Seed trays or...??

Bill_Missy(8b)January 3, 2013

Hello all. Bill here again with another rookie question. My wife bought me a bunch of seeds for Christmas of various Hots and Super hots. Again, I am new to this but am loving it and have the itch... Are seed trays the way to go to start the germination/growing process or just buy some soil mixture and hope for the best?

p.s. I did finally buy a grinder which should be here in a couple days. I love this site, great info and great reading. THANKS.

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cheezdoodle12(6)

Hello! First my disclaimer.. I am NOT an expert in this.. but I am heading into my 2nd pepper growing season with all the great info I've learned from this site.

When I started my seeds last February, I didn't do anything special.. just used Jiffy peat pods in the little plastic greenhouse they come in. I don't have a lot of room for them so I didn't have many. It was the size of a dozen eggs... I just kept them warm, made sure they didn't dry out and took the plastic lid off from time to time to let air in so they didn't grow moldy. Once large enough, the lid came off and I eventually cut the Jiffy pods off the roots and re-potted. I only grow them in containers.

You'll see a lot of info on custom blended soil mixes that allow them to grow and drain properly. I didn't have that and last year my soil had much too much water retention.. I would consider a mix for next year. I did get through the season with a small harvest of Jalapeno and Cayenne though. I have 2 plants overwintering also.. to get a jump start on next season.

I also see a lot of people start them in small plastic cups or containers.. as long as you allow for drainage and keep them warm, and once they sprout give them plenty of light!! A fan is also good once they get larger so they do not get weak stems.. and most importantly, harden them off before they go outside permanently.
Good luck with them!!

Laura

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 9:29PM
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esox07

You can get one of those "jiffy" trays. Many use them and they seem to work but I find that controlling moisture levels is pretty rough. Plus, they have to be transplanted soon after germination. The jiffy pellets are basically just peat moss that expand when they come in contact with water. But they are not very big and tend to dry out quickly and can lead to killing the seedlings. If you are a little to over zealous with watering, you can over water pretty easily. Then, within a few weeks you are finding that they need to be transplanted already. What I use is one of those trays that come with 18- 3.5" containers in them. I then use Miracle Grow Orchid mix to start my seeds in these containers. The outside container that holds the 3.5" containers not only prevents leakage by the small containers but comes with a clear dome lid that can be used to cover your seeds/seedlings to hold in humidity until they all germinate. They can usually stay in the 3.5" containers for at least a couple months or more until transplanting is necessary.

Bruce

PS: Do not go by the date stamp on the photos. They are not indicative of the true date of the photos.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 9:35PM
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tsheets(5)

I use smaller cups to start in, then transplant to the 4" containers like Bruce. It's quite a bit of work if you do many plants. But, it works for me.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:18PM
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scorpion_john(6)

Bill-Missy - i start in trays with miracle grow potting soil. Then transplant into 3 1/2 inch pots till its time to go outside. Alot of people, including me stay away from the pellets. But i have one friend on here that swears by them. The biggest thing for the superhots is buy a cheap heating mat to keep the soil warm till they germinate

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:35PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

Does anyone do the 'ol'seeds in the moist folded paper towell in a warm spot' trick in order to germinate 'difficult' seeds?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 5:54AM
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annie1957(7b)

Bruce: beautiful grow!

Sidharta: I soak pepper seeds; am doing some experimenting this year with hydrogen peroxide weak solution--1 hour at most--and 1 rinse in purified water--rain water works really well, then weak salt petre and kelp solutions after that with no rinse before planting. If you can't find salt petre at pharmacy, Spectracide Stump Remover is 95% potassium nitrate.

I gave up on the paper towel or coffee filter method (maybe--never say "never") because roots tend to get tangled up or I forget and they grow tap too much and since I did that on heat mats, had to open 20+ baggies every day and moisten.

Now up to 40 varieties pepper, easier to soak in ice trays and suck up seeds with turkey baster or large syringe, or long tweezers, pop 3 seeds in 72 deep cell pack with pre-moistened medium and cover with 1/4 inch moist medium or vermiculite.

I use Promix BX with about 30% more perlite and added dolomite lime. Bottom water/feed only. Also use a little Actinovate in the medium moistening process: helps prevent damping off.

But some folks really go by baggie/coffee filter folded method with excellent results, old seed or not esp. for superhots. If it works, work it!

Annie

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 9:47AM
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chilliwin(EU DK 7)

I am a new student of Gardenweb, I do not have much experiences and not qualified to advice. Only I am telling you my experiences and bit opinions.

I use two kinds of germination methods.

  1. Small containers (plastic disposable glass) 210/250 ml with peat moss.

2. Paper towel and zip lock bag.

The first method has advantages and disadvantages.

The first method needs constant monitor for moisture and heat, sometimes I found the soil dried so fast and the seeds died. It is a bit difficult to monitor the seeds also, I have to wait a bit longer or until the new plants appeared on the soil. Sometimes the seeds are not germinated due to the health of the seeds or problem of the soil (may be fungus or other diseases). It may not be favorable for huge amount of seeds too. These are the disadvantages of this method.

The advantages of this method are I do not have to transplant immediately when the seeds were germinated. From my point of view a young germinated seeds transplant to a new environment such as different soil and different temperature may not be favorable to the seeds. So it is avoiding this possible problem.

The second method has also advantages and disadvantages.

This method is easy to monitor the seeds and control the heat and moisture. It is an advantage of this method.

The disadvantages are the new germinated seeds have to transplant to a new environment as I mentioned above and I have to think about how deep I should bury the germinated seeds in the soil. If it is not deep enough sometimes seeds dried and died and if it is too deep then sometimes I found my seeds rot and died. I have to be careful the soil contact with the germinated seeds too. These are disadvantages of this method.

I had some problems of germinated seeds' shell/case for this second method and I think it might be the problems of transplanting the seeds too early. At least I should wait the seeds grow a little bit more in the paper towel. It makes the seeds grow faster and stronger in the soil and avoiding the problems of seed shell/case.

The problem of seed case/shell:

This one is OK for transplantation, it has grown very fast in the soil now.

This one is questionable, I think it is too early for transplantation.

I do not know about Jiffy pods Laura mentioned here, it sounds easier and good.

Bruce explained here about germination very well,thank you.

"If you are a little to over zealous with watering, you can over water pretty easily. Then, within a few weeks you are finding that they need to be transplanted already. What I use is one of those trays that come with 18- 3.5" containers in them. I then use Miracle Grow Orchid mix to start my seeds in these containers. The outside container that holds the 3.5" containers not only prevents leakage by the small containers but comes with a clear dome lid that can be used to cover your seeds/seedlings to hold in humidity until they all germinate. They can usually stay in the 3.5" containers for at least a couple months or more until transplanting is necessary."

I like above this explanation. The containers I use for the germinated seeds are not big enough so I have to transplant again, 3.5" containers will be the best choice, I think.

We can use paper towel method for testing the seeds and then use the second method for the plants to grow a bit stronger for next transplantation.

Only these two methods I use for germination.

Thanks,

Caelian

This post was edited by chilliwin on Fri, Jan 4, 13 at 10:57

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 10:35AM
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Edymnion(7a)

I personally use the self watering starter trays you can find at any big box store at the beginning of the season. Basically just a peat/coir tray with holes in the bottom, a felt wick sheet, and a water resevoir on the bottom. Keeps the peat/coir at just the right dampness level for a set and forget germination.

I then transplant them out into individual small containers as soon as they sprout by scooping them out with a peat plug around the roots (not the entire cell's worth, but enough to ensure I don't disturb the roots) and plopping them into soil peat and all.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 2:02PM
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