Keeping seed starter peat wet

deebs43(5)April 5, 2007

I started some seeds a couple weeks ago (144 plastic cells in two flats) using Scott's Seed Starter mix. Lots of peat. I can't keep the durned stuff wet! I think it's wet, but when I move the top layer, everything in the middle is dry. I've got the drip trays full of water now to try to bottom water, but it's not soaking up. It's like the stuff is water repellant. Some of my seeds have started (small and slow, but they've started), so I can't remove it and mix it up with more water. Any one else ever have this problem???

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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Keeping it wet won't be a problem. Getting it wet in the first place certainly can. Tricky with the seeds already on it. I would submerge them almost to the top in warm water and leave them like that until they soak through. A spot of detergent in the water will help and shouldn't hurt seeds, although the tiny seedlings won't take kindly to the whole thing.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 7:04PM
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Thank you for the warm water and detergent suggestion. I will give that a try this afternoon and let you know how it works.

I must say, with the snow still flying outside (freezing my sad young peonies and bleedings hearts), these little seedlings are like a bit of spring in my basement.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 9:43AM
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I have the same problem. I practically soak the peat pots, then find that the middle half is bone dry. I have the same problem using potting mix. I can soak them until water runs out the bottom and drips onto the floor, and most of the stuff will still be dry and dusty.

I had just found my very first peony sprout poking out of the soil, when the cold moved in. :-( I bought a lilac and instructed them not to ship until May 1. I thought maybe that was too late, but looking at the thermometer now, I'm glad I'm waiting.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 3:08AM
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I've learned the best way to wet peat or seed starter is put it into a large container and stir in the water. Then fill the pots with the wet mix.

This year I tried a shortcut and filled some pots with dry seed starter mix, as you did. I let the pots soak ALL DAY and they hardly took up any water. I watered from the top and bottom and eventually was able to get the mix to take up the water.

Another problem with filling pots with dry mix is the wet mix takes up a lot less volume, so you can end up with mix an inch lower than the rim of the pot than you'd intended. OK if you haven't yet added seeds. But if you have, there's a lot less room for root growth.

So, I'm back to wetting the mix first and then adding seeds. It's time consuming, but the only way I've found to ensure that all of the peat is wet. You may find the mix can get too soggy, in which case add more peat/mix and/or squeeze out some of the water.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 8:22PM
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