It's about time ...

For me to get started with the plants I want to set out at the end of March . Last year and the year before I tried those peat disc things (wet 'em and they expand into a little barrel shape) with absolutely dismal results . This year I'm going to try something different , using potting soil or starter mix . I have a decent plastic tray but I need to divide it into compartments . I was considering shoebox-type cardboard , or maybe some plexiglass strips . Or I could just go buy some small plastic cups and put holes in the bottom for drainage . How do y'all start your sets ? I'll be doing tomatoes , peppers , marigolds , and maybe some zucchini and cantalopes . I usually do the stuff with bigger seeds directly to the ground ...
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Snag
And this yeear I'll be
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These are what I usually use for starting seeds. I start seeds in the 72 cell ones and then transplant into the 36 cell ones. Right now I have 5 of the 72 cell ones almost full. I need to check my supply of 36s.
http://www.leevalley.com/US/garden/page.aspx?pE511&cat=2,44713,40757
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The Cook wrote:

Those are really nice trays , but I'm looking for a cheaper alternative . The clear plastic cups that sell for like a buck a hundred are more where I'm looking . Cardboard and plex I already have , just need to cut it into strips and notch it for interlocks .
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I consider these to be a reasonable value. I bought these in Jan 2007 and have used them every year since -- this is beginning my 6th year. I paid $15.50 for 3 of the 32 cell ones and $14.50 for the 72 cell ones. I figure that over the past 5 years they have they have cost me $1 per tray per year. I have 6 of each size. They are still in good shape and I don't have to fiddle with setting them up.
Right now I am using 312 of small the cells to start plants. Then they will go into the 32 cell trays as they get larger. And that is just the beginning of the year. As I move things to the larger trays I then reuse the smaller ones. It is going to take about 4 or 5 of the 32 cell trays to transplant my 72 seedling beets. Each seed produces anywhere from 1 to 4 plants. With care I can separate them and get 150+ plants from my 72 seeds.
I start most of my plants in the greenhouse so I know how many plants I have without having to replant except for weather and critters. Either of those are possible regardless of how the plants are started. I do direct sow beans and corn but not much else.
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The nifty trays that The Cook posted a link to are heavy duty, expected to last several seasons. Unless you're overpaying, the standard 10.5 x 21" 72-cell starter trays are in the sub-dollar range (IIRC, about $0.79 or thereabouts at the local farm supply, and I'm in the San Francsico region where everything costs more as a rule). They handily have a matching size water tray and dome (additional purchases, but reuseable - moreso than the germination trays themselves). I splurge on the more rigid water trays, not the light duty ones - they'll last much longer, and that means you get your moneys worth out of them.
I make a written "cheat sheet" to identify what I planted where in the trays - put a tray ID stake in the "home cell" (upper left corner), and ID the columns as A-L, and rows as 1-6. i might plant the same variety of something in A-C, then just 2 cells of something else (D1-2), etc. I've also madea more graphical chart (cells for each of the cells in the tray), but that was too much repetition of writing, though was handy for noting different germination dates.

Yea, I did that as dividers for a set of wooden seeding trays I made (with weed barrier fabric and hardware cloth underneath). A neighbour constructed a 3-car detached garage, and I glommed onto the cardboard sheets which were used to separate the individual panels of the segmented rolling doors - nice flat undecorated pieces of corrugated cardboard. if you need a supply, consider contacting a local garage door installer. MUCH nicer than messing around with breaking down cardboard boxes of varying thicknesses and dimensions. When zipping them across the tablesaw, bear in mind that cardboard is tougher on the blade than oak...
I save TP and paper towel rolls, and cut them to length equal to half of a TP roll (paper towel rolls = 5). These I arrange into the above mentioned seeding tray, then fill up with soil. See following:
http://www.professional.org/snaps/index.html?dirname=gardening/20110326a / http://www.professional.org/snaps/index.html?dirname=gardening/20110326b /
Aviary screen frame above the germination box so they don't get raided by birds: http://www.professional.org/snaps/index.html?dirname=gardening/20110327 /
The bean seedlings were transplanted into the garden just 4-5 weeks after I seeded them in the tray.
I don't have the nifty ribbed trays like "The Cook", but I have about _400_ of the circular plug trays (got them for free from a local premium olive oil producer - they'd stacked a lot of them and they stuck together, and when time is money, the effort to separate them was more than they were worth - but I only need < 10 per season, and know that chilling them will separate them easily enough).
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On Wed, 08 Feb 2012 09:01:08 -0600, Snag wrote:

I use plastic pots, I have a million of them left over from plants that I've bought at garden centers over the years.
Unless you have a greenhouse don't jump the gun, if you start the plants too early they will just keel over and die on you. I make that mistake over and over again. Especially when we have a severe winter I want to start growing something so I start a bunch of plants in early March and they always die on me long before I can plant them in the ground in late May or early June. I'm not feeling the urge this year because we haven't had a winter at all in New England. Aside from the storm in the fall that wiped out our power for a week we haven't had a single snowflake and the temperatures have been well above freezing.
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General Schvantzkoph wrote:

I'm in Memphis Tn. , in zone 7a/7b . Usually by the end of March we're past the danger of a freeze , though it can happen . I'm figgering on planting seeds in a couple of weeks , which will give me about 6 weeks until they're ready to plant .
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Except April 4 - 10, 2007 when the night temperatures were in the mid 20s. We are in zone 7a.
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Derald wrote:

The marigolds are purely decorative , I set 'em out among the wife's roses .
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Snag wrote:

For small seeds that have seedlings that transplant well I use trays. I divide the tray into 4, 6 or 8 little plots. If you don't plant similar types next to each other there is no need for dividers. For bigger seeds and especially those like cucurbits I use tubes. The type about 15cm (6in) high with a square section that stand in a rack are best. You can put one melon (pumpkin, zucc...) seed in each and transplant the whole content without disturbing the roots at all.
D
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Thanks for the feedback Richard. I've got the guttering sitting under a bush but need to get a hacksaw and cut it into more manageable lengths - it must be at least 12 ft long ATM and that is way too long. Thank you for the heads up.
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Not all marigold varieties are effective against nematodes. French Marigolds are more effective than Aftican Marigolds for instance.
Seeing as my saved seed doesn't cost me anything, I see no problem replanting them each year.
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I grow nasturtium not for any claimed beneficial process, but rather because they're wholly edible - the leaves add a spicy zing to salad, the flowers some colour, and the fresh seed pods are also spicy. The fact that they're mildly attractive is a plus.
FTR, we have sandy loam where I'm at - nematodes would go nuts here.

as well, but in the garden, each of the individual (not cluster) plants grew to about 2' across. Nice blast of colour around the beans, tomatoes, cukes, eggplant, and fennel.
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snipped-for-privacy@invalid.net says...

https://startpage.com/eng/advanced-search.html?&cat=web&query field: all the words
criteria: studies marigolds nematodes
Scroll down to "At this domain type"
select "edu"
click the search button.
I skimmed off the following articles.
http://horizon.documentation.ird.fr/exl-doc/pleins_textes/pleins_textes_ 5/pt5/nemato/36417.pdf
http://www.norfolkbotanicalgarden.org/e-community/horticulture-news
Dutch researchers did cover crop studies looking at the effectiveness of over 800 varieties of marigolds on nematode populations. The scientists found that apparently nematodes are attracted to marigold roots but are killed when they try to feed due to the release of ozone from the damaged root. There are two caveats. One is that the effectiveness of killing nematodes is only with living marigold roots, once the marigolds have been tilled in, there is no further benefit. The second is that these were not companion plantings because two crops were not interplanted.
The conclusion of these Dutch studies is that when an entire area has been covered with marigolds, cover crops reduced the numbers of the very common root-lesion nematode (Pratylenchus penetrans) enough in one growing season that other crops susceptible to that pest could be grown for two or three years without suffering from nematode damage. The French Marigold (Tagetes patula) was the most effective, with the variety 'Single Gold' providing the greatest benefit with almost 99 percent control.
1/28/2010
http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/PD-35.pdf
http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/sustainag/news/articles/V4-Wang-marigold.pdf
http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-0856 /
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Excellent post, phorbin.
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Billy

E Pluribus Unum
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In article <wildbilly-D8FCA1.19001211022012@c-61-68-245-

Thanks Billy.
Been researching politics more than gardening/agriculture recently.
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Same here.
I'm afraid that the Greek crisis is heading this way with its political corruption, and usurious banks. It reminds you of the way politicians us into the state that we are in here.
<http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,814571,00.html
<http://www.democracynow.org/2012/2/14/real_despair_in_greece_severe_aust erity>
<http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2011/11/an-idiots-guide-to-the-gre ek-debt-crisis/> Like any state (or person, for that matter), it spent more money than it took in. After the switch to the euro, the traditionally strong Greek public sector saw wages rise to ultimately unsustainable levels. To compound this, the retirement age in the country is low (by Western standards) and benefits are generous.
But that alone is not enough to sink an economy.
Mass tax evasion, on the other hand, can certainly do the trick. And it did in Greece. When people and businesses don't pay their taxes, it limits revenue. So when the money inevitably ran out, Athens turned to European banks for loans. Soon, the government was borrowing billions and those debts, like subprime mortgages in the United States, were often repackaged as c0mplex commodites and sold off around the continent. Everyone, especially banks in France and Germany, wanted a piece. Now they have it.
What's happened is that Europe itself has become too weak, in the aftermath of the global financial meltdown, to bite the bullet on a country like Greece. A default would shatter otherwise monetarily strong countries like Germany. The Germans, like the Americans, would be left with a host of "too big to fail" banks ready to do just that.
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I just read:
"The Great American Stick Up: Greedy Bankers and the Politicians Who
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