germination progress

In an earlier post I listed the varieties of tomatoes that I'm starting from seed. I started the first four on April 1, one variety on April 5, and I plan to start the last two today, April 6. There is a huge difference in the rate of progress between the varieties so I thought I'd post that info here. I define the start date as the day I put them in a glass to soak. My technique is to soak in water overnight, then put them on a wet paper towel placed between two plates. I add water to the towels as needed to keep them wet (once or twice a day).
The group started on April 1 are listed in the order of growth rates, from fastest to slowest,
Sun Gold Cherry        By far the quickest, I have a plate full of inch long green sprouts.
Cosmonaut Volkov    Doing well, the sprouts are 1/2 long with some green.
Black Prince        Doing almost as well as the Volkovs, about 1/3 inch with just a hint of green.
Legend            Just short roots, no green yet.
I'm going to put the Sun golds into peat pots today, I'll give the Volkovs and Black Princes a couple of more days on the wet plates before I put them in pots. The Legends might need another week.
These were just started yesterday so there is no info yet. April 5 Black Sea Man
I'm going to start soaking these today, I'll put them on plates tomorrow April 6 Italian Grape Yellow Pear
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Are saying you transplant sprouts? Never heard of that B4. I just moisten small containers and provide bottom heat and light once up usually ~4 days where they reside till about 6 inches tall and hopefully stocky then placed out to permanent spot sometimes a cold frame in chilly and gray. 3 ~ 4 weeks latter.
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Bill Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA
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General Schvantzkoph wrote: I

This method is used to display the progress of growing seedlings for eductaional purposes but I don't understand why you would you do this to grow the plants. What is wrong with starting them in trays of seedling mix and pricking them out when big enough?
David
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On Wed, 07 Apr 2010 09:41:05 +1000, David Hare-Scott wrote:

It maximizes yield because you only put growing seeds into the pots, and you don't have to put more then one in a pot because you know that that the plant is alive.
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General Schvantzkoph wrote:

Pricking out from a tray has the same result in that you only work with successful germinations so the labour content is the same. Trays have the advantage that the seedling is in growing medium and thus getting nutrients right from the start and it can put roots down and shoots up which can't happen properly between paper. I am aware that nutrients are not required at the start of the germination process but in a non-nutrient medium you have to be on hand to plant them out before the food in the seed itself is exhausted. In a nutrient medium it is getting fed and can commence photosynthesis as soon as it is ready and you can afford to wait until the seedling is larger and easier to handle before pricking out.
How often are you in the position where using every viable seed is important? If I was given four rare heirloom seeds to grow out I might consider using paper to baby each and every one. Typically you have many more seeds than you need plants. Maybe I am missing something but I don't see the benefit of growing between paper, seems like a lot of fiddling about for no great gain.
David
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When you start multiple seeds in the same tiny cell, by the time that they are big and sturdy, their roots have intertwined, and it can be a real bitch to separate them. I know because that is the way I've done it. I get 70% to 100% successful outcomes with my old way of germination, but I'd like to improve it. Seems that you would also reduce the shock of having many of the root hairs stripped off during separation, leading to a more rapid development of the plant. With the over all method, laid out by Thompson, you could also germinate more seeds in a smaller area. The guy's a Pom, maybe your library has him. Check it out.
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wrote:

I don't put multiple seeds in a single cell. I use these from Lee Valley. Start in the 72 cell starters for the first round and then transplant into the 32 cell.
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1 seed per cell? Do you save seed, use fresh seed, or left over seed from previous years?
I use at least 3 seeds per cell, and if they are left over seeds, more. The older the seed, the more I use, especially if it hasn't been refrigerated. If I get multiple germinations, which happens often, I'd separate the plants, when they had a few leaves on them by holding the base of the plants between my thumb and index finger with the roots draped down across my palm, and then gently hose the dirt off starting from the bottom of the roots, as if you were combing out long hair.
It seems more efficient to me, in that I get many plants started in a short time. I have one small 2', 2 tube T5 over a heating pad, and a 4' T5 to nurture the seedling with. Sometimes it gets crowded, like this year when I had 6 trays on 2 per 8 hour shifts, circulating under the 4' T5. Finally the weather improved enough for me to get two trays outside, and I've been planting the onions, lettuce, and beets. The tomatoes and cabbage and squash are still out there. I'm prepping the tomato beds today. They should be ready in 2 weeks. I may need to get some 6' spaced drip line, so that I can squeeze the tomatoes close together. Typically, I've spaced them 2' apart, but the "Vegetable Gardener' Bible" by Edward C. Smith. (Amazon.com product link shortened) 580172121/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid06815454&sr=1-1 says that on supports, they can be 15" apart. I have 12 varieties among the 16 tomatoes that I want to plant.
I need to get the outside pots in the ground so that I can rotate more plants to the outside, and start germinating flowers and herbs.
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In article

Currently I am doing the same as susan, using 72 cell trays. I am using newly purchased seed. My friend uses the 144 cell trays (same space as 72 tray). I tend to have an eighty percent germination rate. Next year I may try the 144 cell trays. Also next year I am going to try my hand at seed saving. New learning curve coming up. So I may try other techniques if my success rate is much lower or have a need for more plants in a smaller space.
Depending on the seed size. I tend to place one seed per cell. Smaller seeds I tend to put in more than one seed and use scissors cut those competing plants out (Does not disturb roots). Time efficient but not plant efficient.
I got the 2005 Thompson book last month - still reading during free time. I tried looking through the book for the paper towel method for starting new plants. I could not find it. It may be in the book as I continue reading it. Just got done with Chapter 4. Basic Techniques with Seeds and Cuttings is Chapter 5.
Sometimes older books can be useful. Please let us know if the newer book is an updated version of the older one or something new.
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Enjoy Life... Dan

Garden in Zone 5 South East Michigan.
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In article

That's not in the book. That's the General's technique.

You got it.
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