mossonthemoon
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(Mainly) Herbs from seed - a newbie

Hi, I got a variety of seeds in the post yesterday, and was going to plant them today or tomorrow. I bought a bunch of small peat pots after someone told me they would make it easier for transplanting, but I just read this site, which warns off them. My mother suggested that I could perhaps line them with some plastic wrap (with holes), or similar. Would this be a bad idea? I read about origami pots. Would I be better off making those instead? I am curious as to how they would be with retaining moisture as compared to the peat, which feel like glorified paper pots (although I know that isn't what peat is).

I am also a bit nervous about putting too many seeds in too little a space. I have basil, oregano, thyme, mint, curly cress, rocket, Italian giant parsley, common dill, chives, chives garlic, coriander, dwarf candytuft, Verbena bonaiensis, a "creepy crawly mixture" (a packet intended for children), and giant sunflowers. I plan to have the sunflowers in a large container outside once they sprout, but I'm not sure what to do about the rest as far as number of seeds per x area. Thank you in advance for any advice. I know this shouldn't be difficult, but it has been so long since I have been able to do anything like this that I just need some reassurance.

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PunkRotten
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I use any container that has a lid on it to start seeds. Something like a produce container (that they sell berries in). I poke holes in the top and bottom, add seed starting mix, put a bunch of seeds, water, then put under light.


Once sprouted I let them get a good size (usually a few leaves), then I cut out the ones I don't want.

As for space I would give a square foot to each of these:

basil, curly cress, rocket, chives, chives garlic, coriander

The mint you should keep in a pot. The other plants I am not so sure about so don't know the spacing too well. I think I grew the Italian giant parsley and I gave it a square foot spacing.

mossonthemoon
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Thanks, I will check to see whether I have anything like that at home. The lid is a good idea. As for space, I mean for sowing and per seed, or how many seeds per pot. Is that what you mean? I don't mind moving them for space after, of course.

mossonthemoon
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Most places are closed today, but I just realised (I'm slow right now!) that the trays I bought for the peat pots can work for some of my seeds. I only have two right now, but it's a start. They are about 6" x 8" and 2" deep. Each of my herb seed packs has around 100+ seeds in it. I know this is a really basic question, but could I put an entire packet of and of those seeds in there?

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applestar
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No, no. What you want to do is sow two or three seeds per spot -- not touching -- every inch or so. The distance between individual seeds will depend on the size of the seeds.

Some seed packets will indicate germination rate -- 80%, 66%, etc. If the germination rate is low or if old seeds that may or may not sprout, I might go with 3 or 4 per spot.

You can also try making a "furrow" and sow 1 seed per cm, then thin them based on germination. Space the furrows an inch or more apart. (sorry for mixing the measurements: 2.5 cm....)

You want to avoid their roots tangling together. General rule: if the leaves are touching, so are the roots.

mossonthemoon
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Okay, thanks. I think I have been sent far too many seeds. They don't have germination rates on them, but at over 1000 seeds, I would need nearly 1000 inches square? All I can say is oops! :D I know not all will be successful of course. I'm not sure what I was picturing when I ordered this starter selection pack of herbs!

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applestar
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LOL If you don't foresee yourself thinning them by digging them up and potting them up or clipping them off at soil level (which is surprisingly difficult to do in terms of frugality and brute finality :wink:), and you intend to leave them in the seed starting container until they are ready to plant in their final location (ground or larger conatiners) you actually want to sow the seeds every several inches.... :o

Most seeds will keep for a few years as long as they are kept dry though, their germination rates will go down from year to year. But longevity will depend on the plant and storage method. I think there are discussions about how to store them in the Seed Exchange forum.

mossonthemoon
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I definitely expect to thin them out, but I thought initial sowing and sprouting would be a lot less spread out for some reason. I guess because of the number of seeds sent in each of the herb selection packs that were available.

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rainbowgardener
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It's ok. Most often when you buy seed packets it is more seeds than you can use. Use what you want and save the rest for next year. Put the left over seeds in their packets in a big PAPER envelope in the frig or freezer (it seems to work either way) and use them next year.

some of those, like oregano, thyme, mint are perennials. If they do well, you won't need to replant them next year. You could save the seeds for insurance. If the plants do well, find somewhere / someone to give your extra seeds to.

Check the seed starting basics Sticky at the top of this session for what you will need to grow your seeds, if you are doing it indoors.
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mossonthemoon
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My plan was to sprout them inside and move them outside, but still in containers so I could take them indoors when necessary. My ideal was to have some kind of large muti-plant holding container, like the kind where they come out from tops and sides (if that makes sense), but that seems unlikely now. Maybe I will go for something more trough-like. I'm not sure... I seriously doubt I will get any frost, but our May has been awful so far, and Scotland gets some very bad wind and rain at times.

That's good to know about storing for next year as well. I hadn't thought of that!

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mtmickey
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Re: (Mainly) Herbs from seed - a newbie

mossonthemoon wrote:I plan to have the sunflowers in a large container outside once they sprout
It will need to be a very large container for this to be successful. If at all possible, put the sunflowers in the ground. Sunflowers get a very large root system and need a lot of space for those roots.

mossonthemoon
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Thanks, but I don't think it will be possible. :( I plan to copy my son's nurseries, who do it every year and have lovely flowers all summer. He must have memories of this always happening because sunflowers are the only plant he specifically asked for (he is only three).

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mtmickey
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Give it a try, it never hurts, just use the biggest pot you can find. Maybe even a large plastic tub or something like it. Gotta give the three year old what he asks for, especially when it comes to plants.

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