Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Sprouting seeds Toplef10Sprouting seeds 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Sprouting seeds I22gcj10Sprouting seeds 14dhcg10

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Sprouting seeds

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Post  DrPepper 3/15/2010, 3:54 pm

In the SFG book, Mel talks about sprouting seeds on a wet paper towel, then putting them in vermiculite, then transplanting them into Mel's mix in four pacs and subsequently transplanting them into your SFG. That may be the best way, but it seems very complicated.

Is there any reason I cannot simply plant the seeds directly into Mel's mix in some old egg cartons? I thought that I would keep them moist in a warm, dark place until they sprouted, then put them in a sunny window until they are large enough to transplant into my SFG.

Is that a viable plan or would I be making a mistake? Any additional suggestions?

Thanks!
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Post  tessmick 3/15/2010, 7:56 pm

Hi DrPepper and welcome to the forum!

Hopefully some of the other more experienced SF'ers will chime in here, but here's my take. Mel was talking about one method to sprout seeds, then once they've sprouted roots, you plant them in medium; I agree, it sounds complicated. And he talks about soaking the seeds too.

I decided to try to grow everything from seed this year, so I've gained some knowledge. I went to the library, and I'm sure this stuff is online, too. I checked out several books specifically on seed starting. Depending on where you get your info, there are many methods to use, and different ways to start the various seeds; some need scarification, some need soaking, most want to germinate in light, but some want to germinate in dark, some will do fine germinating in cold while most want it above 70 degrees. The sources I consulted advised that you start all seeds in at least a few inches of medium, so suposedly egg cartons aren't deep enough; don't know if that's true, but I am using purchased peat pots (pretty cheap at Wal-mart) and a ton of well cleaned, previously used 4 packs & flats. With all that said, and many charts that I made to guide myself, I've started all mine in "seed starting" mix (Jiffy) that is for sale all over right now. I plant a few of each seed at the recommended depth, keep the soil moist, put them under grow lights (also heard that I probably don't get enough sunlight this time of year to start them in the window), and hope for the best.

I think I'm doing pretty good, with quite a few of them germinating now. But the way I look at this is, it's a big experiment. If I can harvest well from half of what I set out to plant in the garden, I will be doing well!

Good Luck! Sprouting seeds Icon_flower
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Post  DrPepper 3/15/2010, 8:09 pm

Thanks for your reply. I will see if I can find some Jiffy and some 4 packs. I guess I will just recycle all of those egg cartons! I also found a book called "Seed Sowing and Saving" that seems to address this issue well.
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Post  tessmick 3/16/2010, 9:32 am

That sounds like one of the ones I checked out; I also liked Gardening from Seed, by Martha Stewart, 2000, and Burpee Seed Starter, by Maureen Heffernan, 1997
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Post  Lavender Debs 3/16/2010, 9:49 am

I'm glad to read that you decided against egg cartons. They seem like such a good idea ....until you need to transplant and have to figure out how to get your starts out of the cells without disturbing others. It seems like it would be simple but for me it is difficult. They really are too shallow for good strong roots. The LIDS of egg cartons are nice for setting trays of seed pots in your window and protecting the window seal. (I'm using yogurt cups this year; I've never eaten so much single serving yogurt in my life).

On soaking ....with respect to those of you who love the results you are getting by soaking seed first.... It seems like a lot of fuss to me UNLESS you have older seed and you need to check the germination %. If you have saved seed for a couple of years, you probably do want to soak first and only use seed that germinates. In that case, using a damp paper towel helps you see at a glance who is alive and who is bird feed. Some flowers do better if they are soaked first, but even with peas I have not needed to do that. If your seed is fresh it seems like an unnecessary step. But do what makes you happy.

Deborah ....who only wants to transplant seedlings once (if at all)
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Post  junequilt 3/26/2010, 5:19 pm

Does anyone use the top of the refrigerator for seed sprouting? I've been doing that for years. I see many references to heating mats but have never bought one.
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Post  sunshine0408 3/28/2010, 9:56 pm

I never have used the top of the refrig for starting seeds but it makes sense. last yr I used neptune's harvest to soak the seeds and they all seemed to sprout the very next day or two.

this year havent found any to purchase yet and everything is taking longer.
seedlings in those jiffy green house things do fine on a heating pad.
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Post  jerzyjen 3/28/2010, 11:00 pm

I opted for skipping Mel's seed starting method because of the complication. I just start them in little pots and then put them in the garden at the right time. I was doing alot of soaking last year but found that to be complicated too, and probably unneccesary. I make little pots from recycled newspaper or reusing yogurt or sour cream cups like Deborah. I germinate them on the top of my fridge (since its about 70 degrees) then once I see the spout I move to the grow lights int he basement. so far so good
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Post  chocolatepop 3/28/2010, 11:17 pm

I missed this response but you COULD have used the egg carton and then purchased the peat pots with the netting around them individually. you can buy just boxes of them from walmart, home depot and some dollarstores.
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