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Chaesman
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Seed Germination 101???

Ok I figure it is time to go to the basics.

I have the seed starting area setup and the temp seems to run from 80 during the day to a low of 68 at night.

I did try starting several herbs as a test run and had what I would call limited success.

I planted about 40 cells and managed to germinate about 10 cells
what did germinate is
cuban basil
lemon basil
1 thyme
and 1 cylantro
note: these where started about 13 days ago and I figured germination should have occured by now but the cylantro only popped up today

What I used was a recycled bead tray, an old broiler pan and plastic wrap
I used a generic potting soil that we had sitting around for a long time and of course water.

I am thinking I want to retry this in a few days. But would like some recomendations on what to change. also just currious but do they need light before they sprout? or would a warmer place like on top of my dvr be better for starting.

Any how I would like to learn all the basics

and try to get a much higher success rate before it comes time to start seeds for the garden.

I picked up some generic seed starting trays today at the dollar store that consist of a water tray a 72 cell seed tray and a humidity dome figured for 4 bucks it was worth a try.

So where do we go from here.

also I did notice on 4 of the cells from my current test there appears to be a green moss or maybe an algee coating the surface.

Thanks for your advice.
Jon

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rainbowgardener
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Your temps should be good enough, although some things like basil, squash and other warm weather crops might germinate quicker with higher soil temperature.

Some very fine seeds, like impatiens (the ones you can barely see, seeds like dust), like to have light to germinate, most don't.

If I had to guess, I'm thinking that you might have been keeping your soil too wet. Easiest way to kill seeds - they never want to dry out, but they want to be just damp, not soggy. The appearance of algae on your soil supports that hypothesis.

The humidity dome may help with germination, but you want to remove it as soon as the first seeds germinate. New seedlings are very vulnerable to a fungal disease called damping off. It happens most in conditions of high humidity and low air movement, i.e. the conditions under your humidity dome.
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Kisal
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What about drainage? Did you drill holes in the broiler pan, etc., so excess water would drain away? Seeds will rot if the soil is too wet.

Did you water from the top? I have poor germination success when I water seeds from the top. They seem to do much better for me when watered from the bottom. Another alternative is to use a spray bottle to gently apply water to the seeds.
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rainbowgardener
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Kisal - we were probably typing at the same time! I would guess the broiler pan is for bottom watering, in which case he wouldn't want holes in it.

I agree with Kisal that you get much better results with bottom watering, but you just want to put A LITTLE water in the tray. Just enough so it reaches the bottom of the soil mix, so it can be wicked up. The water should disappear fairly quickly and by the next morning the tray should be completely dry.
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Kisal
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I saw that, RG! :lol:

Happy New Year to you and yours, btw! I hope you had a good holiday season! :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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Chaesman
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yes the broiler pan is for bottom watering but i allso used a spray bottle when the soil appeared real dry. ( should I have just added more water to the bottom instead?)

And yes a Happy new year to ya'll also!!

Thanks for the input so far
Jon

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Chaesman
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picked up some steril starting mix and gonna give it a second try it think

also the first set of herbs are still green but are not getting any taller do I need to add some kind of liquid feed/fertilizer to the water (Will this burn thier roots?) any other sugjestions

thanks
Jon

Dixana
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Someone can correct me it I'm wrong, but I think it's too soon for fertilizer. Do your seedlings have light?
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Chaesman
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yes they have light about 16.5 hour a day

I was thinking a real dilute fertilizer
Jon

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soil
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seed starting checklist

most seeds only need these things to grow.

- a medium(soil) to grow in( what type depends on the seeds needs)
- water
- warmth
- and some species light to germinate

other than that its over complicating the process.

some seeds also need a cold period and then a warm period to grow.

if you can supply these basic things you will have high success rates.

i prefer compost and sand as a basic seed starting soil, you can add more sand for certain seeds or more compost for others. giving you a wide range of soil textures from only two materials.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

DoubleDogFarm
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i prefer compost and sand as a basic seed starting soil, you can add more sand for certain seeds or more compost for others. giving you a wide range of soil textures from only two materials
I'm using 50 / 50 sand and compost in my 100 strawberry hanging baskets. I'll have to tell you they are very heavy. It may hurt the sales of these baskets?

If you are a Farmers market vendor you may consider a lighter media.

Eric

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Chaesman
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well sand is abundantly available
composte well still being worked on
I do have potting soil
and some seed starting mix also
maybe a combination of the 3 I have will work?

No I am growing soley for my family;s own use and consumption although the farmer that is discing and such for me told me he would sell any excess for a commision at his produce store/stand
Jon

Dixana
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:shock: 100 strawberry baskets??? How BIG exactly IS your greenhouse and plant operation??
I'm trying to fathom 100 baskets....

And JMO, I would a little hesitant about buying a really heavy hanging basket. Regular pots and porch pots, etc would be fine a little on the heavy side but hanging baskets always worry me if they're heavy as I'm never really sure if the hooks one the porch will hold....
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
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soil
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I'm using 50 / 50 sand and compost in my 100 strawberry hanging baskets. I'll have to tell you they are very heavy. It may hurt the sales of these baskets?

If you are a Farmers market vendor you may consider a lighter media.
did you start the seeds in there? that was a seed starting mix as this is the seed starting forum and seed starting thread. for a hanging basket i would go with compost and rice hulls with some charcoal. very light yet very water retentive. but thats for a whole other forum.

i do sell veggie starts every year, everyone tells me how amazing the plants grow and want more each year. no problems with the soil mix at all.

one addition you can also add is a mycorrhizal inoculate. getting the plants inoculated early helps a lot.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

DoubleDogFarm
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100 strawberry baskets??? How BIG exactly IS your greenhouse and plant operation??
I'm trying to fathom 100 baskets....
Unfortunately my hanging baskets are outside under floating row cover. My greenhouse is only 8ft x 16ft. The back half is tool shed. Hope to convert it all to greenhouse soon. 16ft x 16ft.

I sell between 500 and 1000 vegetable starts each year.

Eric

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Chaesman
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Think I will try a few more herbs tommorow and see what luck I have

I have also moved my current starts closer to the lights to see if this helps any.

I will try to post some picks of my starts around 8 cst tonight just have things to do at the moment

:)

any answers on my last question about the 3 soil components I have and what percentages to try\
thanks
Jon

DoubleDogFarm
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did you start the seeds in there? that was a seed starting mix as this is the seed starting forum and seed starting thread.
No.

I thought my reply might come back and bite me in the butt. Touche!


Eric

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Chaesman
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Here are the pics I promised of my seed starts

Cuban basil
[img]https://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n630/Chaesman/101_1657.jpg[/img]

Lemon Basil

[img]https://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n630/Chaesman/101_1658.jpg[/img]

Thyme

[img]https://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n630/Chaesman/101_1659.jpg[/img]

Parsley

[img]https://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n630/Chaesman/101_1660.jpg[/img]

as you can see there is a green moss/algee and the seedlings are still small (Maybe I am expecting to much to fast) these where planted 12/21/2010 so they are about 3 weeks old now

any advice is appreciated
Jon

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Too wet!! They need to dry out some asap. Try not to let them dry out completely, but they defiantly need a break from the water.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
-Gandhi

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Chaesman
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ok less water!!! what about the moss/algee should I lightly scrape the surface and remove it?

next question

about how big should they be before I pot them up?

thanks
Jon

Dixana
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The moss will more than likely not bother, I'd leave that alone. I pot mine up when they have 2-4 true leaves depending on plant size and they are a couple inches tall.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
-Gandhi

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