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help with the baggy method

Posted by woohooman San Diego CA 10a (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 30, 13 at 23:37

How long do I let the tap root get before transferring to soil?

I've been planting when they get about 1/4", covering with plastic wrap and putting back on a mat, but the only ones that have emerged are my red bells. They came up after a few days, but none of the other varieties are popping through.

Also, I've noticed the hulls were stubborn releasing from the bells. Maybe a problem with the others? The medium - 5-1-1.

Thanks

Kevin


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: help with the baggy method

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 31, 13 at 0:35

I would transfer them when they run out of room in their current containers. Even in those tiny jiffy starter kits, I would let the seedlings get to about an inch.
Belly usually sprout quick. Many take a week to 10 days. Some take a bit longer and some are said to take up to a month to germinate. Personally, if my peppers dont sprout in two weeks, I am starting to think about replanting unless I am growing a known late bloomer.
Yah, those pesky hulls...I usually try to give the little fella some help but if it doesn't come off fairly easily, it is best to let the plant work it out itself. They have a way of dealing with that kind of problem.
Bruce


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RE: help with the baggy method

  • Posted by noinwi Z8 Kitsap Peninsula (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 31, 13 at 2:51

Esox07, if I'm not mistaken, I think the OP is asking about the length of the sprouted root when seeds are still in the baggie/paper towel.
Woohooman, I think you're ok at 1/4". I try to plant them as soon as I see them emerging, but sometimes I check them too late and the root is an inch long! I make a deep hole and gently ease the root down into the medium and hope I don't damage it. I've been lucky and most have survived. I've learned to check the baggies daily to cut down on surprises.
Different varieties of peppers will grow at different rates so no need to be concerned about the 'slow pokes' for a while.


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RE: help with the baggy method

IME, plant immediately the moment germination has been verified, the sooner the better. Once transplanted give the [germinated] seed a good soaking which will help with it shedding the seed hull.


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RE: help with the baggy method

I plant mine as soon as I see the roots coming out, but only the ones that have roots. I avoid planting up the duds that way. Though usually they go moldy before that point. Sticky hulls can be caused by not enough moisture inthe air, though some seed just seem to be prone to it. To help, I keep my newly potted up seedlings under plastic wrap until the hulls start coming off, usually a day or two. Cheers!

PS I meant to say I have had to deal with the occasional long root also- I sort of make a big hole with my finger and lay the seedling in against the side and back fill around the root with loose medium from the edges of the cell.


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RE: help with the baggy method

A good question. I try to move when I first see the little root sticking out. Any longer they attach to the paper towel, and paper towels are amazingly tough when faced with scissors. I have no evidence that moving sooner or later is good or bad, but I suspect that keeping them moist once in the soil is important.

I keep the starting flat elsewhere, so to move I tweezer into a little water in the bottom of a shot glass. Easy to separate by varieties (different glasses), keeps them moist, and you can pick them out with a thin spatula so you don't risk tweezer damage again.


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RE: help with the baggy method

Yeah, transplant them now, sooner the better. As the tap root grows, it will start to cling to the paper towel and it's easy to damage the root when it's all tangled in the paper towel. At least that has been my experience the times I have used the paper towel and baggie method.


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RE: help with the baggy method

  • Posted by noinwi Z8 Kitsap Peninsula (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 31, 13 at 22:28

"Yeah, transplant them now, sooner the better. As the tap root grows, it will start to cling to the paper towel and it's easy to damage the root when it's all tangled in the paper towel. At least that has been my experience the times I have used the paper towel and baggie method."

This is why I use coffee filters(the wavy bowl-shaped ones) for starting seeds. Their smoother surface helps prevent roots from digging in. I fold them a couple of times and spritz with water to flattened them out, then unfold, deposit a few seeds and fold back up and place in baggies.


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RE: help with the baggy method

Thanks for the tip!


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RE: help with the baggy method

ok..

So, for the last couple years that I've used this method, it appears I've been pretty damn close to how one wants to do it.

Still haven't had anything other than the bells peek through the soil though. Tomorrow it will be 3 weeks since putting into baggies and more than 10 days since transferring to soil.

What's everybody using as their seed starter?

In the past, I had pretty good success with peat and perlite but this year I did the 5-1-1.

Thanks

Kevin


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RE: help with the baggy method

woohooman you said you noticed hulls were stubborn releasing from the bells. A neat trick I figured out is to take a piece of plastic wrap and place it over the seedling so it covers the soil too. That will keep the seed hull moist so the seedling can spread it's leaves out.

Eric


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RE: help with the baggy method

Leaf:

Yep. All of them are covered. I have no idea why the others aren't emerging though.

Kevin


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RE: help with the baggy method

I've been using the bag method to germinate some jamaican chocolate habanero seeds and 8 days have already past, but so far none have sprouted. How long does it normally take to germinate using this method?


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RE: help with the baggy method

Did all your seed have root showing before you put them in soil or just the bells? I know bells are annums, which tend to be the fastest germinating, maybe that is all it is. 3 weeks is not out of the question for some types. You have them on a mat, I think you said, yes? Then I think the answer may be "Patience, Grasshopper".

Oops, meant to add, you can always carfully excavate a few of the non-starters and see what's going on...

This post was edited by sunnibel7 on Sat, Feb 2, 13 at 12:02


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RE: help with the baggy method

oilrigg: That's not uncommon with the chinense varieties. As sunnibel is trying to preach patience to me, the same goes for you. :)

Sunni: Yes, all of them had sprouted at least 1/8". Regarding annuums, that's what is surprising -- Of this batch, most of the cultivars were annuums. Yeah.. in the next few days, if nothing happens, I will do a bit of investigating.

Kevin


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RE: help with the baggy method

Honestly, I've never waited for the seeds to germinate in the paper towel.
I typically just moisten the seeds this way for a few days, then I sow the seeds
whether I see a small white sprout or not. This year, I didn't even soak the seeds
before sowing...we'll see what happens.


Josh


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RE: help with the baggy method

No preachin', that's for Sundays! I've never used the 511 mix, but it has some large bark particles in it, doesn't it? Could the seedlings be struggling to get out from under some big pieces? Or hmmm, what size containers did you move the little seeds into? I'm sure there's a logical answer if we just track down all the details...


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RE: help with the baggy method

Say a prayer for the Ravens then.

Go Ravens! :)

Yes, pretty large. But I covered the seeds with finer particles in anticipation of that. I put them in pony packs.

By the way, I did some quick digging on the Thai and I couldn't even find any evidence that seeds were even in the damn things.

I started some more using peat and perlite. Hopefully they succeed-- I'm running out of mat space and seeds.

Not too many worries though -- I'll still have a successful season no matter what since most of what I grow are common either at the Home Depot or nursery as seedlings.

Kevin


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RE: help with the baggy method

I have been able to sprout almost everything by placing the sandwich baggies on top of my T.V. Even Chocolate Habs and Bhuts I ordered sprouted in less than five days. I think because the heat and freshness of the seeds. The problem is once I put them in soil nothing happens and I believe it is due to the lack of heat. The moisture seems okay. I try to keep the containers in gallon baggies and there is clearly moisture on the inside. Lack of heat is the only thing I can think that would stunt the growth after they have sprouted.


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RE: help with the baggy method

I grow my plants in between the 5:1:1 and other similar mixes.
3:1:1 works better for me in our hot,dry summers since I end up having to water the 5:1:1 more in the summer.
I also found a 3 part bark,1 part Peat , 1 part Perlite and 1 part Pomice works better with the pomice adding weight to my pots for windy days.
I don't have to stake up my plants or cage them either

I stopped putting sprouts in bark mixes due to it drying out too fast.
I put my sprouts in regular potting soil in 2-4 1/2 inch pots then into a bark mix once they have roots enough to deal with fast soil mixes.

With the 5:1:1 mix you are pretty much going hydroponic after the osmacote wears off.

This post was edited by smokemaster_2007 on Sun, Feb 3, 13 at 6:38


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RE: help with the baggy method

double post...

This post was edited by smokemaster_2007 on Sun, Feb 3, 13 at 6:34


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RE: help with the baggy method

Oh lordy, will you believe I forgot? Go Ravens!

Too wet or too dry? Usually when I lose seeds it is too wet and cold, but smokemaster's post seems to indicate that it could be a dry problem. I got the impression last year that the 511 mix is good for growing established young plants to keep in containers but maybe not so good for starting seedlings? I think it takes doing things a bit differently, if you are more used to more "wet" mixes like "regular" potting soil. I would start some seed in regular potting soil, then move them into the 511 once they have 2 sets of true leaves, maybe? Which means I'm pretty much repeating what smokemaster said. :)

I don't use 511 because I put all my plants in the ground. So I use the baggie method so I can see when the seeds have sprouted, maybe keep the longer germinating ones from getting moldy during the long wait. Then I put them into 4 packs of potting soil on a mat to finish germinating under plastic wrap. I may or may not pot them up before they go out into the ground depending on how fast they grow.

Farnell, yes, I would suspect lack of heat. If you were to direct seed peppers, you would have to wait until summer's heat had warmed the ground substantially. I get volunteer peppers in June and August if we get a damp and rainy spell. The term sprouted is a little vague- do you mean after the root has emerged or after the cotyledon leaves have sprouted out? If you are taking them off heat before the leaves are out that is definitely too soon.

Cheers!


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RE: help with the baggy method

I use "germinated" to refer to when the rootlet has emerged, "sprouted" to refer to when the cotyledons have poked above the soil.

My experience with 511 is like smokemaster's - too darn hard to get the moisture right. In a covered peat-based starting cell it's practically "water once and forget".

Btw, I don't use heat once the seed has moved to soil. So far the BJs are mostly all up, so the cooler temps (60+) didn't kill them.


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RE: help with the baggy method

I haven't used the 5-1-1 for seed-starting, either.

I don't transition plants to the 5-1-1 until they are ready for the 4-inch pots.
At that volume, the 5-1-1 retains significant moisture while also providing excellent aeration.


Josh


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RE: help with the baggy method

Thanks everybody for the feedback. I'm sure I'll have better success with the next batch(peat and perlite). I've read info regarding peat not being a good medium for pepper seeds, I thought that might have been my problem. But, after all the replies that almost everybody was using some sort of POTTING SOIL( mainly peat-based), it appears it's not such a bad a thing.

Josh:

What the hell??? Click on the link

Here is a link that might be useful: I blame Greenman28 ;P

This post was edited by woohooman on Sun, Feb 3, 13 at 23:05


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RE: help with the baggy method

Hey, those coarse mixes work for others ;)
Bruce had great luck with Orchid Mix, which is pretty close to a 5-1-1.
I use a grittier mix for my seeds, then switch to the 5-1-1.


Josh


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RE: help with the baggy method

:(
those are my seedlings in that topic in 511, and they are still kicking, now have two to three sets of true leaves. what's worse i now have... pfff probably more than 40 cups of seeds germinating or already out. first i put in some known for long germination times: trinidad scorpion butch t, 7pot jonah, chocolate bhut, douglah, chocolate scorpion... and then some easier ones, limon, numex suave orange, aji panca, habanero san remo... probably some more, dunno i sow them in waves because my germination space is limited. the first group is already out, except chocolate scorpions. i've had only two seeds not germinate (out of 5 of each variety), and those were blackish to begin with so i believe they were dead in the start.
i feel bad now because i feel maybe i've misled you with my pictures? i might've been just lucky with mine, who knows. i don't know what to say other than it works for me...

one thing i noticed i do different from what i see recommended here, is the germination temperature. i don't have a heat mat, but i was determined to have bottom heat for the containers.then it dawned on me that my low tech fluorescent light fixture gives off heat on the top, right over where the ballasts are. so i put my containers there, avoiding the hottest spots but keeping them on the area that is 33-34 oC. that's what, about 90ish F? anyhow, even superhots germinate really fast on that. oh, and that light is on for 18 hours, and off for 6, so it cools down during that time. i think it is closer to a natural temperature cycle, maybe it suits the seeds better to have a cool period.

here are some pictures, please don't laugh at my "high tech" setup :))

these are i think the 4 from the last picture

and some in small cups

and the lamp thingy. yeah it's not pretty but it works, and was cheaper than a heat mat :/ (was laying around broken in the garage, i fixed it). there are a bunch of cups waiting in line for the "heater" position, they just don't fit.


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RE: help with the baggy method

I think that it is a matter of learning the strengths and weaknesses of the different media and adjusting yourself accordingly. And for each person a certain method will just "click".

I favor peat or coir based mixes partially because of my end goals (out in the ground as soon as possible) and a lot because of my habits. I learned early on how to not overwater this type of soil, and since I don't want to do something with my plants every day (besides check to see they are still healthy), it works well. I remember a girl I used to work with and who felt compelled to water all plants every day no matter the conditions or type of plants. There was moss growing on the cacti. She would do well with a fast-draining mix.

I have read with interest Tapla's discussions over the years about the how and why of his mix, but it was always in the discussion of growing plants in containers for indefinitely long (years) at a time. Which is what some people here wish to do with the pepper plants. This combines well with the fact that peppers dislike wet roots, and when overwintering them in greatly trimmed conditions a wet soil is almost a guarantee with regular potting soil. But those two goals are different from starting seeds. Though, as I said earlier, I think it works well for some people to start their seeds in because the way you need to approach growing in that type of soil clicks with the way they approach growing overall.

And all of this is my way of avoiding the fact that it is the middle of winter and I have no gardening to do, so I will just think about it and talk about it. Next week I start more plants, but this week I just have nothing to do but make sure my seedlings haven't dried out. Cheers!


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RE: help with the baggy method

Indeed, Sunnibel, that's why I use a mix closer to Al's gritty mix for germination -
I want that superior aeration and very little chance of damping off or root-rot.
It really isn't much extra watering...just a bit every 2 - 4 days or so. By the time
that the seedlings are starting to take up more moisture, I move them into the moisture
retentive 5-1-1 - and I water them every 3 - 5 days on average. The 5-1-1 mix is only
intended for a single season of growing, although you are correct that it can be pressed
into service for another year or two when growing certain plants, such as Japanese maples,
conifers, citrus, (all of which I do grow, incidentally).


Josh


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RE: help with the baggy method

Josh- yes, I started reading about Al's mix back before we got the new house and I had some figs I needed to keep in pots. For a couple of years. This discussion illustrates why I don't like to ever claim my way is the right way to do things, so much depends on how each person approaches the tasks of keeping plants alive, what their expectations are, and what their conditions are. But then it is hard to tell people how you do things without sounding like "my way is the right way"!


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RE: help with the baggy method

Hey ya'll! What type of warming mats are ya'll using? I am seeing different kinds out here!!! And what about lights? I am stuck in a motel right at the moment but I am determined to still start as many plants as I can... I just don't know where I will keep them!!!!!


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RE: help with the baggy method

MsPeppaJo - here's a link to a thread talking about that. It's kind of old, but, the links and info are still good. Probably more than you ever wanted to know about heating mats! :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Heating Mat Discussion


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