Green Living
Dear Community,

Our tech team has launched updates to The Nest today. As a result of these updates, members of the Nest Community will need to change their password in order to continue participating in the community. In addition, The Nest community member's avatars will be replaced with generic default avatars. If you wish to revert to your original avatar, you will need to re-upload it via The Nest.

If you have questions about this, please email [email protected]

Thank you.

Note: This only affects The Nest's community members and will not affect members on The Bump or The Knot.

Seed Starters

Hello again! It's been a few months since I posted here, but I'm back with a gardening question: Last year I tried to grow my own seeds using those little seed starter kits. I found an "organic" set, but after following the directions to a T, my seed pods started growing mold! I had to throw them all out. Any ideas to avoid this? Any seed starter kits you love/have worked for you? Thank you!!

Re: Seed Starters

  • Kits are just a way to mark up what you could buy on its own for much cheaper! I just buy organic soil (usually marked for seed starting) and put it into each little "section" of the seed tray I bought. I kept it pretty moist in there and never grew mold. What I do is put some soil in the section, then put a seed in. Then in a bucket, I mix more soil with a LOT of water (til it is sloppy) and slap some of that on top of the soil with the seed on it. My seeds germinate REALLY quickly this way!
    I twitter randomly about gardening, sustainable living, local restaurants, cooking and more. Follow me on Twitter at Sarah_STL
  • Thank you for the tip! I bought the kit because we are in a condo and have a postage stamp of space. I'll try your method! Did you use the biodegradable cups, or reusable plastic ones?
  • image rubyiu:
    Kits are just a way to mark up what you could buy on its own for much cheaper! I just buy organic soil (usually marked for seed starting) and put it into each little "section" of the seed tray I bought. I kept it pretty moist in there and never grew mold. What I do is put some soil in the section, then put a seed in. Then in a bucket, I mix more soil with a LOT of water (til it is sloppy) and slap some of that on top of the soil with the seed on it. My seeds germinate REALLY quickly this way!

    Good tip, thanks! I'm attempting seed-starting for the first time this year.

     

  • We did not have good results with the biodegradeable seed pots, also called Jiffy pots or Cow Pots.  Ours molded too.  This year, we're using what the vendors at the Farmer's Market call "six packs." 

    image 

    We'll fill each cell with seed-starting mix and water it throughly.  You don't want to water after you put the seeds in, otherwise you could wash them to the sides of the cell.  The PP's method would work well too.  Put 2-3 seeds on top of the wet soil, and crumble more soil loosely on top.  Put the cover on the flat (ours came with a plastic cover) and cover that with a blanket.  This keeps heat in and light out, you don't want light before germination.  Water the cells gently daily with a spray bottle.  When you see the first "elbow" of a seedling come through the soil, remove the cover and expose the seedlings to light.  We use a shop light with a cool white bulb that's suspended on chains from the ceiling so we can move it up and down.  You want the light right above the seedlings at all times, you don't want them to have to reach for the light.  Reduce watering to every other day or every 3 days.  Overwatering is just as bad as underwatering.    If any of the seedlings get tall and skinny (called looking "leggy"), look like they're pinched at the bottom, and flop over, this is damping off disease.  Discard those plants, water less frequently, move the light closer, and increase air circulation.  You could use a small fan for that.

    The first set of leaves will be "seed leaves," meaning they don't look like the parent plant, they're just kind of generic.  Once you get your second set of "true leaves", meaning they will look like the leaves you would recognize, add dilluted liquid fertilizer (the bottle should have instructions for seedlings) once a week.  In a week or two, you'll see which seedling in each cell is the healthiest.  Clip the weak seedlings at ground level (do not pull, you'll disturb the roots of your "winner" seedling) and discard.  Continue watering and fertilizing.

    In a few weeks, the plants will start to outgrow their cells.  Transplant them into bigger pots.  We save yogurt tubs throughout the year for this purpose.  Continue watering and fertilizing.

    A little over a week from your intended plant-outside-date, you'll have to harden them off.  This entails putting the transplants outside in a protected spot (we put them in the inner corner of the deck) for an hour, then a little longer the next day, etc... etc.. until they're used to being outside.  Then you plant!

    [url="http://www.thebump.com/?utm_source=breastfeeder&utm_medium=ubb&utm_campaign=badges"][img]http://images.thenestbaby.com/badges/tb_sig_ebf.gif [/img][/url]
    <a href="http://www.thebump.com/?utm_source=sahm&utm_medium=ubb&utm_campaign=badges"><img src="http://images.thenestbaby.com/badges/tb_sig_sahm.gif"></a>


    <a href="http://lilypie.com/"><img src="http://lb1m.lilypie.com/fTcWm4.png" width="200" height="80" border="0" alt="Lilypie First Birthday tickers" /></a>
  • Wow-what great info! I wondered if it was the bio-deg. cups I used, and not the soil itself. There was mold on the outside of the cups if I recall correctly. I will definitely experiment this year.

     And thanks for the light tip! I had no idea that you needed to keep seeds in the dark for a bit. Green thumbs, I have none.

  • It's the cups! They do mold. i tried them once. I use a plastic tray with many slots for seed starting (I think around 75). It's tiny though. More than small enough for a small area. I do it on a small work bench in my garage.

    http://www.amazon.com/Hydrofarm-CK64050-Germination-Station-Heat/dp/B000HHO1RO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1299102027&sr=8-3

    That's what I have. I DON"T use the little soil pods they sent with - just regular (organic) soil. Works so well! 


    A tip for you new seed starters - you can also start seeds in a plastic baggie with paper towel in there if it is a really hard seed, like okra. Then transplant into soil after it sprouts.

    I twitter randomly about gardening, sustainable living, local restaurants, cooking and more. Follow me on Twitter at Sarah_STL
Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards