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Germinating Tomato Seeds

Posted by JoeOrganicTomatoes 6A (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 10:08

OK This will be my 1st attempt at doing this. I'll be using coffee filters and I want to geminate 20 different varieties. Here is my question. The days to germinate listed on the packs vary from 5 days to 10+. Once my seeds germinate I'll be putting them under lights. The seeds that have geminated in 5 days will have a 5 day head start over the ones that take 10 days. I've read where your lights are to be placed 2-3 " above the seedlings. Obviously those with the 5 day head start are going to be taller. Is this going to force me to select varieties that will germinate around the same time or can I keep the early ones in the coffee filter being careful to keep them moist till all germinate. Any info on this topic will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Germinating Tomato Seeds

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 12:16

The days to germ on the pkts is just a guideline. Actual rate of germination for most all varieties depends on the temps.

As to the lights, no it just means the lights need to be adjustable in heights. And the recommended height above the plants for most lights is 1-2" max. not 3-4".

If you are going to be using the coffee filters the sprouted seeds need to be transferred to the potting mix ASAP after the rootlet pops. It can die quickly when exposed.

Check out the Growing from Seed FAQs here and on the Growing from Seed forum for more details.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing from Seed FAQ

This post was edited by digdirt on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 12:17


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RE: Germinating Tomato Seeds

Thanks Dave for your reply. Regarding the seeds after they pop I wasn't sure if I could just keep them moist in the plastic bag in the dark till all have popped. Thanks for updating me on that and I also will check out the forum that you mentioned.


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RE: Germinating Tomato Seeds

Thanks Dave for your reply. Regarding the seeds after they pop I wasn't sure if I could just keep them moist in the plastic bag in the dark till all have popped. Thanks for updating me on that and I also will check out the forum that you mentioned.


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RE: Germinating Tomato Seeds

Hi Joe Organic,
As an old timer, I can offer a bit of advice. First, listen to what is posted by Dave/Digdirt. No nonsense, straight advice.
Secondly, you might want to consider, as an experiment, taking a few of your seeds and try germinating the easy way...... Simply place them. In some seed starting mix, cover with plastic, and place in a warm place. In three or four days when the first seeds sprout, remove the plastic and put them in good light. This has worked for me for over 60 yrs. without the need for seed soaking and quicker picker uppers. Good luck to you. I envy the long garden career before you with all of its wondrous discoveries.
Victor


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RE: Germinating Tomato Seeds

I've been starting plants under lights for many years. I've found that different individual plants, different varieties of the same species and different kinds of vegetables always grow at different rates. So the process I've developed is to rig ways to place the seed trays on various things -- bricks, old phone books, overturned pots -- to keep the tops of the seedlings at the same distance from the lights. When things are going well and the plants are growing well, I have to rearrange them every few days. If you don't raise the shorties to the same height as the others, their growth will slow and they'll fall even further behind.


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RE: Germinating Tomato Seeds

Thanks sconticut & Ohiofem for taking your time to give me great advice. LOL I hope I have a long garden career ahead of me. FYI: I'm retired. I wish I had started doing this 60 yrs ago. Anyway, I like the idea of using coffee filters because I can see if the seed has actually germinated. If I plant it in the soil then to me it's a guessing game. Great advice on ways to rig the pots to different heights. LOL Why didn't I think of that. Guess it's because I've never done this before. The season will soon be upon me and I'm "getting" nervous! In the past I used to buy "box store plants. I'm going out on my own because I want to grow different varieties that they don't offer. Here's hoping. Thanks again to all! Happy Growing!


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RE: Germinating Tomato Seeds

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 22, 14 at 11:32

Anyway, I like the idea of using coffee filters because I can see if the seed has actually germinated. If I plant it in the soil then to me it's a guessing game.

I understand why you feel that way and it is a sentiment shared with others. But as you embark on your gardening career please try to keep in mind that the goal is to do what is best for the seed/plant and that doesn't always jive with what is preferred by the gardener. :)

So while the baggie method appeals to the gardener for a couple of reasons it does have its associated risks for the seeds.

Dave


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RE: Germinating Tomato Seeds

Thanks Dave for the update. I've watched a number of youtube videos from professional gardeners who are advocates of this method it and it does take the worry out of did the seeds germinate or not. Also, a number of gardeners that I met here like this method also so we will see what happens.


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RE: Germinating Tomato Seeds

Hi Joe Organic

Gardening Rule #1. Beware of You Tube presenters who anoint themselves as "Professional Gardeners".


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RE: Germinating Tomato Seeds

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 22, 14 at 18:37

sconticut - excellent point. That particular source does more harm than it does good in many cases.

Joe - try the baggie method sure but for the best learning experience try a few normally planted seeds as well and do your own comparison. That way you'll know for sure which works best for you.

I plant literally thousands of seeds each year as we grow for plant sales in our nursery as well as for our own gardens. Trust me, you'll know if they germinate or not and your survival rate will be much higher. :)

Dave


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RE: Germinating Tomato Seeds

I use the baggie method to test old seeds. You get a visual answer within a few days. The time is a function of temperature. Keep them warm. I agree that once they pop, they should be removed immediately and put in some soil. No lights are needed for this process until they come up from the soil.


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RE: Germinating Tomato Seeds

IME even tomato seeds 5-6 years readily germinate in soilless mix. Germinating tomato seeds outside the soil adds a needless step. Save that for some questionable seeds, not regular tomato seeds.

As a new seed starter it is important to ask others "Is this step needed?" and be willing to try the advice of experienced gardeners. Why waste time and effort on unnecessary steps which makes a simple procedure more difficult?


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RE: Germinating Tomato Seeds

Just a follow-up to my original post. I selected the "Micro-Tom" variety. I did use the coffee filter method. Batch 1 (3 seeds) I left in the filter for 5 days. Batch 2 (3 seeds) for 6 days. After all 6 seeds germinated I planted them in two separate 3" pots and put them under the lights. All are doing well. Yes, planting the seeds is tedious. The only problem I ran into was figuring out the right way to plant them.(LOL) Once I mastered that everything is going ok. I like this method because I don't have to worry about using a heating pad to raise the soil temp. I also don't have to worry about the plastic dome covering the seeds in the tray/pots. How long to keep it on etc. Ok I realize that if you are planting a large quantity of seeds this method is not for you. But, I'm not. After I master this I will try the other methods. This is a fun and learning experience. Isn't that what gardening is all about? Well at least it is for me and by the way the "youtube" vids are very helpful. Amen


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RE: Germinating Tomato Seeds

I have germinated seeds many ways:

1) in paper towel in zip bag
2) in glass jar
3) in a dish
4) in starting mix

Number (4) although is a direct sowing, but it is a bit tricky: How to Keep them Warm and control the Temps , moisture : The seeds are about 2 -2 1/2" away from the mat. The soil does not transfer heat efficiently UNLESS it it really HOT. Then your seeds might cook and/or the soil get dry fast. I don't like covering the soil to avoid damping off and fungus growth and gnat problem. Paper towel is good if you have to germinate just a few but if you want to germinate dozens, then direct sowing in starter mix is the best option and you have to learn how to tune HEATING and keeping moisture CONSISTENT.


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