Ridiculous
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Seed Starting......

oh boy, i went to wal mart today and went through the garden center and found some goodies. I'm really starting to get anxious for spring. :bouncey:

ok, so anyways, I'm starting this here thread to show you what i got and ask a few questions about it.

first off, i got these things by the brand name Jiffy, their called greenhouses, but really they're just flats with a lid and seed starting peat pellets. i got one specifically for tomatos and one that just seems general purpose. the tomato one plants 36 and the general one does 72. i saw these and i think they'll be just perfect for starting seeds in my situation!! pretty excited about em! i've got a question though. it says to put 2-3 seeds in each thing of peat and once the first true leaves appear, trim back the two weaker ones. would you recommend i do this, or not??? seems like a waste of seed to me, am i wrong?

then i got some seeds :D , i don't know about the rest of ya but i just love pickin out seeds, i just get all giddy and excited for the growing season! anyways, i got the following: jalapeno pepper, pot of gold pepper (yellow bell), sonoma sunset hybrid pepper (red bell), big dipper pepper (green bell), kaleidoscope mix peppers, eggplang black beauty, beefsteak tomato, yellow pear tomato, red lightning hybrid tomato!!!

so tell me what ya'll think of this seed starting setup and my seeds!!!!

here's a pic of what I'm talking about.....
[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/Garden%20Pics/IMG00266.jpg[/img]

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rainbowgardener
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I understand, I already have seeds started too! :) Isn't it exciting!

Looks fine. Be careful with the dome thingy. It's mainly only for germinating the seeds. Once you have sprouted seedlings, they are quite vulnerable to too much humidity and not enough air circulation.

What are you going to do for lighting? Seedlings need a lot of light. (Here's a couple pictures of my seed starting operation... but it was built and expanded gradually over a few years:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=60396 )

The other thing to think about is timing. I know it's exciting to get everything planted. But I don't start tomatoes usually until valentine's day and my average last frost date is probably at least a couple weeks earlier than yours. The trouble with starting them too soon is they get big and tall and then where do you put them under lights? I've tried just putting them on windowsills, but they get tall and spindly from not enough light. And if you put them outside too soon and it's too cold, they just die (unless you have a greenhouse or something).

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Gnome
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Ridiculous,

RBG is correct, don't get too far ahead of yourself. I'm even a little more conservative in my timing. I do start Peppers around Valentines Day but leave Tomatoes until St. Patrick's Day.

It is not uncommon to have to pot things up (especially Tomatoes) at least once during this process otherwise they 'stall' and just sit there. Every time you pot up you need larger pots, more medium (I prefer to mix my own) and more space to accommodate them.

It is not always better to have large plants to set out. Sometimes you will find that smaller, healthier plants will eventually catch up and out perform more impressive looking ones. You can do a few early if you wish to get a head start on the season, just be prepared to pot them up as necessary.
it says to put 2-3 seeds in each thing of peat and once the first true leaves appear, trim back the two weaker ones. would you recommend i do this, or not??? seems like a waste of seed to me, am i wrong?
I depends upon what you have more of, seeds or space. In a greenhouse setting they have lots of seed but can't afford to have empty cells just sitting there taking up space. If, on the other hand, you have enough space but few seeds then you may be able to sow thinner and avoid the thinning process. The downside is that you will likely end up with empty cells.

Norm

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seagullplayer
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I was in Wally world yesterday and picked up the same thing! At least the same 72 cell "greenhouse".
My mother always liked the jiffy pots, she used a cookie sheet with them.

I have not started seedlings myself in several years, and this will be my first with the jeffy pots.

I will be ordering my seeds this week! I am glad I don't have them, I would have already planted them...

The last year I lived at home (1983) we planted 365 tomato plants!

I hope to have my portable greenhouse up by the time it is needed.

Take pictures of you progress, maybe we can compare notes!
Moved on.

Best of luck to all.

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rainbowgardener
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Yeah, starting early, I pot everything up into 3" pots.

I plant thickly in the little cells, but then since I hate throwing out perfectly good seedlings, instead of trimming the extras off, I prick them out and transplant them.

Most of my seedlings get transplanted 3 times: once from sharing a cell to their own cell, once to the 3" pot, once to the ground or container that they stay in. (Larger, fast growing seedlings, I may skip the first one and go straight to the pots.) I'm very gentle with it and it never seems to set them back.

But you can see, I'm totally obsessive about this! :) I'm not at all suggesting everyone should do it the way I do! :?

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applestar
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The issue here is the dome, as well as the light. Can you see 72 seeds popping up all at once on the same day? Can you see them all growing evenly together?

- Be prepared to REMOVE the peat blocks OUT of the germinating dome to a separate growing area where you can position the top of the growth 2~4" below the fluorescent light bulb/tube.
- Be prepared to adjust the height of the light source or the height of the peat blocks to maintain the distance between the top of the growth and light bulb/tube.

But when those first seedlings ppush out of the surface, then unfurl their itty bitty seed leaves. That's when the fun begins! :()

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Duh_Vinci
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I can certainly understand the excitement! There is nothing like watching a seed sprout and watch it grow into a luscious plant, be it greens, rooted veggie or a fruit bearing species!

I've tried these mini-green houses for the first time about 4 years ago, and always liked those #7 pellets. Many great pointers already given here, just want to mention the importance of not exposing those sprouted seedlings to too much humidity!

Various veggies, and even same species (depending on the variety, age and the source of seeds) could very in germination time, sometimes up to a week (even more with peppers). I would highly recommend having a separate tray, placed under the grow lights, and removing individual pellets with the sprouted seedling from the original domed tray, and placing the under the grow light as soon as possible. Less chances for damping-off and less chances to become too spindly...

Good luck, keep up posted on your progress!

Regards,
D

EDIT: Ooops, apple beat me to it :lol: Good point, apple!!!

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seagullplayer
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You guys make me think about the 72 cell thing. I plan several types of tomatoes this year, I am sure they won’t all germinate at the same time, how long can I let the earliest go until I am forced to remove the dome to limit humidity?

What is the down side to too much humidity, fungus? :(

I would consider just removing some and leaving the ones yet to peek through the surface, but space may be a concern.
Moved on.

Best of luck to all.

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rainbowgardener
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Yup, little seedlings are quite vulnerable to a fungal condition called "damping off,"which eats up the roots and the stem at the base leaving the little seedling lying flat on the ground with little to no root system left.
It happens especially in conditions of high humidity and no air circulation, which would be under your dome.

Ridiculous
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ok everyone, i got an update for ya!

i got some more of those greenhouses, some shelving, some lights, and made a seed starting station out of a little nook that wasn't serving much of a purpose anyway.

here's the future site. it's on the left. it's 36" wide and it just collected junk!....
[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/Garden%20Pics/IMG00270.jpg[/img]

and here's the basic setup. i got these "grow lights" from the hardware store but i wasn't impressed with how bright they were or lack there of so i got 2 more 200watt equivelant CFLs to put in each corner of each shelf! I'm confident that i have enough light now! and directly behind me is a big window. it faces north but it's not blocked so it does let in some sunlight too! i hope it works.......
[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/Garden%20Pics/IMG00271.jpg[/img]

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seagullplayer
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Man, I got to get my butt in gear, yours looks good.

I set my small two shelf greenhouse up and wired my lights up. I got my seeds in the mail Monday, but have yet to plant anything!
Moved on.

Best of luck to all.

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gixxerific
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Looking good Ridiculous but we really need to stop with all this stuff it's kinda making me crazy. As I look out onto my garden still covered in snow. :(

Just kidding keep it comin' gotta have something to keep us going. Have you thought about what you are going to pot-up too?

This is my first time starting my whole garden by seed and it's a bit nerve wracking. I hope it all goes good my last attempts didn't fare so well but I have been experimenting all winter to see how things will go.

Good luck to everyone and let's hope this is a better season than last. which was about a 75%-80% for me.

Fineas_Ranch
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Ridiculous and RainbowGarden, both of your set ups are awesome! I really like how the lights can move as the plants grow.

What kind of lights does everyone use? My little portable greenhouse is near a large sliding glass door, but the door faces north(ish) and out to a balcony so it never gets any direct sunlight. We have a clip on grow light, but I know we need to add at least one more. If I can find anything at a decent price, I'd like to get several and set them up on different shelves.

Because we're showing pictures, here is my set up.

[img]https://hphotos-snc3.fbcdn.net/hs134.snc3/18147_512562555254_188300216_30483639_7889097_n.jpg[/img]

I try to open it up and turn the fan on it a little bit everyday, I just worry about cooling them down too much

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gixxerific
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I'm no expert at seed starting by any means (I'm working on it) but I'm gonna say that the light you have may not be enough to keep all those plants going.

Some one back me up or slap me silly for giving wrong info. Live and learn. :lol:

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gixxerific, if that was directed at me, I know that the one light is not enough. I'm hoping to find a day that the husband is free and it isn't snowing to go get at least one more. I'm just trying to learn and pick out the best light on a budget.

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Fineas, you don't really need to worry about cooling them down. In fact, if the humidity is too high, the seeds can get "damping-off," which is a collection of fungal diseases that kills seeds at their base. The only time you really need to be worried about the soil temperature is when the seeds are sprouting; warmer soil, especially with peppers, will cause the seeds to germinate earlier. In fact, seedlings will oftentimes benefit from being grown in slightly cooler conditions.

It might not be a bad idea to throw a small, battery-operated fan in there once the seedlings get growing to provide good circulation. Have it on a few hours each day.

What kind of light is that? If it's not a metal halide or high-pressure sodium light, it's too far away. Fluorescent lights are usually kept 2 to 4 inches from the plants. If that is an incandescent light, pitch it and get some 6500k fluorescents. An incandescent lamp will fry the seedling if it is placed that close to them.

I'm sorry to be ripping on your set up so much, these are just my observations. On a positive note, the floral-cart with humidity-regulating jacket is really nice. I guess I really have no room to talk. My seed starting unit is not even set up yet. When it is, it will be just a cardboard box, lined with foil, with a shoplight lowered in (and maybe a cheap, little fan) :lol:.

If I'm wrong on any of this, someone please correct me.

Get some good lights, keep 'em close, and you will have an a awsome seed-starting set up.

Happy growing!

Garden 5
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gixxerific
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Yeah I meant no offense either I love your cart. I saw them at Lowe's the other day. You got the cart I have the light.

Here is my mess
[img]https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/Gardening/DSC03302.jpg[/img]

Fineas_Ranch
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No offense taken. I'm here to learn and you guys are teaching me lots!

I know the set up isn't perfect, not anywhere close to it, but the light was what we had. We definitely plan on adding more/new lights. We just need to make a trip to Lowes again. It's the beginnings of what will someday be great! A lot of the stuff that was planted were things that had been sitting around the apartment for at least a year, some longer than that. We started them mostly to get them out of the way. If they didn't sprout *shrug* oh well. Of course some of the stuff we had sitting around had started to mold-yuck!

Hopefully this weekend we'll make it to Lowes

I did want to add that I have no idea what kind of light that is. My husband had a great idea last year (before we were married) to grow a blueberry bush in a pot, so he bought the light. It didn't work out too well.

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seagullplayer
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F Ranch, I have a setup much like yours, only mine is the two shelf greenhouse! It sets infront of my living room widows that face west.

I just got my seeds planted last night, I will take pictures next week if things go my way.

For my lights I used a six hole power strip and hung it upside down over the top shelf. Then bought three adapters that let you screw in a light bulb to a plug in outlet.

Like this:

[img]https://cache1.bigcartel.com/product_images/2265817/adapter_1.jpg[/img][img]https://main.goecoreno.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/power_strip.jpg[/img]

Then just used two compact fluoresents from the dollar store.

And one standard 75 Watt bulb between them for heat, last night it kept a constant temp of about 86 inside the green house on the top shelf.
Moved on.

Best of luck to all.

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applestar
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Seagullplayer, what are you using for light reflector? Can you post a photo of your set up? 8)

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seagull, thanks for that tip. Hopefully I can talk him into going today since we'll be only a few blocks away, it'll depend on how the roads are though. I like how your set up sounds and I think we could make that work, especially since we currently only use one shelf. Thanks for that tip.

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seagullplayer
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applestar wrote:Seagullplayer, what are you using for light reflector? Can you post a photo of your set up? 8)
Because I only planted the seeds last night, I really only need the "heat bulb" for now, I do have all three on. Once they sprout and I take the cover off my plants, I have a sheet of aluminum foil I am putting above the power strip support.

I will try and get a picture up in a few days. I would like to wait so it will have some green in it! At least that is my hope.

By placing a book under my tray I can get the lights within an inch of the plants. I may move the "heat bulb" to the bottom shelf at that point, or try a lower wattage, it might be to hot that close...
Moved on.

Best of luck to all.

Ridiculous
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ok, for those of you who have been watching this!

I'm gonna start my seeds this weekend :D , real excited about that!!

but i wanna/need to know something. one easy questions that I'm confused about...

can i have my lights on from the day i plant the seed or do i wait for them to sprout?

I'm concerned about them stretching for light while I'm off at work...

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rainbowgardener
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depends on what you are planting ... some plants need light to germinate, so you need to have the lights on from day 1. Some plants don't need/ want light to germinate, so I just cover them with enough soil to block the light. So yes I leave the lights on from day 1. If you aren't growing things that need light to germinate (it should say on the seed packet), you can wait to turn them on til the plants break the soil. Even if that happens while you are at work, one day in the dark won't hurt them that much.

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applestar
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What rainbowgardener said. :wink: I recommend peeking (and breathing CO2 on them) twice a day, in the morning after the lights turn on, and before the lights turn off at night. Sometimes, the soil driies out more than you think. I always mist in the morning, regardless but that's me.

The temp requirement is a little different too. So I have some seeds waiting to sprout/just starting to germinate on a seedling heating mat in lower 60's room (heating mat supplies +10º) but no lights, and some cool weather seedlings that sprouted already (from which I TOOK that heating mat after germination) but which are under lights. I'll be transferring the germinated seedlings under the lights out to the main Grow Light Area in the cold (we're talking upper 20's to 30's) no-window garage tomorrow after I set the area up with extra heat (40's to 50's) and new tubes of light, moving the just barely sprouted seedlings under the light, and setting out another tray of seeds on the heating mat. :wink:

I like johnnysseeds.com for looking up optimum germination temps.

Warm weather crops like tomatoes and peppers would need 70's+ to germinate quickly/well and 50's or better to grow well, and peppers would need 60's or better.

Ridiculous
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thanks guys! i'll just set the timer and have em come on from day one then!

garden5
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Ridiculous wrote:thanks guys! i'll just set the timer and have em come on from day one then!
Congratulations! Exiting, isn't it?

One thing I would suggest is that you get a timer to keep the lights on for 16 hr. cycles.

Fineas, the compact fluorescents would work out fine, but I recall that you said you were not sure on what kind of light to use. Here is a standard setup:

1. 4 ft. fluorescent shop-light Cost: 10$ to 15$ dollars at WalMart.

2. 2 4 ft. 40watt or 32watt (depending on what your light fixture requires) Cost: 10$ at WallMart Make sure the lights are rated around 6500K.

There are as many different grow light set ups as there are different gardening methods in general. This is this a basic set up. You can modify it as you like to suit your needs.

Happy growing.
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Fineas_Ranch
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I ended up purchasing a bulb instead of the tube lights, because I have no idea what to do with the tubes. I also got a clamp to put the bulb in. The bulb is 6500K. I'll try to get a picture of it Sunday or Monday. I think the lights are a little far away still, so I'm going to have to do some tweaking to get it right.

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seagullplayer
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Pictures from this morning:

[img]https://xlforum.net/photopost/data/500/tomato2.jpg[/img]

[img]https://xlforum.net/photopost/data/500/tomato1.jpg[/img]

The light setup I was talking about:

[img]https://xlforum.net/photopost/data/500/CFsetup.jpg[/img]

Overall look as it sets in my living room floor. I put a blanket over it during the night to help with temp. Been staying about 78 F. The bottom bulb is a 75 Watt regular bulb just used for heat. I can add another "grow light" to the power strip if it needs it.

[img]https://xlforum.net/photopost/data/500/insideGH1.jpg[/img]

Hope to get the plants into puts later this week. Just took the plastic dome off the plants yesterday. Also plan to add a small fan this week.

Sorry it took so long to get pictures up, but I wanted to make sure the setup was going to work and that my seeds where good.

Still have the 72 cell tray for my later main starts next month.
Moved on.

Best of luck to all.

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donworden
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As for me, I am starting my goodies down in my basement...

I have planted Delicious toms, and am planting beefsteaks, early girls, bonnie bell green peppers, a pepper mix, etc. I did the Delicious Toms as an experiment.. no bottom heat, jiffy peat plugs... I do have the domes for the plugs but opted not to use them... The toms were planted exactly seven days ago, and are just now breaking the top of the peat. For heat, I have been using a KEROheat Kerosene heater, and manage to keep the temps in this cold basement roughly between 70 and 80 degrees. I am spritzing water on the peat plugs 2 x daily, to keep them from totally drying out. So far things seem to be successful.
USDA Zone 5
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Ozark Lady
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A word of caution on the peat plugs.
I used them last year. And I also only spritzed them, I kept the surface soil damp... and at first true leaves or soon after... I would spritz and the next spritz...find them dead...beyond recovery.

I finally realized, I needed to actually soak the peat plugs at least occasionally... the surface spritz made me feel good, but the plants were simply not getting enough moisture at the roots.

So, be careful... check below the surface... You may be good to go... I wasn't and I killed alot of seedlings learning this.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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gixxerific
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Bottom water only on those as far as I'm concerned. As Applestar and Rainbowgardener say over and over put 1/4 - 1/2 inch of water in bottom and let it soak. I put that much or more in when they are FULLY wet I take out the tray and dump off the extra water. Than put a fan on them for a bit to ward of damping off fungus.

But if what you are doing is working for you than by all means keep doing it.

my 2 penny's

Ridiculous
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well, i've been totally slacking on updating this thread. it doesn't seem that i have much time to be on the net lately anyways.

but today i took some pics for ya'll and just thought i'd show em off!

i've got a lot of seedlings...some are doing great and some not so much. keep in mind this is my first year starting seeds and planting this large of a garden...

any comments welcome!
[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/IMG00295.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/IMG00291.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/IMG00292.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/IMG00293.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/IMG00294.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i774.photobucket.com/albums/yy25/Ridiculous02/IMG00296.jpg[/img]

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gixxerific
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Looking good there Ridiculous.

Only comment I have would be to take the cover off that light. The lenses is stopping a lot of available light. Other than that not a bad setup you got. Good luck "THAT" time is right around the corner for a lot of us to be planting outdoors. I myself can't wait. :D

Ridiculous
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thanks gixxer!

it's funny cause when i got those lights i was debating whether or not to remove that cover. i guess i'll do it now...i was just bein lazy about it i guess.



and yes, i can't wait for spring either!!!

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Ozark Lady
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I am running out of room, and out of time...
Gee whiz, May is only 7 weeks away.
I filled up 3 flats of tobacco today... And will fill more tomorrow.
I didn't even scratch the surface of the varieties that I have on hand.
And haven't even started the "preferred ones".
Oh time, where did it go?
I see our 10 day is calling for 60's and up for the next 10 days...
Always, no spring... straight dive from freezing to oops should be planted already!!!
Tomorrow, the onion sets, and early direct sow crops will be going into the garden! The tulips and daffodils are popping out everywhere, up about 6 inches now. Not fully up, but getting there.
The fruit trees are still dormant, I really need to prune that peach tree.

But, I need to make growing room for these guys, so I can keep rotating from germinating, to infant nursery, to toddler day care! ha ha

And the crunch is on! Here we go folks, ready or not!
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seagullplayer
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Those plants are looking great!

How long have the ones in the cups been planted? Is that the first transplant for them?
Moved on.

Best of luck to all.

Ridiculous
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seagullplayer wrote:Those plants are looking great!

How long have the ones in the cups been planted? Is that the first transplant for them?
the ones in the cups were planted real early. i wanna say in feburary. and now that i think of it, those never got transplanted, i was just testing some seeds left over from last year to see if they'd germ.

maybe i'll do that tomorrow! :)


one of those tomatos in the cups is having a problem though and i just can't figure it out! i almost wanna say it's got root rot or something but not sure...maybe i'll get some pics up of it or somethin

toxicburn1
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hi guys! you have some nice gear with lights and stuff. i think i know my problem withought posting it here. but lets start from beggining:
this is my first year planting. i got some tomatoes, cucambers, peppers and mellon.
Cucs don't seem to have problem...yet :) Mellons look good too, as far as i can judge. Peppers took a wile to get sprouted (must be just luck of knowledge) And lastly - tomatoes, darn em
I have used little compost sells for planting, and "Suppersoil" potting soil (it looks like wood chips though) with enreached plant food and blah, blah, blah. Tomatoes are few kinds - Beefstake, big boy and some others. I have planted 'em around Feb 10. 4-5 seeds per cell. once they brocke through, i cut some down leaving 2 max / cell.
please, tell me thaty they look ok, cause i think that they are about to die. I keep soil wet, even fed them today with weak mix of some plant food.
I also don't have any lights around it, i keep em in my garden window (i live in California, SF area)
Please tell me what if they look okay and if i need to put some lights over it.
[img]https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/xdEc6QN1eiX8AEE6MKT2xQ?feat=directlink[/img] [/img]
[img]https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/lZn3Scqy9rn0Gq-E_CkkuA?feat=directlink[/img]
[img]https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/101vjtsP12IvncCcbbCeCA?feat=directlink[/img]
lets see how will it turn out:)

toxicburn1
Full Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:44 am
Location: California

great :evil: images are not coming up :(
lets see how will it turn out:)

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