Starting seeds and Grow lights??

animalcraker(So Cal, zone 9)February 23, 2012

I recently bought some seeds. I guess that now would be a good time to learn how to grow them while I'm waiting for them to arrive, lol. The only time I've tried to grow seed 3 out of 5 sprouted. Of those my dog uprooted one, my cat uprooted one, and one rotted from getting too cold.

What type of soil medium works best for seeds. I was thinking of using 25% Coir, 37.5% Compost, and 37.5% Perlite. I do have a variety of other substrates and fertilizers I could use if there are any other sugestions. Im going to try the packaging peanut boats 1st and then move the sprouted seeds to the soil mix. But i'd love to have as many ideas as possible to experiment with and find out what works best for me.

Also what kind of affordable grow lights would work for seedlings. Can you sucesfully use a standard light bulb or flourescent bulb and would it provide enough heat? Would a small room space heater provide sufficent heat? Eventually I'd love to get some heat mats, but I don't want to spend all my money at once.

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labland(Inland Valley CA9)

I have only grown seeds once, but I see you are in So. cal. I am in the Inland Empire.

Because of where you live, I don't think you really need the lights, unless you don't have a well lit place in the house to sprout the seeds.

I started seeds last January in my house, no lights or heating pad. I kept them in the kitchen next to my orchids (where I have a double pane window seat window that I use for my orchids). Out of six seeds, two survived so they are now close to 1 foot in height.

I moved them outside when they were a couple of months old, and hot enough outside so I disn't have to worry about them.

Not all seeds survive, just like all plants. I used a seedling starter "kit" made out od porous material. I don't remember exactly how many sprouted, most but not all. But then I lost several over a long period. The two that survived are doing great. I think I actually used seedling soil, and then when they were big enough to pot, I switched to my normal plumeria soil.

Good luck and have fun!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 10:24PM
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animalcraker(So Cal, zone 9)

Well my seeds just arrived from brad's buds and blooms. They all look great and I did get quite a few extra so there's plenty to experiment with. I have my greenhouse set up in the kitchen infront of a shuttered window, so I'll be able to easily control the natural light. I'm hoping that by starting my seeds now that they'll be strong enough to survive through the winter.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 8:02PM
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Jen, I started many seeds from Brad's in the fall of 2010 just using bagged seed-starter mix, which is sterile. My only concern for the mix you're thinking of is the compost sneaking some fungus onto your tender new seedlings. I would keep compost off the plants myself until they had toughened up.

Before planting any of them I soaked them overnight in a mix of water and hydrogen peroxide to kill off any fungus that may have been clinging to their seed coats. I think this gave me a great germination rate, and I kept watering with the H2O2 water occasionally as they grew.

For lights I just used sunny windows or a cheap "grow-light" bulb in a reflector dome. To keep out little hands and big paws I put all the babies into a big bin and then wound a tube light I had sitting around inside the bin for more warmth since I don't have a heating mat.

They all did so well I've had to get rid of many of them. Now they're all from 8" to 24" tall and taking up a lot of room!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 10:52AM
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Forgot to include a pic of what those tiny seedlings will look like after a year:

That's only about a quarter of the seedlings from the top picture, in the same bin. Yikes.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 10:57AM
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