What a great thread... I wish I'd seen this before venturing into my first attempt at growing seeds. Soil, water, and a window for light, how hard can it be, right?
Well I've learned my lesson.
I made pretty much every rookie mistake you can. I got some Jiffy peat pots and seedling starting mix, with the dome, watered from the top and put the trays at my window. You can probably guess the results. I was thrilled when my seeds sprouted, only to discover that they came up leggy and weak. No doubt this was due to a lack of proper lighting. Then I left the domes on too long and developed that white fungus on some of the cells.
I took the domes off, bolted to the hardware store and picked up a shoplight and flourescent bulbs. I strung it up on a wire shelving unit that I have and stuck my suffering seedlings right under the light. Too little, too late. Although they seemed to react positively to proper lighting, my continuing practice of watering from the top (misting, no less) led to damping off and fungus gnats. I tried the cinnammon thing, but it's too late. As of this morning, the last of my leggy seedlings toppled over and breathed its last.
Well, lessons learned. I'm going to try again today with plastic pots and rainbow's method from the very first post. I know I'm close to the wire with my timing - our last frost here usually comes around mid-May. I won't be able to replant everything, but I think a few of my flower seeds have a shot. I have nothing to lose at this point and if anything I'll be fully prepared for next year. Live and learn right?
If there's one silver lining to this it's that my delphiniums (pacific giants) are still alive. I had put them in plastic pots so that they could germinate in the cool darkenss of my garage. They did come up a but leggy (I didn't check on them often enough) but they seem to be enjoying life under the light and haven't died yet, despite my top-watering/misting. I'll start a separate thread about them with pics when I get home.
1) I have some store-bough seeds left over. Can they still be used next year? I currently have them in a ziploc bag in a drawer.
2) Bottom watering - Do you do this right from the start? Meaning, you fill the cells with your medium and bottom water right away? Will that provide enough moisture for germination? Just trying to work out the right process here - Fill cells, bottom water, plant seeds once medium is moist?
Thank you for your patience with my sorrowful tale.