenhouse containers you can only fit so much soil, or they can only allow a plant to go so high before you have to transplant to something else.


But if I bought the mini greenhouse I linked it would be the same thing kinda and would leave out some hassle. and I don't mind the cost. Plus I could reuse it. I happened to see that same mini greenhouse from the amazon link at lowes the other day. I may pick it up from there.

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I start most of my plants in 4 to 5 inch deep syrofoam grape boxes wih 4 or more inches of mixed dirt and potting soils .I leave the plants get about 4 inches to 6 inches before I put them into flats with 24 cells or I put them in 6 inch pots! i thin them in the grape boxes and leave several dozen get a foot high that I plant directly into the garden! I do this with pepper tomatoes and even some flowers! The deeper soil does not dry out as fast as shallow containers and i get nicer root development!
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Tonio - Re Working hours prohibits getting progressive sunlight - how do you folks do it away at work?

I do it mostly with where I put the plants. I have a long planter bench on my deck. I start by putting the plants out UNDER the bench before I leave for work. They get no direct sun there, but some indirect light and are protected from wind. They come in when I get home from work. Once they are used to that then they come out from under the bench, but sit in the back corner of the deck next to the house, where they get only a little bit of direct sun and are still protected. Then they can go to the front of the deck or on top of the planter bench, where they will get some hours of morning sun and less protection. Once it's warm enough and they are hardened enough that they are not coming in at night and they are adapted to the morning sun/less protection, then they get moved to a similar location to where they will be, but still in pots, so if need be, they can be brought back to protection. If they are doing fine that way, then they get planted. This process takes at least a week, often more depending on how much the weather cooperates.
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rainbowgardener wrote:Tonio - Re Working hours prohibits getting progressive sunlight - how do you folks do it away at work?

I do it mostly with where I put the plants. I have a long planter bench on my deck. I start by putting the plants out UNDER the bench before I leave for work. They get no direct sun there, but some indirect light and are protected from wind. They come in when I get home from work. Once they are used to that then they come out from under the bench, but sit in the back corner of the deck next to the house, where they get only a little bit of direct sun and are still protected. Then they can go to the front of the deck or on top of the planter bench, where they will get some hours of morning sun and less protection. Once it's warm enough and they are hardened enough that they are not coming in at night and they are adapted to the morning sun/less protection, then they get moved to a similar location to where they will be, but still in pots, so if need be, they can be brought back to protection. If they are doing fine that way, then they get planted. This process takes at least a week, often more depending on how much the weather cooperates.
Thanks RBG. Its been awhile since I set out seeldings for hardening off. My garden is on the north side, and I forgot to take notes last early spring on the sun cast. I think I can deal with that, but can get windy. Normally we can get some gloomy springs , so hopefully it should be doable.
T
San Diego / Z10
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nedwina
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I mostly use 128 cell trays with fine germination mix. I've never had a damp off problem. Maybe because there's so little soil to stay soggy and the triangular shape drains nicely. They're not labor saving though-you have to water more often & the seedlings have to be potted up into 3 or 4 inchers (or into cups or whatever) after they reach an inch and a half or so.

I like 'em because you can start alot in a small space and you don't need tons of expensive germination mix. I use an artist's palette knife to lift 'em out.

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I just bought a Hydrofarm 72 cell germination kit. It came with the greenhouse lid, and heat mat included. I wish I had seen this thread before I had made a final decision on purchasing it.:? I don't want to give up on it before I've even tried it.

The kit came with azos(azospirullum brasilense), and mycorrhizal powder. The lid does have a vent at the top so that extensive moisture does not build up. Should I just leave the lid completely off to prevent fungal infections? And if I do leave the lid off, how do I keep the cells hydrated? Won't the heat mat dry them out?

The kit says you can use your favorite growth medium, or starter cubes. There's so many opinions here about soil on these kits. What growth medium is recommended?

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Should I just leave the lid completely off to prevent fungal infections? And if I do leave the lid off, how do I keep the cells hydrated? Won't the heat mat dry them out?

I don't use covers at all, but especially with the vent, you can use it while the seeds are germinating. I would still take it off once some seeds have sprouted. Yes the cells do dry out faster with the heat mat. But the idea of the cells in trays is you can bottom water. Just put some water in the bottom of the tray and let the soil soak it up. So I just give the ones on the heat mats a little more water. But once a day is still generally enough, just don't have to be quite so sparing. The ones not on the heat mat don't necessarily get watered every single day, depending on how damp they seem.
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tremuloides
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Probably a bit off of the topic but new to the site and wanted to chime in....

Once your seeds have started and you want to "up-pot" them from the starter packs, I have found that the SOLO plastic cups work great.

I use blue painters tape on each cup and place the variety and the date of "up-potting" on it. I also am certain to drill little holes in the bottom of the cup so that water does NOT stay in the bottom.

The only DISADVANTAGE that this has is that the roots tend to slope slightly inward. It really is not that much of a disadvantage because the slope is not dramatic and they do not stay in these very long at all.

The benefit of this for me is that they (the plastic cups...get em at the dollar store or online or even at Wally World) are reusable over and over again.

Be sure to wash them in a light bleach solution as mentioned earlier as to kill of any spores/mold/etc that may be in your planting medium.

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