We have Stevia germination!

zengeos(5 Maine)March 3, 2008

\Planted a few Stevia seeds a couple days ago. So far I have 3 starter coir cells germinated. Happy happy! I heard germ rate is not very good, but I'm pleased with the germ rate of the few Stevia seeds I planted.

Dunno how well it will grow...but at least I got germination!!

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Congratulations! Cross fingers for lots of further growth!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 9:49AM
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zengeos(5 Maine)

Yeah, I worry some that they will just keel over and die. Any good pointers for growing it under lights prior to transplant to the garden???


    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 11:37AM
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zengeos(5 Maine)

It looks like I got near 100% germination from my Stevia. No idea where to go from here with the babies tho.

This was a packet from FEDco...just 15-20 seeds...but all my starter pellets have at least 2 plants germinated, so close enough to 100% for me...in only 5 days. I suspect it was the heat mat that elped germ.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 4:48PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Now that they are growing I suggest shutting off the mat as it will dry out the soil very fast. The worst is them drying too fast, then getting drowned every few days. They need plenty of strong light now, and temps should be at about 70 to 75 degrees. I would wait until the begining of June before putting them outdoors. Transplant a few outside, and if they are in small pots now, transplant a couple into bigger pots. This way, you have control over their destiny a bit more than just leaving them to the garden.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 10:03AM
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zengeos(5 Maine)

So, they should come off the mat completely now? My room ambient is between 65 and 70 degrees. I have the mat on a shelf just above the concrete floor. It's a 1/2 mat. The Stevia, foolishly, is in a flat with broccoli, I must have had a brain cramp or something, as the broc likes cool temps, the Stevia doesn't.

I have only 5 or 6 Stevia plants, all in one row at 1 end of the flat and I have removed 3/4 of the row containing the Stevia from the mat, with it being the only portion on the mat now. Hopefully the mat will continue to give a little heat without drying it out too much. I still have the clear plastic cover overtop to retain moisture.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 10:21AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Thats good it has the cover. These do help to keep that wet inside. Once the leaves touch the domed lid, take the pots out and have them up higher in the room, so their temps will be a bit warmer. Cold air is close to the floor and if you meausere the temps there, I bet its at about 6o-65 degrees. I will not be atsrting broc until the beginning of April as its too early right now. Yours may be too early too, so start a few more the middle of April. That way you will have some getting to maturity later on. Most all my plants, herbs, veggies, and flowers are all started about mid April. By the end of May, my tomato plants are sometimes up to 3 foot tall!! That was the case last year, and I was having a very hard time trying to untangle the plants that were 32 in a tray of 2"x2" plastic pots. Many broke in half, but all survived to grow very big outside once transplanted. Here is a site for some nice lettuce assortment seeds on sale ..

Here is a link that might be useful: Harris Seeds

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 12:12PM
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zengeos(5 Maine)

I have also wintersown broccoli, cauli and brussels sprouts, so those should start later in the season. I plan to plant my brassicas end of April, so they will only be inside 6-7 weeks.

I'm going to transplant some of the peppers and tomatoes out early also, under plastic cloches, which will hopefully extend the season by a couple weeks....We'll see I suppose. My sister has usually started peppers and toms for me, and she usually starts hers about now. I don't think she had bottom heat, so they probably germinated slower. My peppers have 50% germination already and I just sowed them last Friday afternoon. Brassicas will likely go under daylight supplemented by a little flourescent light..don't know for sure. Peppers will stay on the heat mat for probably another week, then transfer to the mid or upper level with no bottom heat. I'll also start fertilizing lightly in the next week or so.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 12:16AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

If your using lights, try a cheap shop fixture (about $12) that has two flourescent tubes 4 foot long Replace the lamps with grow light bulbs at about $5 each and your going to have a fairly decent lamp setup. Home Depot has these. My seed starting is done with a 2x4 foot metal shelf system with two fixtures to each shelf. I attached them to chains so I can easily adjust the height. One of my heat mats is 2x4 foot, the rest are all 11x20 inches. The reason is simple, I grow a LOT of different plants!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 10:38AM
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zengeos(5 Maine)

That is basically my setup, but I spent $30/ light fixture and put in T8 Daylight Deluxes, which seem about right. 2 fixtures, 4 bulbs/level, 3 levels.

For the rack I used cull lumber except the 2x4 uprights. Cost of rack was $12, plus time to rip and cut pieces to size.

Bottom level has the 1 heat mat for germination. ambient temp in basement is around 70,so on Sunday for instance, I will move my pepper seedlings to the top shelf. 45 of 72 have germinated so far, in 7 days' time. I have a 2x2 stick propping up 1 end of the clear cover now, during the day, and put it back down around the time the lights go off. Stevia is now removed from bottom heat and will go in the top shelf now. When I transplant them in a few weeks I may put them back on the heat mats to help encourage faster growth.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 11:22AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Daylight, or cool white, and even warm white bulbs do not offer enough of the spectrum for good plant growth. You want to get as much of the light spectrum as you can, or you end up with spindly long plants. Give those peppers another week, and then reseed the empty pots that failed to sprout. The lights, to be efective need to be just 1-2 inches away from the plants top leaves. When I grow asparagus, the spears climb up ito the fixtures and wrap themselves around the plant grow bulbs. Kind of funny looking when you cant eevn see their tips. I do use a PCH product, and its made expressly for seedlings. It comes in a plastic jar as a blackish powder you mix with water. I use this along with some 'Thrive', which only needs a few dros per gallon. Both give me some very healthy thick stalked plants. No heat mats are used once the lids are off. But because yours are in a cool area, they may need a bit more. I can't grow plants in my basement as its just too cold. Temps in winter are down to about 45 to 50 down there. Years ago, my dad tried to, by making a big plastic tent with a heater, but it just didn't work. Once I have plants that cant fit the shelves they get moved to an open area where I have 150 Watt mercury vapor lights over them. These are hot, and can cook the top leaves if too close. They are fine even at 6-10 inches away, which is fine for my needs.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 4:48PM
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zengeos(5 Maine)

Warm and cool whites do not provide enough spectrum. Daylight Deluxes provide 8300, I believe, which should be sufficient power and spectrum. However, to your point, my cauliflower and brussels sprouts are a bit spindly, about 1-1 1/2" tall. Supposedly a fan blowing air across them should help strengthen them and make them stockier/less spindly. Unfortunately, my house faces North and I only have 1 double window facing South, in the living room. I have started moving my daylilies to the living room to make more room in the basement. I may put some reflectix around 3 sides of my basement growstand to brighten things laterally. I will also be putting 1 or 2 growlights up in the living room area to supplement the natural daylight there. However, I will only be able to fit 4 flats in the living room window, which makes things rather tight. Perhaps on warm/sunny days, if I'm home, I might bring some plants out onto the front porch to bathe in the sun there, but that's only a couple days each week, at best.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 11:05PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Even a few days or sun are better than none. Keep in mind that plants even grow in cloudy days. Yes, I use a aluminium foil taped to the walls behind and besude my grow shelves. It does reflect quite a lot of light given of the the shop lights. I also see in Home depot, plant likes at 24 inch long single 'sticks', with a power cord on them. Its easy to somehow attach these to some kind of vertical stand. I used a piece of thicker than pil alumium that I could bend into a clamp shape and this helped to hold the stick lamp on camera tripod that I used as a temporary light stand. Those clip on ones from Charleys Greenhouse are really great, though a bit expensive. They do last a long time, as mine are now 5 years old and still working well. They equate to more plant type light output compared to two double bulb 4 foot fixtures.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 12:02PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)
    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 10:29PM
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i'd like some follow up from ya'll...i am getting ready to plant Stevia seed, have "researched" it...just want to see how your plants are doing???

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 6:01PM
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zengeos(5 Maine)

my plants all seem fine. All have been planted out as of today...a couple in the flower garden and one in the herb spiral.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 9:52PM
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Stevia grown from seed may vary in sweetness. Cutting are recomended from the sweetest plant you can find. I have four stevia that I'm overwintering in my sunroom. The kids around me call it my candy plant and eat the leaves all the time.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 10:37PM
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