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Starting plants indoors from seed for the garden


quiltys41

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I would like to start my own plants this year for my garden. Usually I run to Wally world, Lowes, or the local nursery to get them. But...what if I couldn't afford to do that or SHTF

and we couldn't do it? I'm a rank newbie at this so it has to be basic, basic info. I don't even know when to start them. Do you just use potting soil? Do you need special pots or will styrofoam cups work just as well? So many ???? so little time lol.

 

Q

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here is a good plan for you -

If you can- go to a 'local' garden center not Wally World or any big box store for your plants. MOST of them (notice I said most- so don't come back with 'ours' doesn't people) anyway most of the big places just plant seeds for all their stores in one place whereas your local garden center is (for the most part) planting seeds that will grow well in your area. Also do this simple test - go to the big box store and pull up one little seedling pack and look at the roots, then go to your local garden center and do the same thing. I bet you will see that the center has many more roots and they are not dried out but white and healthy looking. It makes a big differance if your seedlings have had any 'stress' during those first few weeks - they will take longer to mature and set fruit. You may not notice it when you plant them in your garden but that is why everybody else has tomatoes before you do.

 

Michael1

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Seed starting does take a few things to do successfully - but it need not be a big expensive adventure. You will need some flourescent lights that can be placed just a few inches above the seedlings for about 12 to 15 hours each day (yes they need "dark" time too to really grow well). A $20 shop light fixture from homedepot, combined with your existing shelving will do the trick just fine. As for soil - buy a bay of germinating soil mix - it is finer and more sterile than potting soil or garden dirt. If you do not have a heat mat, try starting the trays of seedlings up on top of the fridge until they emerge (the seeds need the heat to germinate - not the plants once they emerge) and then move them immediately under your lights. Here is a great website on the basics of seed starting. I think it is the best resource available for those that are interested in doing this. http://www.sherrysgreenhouse.com/pages/see...ting/index.html

 

In addition, I have some photos on seed starting on my web page - under the photo gallery.

 

Good luck and happy gardening.

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I tried the peat pots one year and lost almost all my seedlings. The garden book I read told me to pot the peat pot and 'forget about it'. Um...every single one of those buggers had root encapsulation. The mesh that held in the peat didn't allow good root growth. rant

 

So, a local nursery near us sells these make-your-own dirt cups. I'm thinking of getting one. They also used to sell a wind-your-own peat pot only it was out of newspapers...

 

http://www.territorialseed.com/product/139/166

 

I've got a good grow light and a tray. I just need another tray or two (mine blew away in outside storage) and a heat mat. We get too many drafts in our kitchen where the grow light is.

 

I'm also wanting to start growing our own mushrooms - Territorial sells mushroom kits. grin

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Originally Posted By: Fritz_Monroe
Good luck with your plants. The only advice I can give is to make sure you don't start your tomato plants too early. Also make sure you have the plants close to the light source so you don't end up with spindly plants.


I think the lighting has been my problem in years past as I always end up with those weak, spindly tomato plants! Hoping dh will help me this year by hanging me up a shop light to solve that one.

One ?...if I don't have a heat mat for the seeds, would it be okay to use an old heating pad set on low?

Q
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Quote:
Do you need special pots or will styrofoam cups work just as well? So many ???? so little time lol.


I buy from a local person sometimes, and she uses styrofoam cups with garden soil.
Some friends gave me a dozen squash plants last year. They had started them in egg cartons. (not the styrofoam) and the roots were growing into the carton. Those plants did very well.

I have been saving the clear plastic hinged containers that grapes come in from Sam's Club, and bakery items from Walmart. I plan to use these as mini green houses to get some things started.
Depending on the plant, I may just plant in the container. Put a couple of coffee filters in the bottom to keep the dirt from washing out.
For individual plants I will put the small pot, yogurt container or such, in the plastic hinged container.

And I agree- Those peat pots were a waste of my time.

I also have been saving 2 liter pop bottles. I will cut them in half and use the top part to protect plants after I plant outdoors. The bottom part can be used for indoor plant starts.

Wind is my biggest problem here. It isn't spring unless it's blowing 40 to 50 mph winds for hours. They even predict the wind, when it will start and stop, and they are pretty accurate. That wind can dry out and kill a plant quicker than a wink. Very discouraging when you have babied tender plants for a few months.
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You can also take empty plastic pop or water bottles, cut them almost in half. Plant seeds in the bottom half and the close the top half back over to make a little green house. I take the cap off to help excess heat escape. I have reused the same bottles for 2-3 seasons.

 

Lele

 

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Originally Posted By: DoubleD
Seed starting does take a few things to do successfully - but it need not be a big expensive adventure. You will need some flourescent lights that can be placed just a few inches above the seedlings for about 12 to 15 hours each day (yes they need "dark" time too to really grow well). A $20 shop light fixture from homedepot, combined with your existing shelving will do the trick just fine. As for soil - buy a bay of germinating soil mix - it is finer and more sterile than potting soil or garden dirt. If you do not have a heat mat, try starting the trays of seedlings up on top of the fridge until they emerge (the seeds need the heat to germinate - not the plants once they emerge) and then move them immediately under your lights. Here is a great website on the basics of seed starting. I think it is the best resource available for those that are interested in doing this. http://www.sherrysgreenhouse.com/pages/see...ting/index.html

In addition, I have some photos on seed starting on my web page - under the photo gallery.

Good luck and happy gardening.


Thanks for the link. I will be trying to start some seeds inside this year.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Originally Posted By: Rezgirl
Quote:
Do you need special pots or will styrofoam cups work just as well? So many ???? so little time lol.


I buy from a local person sometimes, and she uses styrofoam cups with garden soil.
Some friends gave me a dozen squash plants last year. They had started them in egg cartons. (not the styrofoam) and the roots were growing into the carton. Those plants did very well.

I have been saving the clear plastic hinged containers that grapes come in from Sam's Club, and bakery items from Walmart. I plan to use these as mini green houses to get some things started.
Depending on the plant, I may just plant in the container. Put a couple of coffee filters in the bottom to keep the dirt from washing out.
For individual plants I will put the small pot, yogurt container or such, in the plastic hinged container.

And I agree- Those peat pots were a waste of my time.

I also have been saving 2 liter pop bottles. I will cut them in half and use the top part to protect plants after I plant outdoors. The bottom part can be used for indoor plant starts.

Wind is my biggest problem here. It isn't spring unless it's blowing 40 to 50 mph winds for hours. They even predict the wind, when it will start and stop, and they are pretty accurate. That wind can dry out and kill a plant quicker than a wink. Very discouraging when you have babied tender plants for a few months.


Okay, I found a bunch of those hinged strawberry containers out in the shop, so I grabbed them, the potting/starting soil, some seeds and coffee filters too. I only did up two of them, one with leaf lettuce for in the house and one with tomato seed for outside just to see if/how this would work. And guess what?? I think every seed i planted came up lol! starlois This is one GREAT idea thank you!!! Now I just have to work on getting the plants closer to the light source next time and I should have this down pat!

Q
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I have been considering this as well, and concluded starting mine in late February, tomatoes and peppers and maybe others, would be best since it did stay very cold here a long time last spring, and everyone predicted the same this far north again this spring, so at least they will be started by the time we can prep ground at mha for the outside garden.

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Originally Posted By: Frugal Cook
If you put them near a window, do you still need the florescent light?


I would suggest it. With window light, the plants will bend and grow towards the light. With the fluorescent light, keep it about 2" above the top of the seedlings. They get plenty of light and do not become spindely.
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Originally Posted By: Frugal Cook
If you put them near a window, do you still need the florescent light?


Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Remember, you are starting these seeds during the winter/early spring months - when the sun strength is at it's lowest. A super sunny window location will sometimes work for low demand crops (lettuce for example) but items like tomatoes, etc need a higher level of light intensity to grow properly. Weak spindly plants result from lack of adequate light and they are extremely susceptible to damping off disease etc. If you are waiting until April and May to start plants - then a really sunny window may be okay as the sun strength is significantly increasing then - but honestly most of the seed starting is in February and March to be ready for April and May planting.
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