Chad-K
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seed starting advice?

I just bought a small peat pellet greenhouse thing to start some seeds in early.

I have some johnny-jump ups and violas. According to what I've read violas need darkness to germinate and that can take about 2-3 weeks. Do I keep them in darkness the entire time and just check them once a day to see if they germinated? It says they like cool temps, but sufficient light as well. I have a perfect place for them in my house. My bathroom is always cool and it has a sky light, so that bathroom is always getting indirect sunlight. Also, they can take light frost, so Im thinking about slowing setting them out early this year. So far we are having a very mild winter here in WV.

Thanks for any advice you can give me!

Let the count down to spring begin!

grandpasrose
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There's nothing like starting those first seeds in the spring!
You are right on line Chad, keep them in the dark, and check daily until they germinate. I am not sure that the skylight will be enough light, but try it. If not, get a small grow bulb to give them that extra bit. They will begin to get stretched and spindly as they are reaching for the light if it is not enough.
Violas and pansies can both take frost, in fact, mine are often blooming in the snow, but you must harden them off first. Don't just put them out there and not expect their toes to curl up!
Have fun! :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

Chad-K
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Thanks Val!

I'll have to look for a grow bulb. That is something to think about. Other than that, I think Im ready.

:D

grandpasrose
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Great!! Let us know how it goes. Have fun! :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

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Down here in Baltimore all the pansies are still blooming...

HG

grandpasrose
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Ya Scott - we all have our problems!!! :lol:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

Chad-K
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They sprouted! I have them under my fish tank light, will that be ok, or should I just set them near a window and turn them once a day? I cant find a grow bulb in my area. I live in the country and our little town is very limited as to what they sell. Im sure the violas will be just fine.

opabinia51
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Hi Chad,

you should really get a grow light to put in your tank. This will provide your seedlings with the proper wavelengths of light for optimal growth.

Happy growing!

grandpasrose
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Chad, isn't it cool to see those little spots of green peeking through? 8) if you are not able to locate a grow light, maybe try ordering one on line?
Keep your eye on them, and if your seedlings begin to look long and leggy, they definitely need more light. :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

opabinia51
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You can find grow lights at nurseries, probably at Home Depot (though, I prefer to support local nurseries when possible) and they will probably have them at pet shops as well.

The Helpful Gardener
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If your tank light is fluorescent you might get away with it if you keep it close to the plants (they have a longer spectrum than incandescent).

HG

Chad-K
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Just how long does it usually take for the first set of true leaves to emerge? I've never raised seeds indoors early before, so I'm very excited that these are still alive, but still not true leaves yet. Then again, its only been about 2 or 3 weeks since I planted them.

I love violas, they are one of my new favorite flowers! Im excited about some of the different varities I found at Thompson and Morgan! :o I'm gonna post a new thread about that though.

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8)

Thanks Chad...

HG

grandpasrose
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Pansies, to which violas are related are a slow starter. It takes them a while to get established and get their feet under them. 2-3 weeks isn't very long. Just be patient and they'll be poppin' out for ya soon! :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

Chad-K
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Help!!!

I've been keeping them under a fluorescent light for at least 12 hours a day. I just checked on them and a few are falling over, like they are wilting or are too tall or something. What should I do? Im not sure if they are getting too warm or too much light. Also, should I transplant them to larger containers soon? They are almost all at least 2 inches high and their first set of true leaves have either emerged or are starting to.

grandpasrose
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Hey Chad! Yes, if your plants are 2" tall and have their second leaves you can certainly repot them.
When you look at the ones that are falling over, close to the soil level does it look like the stem it has shrivelled and collpased? If so, this is called damping off, and is caused by a fungi. This most often happens if the soil becomes too damp on top.
If they are just falling over, then they are too tall, and need to be moved to their own pots!
Best of luck and let us know how you do! :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

Michigan2Iowa
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Chad,

I've had this experience when I first attempted to start some violas from seed. I would guess as Val did that you have some damping off problems. I've found that watering my seed trays from the bottom up helped prevent the problem from starting. I also used a small house fan and turned it on low to let some good air circulation flow over the seedlings, that really seems to help (and I think it strenghtens their stems, but that could just be in my head :) ).

Also...can I ask what kind of soil medium you're using? I too came from a very small town back in Michigan and getting the Vermiculite seed starting mix was difficult back then, but I found that any other kind of soil simply killed off every seedling I had. If you lose a lot of seedlings, I'd start over from scratch by emptying the seed trays, disinfecting them with a 1:10 bleach/water solution (afterwards giving them a good clean water rinse and letting them fully dry), then getting the right kind of seed starting soil mix with the right amount of light. I remember one year starting over 6 times until I got it right!

Hope this helps, and good luck!

-Paul-

grandpasrose
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Thanks for that Paul! :D

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

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Good on ya Paul!

Scott

Chad-K
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Thank you for that Paul! Now I don't feel like such a failure. :)

I transplanted a few to a bigger pot and they just fell over. But a lot are still doing good in the container I started them in.

grandpasrose
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Chad, when you transplanted them to a larger pot, did you leave the soil at the same level as is was when they were where they started? If you did, that is probably why they fell over. When you transplant them, you should plant them a little deeper than they were to give them that extra bit of stability and to make the roots grow deepter.
Not to worry - we all have to learn somehow - and we have all been there so no need to feel like a failure!
Let us know how it's going!

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

opabinia51
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Yes, and be sure to snap off any lower branches on the stem before burying it.

I ideally, you should bury most if not all of the stem of a transplanted seedling.

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