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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Confused newbie seed sprouting help please  Toplef10Confused newbie seed sprouting help please  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.

Confused newbie seed sprouting help please  I22gcj10Confused newbie seed sprouting help please  14dhcg10

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Confused newbie seed sprouting help please

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Mtman1849
Tbites
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Confused newbie seed sprouting help please  Empty Confused newbie seed sprouting help please

Post  Tbites 4/9/2011, 2:03 pm

Hello from Montreal,

Very first time trying to grow any kind of vegetable and based on Mel's book I'm late starting seeds indoors but still want to try. I've searched these forums quite a bit but some of the seeding info seems quite advanced for my understanding, either that or I'm just having "information overload".

Do I sprout my seeds in paper towels THEN transfer to vermiculite THEN transfer to small indoor containers with Mel's mix and lights.... OR

Do I sprout seeds in paper towels OR vermiculite THEN transfer to small indoor containers with Mel's mix and lights ?

Also when using a ziplock bag over paper towel or vermiculite... do I seal it shut or do I leave a small opening for air ?

Thanks for your help, (Hopefully this is the right forum to ask for help ?)
Chantal
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Post  Mtman1849 4/9/2011, 2:12 pm

I hope I don't give the wrong info here, but the way I start is is not that technical, all I do is use seed cup filled with potting soil and add seed if you are using MM you could fill cups with that. Keeping seed warm and moist will help them germinate. This is the way I have done it for years, that don't make it the best way just the way it works for me. Hope this helps
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Post  myhouseofBOYS 4/9/2011, 2:20 pm

I bought this http://www.amazon.com/Jiffy-5774-Professional-Greenhouse-50-Plant/dp/B003TSE77M/ref=pd_sbs_ol_12 Put soil in the pots, moisten put in seed, put on the hood and put in a warm draft free place. Some times I brought the thing outside to give the seeds a chance at real weather conditions. Once seeds sprout I transplanted to 4 inch pots but that is because my beds are not ready/mix not made. But I would normally just put right in the garden. Just try a way and see if it works.
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Post  Tbites 4/9/2011, 2:34 pm

Thank you both for answering... I notice you're both in warmer climates than I am... perhaps that makes a difference ? My Mel's mix is ready to go but being someone who is challenged by an indoor peace lily, I'm trying to follow Mel's instructions by the book.

I realize mistakes and failures come with gardening, just prefer to minimize them.
Tbites
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Post  Furbalsmom 4/9/2011, 8:18 pm

Confused newbie seed sprouting help please  654548 Tbites

The first year is always the hardest because there are so many new things to try.

As far as seedlings, the timing is based on how many weeks before you can plant them outside and how many weeks before your last frost. Do you know your average last frost date?

I prefer to use vermiculite to germinate the seeds, then transplant them into Mel's Mix in seedling cells or small pots to wait inside for their correct planting date. I use this for warm weather plants that cannot go into the garden until May here, things like peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, and tender herbs.
If it is warm enough outside, the sprouts can be moved from the vermiculite to the Mel's Mix in the garden. I used this for cool weather plants like lettuce, spinach, cauliflower and swiss chard.
I find my germination rate is higher in vermiculite than it is in a seedling mix.

I have also tried a few seeds on damp paper towels. I left the end of the bag open for air circulation.
The first ones were artichoke seeds and they germinated pretty well. Then I potted them up in 3 inch pots. They will stay in those until it is time to go outdoors. The germination rate for artichokes was MUCH higher than seeding into a seedling mix or Mel's Mix. Artichokes are not as easy to germinate as many other vegetables.
The others I tried on paper towels were just an experiment to judge the germination time for some beans. I am working with some children at a community garden and was looking for a project, where they could sprout the beans and then plant them directly into the garden. The experiment was successful, so when it is time to plant outdoors (not until mid May here) the kids will sprout bean seeds on paper towels first.

The next question is do you have a good light source for the seedlings once they have germinated? In your climate, a sunny window may not be sufficient. I use florescent lights just 1 or 2 inches above the tops of my plants, but there are other options as to a good light source.

Just remember, they are only seeds and if they don't do well your first year, that's ok. Some seeds can be planted directly in the garden at the right time, and there are always transplants available.
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Post  Tbites 4/9/2011, 9:19 pm

BIG hug Thank you so much for clarifying.

Makes more sense now, indoors I can start my seed in paper towel OR vermiculite before transferring to 3" pots w/ Mel's Mix.... and air circulation required. Got it.

I have 2 of these lights [img]Confused newbie seed sprouting help please  Clamp12[/img] and got 40W cfls (equal to 150w) for them. After spending for the other materials for mel's mix I figured I'd wait a while before getting shop lights. Hopefully, the lights I have will suffice as long as I keep them 2" from future seedlings.

I have Mel's All New Square foot gardening... which apparently has a lot less pages than the original book (reading excerpts of original online). My last frost date is supposed to be May 3rd... but our spring is not as warm this year so I think I'll be delayed there too.

Seeds are soaking tonight, spinach is getting seeded outdoors tomorrow but the other plants I wanted to grow ( pepper, eggplant, tomatoes and cauliflower) is what I seem to be really late to start indoors. I know I can catch up with lettuce, but am I just dreaming thinking of starting the other ones so late ?

C (I WILL stop lurking)
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Post  myhouseofBOYS 4/9/2011, 9:26 pm

someone will come along and correct me if I wrong but I am not sure you can use that shop light unless you can get a broad spectrum bulb in it. The lights are to simulate the sun that may not be out much where you are now. I don't think a halogen light will suffice. I could be wrong though.
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Post  Goosegirl 4/10/2011, 7:34 am

For that clamp lamp I would suggest getting one of those spiraly (is this a word?) looking fluorescent bulbs - because a regular incandescent bulb (big heat source) along with that big round back reflector will possibly fry your seedlings.
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Post  elliephant 4/10/2011, 9:55 am

Confused newbie seed sprouting help please  68739
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Post  Tbites 4/10/2011, 10:04 am

hmmm... I'm pretty sure we're talking about the same thing, this is the cfl I got except in cool white http://www.amazon.com/Globe-Fluorescent-150-Watt-Incandescent-Equivalent/dp/B000GBBUGQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=lamps-light&ie=UTF8&qid=1302444119&sr=1-3

C
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Post  Furbalsmom 4/10/2011, 4:15 pm

myhouseofBOYS wrote:someone will come along and correct me if I wrong but I am not sure you can use that shop light unless you can get a broad spectrum bulb in it. The lights are to simulate the sun that may not be out much where you are now. I don't think a halogen light will suffice. I could be wrong though.

Full spectrum lights are supposed to be better, but I chose to use one cool flourescent (sp?) bulb and one warm bulb in my shop light as it was more affordable.

So far, I have been pretty successful.
ARTICHOKES AND PEPPERS
Confused newbie seed sprouting help please  Pepper10
REVOLUTION LETTUCE, SNOW CROP CAULIFLOWER, GROUND CHERRIES
Confused newbie seed sprouting help please  Lettuc10
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Post  elliephant 4/10/2011, 7:20 pm

Embarassed Oh, now I see where you said cfl in your post.
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Post  Goosegirl 4/10/2011, 9:26 pm

Tbites wrote:hmmm... I'm pretty sure we're talking about the same thing, this is the cfl I got except in cool white http://www.amazon.com/Globe-Fluorescent-150-Watt-Incandescent-Equivalent/dp/B000GBBUGQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=lamps-light&ie=UTF8&qid=1302444119&sr=1-3

C

THAT'S IT!!!! The Spiraly Thingie! Confused newbie seed sprouting help please  410210

TC
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