Gardening & Landscaping
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Starting seeds - how many to plant?

Hi there, I'm venturing into the world of Vegetable Gardening this year. Basically, I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm reading and learning and doing the best I can. 

 I'm trying to make a shopping list of things I need to go buy to start my seeds indoors. So far, I've only got:

-Fluffy light potting mix

-Popsicle sticks

- fertilizer (15-15-15, whatever that means!)

-Containers

-Grow light

-Heat mat 

That brings me to my question - I have no idea how many seeds to buy/plant, and consequently no idea how many containers I'll need to plant them in.  A friend of mine said that he plants 60 containers of seeds per type of vegetable, keeps the strong plants and gives away the weak ones. Is this a bit excessive or is that normal? Also, is there anything wrong with my list? Thanks!

Re: Starting seeds - how many to plant?

  • I want to chat with you for hours. Since I can't really do that, buy a book called "Square Foot Gardening". It will help you a lot, since I assume you have little room (just bc most people do). The book REALLY helps you minimize waste of seeds, since your friend is wasting a lot. Fertilizer is not necessary when you are starting seeds - it's transplanting them that needs more nutrients. You need seed starter mix specifically. I would highly recommend getting the little starter pellets bc it is bacteria/fungus-free; those can cause total demise of your seedlings. GL (what are you growing?)!
    Baby BOY 10/03/06!! Went to India to get our DAUGHTER (DOB 8/14/07) HA! A surprise after adoption - Baby girl (DOB 3/19/11)!
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  • For the first year, I'd go low-pressure. Pick 5 varieties that you can't find easily elsewhere, like heirloom varieties. Only start as many as you think you'll use after thinning. Once you've learned how the process goes this year, you can expand next year. Give yourself permission to buy starts if you need to, the important thing is getting a crop. Don't forget to have your beds ready before your plants, or they'll get leggy waiting. 

    Find a good guide on starting seeds, I think there's one from Cornell floating around the internet that I've seen. Basically you start them on trays with your heat mat, then get them under the grow light, then potting up, potting up and potting up, hardening off and walla!  I think where I've failed (other than the dreaded forgetting to water) is the potting up process. Don't skip it! The one thing I'd add to your list is a timer. 

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    "The meek shall inherit the earth" isn't about children. It's about deer. We're all going to get messed the fuckup by a bunch of cloned super-deer.- samfish2bcrab

    Sometimes I wonder if scientists have never seen a sci-fi movie before. "Oh yes, let's create a super species of deer. NOTHING COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG." I wonder if State Farm offers a Zombie Deer Attack policy. -CaliopeSpidrman
  • image IndianChica:
    I want to chat with you for hours. Since I can't really do that, buy a book called "Square Foot Gardening". It will help you a lot, since I assume you have little room (just bc most people do). The book REALLY helps you minimize waste of seeds, since your friend is wasting a lot. Fertilizer is not necessary when you are starting seeds - it's transplanting them that needs more nutrients. You need seed starter mix specifically. I would highly recommend getting the little starter pellets bc it is bacteria/fungus-free; those can cause total demise of your seedlings. GL (what are you growing?)!

    I agree with buying the book "All New Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew.  I just got this book for Christmas and it's awesome.  It is packed with useful information!  It was recommended to me by my very-experienced-in-gardening-neighbor, so I knew it had to go on my Christmas wish list :)

    Anyway, I DO think your friend is wasting and causing a huge hassel for themselves by planting that many of each plant!!  Wow!  For example, if I want to be able to put 8 tomato plants in my garden, I will probably only start about 12 seeds - that way if 4 of them don't make it I will still have the 8 that I wanted to put in my garden - and if all 12 make it, I only have to worry about giving away 4 of them.  Plus planting 60 seeds of each plant would just take up waaay to much room in my house :) 

    Good luck with your 1st year of gardening! 

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