pointer80
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Question about seed watering and germination

Hello everyone, I have a question about my seed starts. My seeds are starting to sprout but I still have about half not sprouted yet(mostly peppers and onions). It's been about 9 days since I planted eggplant, peppers(7 kinds), leeks, and onions. One thing I am noticing is the cells are drying out at different rates for some reason. I mean some still seem fairly moist while others in the same flat seem pretty dry. One question is can a seed dry out for a short period, like overnite and still be alright as long as you water it the next day? Also out of 24 Jimmy Nardello pepper seeds only 2 have sprouted so far. Like I mentioned I have quite a few peppers already sprouted so I assume everything is ok with my setup. Do some peppers of the same variety germinate at different rates? I hope I am not wearing out my welcome with so many questions but I just want to be as knowledgeable as possible. Thanks all.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Question about seed watering and germination

Yes, any time you plant a bunch of seeds, all of the same variety in the same conditions, they will sprout at different times over a period of at least a few days and sometimes longer.

It is an evolutionary adaptation. If a plant were to drop a group of seeds and they all sprouted at the same time, if that day happened to be very unfavorable--scorching hot or a hail storm or whatever-- that whole generation of offspring would be wiped out. By programming them to sprout at different times, it increases the odds that at least some of them will survive.
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pepperhead212
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Re: Question about seed watering and germination

Good point by rainbow about the evolution causing the different germination times. Also, 9 days really isn't sthat long for pepper seeds to germinate. It has been 7 days since I planted 18 varieties of peppers, and so far only 5 varieties have germinated, and that is at between 85 and 90º. I assume that you are using a heat mat, or other warm area, since at room temp you probably wouldn't have gotten any to germinate yet! And a heat mat can dry pots out fast, unless you cover them. What size pots are you using? As to your question, whether they can survive a drying out, that depends on how deep it has sent down a tap root , and how deep the drying goes down. They are very sensitive at this stage, and you should do something to prevent this. I sprout my peppers in a covered tray with strips of vermiculite, always kept moist, and remove them to larger pots under the lights. Also, are you using a soilless mix that you've used before, with success? I ask this because I had two varieties in the past that dried out so fast that I had to water them twice a day! Yet, they were labeled as seed starting mix!
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applestar
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Re: Question about seed watering and germination

Because of the small volume in each cell, slight difference can cause variations. One possible cause which I mentioned in your other thread is whether the table/bench/shelf is level. Other possibilities include light, air currents, how evenly the cells were packed, how evenly the medium was blended, etc. any that have sprouting/growing seedlings will dry out faster.

There may be difference in the condition of the seeds even from same packet.

This is why, like pepperhead212, I prefer to start the seeds then transplant/uppot same/similar growth seedlings together. I really don’t like cells ending up with empties that are taking up prime space on the heatmat and under the lights.

There is a critical point when sprouted seeds are susceptible to drying out. But as long as you are not talking about BONE DRY they should be OK. It IS a good idea to check on your seedlings at least twice a day — morning and at night before lights out.
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pointer80
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Re: Question about seed watering and germination

pepperhead212 wrote:Good point by rainbow about the evolution causing the different germination times. Also, 9 days really isn't sthat long for pepper seeds to germinate. It has been 7 days since I planted 18 varieties of peppers, and so far only 5 varieties have germinated, and that is at between 85 and 90º. I assume that you are using a heat mat, or other warm area, since at room temp you probably wouldn't have gotten any to germinate yet! And a heat mat can dry pots out fast, unless you cover them. What size pots are you using? As to your question, whether they can survive a drying out, that depends on how deep it has sent down a tap root , and how deep the drying goes down. They are very sensitive at this stage, and you should do something to prevent this. I sprout my peppers in a covered tray with strips of vermiculite, always kept moist, and remove them to larger pots under the lights. Also, are you using a soilless mix that you've used before, with success? I ask this because I had two varieties in the past that dried out so fast that I had to water them twice a day! Yet, they were labeled as seed starting mix!
Yes I am using heat mats. I am using a different soil mix this year from a local company that is very popular around here. I am also using the 72 cells per tray inserts

pointer80
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Re: Question about seed watering and germination

Thanks all, One thing I have notice is that the temp on top of the soil below the lights is getting about 90 degrees. I am using 4 foot T-12 6500K shop lights,

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Question about seed watering and germination

That is very hot and means that the soil will dry out very fast. I also know that planting in the small cells and having them on heat mats, they dry out very fast. You may need to move your lights a little farther away, if they are giving off a lot of heat. I do all bottom watering for seed starting/growing-- all the cells are in trays and I just pour a little water into the bottom of the tray, just enough to reach the bottom of the cells so they can wick it up. But for the ones on heat mats, I often have to add water twice a day.
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pointer80
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Re: Question about seed watering and germination

rainbowgardener wrote:That is very hot and means that the soil will dry out very fast. I also know that planting in the small cells and having them on heat mats, they dry out very fast. You may need to move your lights a little farther away, if they are giving off a lot of heat. I do all bottom watering for seed starting/growing-- all the cells are in trays and I just pour a little water into the bottom of the tray, just enough to reach the bottom of the cells so they can wick it up. But for the ones on heat mats, I often have to add water twice a day.
Thanks rainbow, I also water from the bottom and my trays are level. I am going to move the lights up just a little. I checked today and it didn't seem as warm under the lights with just my hand. I do have more peppers starting to sprout which makes me happy. I am just nervous I guess..lol. A lot of my problem is this is the first time using this set up, Usually I do seedlings in my basement but this year I am doing it out in my workshop so until I dial everything in it's nerve racking. I have noticed there is a lot of condensation in my set up but so far I haven't noticed no ill effects. I have been using cinnamon as a anti fungal measure on top of the soil.

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