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Do you have any seed-starting tips to share?

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Re: Do you have any seed-starting tips to share?

Postby lindamct2010 » Dec 31, 2012 1:58 am

I love this thread and the feedback from each other . Let us keep it going and growing
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Re: Do you have any seed-starting tips to share?

Postby growitall » Jan 01, 2013 2:57 pm

Here a few really basic points about seed-starting that some beginners may find useful. Seed germination requires constantly moist conditions. For this reason, seed flats or pots are best kept covered until germination; after germination, the covers can be removed. A proviso to this may be with extremely tiny seedlings, which can benefit from prolonged cover until the roots grow enough to penetrate well into the potting medium.

Inadequate light is the most common reason for seed-starting failure, from what I can gather from various gardening forums. Indoor light, even in bright windows, is often adequate for only short periods, after which the seedlings will become etoliated (stretched-out from lack of light) and weak and prone to disease. A much better solution for anyone who starts a lot of plants from seed indoors is to set up fluorescent lights as a light source. Two-foot or four-foot shop lights work very well for setting up over seedling flats. The type of fluorescent bulb is not particularly important (e.g. cool, warm, full-spectrum, etc.) - what does matter is the intensity of light provided. To start, the fluorescent fixture can be set as low as possible over the germinated seedlings - it doesn't matter if the leaves even touch the fluorescent bulbs (they will not be burnt). As the seedlings grow, the fluorescent fixture needs to be raised to provide room for growth.

For anyone who starts a lot of seeds, it's worth acquiring or, if possible, banging together a simple seed-starting table, consisting of a couple or more shelves. Ideally, the fluorescent lights can be suspended from chains over each shelf, allowing them to be raised with time. My table consists of 3 shelves (actually 4, but the lowermost one near the floor level is just used for storage), each with lights suspended overtop on chains. Each shelf is approximately 2' deep by 4' wide and has two four-foot fluorescent ballasts side-by-side overtop; each ballast has two lights. Needless to say, it works best to size the shelves conveniently... For example, each of my shelves holds 4 flats (each of which holds 48 two-inch square pots) and is also sized for best use of the standard-size fluorescent lights.
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