Thought a new thread would be good for 2013 seed starting.
I direct sowed in the fall.
Meconopsis (Blue Poppy) are my only indoor starts so far.
The only things I have started right now are daylily seeds. I'll be planting more daylily seeds next week. I usually start my onions and leeks in January but have decided to wait to start them. I can't even remember what annual seeds I ordered but they'll be started by the end of Feb. Marg
Peppers are up and I also have some coneflower, delph and foxglove. I also started some asparagus but have no idea how old the seed was, it was lost in the bottom of my box. Cheryl
Seeds are such a miracle. Started some 10 year old snapdragon seeds three days ago and they are up. I love this time of year. C
If I started seeds this early everything would be leggy and fall over not enough light yet. No planting for me until June.
lots of my stuff will go out to the greenhouse (basically a large cold frame, as it is unheated) then I cover with a large amount of frost cloths. Most other stuff will have to wait till March. C
Cheryl, you said that your peppers were already up. I usually start mine in March but hey are not very big when its time to plant them out. How big are yours when you plant them? I'm also concerned that starting them this early will make them 'leggy'. Do you have a problem with that? Marg
I'm putting in my daylily crosses this weekend. Everything else will have to wait a few more weeks or they will be too stretched. Good luck with your blue poppies, not the easiest to grow. Let me know how you make out! They are stunnung if you can grow them.
Marg, the peppers are usually about 8-12inches, my basement is cool if the fireplace isn't going. I find that if it is warm that's when they get leggy, lots of light and cool temps is what you want. If I don't start them this early they tend to only be about 4 inches and I don't get any peppers.
I don't have a cellar in this house but I do have a sunroom. Usually I put the peppers under the grow lights til they germinate and are about 2" tall and then I move them to a counter in front of the windows. I have to turn them every day because they lean in towards the sun but they grow fine. Now I just have to get them started tomorrow. Usually they're only 3-4" but hopefully starting them this early will help. Thanks. Marg
Marg, last year I started my peppers in mid-February and they were perfect when I planted them out at the end of May. But I had lights and a cool basement so they grew really nice and bushy.
I'm going to start looking at my seeds soon but not planting anything until at least February.
I likely won't start any seeds until the end of Feb but since we are talking about starting seeds, there used to be a product out there called "No Damp" that has been taken off the market I'm sure because it created a large amount of greenhouse gas or some other ecological crises so I'm wondering what others are using to control damping off.
Stanly, i think it's cinnamon that can be used to prevent damp-off, or maybe that's fungus. There was a thread about it at one time.... I don't remember how long ago, but there might even be something in the fungus gnat thread that gets resurrected every so often.
Hey Stan, Rona still lists No Damp on their website. I've never used it myself. I try to select seeds that aren't super prone to damping off, then I clean my pots well and use clean seedling starter mix, and I don't get too much of it.
I'll be starting onions, hot peppers and tomatoes indoors under grow lights. Based on last year's garden notes, I started the onions last year on Feb. 29 (leap year!) and they were a good transplant size when put in the garden on May 15. Think I'll repeat that timing this year, or might go a wee bit earlier.
I started the hot peppers (Hungarian hot wax, Charleston and Firecracker) on March 15 and planted them into the garden as well as into pots on the deck on May 27. At that time the Hungarians were 5" tall, the Charleston 6" tall, and the Firecracker just 4" tall. So maybe a March 1 or March 8 start this year? (will likely be growing different varieties).
The tomatoes last year were planted March 29, and moved into deck pots on May 12 when just starting to show flower buds, and others planted directly into the garden on May 20, with me being prepared to cover garden plants and move the deck pots if frost threatened. This timing seemed good and I'll aim for a repeat this year.
Timing really depends on your light system, growing temperature, etc. I can cover my grow lights to raise the temperature to 25C, which I always do for sprouting seeds, or I can leave it uncovered to an ambient basement temperature of 15C, which I do if things seem to be developing too quickly or if we are expecting a plumber or electrician or someone else who I want to make it clear to that I'm not growing pot under my covered basement grow-lights :)
LOL Don... I had a guy from Hydro here a few years ago. I was like "everything I'm growing is legal", and he assured me that as long as I was using my own power they weren't supposed to tell on anyone for anything, and he never would. He sort of went on & on about it, maybe he was hoping for some free samples.
Thanks Marciaz3 and Northspruce. I went on the Rona website and they carry it so I will go do some shopping.
I have had the best results with daylily seed just direct sowing it in the ground as soon as I harvest the seed. It gets chilled over the winter and comes up great by itself in the spring with no fussing with it. Northwoodswis
lobelia is up, but I was a bone head and covered my petunia seeds for some reason. Thru some more on top. Will be making my tomato list soon for some reason I always start way too many numbers and varieties. I'm just a little spring itch crazy. C
I've just done some winter sowing. Maybe i'll get ambitious tomorrow and start something inside. Maybe not, though. :)
Edited to add - i lied! I'd forgotten about the tiny leek seedlings on the front windowsill. My husband made leek and potato soup a couple of weeks ago, and we thought we'd try to grow them. I found a thread about leeks here that gave me advice about starting them, and now with any luck he can make leek and potato soup this fall with homegrown leeks - and potatoes, of course!
This post was edited by marciaz3 on Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 9:18
I just found your wonderful forum this past weekend. I really have enjoyed reading the posts. I'll be trying to gleam as many words of wisdom as I can as I'm starting plants under lights for the first time this year (built the greenhouse last summer). So far I have most of my peppers germinated and under the lights. My Cayennes and some JalapeÃÂ±o seeds I dried myself didn't germinate yet. I'm surprised how expectant I am to see those seedlings come out of the ground now that the rest are up LOL. I read somewhere that fans should be used on seedlings. Is it really that important and if so when would you start?
2013 garden season officially starting for me now... let's get this party started! :)
gopats, fans aren't that important, I think I have only ever used them once, and I didn't see any real difference. Some people find that if their plants are getting leggy it will help make the stem stronger. I live where is is really windy most of the time, so by the time they are tall enough to be getting leggy, it's time for them to go outside anyway. Cheryl
Marcia, leeks are very easy to grow. I have done it for 3 years now and always had good luck. Next year I think I will try w/s them. So far I've started some onions, leeks, peppers, petunias, gazania, convolvulus and penstemon. The gazania and convolvulus were old seeds so I'm surprised they germinated at all. Oh, and this year I'm trying datura. I received lots of seeds so I am trying them - they're on the heat mat right now. Last year I ordered Australian Brown Onions but they didn't do to well for me or anyone else that ordered them. This year they sent a pkg of Ailsa Craig to replace them (I didn't care for the ABO that did grow so I asked for the AC). I'll have to plant the AC later today. Anyone ever grow those? I'm also going to start my winter sowing later. Marg
I'm starting my peppers earlier this year; hopefully, I can get peppers earlier than other years. We had a hot summer last year, so the peppers did really well.
The only thing I've started were some small chili peppers that I bought at the grocery store...I'll have to bring up my seed packets and add to these.
If anyone is in doubt about the viability of their seeds, I recommend pre-sprouting them in a sandwich bag with a moistened paper towel inside.
Marg, i believe you and NAF were the ones who were talking about leeks in that old thread i found. :) So, as per your advice, i've started them, and it looks as if most have sprouted. Thank you!
Marcia, I forgot to mention that if you have to many to use right away you can dice them up, sautÃÂ© in butter and fill ice cube trays with them. When they're frozen, put them in ziplock bags. Better than a gooey mess in a ziplock. This way you have them ready when you make soup all winter and you can take out only what you need. If I run out I buy them on sale and do the same thing. Marg
Thanks for the tip, Marg!
I've planted my dayliliy seeds for this year and they are up and doing really well. I also started a few tomatoes, a bit too early but I plan to keep them potted up into larger pots so I have bigger plants to set out.
Here is a link that might be useful: Red Amaryllis
I started some hot peppers a couple of days ago. I don't want to be "that person", but I started a little blog about seed starting that might branch into gardening later. I don't get paid for it or anything so only look if you're interested. ;)
Here is a link that might be useful: Seed Starting Blog
What a fun blog, Gil! I haven't started anything yet except for some winter sown snaps and columbine. It has been a long cold, lonely winter (as the Beatles put it) so I am looking forward to some little green shoots. :) My power bill is already through the roof so I must rely on mother nature to provide that. My late hubby built me a two tiered rack a few year back that I hope to use in my huge south windows. Always had lots of luck with that one. Will start petunias on the weekend and geraniums as soon as the seed arrives. :) Looking forward to a colorful summer and of course, home grown tomato sandwiches. :)
Thanks for sharing your blog. :)
Gil, I enjoyed your blog very much. I will bookmark it to follow your progress. I agree with your opinions about cost of growing versus buying and also your assessment of winter sowing. I don't dispute that it works, but for me, out of sight means out of mind and that can be disastrous.
Ginny, my DH is an electrician and he assures me that running my grow lights doesn't cost that much. So I don't have guilt over that. Sometimes I have difficulty justifying the time spent on caring for the seedlings, however.
I'm planning to grow a bunch of different tomatoes this year. I ordered several varieties from Heritage Seeds, plus a few that I have on hand. I'll try to restrict myself to a couple of each,lol.
Thanks for the encouragement! I really did just start it to share some of the knowledge I've gained here over the past 12 years. I'm pretty excited that today I found out I'm going to be providing plants for a small municipal planting. I thought of it because I have this big setup and not much that I need to start this spring.
That's great, Gil! Some of my plants go to the Hort. Society's plant sale, and i've also done the planters in front of the last school i worked at. This school has three large raised beds in front, facing south, against a brick wall! I should be planting cacti in them! LOL
I got a good laugh out of reading your blog, Gil, or "Jilly" ;) You have quite a sense of humour...I can identify with trashed items in your house from a cat freak-out. I once left a plastic grocery bag on the floor accidentally and my cat went and poked around in it. She squeezed through the handle, but it got stuck on her gut and fluff(she is fluffy like your kitty) and she panicked and ran all over the house with the bag "chasing" her. She knocked over everything that could be knocked over! I was at work at the time, and when I came home it took me quite awhile to find the poor thing and free her from her captor. She still runs for cover if she hears the crinkle of a bag...I use cloth now!
Anyway, as far as seed starting goes; I do have some seeds in the fridge which I still haven't gotten around to starting. Part of the issue is that any time we go away, I hate having to get someone to tinker with my plants every day, and the second part is that we had a mouse in our basement last year that blew through and ate every last seedling in one night. Yuck. I had quite a few, and that sort of took the seed-starting wind out of my sails. I guess I need to try again...(darn old, holey house)
Oh Weeper, that happened to me two years ago. I was hardening off plants in the greenhouse and they were for a wedding. I hate mice, that was the only winter we went without barn cats, due to an owl. The mice also ate hundreds of dollars of lily bulbs. I know my cats can make a mess but it's worth it to me that they save my plants over the winter and spring. Cheryl
It is interesting to hear all of the seed starts being done by people on this forum. I have only done WS of Gaillardia,
Cleome ( old seeds so???) and Canterbury Bells.
Also did many alpines and other seeds from NARGS.
I will start lights at end of March this year. I collected seeds of several older petunia varieties.
Well my peppers are still living. So far I think my first ever grow under lights is progressing well. I'm starting to worry I started too soon as the seeds germinated quicker than expected LOL. Hopefully the peppers will be fine under the lights for some time yet.
I do have a south facing greenhouse. It is unheated and I live in the Calgary area. Does anyone have any guidelines on when I should be OK moving plants out there? I was planning on putting a thermometer in the greenhouse and checking it in the mornings before going to work to get a feel for how cold the greenhouse gets overnight. Not sure how cold peppers can tolerate though. I was guessing mid April should be fine for in the greenhouse which would leave me a month and a half more under the lights.
I finally started a bunch on the weekend - impatiens, petunias, craspedia (3rd try), lobelia, bacopa, and portulaca. I think that's it. :)
My peppers have sprouted. I'm waiting for my Stokes order to plant some other stuff.
Gopats, it's not too early for peppers. They grow pretty slowly. I don't have a greenhouse but from what I've heard unheard ones aren't good for much below zero.
I was planning on putting a large 120 litre barrel of water in the greenhouse. I've been told that moderates the temperature somewhat. The greenhouse I built is quite solid. We had our windows of our house replaced so I used some of the old windows in the greenhouse :)
gopats, my peppers are pretty much at the same stage as yours, I'm south and west of Calgary and also have an unheated greenhouse made from old windows. Don't put them out til mid April and even them I cover them at night with a frost cloth. Our nights are too unpredictable. If they start to get too tall you can plant them deeper just like tomatoes. They look great it would be ashame to loose them with one night of oops, cold snap.
On another note my petunias are finally starting to see some life, I was a little worried for a while. I should probable do another flat of them, I will see if my five year old is interested in getting dirty today. C
Thanks! It's encouraging to know that I didn't mess up in my enthusiasm :)
I've never used frost cloths before. I just let nature take it's course with my outdoor plants. Are we talking just an old bed sheet or something like that?
I also have petunias started. Very tiny right now but very good germination rates. The advice on this forum has been very valuable to me. I'm enjoying this stretch of the year far more than I usually would. Every day I go look at my seedlings even though I know they haven't changed in a day LOL.
I did wintersowing for the first time, found out about it on this forum. Also starting bakeapple and highbush blueberry seeds inside and will be starting some peppers soon inside.
gopats, frost cloths are different than bed sheets, they are lighter, less likely to weigh down the young seedlings, but bed sheets work too. Just stick a couple of sticks in so they aren't quite so heavy. I use them too, especially outside in the early spring and late fall, and also when we are away for the weekend so the deer don't eat all the lettuce and greens in one night. C
Gopats - Floating Row Covers (frost cloths) are one of the best investments I've ever made. They're lighter than bed sheets, (so don't break delicate flowers or plants) and much easier to use and store. If they get rained on, wet from frost, or muddy, they're easy to rinse out with your hose, and dry quickly, not like sheets. I got mine at Veseys, but I think there's many places to purchase them.
So far I haven't started any seeds, but I'm in the planning stage :)
What is everyone using as a medium for starting your seeds in?
I've tried Miracle Grow Seed Starter Mix and haven't had any real luck with it - dampening off issues, organic material too large, seeds germinate fast but stop growing after a few weeks.
If it makes a difference I'm only planning on starting tomatoes, peppers and cabbage (and maybe ground cherries)
County of Grande Prairie
Hi Barb, I prefer Schultz seedling soil for small bags, or Pro Mix or Sunshine mix if you're buying a lot.
I agree about MG, I have had bad bags of it including several that were full of yellow mold, and one that even stunk like gasoline. :(
I like Schultz too - no luck with Miracle Gro either, though i've only bought it when Schultz wasn't available. I also use ProMix, but my bale is frozen solid right about now! LOL
I use pots and plants seedling starter mix, I get it at peavey mart. I will use pro mix this year when I pot up. Little more expensive but I have had issues before with potting soils. One year I bought a potting mix that smelled a little like ceder and it burnt all the stems on my tomatoes, and I had bought it before and it was fine. I was so mad. Cheryl
Thanks for the heads up about frost cloths. May pick up some.
Another thing that may be affecting your seedlings is over-watering. For seeds to germinate they need to be in a really moist environment but I've read that for most seedlings if they stay that moist the roots will not get enough oxygen and they will rot. I was really worried about this with my peppers as I had wanted to make sure they didn't dry out and I had been trying to keep them really moist. As it turns out I was over-watering them. It took more than a week with no water before the growing medium started to dry out.
Thanks for the reply everybody.
I think I'm going to try the Shultz Potting Soil. I was considering making my own soilless mix so this would work perfect.
gopats, last year when I had dampening off issues I know I was definitely over watering. I tried everything to keep the moisture consist: watering from the bottom was the worst mistake I made! It got so bad that I ended up dumping everything and just nursed a few peppers along.
This year I've gotten a little more serious about it and I'm trying a few different approaches so we'll see how it goes!
Oh My!!!! I running out of room already. Just divided up some foxglove and delphs. Peppers are going strong, tomatoes just popped. I love this time of year. Cheryl
I ran out of room too, but i found another place for one set of lights, and yesterday i started tomatoes and peppers, and more flower seeds - gazania, nicotiana, Red Shields hibiscus, stipa 'Ponytails', and mesembryanthemum (ice plant). Today i'm going to get the begonia tubers going. They all look like they came through the winter okay and some are sprouting.
I don't think a person could ever have enough room or enough lights!!!! I am going to have to build cold frames for the more hardy species...
Today I am going to sow the last of my species. Mid March can't come fast enough!!!
marciaz3, have you grown nicotiana under lights before? I heard it grows really fast and I am worried about starting it today.
edit for triple post
This post was edited by SouthCountryGuy on Sat, Mar 30, 13 at 14:48
edit for triple post uggg
This post was edited by SouthCountryGuy on Sat, Mar 30, 13 at 14:41
Yes, i have grown it under lights. I'm a zone cooler than you and like to give it a little boost. I've saved seed for years and had different colours, but last year, they were all shades of pink!
I have started nicotiana indoors at the end of March (according to my records) and it wasn't out of control. It does grow fairly quickly though.
I am in a bad transitional zone. We can be colder than Z2 but usually hotter than Z7.. uggg
thanks for the nicotiana tips