tenderloingardener
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Please help with growing marjoram from seeds

Hello garden pros-
I found this thread searching for marjoram seedlings. I finally have a few, and am looking for some advise to increase the likelihood that I can turn these few seed sprouts into a pot or two.

This season I've learned that with tiny seeds that need light to germinate I should rake all the sticks and stuff off of the top. It's made it a bit harder. I put them in a seed flat I fashioned from a deli meat or something container with holes on the bottom, a layer of fine gravel, then seed starting mix combined with a bit of richer potting soil. At first I sprinkled the seeds and then barely covered with a sprinkling of soil. A week or so later I used the rest of my seeds and sprinkled them on top, pushed them in lightly. I keep moist with a misting spray. Now I have a few sprouts I'm worried about them "damping off" or succumbing to a fungal issue. I know these are pretty hardy once established, especially in my area, but I am stuck- I want to get as many up as possible, so I need to keep it moist. I also don't want to murder the few sprouts I have- who knows but that's it?

Maybe start bottom watering? Should I stop putting the lid on them when I put them in my "heat" tank for a few hours at night? I was keeping the lid on the tray in my sunny spot during the day too, but even though the lids are clear I was worried about light exposure. I've been leaving the lid off, but wetting well before the sun comes, then minding them a lot during that time to avoid total dry out- maybe more effort than needed.

Help me out here- keeping in mind that I live in SF and don't have anything more fancy than already described and am not likely to get much in the way of new equipment anytime soon.

If they all die that's it for the season. :-(.

As an aside, have any of you started Feverfew from seed?

Thanks!!
Shawna

Juliuskitty
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Re: Planted seeds!

Shawna, take that lid off the second you see sprouts have that little elbow before the straighten out. And don't use it again! You are just asking for damping off with that kind of humidity. :shock: Do they still need the heat?, it can encourage seed death especially when it is kept wet. Also, once the majority of sprouting has begun, don't mist anymore, you don't want wet leaves. Bottom watering is best then.also if you can get a light breeze from a fan, that will keep air circulating around them which is really helpful to prevent damping off.
The suggestion for next time is start 2 different trays rather than 1 tray 2 times, so that you can manage the seeds that aren't sprouted yet by still misting, because you shouldn't mist a sprouted seedling.
I hope this helps.
My definition of insanity; trying to grow heirloom tomatoes in South Florida!

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applestar
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Re: Please help with growing marjoram from seeds

This topic has been split from the thread into its own thread so we can discuss growing marjoram from seeds. :D

I have only tried growing marjoram from seeds once two years ago. I used a sandy mix (about 1/3 sand) and germinated them in the house at room temperature or with heat mat (I'll have to check). I remember not putting them out in the unheated garage until the temps had settled and no lower than 40's.

Advice to remove the cover is very important one. I lost three just germinated lavender seedlings from waiting too long to remove the cover. It's also important to keep them from drying out after removing the cover because growing medium will dry much more quickly. That transition between covered and not covered is a tricky one and delicate seedlings will be the hardest. Marjoram, I think needs to be kept dryer than too wet.

I should try this again. Marjoram doesn't overwinter outside here, so they need to be started every year or else I need to find the right climate/way to overwinter indoors. Last time, the plant didn't make it indoors due to mite infestation.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Please help with growing marjoram from seeds

You did learn the right lesson - seeds that need light to germinate should not be covered AT ALL. Just press them lightly into moist potting mix so they are in good contact with the soil. Especially if they get light and heating mat, I bottom water and top water these seeds until they have sprouted, because the soil surface and seed can dry out very easily. So I do my usual bottom watering and then also lightly sprinkle water on the seeds. Once they are sprouted, I quit the sprinkling.
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Susan W
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Re: Please help with growing marjoram from seeds

Oh that pesky marjoram! I like it, and one of the herbs I use. As it is a slow grower, and small light leaves, takes a bunch to get even 1/4 oz. I have tried from seed, and get a few going, nothing full and pretty. If you only use some, a $3 start may be more frugal than going through lots of seeds.

I have about 5 pots, 10 & 12", and bring a couple in for the winter. They suffer, sometimes don't make it. In a normal winter can get them out for air some in Jan-Feb. The pots left out usually green up by now. This year gone to marjoram heaven. Sigh. I have one pot that seems to be making it, and staying out now. In short, along with some other things will be buying marjoram starts this season...
Have fun!
Susan

tenderloingardener
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Re: Please help with growing marjoram from seeds

Wow! What an huge help!
I agree, that starting a second tray would be better for a couple of reasons. I made the decision, likely too soon, that the seeds with the very light covering were unlikely to sprout and so I put my remainder on top. I've dubbed this the "sprinkle and press" method. I feel as certain as my lousy lab practice will permit that it is these that have sprouted.
I took the lids off last week or so- I also have a tray of anise hyssop that got flipped. The seed packet was pretty light, so I wasn't able to keep back any $&;/!!?! stash as I usually do.
I would then battle "total dry-out" with my misting bottle- one thing with seeds, but as you've all confirmed, another thing once there are sprouts.
I was putting the lids or plastic (I have a second shallow pot of thyme I'm trying to coax along) when they went into the light box for a few hours after sunset. It's not the right set up at all- but I hoped that the warmth and full spec light might help germinate. I was considering leaving coverings off and watching them better, and you guys have helped me to make that decision. I have 5 thyme seedlings on 2nd or 3rd leaves- from a sprout crop of about 20, which is why I immediately reseeded after moving those out.
I know these will grow well here once established, but they are difficult.
I think I got attached to the lid method because when I was starting Italian parsley I got nowhere- in fact I thought it was a failure, snapped lids on, put them on the fire escape and forgot them- only to find a large number of light reaching long seedlings later. I had to prick them out with a toothpick, but now I have a fantastic pot of parsley.
Of course, it's silly to think you can use the same method for everything, and you all have really helped. Wish me luck- I'm going to operate under the assumption that these 6-8 are it, so I better not murder them with a fungal utopia of an environment!
I murdered a number of thyme seedlings like that. :oops:
It's been interesting growing light- germinating seeds. I found that my poppies (Danish Flag) sprouted much better using the "toothpick trench" method. I have a bad feeling about the feverfew which I put directly into the large pot I intended to keep them in. Too wet and the paper-like seeds rot, too dry and they float away. I'll try again with those- who knows, something may still arise. The Thai basil sprouted with a couple of days once I started them in a small pot. I put the seeds on top, but pressed down. I have such a carpet of them that I'll have to thin them just so they can put out first leaves. I originally put them in with hyssop- half and half- big mistake I won't repeat. :evil: The fact that only one or two of those sprouted in there leads me to believe that the tiny hyssop seeds are just too far down now. I may do an artificial kind of miniature plowing to see if I can get something viable back up in the light. The only place to obtain more seeds is via the Internet- strange, I know.
If none of the marjoram survives, maybe it is more economical to buy a small plant- but SF has become a very strange city. The Farmer's Market doesn't seem to sell the little pots of herbs and tomatoes that it used to-just succulents and depraved looking rose bushes and African violets. One is tempted to rescue the poor dears, but I've got more than enough on my plate.
BTW the first rose of the season is opening thanks to generous help from this forum. If I wind up with any marjoram (which I pick over oregano every time) it will also be thanks to you all.
The good news is that even my failures teach me loads. I do keep notes so that when I manage to do something right I can determine what it was! All of those science classes weren't a waste after all! :)

Thank you again! You are the best!!!
Shawna

Susan W
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Re: Please help with growing marjoram from seeds

I need to back track a bit on the marjoram from seed. I had a 10 coir pellet tray started and doing. The next step is up-potting to 4", and for plants like marjoram stuff 3 pellets in to make some sort of colony. In the mess of this winter cold, was a bit late moving up the ladder. One 4" pot is fine, another about 1/2. There still won't be much to harvest for awhile.
Have fun!
Susan

imafan26
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Re: Please help with growing marjoram from seeds

Marjoram from seeds is a slow process. Once you have an established plant they are easy to propagate from cuttings and for me they root in about two to three weeks.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Susan W
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Re: Please help with growing marjoram from seeds

IFan, your comment made me laugh, or cry! This season looks like I lost 4 of 5 marjoram pots, so not much dividing or stem rooting. Sigh. Either high hopes that something will show green, or crappy weather I haven't dumped the pots into the compost aka enriched dirt pile. Note, if that was the only 'inventory' lost, I'd be on it. Just dealing with what I can, one herb variety, one pot at a time.
Have fun!
Susan

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