Starting Seeds Indoors

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4 Responses

  1. Emily says:

    You just want to keep them moist, not soggy or dry. When I grow about 15 plants I usually need 2 quarts to water them. You want to grow broccoli starts until they have 4 true leaves before transplanting.

  2. roundpen says:

    I’m planting my Fall Garden, (Houston, Texas), and I’m starting the seeds indoors to learn how. How much water do you put in the bottom of the tub? and how long should they grow before transplanting? If I understand correctly, it shouldn’t matter for a Fall Garden, just the Frost dates. This is my first year doing any Garden, so I appreciate all the help.



  3. amy says:

    Thanks for all the help!

  4. sunslight says:

    Perlite & peat works better.

    If the seed is old, sow near the top of the mix. The older the seed, the less vigor it has. If not enough vigor, it won’t have enough energy to break through a lot of mix.

    Some things not mentioned and that have to be watched for:

    Temperature of mix:
    1) in general most seeds will sprout at around 70F, soil temperature. A good place to get this is on top of the refrigerator.
    2) Some seeds, especially the ones that like cool weather will be killed by warm soil. They need a soil temp of 65F or less, example–pansies 55F-65F. And some seeds need it to be hot to germinate–75F or better.

    Stratification: especially perennials, such as pansies, violas need to be subjected to warming and cooling, but more, a cooling process for them to break dormancy. You have to trick them into having gone through winter.
    A couple of weeks, prior to planting, put them into the fridge, enclosed with a damp (barely) paper towel & the whole thing sealed in a baggy or something like that. There are many seeds that benefit from this type of treatment. You have to be careful and watch for mold. Any seed that starts to show that should be discarded, immediately. Large seed, with a hard coat, will not only benefit from stratification, but nicking the outside of the coat (actually cutting through it) with a file or sharp knife. Sweet pea (the flower) is an example of a seed that will benefit from a small hole to allow moisture to get in.

    Light: This is a biggie. As important, perhaps more, than germinating temperature.

    1)Do NOT put all your seedlings under light or in a sunny window and expect them to grow.

    Pansies for example, Require, Dark (and cool) to germinate. You have to check often. As soon as you see a few coming up, then they can be moved to light. If left too long in the dark, they will get “leggy.” But these seeds must have dark.

    2) Some seeds require light to germinate. Which means you can press them into the mix, but do not cover them. Without light, they will not germinate. Begonias are like this. Many tiny seeds require light. Sowing them into a hole and putting any covering over them will kill them.

    3) the kind of light– it really doesn’t matter all that much. what does matter is the intensity and length of time that the plants have light. The special “gro-lights” are for showing off flowering plants. The spectrum is very “warm” and will make colors vibrant, but they are not needed for starting plants.
    Daylight light–not full spectrum–is best. You need light that has a temperature of 6500K or better. This is more towards the blue end. If you go with full spectrum, since plants don’t use the full-spectrum, it’s a waste.
    You can make a plant perfectly happy, starting & growing-on with ordinary, cool white, shop-lights. If you want to add a bit of lower spectrum to get the other colors a plant can use, put one cool-white, and one soft-white (warm) into a 2 light florescent fixture. This will be fine. But all cool white will work–all warm white will not work–& light 6,500K or better works best.

    Watering: always bottom water. Especially with fine seed. You don’t want to move the seeds around as they are trying to break dormancy. An occasional mist over the top of the seed, won’t hurt–that’s over the top and let the mist settle. Do not mist the seed directly.

    Air. The domes are great for keeping in humidity and warmth, which is exactly what plants like, including mold and fungus.
    Do not let the air be still.
    Try to keep the air around the plants circulating. A small fan that just barely moves the air will work very well. Moving air is one of the best protections you have against damp-off. Damp-off is a condition that is caused mainly by bugs growing in warm, stagnant air. It attacks the stem at the base, where it meets the soil.
    One day your seedling will be fine. The next, they will have all fallen over. If you look carefully at the stem, it will look as though it has been pinched, right at the bottom. Immediately remove the infected plants and get the air stirring, around the rest. You can’t save a plant with damp-off (actually it is possible, but takes some real know how, lots of work, and you may be able to save 25% or so). Throw the damp-offed plants away. Wash your hands. And pray over the rest. Sometimes a fungicide sprinkled around the remaining plants (soil level) may help. The best thing though, is no damp-of spores in the area and keep the air moving.