seeds haven't sprouted

dashygirlFebruary 9, 2014

Hi all,
I am brand new to Arizona gardening (and gardening in general). First off, I live in a condo and so I have to use containers to garden. I ordered a bunch of heirloom seeds from a local place here in Phoenix and followed their instructions precisely as far as planting is concerned, and I also looked up the best planting times for my elevation for these seeds in the AZ Master Gardening Manual from U of A. Seemed like I was on the right track! I planted tomatoes, bush beans, lots of peppers and some summer squash and eggplant. It has been exactly 1 week and NONE of these little guys have sprouted yet! According to the reading I've done there should be little sprouts, right? Or maybe has the crappy weather the Valley had last week stunting the whole process?
Thanks in advance! I really want this to work!

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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Are you keeping the soil moist? I use a misting spray bottle. Peppers take much longer but the tomatoes should be popping any day now. What's the temp of the soil? Needs to be about 80ð, I use a heat mat and start seeds in very small containers. The root zone likes to be a bit crowded until you plant out. HTH.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 10:58AM
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JesseT

Last year I had less than half of my seeds sprout and some took a few weeks. They were in ice cube trays with potting soil.

This year I planted maybe three or four times what I wanted and had nearly 100% germination, no damping off, and some seeds (the tiny little things like balm and chamomile) showed up in three days. I have given away a lot already.

The big difference I think was the warm conditions. I used peat/coir pellets in a fish tank outside on the south wall (Tucson, warmest winter in history). It had just enough water to cover a really good (accurate and with a small temperature swing) tank heater set for 76 degrees. The pellets were above the water but the tank in general was humid as heck.

So, there was no drying out, no chilling, and intense light. Check those three things first.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 2:36PM
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Fascist_Nation(9b)

Kind of early to be planting beans. Otherwise, if nothing sprouts within 2 more weeks replant. It has been kind of cold the past couple of weeks at night.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 5:23PM
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dashygirl

Thanks for the replies.

I planted everything in the containers I have outside (I re-purposed cabinets I got from a used home furnishing store, lined them and filled them with soil). So maybe it's still a bit too cold? Since it's going to be getting warmer this next week or so (I saw it will be 80 by the end of the week) maybe they will be more encouraged to pop up? I didn't start anything inside as I figured it was ok to just plant them outside, I suppose I was wrong...?

I've been keeping the soil moist, but not wet. I have a watering can that I just drip over where I planted the seeds.

My containers are on my east-facing balcony, so they get at least 6 hrs of sun this time of year, which definitely warms the soil up during the day. I bought herb plants and planted all of them and they're all doing great and growing super fast. So that's a good sign, right?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 6:01PM
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sundrop07(9b)

Yes, even with bottom heat my peppers and eggplant seeds seem slower than usual but the tomatoes popped right up and for the first time I've had no damping off with them using the same soil and methods as last year when I lost a LOT to damping off. I heard we should expect up to 85 degrees by Friday so the extra heat should help with germination.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 1:20PM
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dashygirl

What can one do to prevent damping off and how do you tell if that's the problem?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 8:56AM
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JesseT

>> What can one do to prevent damping off
>> and how do you tell if that's the problem?

If something sprouts and then dies then people often assume it's damping off, especially if a portion of the stem blackens. There's the stage between sprouting and getting the first pair or two of "true" leaves when seedlings are very susceptible to the problem, and the problem is exacerbated by high humidity/low air circulation. It's a fungus and fungi are everywhere, so the best you can do is to sterilize the planting soil and keep things clean. I use those compressed pellets and they're supposed to be sterile, but I hydrate them in the microwave anyway and use them is a hugely humid setup with no problems. Maybe I just jinxed it...

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 2:51PM
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dashygirl

Ok, so it's WAY too early for me to be able to determine if damping off is my seeds' problem.

Still no sprouts yet....in any of my planters!

I recently planted some bell peppers, serranos and poblanos in small pots that I've been transferring to and from my patio in the evenings so the temps stay more consistent for them. We will see if that makes a difference. All of my other seeds are planted in containers far too big and heavy to transport to indoors at night.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 9:00AM
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sundrop07(9b)

I have also used one of those opaque plastic storage bins with a hinged lid as a mini hothouse, I put the little pots in it out in the sunshine on my carport and it heats up very quickly, I leave the lid open days and close it at night and that helps peppers and such germinate quickly.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 5:58PM
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captaininsano

Not what is usually recommended, but you can check the beans just lightly brush soil away from the top where you know one of your beans is planted and see what it's doing if it has swelled and broken through then it will be a couple days but if it hasn't even swelled by now replant, I wouldn't check anything other than beans they are a larger sprout and can be jostled a bit without damaging them.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 8:16PM
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lazy_gardens

Even with pre-soaking for 24 hours, my beans and armenian cucumbers have JUST started sprouting.

The peppers are also very slow to get going, even though I soaked them AND put them on the file server for warmth.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 11:32AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Finally. This morning. A chiltepin seed that I placed in a cup of potting soil on Jan 1st, has popped a little bit of green above the surface. These seed attempts are on a heat mat, regulated to about 80ð. 8 or 10 still have not popped.

I'm going to start again, placing the seeds in a wet coffee filter to germinate. Move any that sprout to a potting soil cup.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 11:51AM
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