Seed germination

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zeeshan112
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Seed germination

Post by zeeshan112 »

Hello friends

I have often seen that seeds are sown first in a small container and then after they germinate they are potted in a larger pot. I wanted to know that why one cannot sow the seeds directly into large pots rather than having the need to repot it again?

Thanks

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Seed germination

Post by rainbowgardener »

Several reasons. Probably most important, it is difficult to manage water/ moisture that way. Watering seeds/ seedlings is tricky and the commonest reason they die. Seeds/seedlings cannot be allowed to dry out; with little to no root systems they die if they dry out. But they are very sensitive to over watering. The large amount of soil in a big pot holds too much water and stays wet too long.

Other reasons: If you are starting seeds under lights, the small pots work better. Many seeds need heat for germination. Those of us that do a lot of seed starting have heat mats for providing bottom heat. But that doesn't work with large pots. When you sow seeds, you usually get a bunch of seedlings crowded. Transplanting, you can pick the best, strongest seedlings and move them to just where you want them. Some seedlings really benefit from transplanting, especially tomatoes. When you transplant tomato seedlings, plant them deeper than they were before and they will grow roots all along the buried stem, giving them a better root system.

Doesn't mean it is impossible to start seeds in a big pot and thin them out later, by cutting the extra off at the base. Just that it can be a little tricky, and more difficult to manage, especially for people that start a lot of things from seed. (For many years, I started about 500 plants each year from seed.)
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imafan26
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Re: Seed germination

Post by imafan26 »

If you are starting seeds indoors, you should wait 6 weeks before your set out date. Plants need to be hardened off to outside conditions before they are planted in the ground or in larger pots outside.

There are some plants that are better planted in their permanent location rather than transplanted as seedlings. Things with taproots or very fine roots like carrots are better planted in place and thinned instead as they can be difficult to transplant.

Plants in pots and soil in pots act differently from plants or soil in the ground. In a pot you have to be more careful with watering. If you have a large soil volume in relationship to roots, the plants are likely to rot if they are overwatered. In the ground the soil stays more evenly moist and has a larger area to draw nutrients and water from.

I have planted beans and peas in a large pot. I sometimes plant beans and snow peas as a rotation for the tomatoes. I can direct sow those but I still use potting soil and I premoistened the soil so it is evenly moist before I plant. Beans and peas are fast growers so they are better direct planted anyway. My pots are outside and so they drain and dry fast and I know how much to water them.

Seeds are very sensitive to moisture and light. Some seeds need light to germinate while others must germinate in darkness. Moisture must be even but not waterlogged. Seeds that dry out will die. Seeds in waterlogged conditions will rot.
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zeeshan112
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Re: Seed germination

Post by zeeshan112 »

This was really very helpful and insightful, thanks so much rainbowgardener and imafan26 :)

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Re: Seed germination

Post by PaulF »

I know of a few people who allow their seedlings to stay in the original pot and they feel they are OK. Here are my reasons for repotting: first, since I start multiple plants in the containers, they need to be put into individual growing pots. Secondly, in order to encourage better root growth and general health and strength of the plant, when the seedlings are removed from their initial growing medium the small root hairs are disturbed and broken off on the ends. This damage, however slight and seemingly inconsequential, sends a message to the plant that the root damage must be repaired and strengthened for survival of the system. The next and most important growth of the seedling is in the root system. First the roots grow, then the rest of the plant can continue, with the stem and then leaves. After the individual plants are hardened off and are ready to be put into their final home, the garden, I still shake off the growing medium, damage the end hairs of the roots a little and replant. The damage control message from the plant is to regrow and strengthen the root system first.

In trials over the years I have had both methods side-by-side and the difference is amazing. Not only are the re-potted plants stronger and healthier, they produce more, too. While the difference in production is not readily noticeable, there is a difference, but re-potted plants are healthier and stronger sooner. Disease resistance has never been a problem for me, but the next test would be to see if there is better resistance one way or the other. My guess is that healthier plants remain disease free longer.

Besides that, I just love getting up close and personal with the plants I grow and re-potting into individual pots is part of the fun.
Paul F

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Seed germination

Post by rainbowgardener »

When starting seeds on heat mats, that means the space is very limited. To get the most use of my mats, I start things very crowded. Then once they have a couple pair of true leaves, they have to come off the mats, and be spread out into their own little pots. Then I start more seeds on the mat.

But very good answer from Paul F.
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digitS'
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Re: Seed germination

Post by digitS' »

You can think of the plant as a "wick" in the soil. The movement of moisture makes for healthy soil organisms. Or, at least, healthy for most garden plants.

The seedling is a tiny wick. It can only contribute to the movement of a small amount of moisture if it is in a large volume of soil.

Steve
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imafan26
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Re: Seed germination

Post by imafan26 »

I usually start my seeds in community pots because they take up less space and I don't have to any empty cells taking up space I could put to better use. You do have to make sure if you start seeds this way, that they are uppotted when the seedlings are large enough but not so big that they cannot be separated easily. That would lead to more root damage as Paul said. Leaving plants crowded in a small pot or even a single plant in a small pot too long can adversely affect the outcome. Vegetables and annuals usually have to continuously grow. Anything that checks their growth will lead to stunting and less production in the end. Plants that are potted up at the right time, can have almost no setback and they grow vigorously and are more productive than plants that have experienced stunting. Severe stunting sometimes is never recoverable.
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zeeshan112
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Re: Seed germination

Post by zeeshan112 »

Thank you!! This was very helpful!

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