Germination success- thanks to YOU
Last year I had a terrible time germinating seeds and getting the sprouts to grow once they did germinate. Thanks to you guys on this very forum my success rate so far has improved 100%. (which now leads me to another problem). Since last year was so awful, I ran out of spring, so this year I thought I'd start early. Now I'm running out of room, and before June gets here all of my transplants will be full-grown plants.
Here's what I changed based on you-all's advice:
-More perilite. Drainage is the key for my OCD heavy-handed watering.
-Instead of packing the mix into my 6-packs I just gently fill them (no tamping down). As the sprout grows, I tamp a little and add more to the top. By the time it's time to transplant, (or pot up) I have a nice, firm plug.
-Ph adjustment. My well-water is a lime-stoney 7.5 and my potting mix averages around 7.0. I add 1 tsp of horticultural vinegar to each gallon of water and the plants really seem to appreciate that.
-Fertilizer. I was always afraid of it, I guess because books say sprouts don't need it. Poppycock. Now I start with foliar spray as soon as I see a little green head and then water with weak, low-nitrogen fertilizer. What a difference!!
-I struggled with humidity last year, because keeping plastic on seemed to cause damping off, but keeping it off caused them to dry out too fast...or something. Now I keep the plastic on all night, and take it off during the day. My greenhouse is staying a steady 73% humidity.
-you taught me last year that plants need AIR. What a concept! I put a fan in my greenhouse that runs 24/7. Guess what? Plants like having air!
-This last one really up'd my success rate but I did research on my own for this one. Worm castings. I added it to my germination mix and I have not had one single sprout die of damping off so far. That stuff is a miracle!
Just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your help. Now, I know it's only February, and most of you haven't even started planting seeds yet, but who wants some free transplants???