Sowing help for a beginner

JlovescrochetFebruary 14, 2003


I would appreciate any advice on starting plants fom seeds for my first garden. Unfortunately, my first attempt is failing. I have placed herb seeds (mint, cilantro, and parsley) and strawberry seeds in terra cotta containers, and ice cube trays in a southwest facing window -- with a grow light above and a heating mat below. I have also used those plastic greenhouse things that you can buy at WalMart. I was careful not to sow the seeds too deeply -- especially the mint. My temperature never falls below 70 degrees or rises above 80. I spritz my soil so that it remains moist, but not ever soggy, and I used Burpee seeds and Burpee seed starting soil. It has been over two weeks and NOT a thing has sprouted. Eveything that I used -- except the ice cube trays -- has drainage holes. Could it be that I placed the table too close to the window? The table is about two inches away from the glass pane. I have read everything that I can find on gardening, and I REALLY want to start an organic garden from seeds, but I am getting a tad bit frustrated, because I cannot even grow the simplest herbs! Thanks for any advice or help!

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Rosereb(Z5 NE MO)

Don't give up even if your first efforts fail. You'll get the hang of it.

I dampen the soil-planting medium prior to putting it in containers then I spray it with the sink sprayer to settle it and then let it drain. I put it in plastic containers--sometimes just margarine tubs, etc. and sometimes regular planting flats. Depending on the size and type of seeds, I make rows with a flat side of a pencil or broadcast the seed in small containers. Unless the seed requires light for germination, I cover them with a shallow covering of dampish planting medium. You need to make sure the seeds are in good contact with the soil so sometimes I tap the container on the counter and sometimes I gently pat the soil through the plastic wrap covering. I cover the containers with plastic wrap and put them in a warm place, sometimes on top of a refrigerator or freezer. Your seed medium does not need to be under lights until something sprouts, unless certain seeds need light for germination. Most seeds need darkness for germination.

Your containers may be too close to the windows, or they may be too warm. If they are too warm and too wet they can rot. It depends on the special requirements of each type of seed as some are very soft and delicate and others have hard coats.

Still, two weeks is not too long a time for some seeds to need for sprouting. DonÂt give up on them yet. If these fail, get some more seed and try again.

I wish you well.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2003 at 12:30PM
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rose_anne(NJ z6/7)

It just may be that the seeds need more time. Have you checked out the Winter Sowing forum - FAQ? If you have extra seeds, you could try winter sowing them.

Don't give up. Young children are given marigold and sunflower seeds to start because they are very easy to grow. But for a number of years they wouldn't grow for me no matter what I tried. Then last year I was able to grow them again from seed. Every year is different.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2003 at 9:30PM
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Visit the wintersowing forum, look at the FAQ, Trudi has made it easier on us all!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2003 at 12:59PM
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