Starting Seeds

sewgreen(middlePA)February 21, 2007

Years ago I started 17-20 flats from seed each spring. I am ready to try a few this year. Just can't remember anymore what to start and when.

Has anybody started seeds yet for this year? What goes in first?

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westhighlandblue(z6 PA)

I am a novice at starting seeds as well. I will share with you my experience, but I am very interested to hear the experiences of more seasoned seed starters.

I started seeds on Saturday, Feb. 17. By my calculations, if all goes well, the plants will be six weeks old and ready for transplanting on April 1. I started primarily hardy plants, marigolds, pentunias, violas, and impatients, but I also started a few less common plants as well. The seeds have begun germinating and now about 60% of the peat cups have tiny little two leaf plants.

I bought three of the $5 50 count pleat flats sold at Lowes. I filled each peat cup completely full of seed starter soil and then sprayed the flat down with the sprayer from my kitchen sink. The soil settled to a nice 2/3 level in each cup. I then sprinkled a few seeds into each cup, and mixed the soil a bit with my finger. I then covered the flats with their clear plastic covers, and put the flats on a southwest facing window sill that sits above a radiator. (I have deep window sills and a drafty old house.) I shift the clear plastic covers about, every day, so that the flats can breath a bit.

I am trying to safeguard against mold. I tried this once before, 43 years ago, when I was in the second grade. I remember mold. In a couple of weeks, if this first batch works, I'll probably start a another batch. Again, I welcome hints and help from others. And good luck to you!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 7:28AM
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I'm no professional either, but I do like to start cabbage-y things early just because they can tolerate the cooler temps better, and thus be in the garden by Mid-late april. I also like to start my peppers early since they seem to take so long to grow!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 9:13AM
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This shoudl help. I'm not suer which zone KC is, but you can probably figure that out quite easily and go from there....


Here is a link that might be useful: seed starting calendar

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 5:20AM
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westhighlandblue(z6 PA)

Alexa: That was a very helpful link. Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 7:47AM
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What a good website! Thanks!

I've rounded up seed packets that have been picked off store displays over several years. Planning to test germination by putting 8 or 10 seeds on a damp paper towel in an unsealed baggie. Then lay them in cabinet above stove light. It's Warm there. We will see what grows.

I might try the winter sowing idea with some small seeds (viola, columbine, poppy, allysum) and see if they come up.

Pepper plants always used to be on the small side for me when it was time to plant. If any of the seed I have is good, I'll be starting them next week. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 9:30AM
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Pipersville_Carol(z6 Bucks PA)

Does anyone know if freezing temps kill seeds? I mistakenly left my seed collection in the cold garage over the winter. I'm going to plant them anyway and hope for the best.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 10:35AM
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Carol, I am afraid the answer is- it depends. I have tried a germination test this past week. I put several seeds on a paper towel. I folded, dampened, slipped it in a baggie left open for air. Tried 4 different types. The baggies were left in a warm place. (Cupboard above an undercounter light.) These seed packets were all from the late 90s. Though they were kept very dry; I had doubts any would grow. This morning- HOORAY- 4 of 10 broccoli seeds have tiny white tails!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 9:21AM
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blueheron(z6 PA)

Carol, check the FAQ's on the Winter Sowing Forum. They tell you which seeds can be winter sown and those should be still viable. You can try the paper-towel germination test, as Sewgreen suggests. It's surprising how many seeds can withstand freezing temperatures.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 9:13AM
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paulemar(Z6 Pittsburgh, PA)

Ha! Can't remember----reminds me of me nowadays. I just indoor planted a 72 cell flat with 6 early cabbage, 6 califlower, 12 broccoli, 12 spinach, and 9 cells each of 4 different kinds of lettuce. This will get me started. Additional lettuce & spinach will be direct sown when these are transplanted. I've also planted white and purple datura, lisianthus, summer showers geraniun, & hardy hibiscus to name a few. I've gots tons of other perennials, biennials & annuals to plant this spring, but have been burned by planting too early before and not had room for the plants indoors while it was still too cold outside. I'm more patient now, especially with the perennials and biennials

Basically I plant things that have a long germination period, take a long time to grow to planting out stage, or can be planted out while the weather is still cool first. It never turns out perfect, even after 30 years of trying. Hopefully, the weather will be good this spring so I can put growing plants into the cold frame before they outgrow my basement flourescent light set-up.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 12:11AM
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Pipersville_Carol(z6 Bucks PA)

It looks like my lettuce seeds were winter-killed. I planted them over a week ago with no sign of germination. I'll give them another week, but am not optimistic. Oh, well!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 10:30AM
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