Germination success- thanks to YOU

runswithscissors(MT 4/5)February 2, 2014

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???

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Great post!. I also want to echo my thanks. Last year I was reading over a few posts about germination methods and advice as I was starting my first set of peppers indoors. All but one type of seed germinated at near 100% germination and very few died off (that said I was pretty obsessive about checking my seedlings :)) The greenhouse worked well and I had a very successful crop of peppers and tomatoes that I've never had success with in this climate before! The only significant error I made was some over watering of some of my tomato plants. The over watering was somewhat comical as I thought they were drooping from lack of water so I added more. I think I learned that if the soil is ummmmmm saturated they can't be lacking water LOL.
I am still enjoying my pepper sauce as well as some frozen chopped up peppers for egg scramblers and fresh tasting salsa in Feb!
Thanks again for all the advice given to newbies over the years!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 1:06PM
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