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Which seed starting system to buy??

Posted by lary1047 z5 MI (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 1, 08 at 10:22

Good Morning!!

I am at a loss to which starter system to purchase. I found there are several different types. Burpee has a Ultimate Growing system and there is also one put out by Park seed. The Burpee one sounds good with the so called fiber mat and they have also developed a way that this system does not allow over watering. However there are a number of reports that the whole system is very thin and does not make it through more than one year of use.

Can anyone give me some suggestions which one to purchase or other ideas?

Thanks Lary

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Which seed starting system to buy??

I love the Park's bio domes. I had great success with these last year, and am using them again. They are more substantial than a lot of the other systems out there. Always had trouble before, because our two cats seem to think that seed starting trays are toys. I came home more than once to find jiffy pots scattered all over the place. They can't get the Park's open, and they can lay on top of them and not hurt the seedlings.
I also had nearly 100% germination last year, whether that has anything to do with the bio domes, I don't know. But they are sturdy enough to use year after year.

RE: Which seed starting system to buy??

I had poor germination with the Park Starts sponges. The following years, I put a piece of foam in the bottom and topped that with starting medium. Much better germination I bought my fixtures at Home Depot, my lights at Menards and a local hardware. I found a fan at a resale shop. The petunias are up and thriving as is my early grens.

RE: Which seed starting system to buy??

I've been starting seeds this season in the Bio Domes -- all three sizes. Robust plants seem to do okay in the sponges, but I've had troubles with seedlings that have fragile root systems. They germinate very quickly and then just sit there with two or four leaves.

One reason I bought the Bio Domes was that Park described them as a Dutch product, and I know that the Dutch are very enthusiastic gardeners. So, after being disappointed in the sponges, I started prowling around some Dutch websites, looking for any reviews of these systems. There was quite a lot about the trays and the covers, but nothing at all about the floating inserts and the sponges. The search terms are Kweekbak or Kweekbakje. The manufacturer is Nortène. The illustrations show an insert with cells for seed-starting media, with a capillary mat underneath, or just simply a bunch of Jiffy Pots or seed blocks. I didn't search deeply enough to find out whether the floating inserts and sponges were used there in the past versus being a Park innovation. I also tried some British websites and one French one. The British sites do have a system with sponges, but they look different from the ones Park sells.

The trays and covers are very well-made and easy to use, and the floating inserts seem like such a good way to keep a consistent water level, but I probably won't buy more sponges. I'll try to make the inserts work with regular seed-starting media, or just use the trays and covers with plastic or bio-degradable pots.

RE: Which seed starting system to buy??

Live wombat : Did you give your seedlings any food? Your growing medium is sterile, so once your seeds have used up all their stored food, the seedlings need a bit of half strength 10-52-10. (Hope I'm not insulting you (:- )

I just use plastic trays and promix with plastic covers over the trays until germination. I stick the seeds that need heat inside a $25 seed starting tent I got at Princess Auto, and put a ceramic space heater on the floor in it and adjust the temperature using a cheap thermometer.

My seedlings have just sat on a table in our sunroom in the past; but I'm going to try a fluorescent light on some this year, (found one cheap at a local hardware store). My tomatoes have been a bit leggy in the past, so the light should help. I'm also going to get them out of the heat as soon as they get their first true leaves, as I've read in one of Lois Hole's books that too much heat causes tomatoes to grow leggy.

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