Jiffy starter greenhouse vs wet plate

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I'm running an experiment to see how my wet plate method works vs a commercial solution, specifically the Jiffy starter greenhouse which consists of a 72 cell plastic tray with peat moss starter pellets and a plastic top. I had extra Cosmonaut Volkov, Sun Gold Cherry and Black Prince tomato seeds so I started a dozen pellets of each in the Jiffy. I had already started these varieties a week ago with my wet plate method and they've all been moved to peat pots with potting soil several days ago. I'll report the progress of both in another week.
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I love an experiment! Please let us know how it turns out and please give us as much growing details as possible :)
My details - I never use the plastic tops when growing indoors. I add a small amount of peat moss to my seedlings also (Rumored to help keep mold and wilt down, I lost my sources to this rumor). I am using a miracle grow seed starting mixture (I know I shouldn't). I do not use any heat pads. I have nine south side oversized windows, each with a heat register under the windows. Ceiling fans in every room for air circulation. I have a cheap T-5 grow light on each of the 9 TV tray tables. Two 72 cell trays on each table. 2 x 9 x 72 = 1296 plants!!!!
My experiment this year is be more wasteful and place a capillary mat under half of them. To see if I can scrimp on watering at the expense of mold.
Many, 3/4 of these plants are slow growing flowers and will go directly from the 72 cell into the ground. The vegetables will get transplanted and go into a heated frame. I do wish I had the funds for a green house!
I do admit I feel guilty tossing most of those plastic inserts to the trash. Some day I will use a less wasteful method of growing plants.
Tomatoes - 30 Romas, 30 Bonny Best, 10 Brandywines and 2 Cherry 100's. I never cared for the taste of sun golds over the Cherry 100's. Canning Time for the fall. All tomatoes for me and no one else :)
Enjoy Life... Dan
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Enjoy Life... Dan

Garden in Zone 5 South East Michigan.
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Dan L. wrote:

I'm really happy with my home made "greenhouse". There's lots of plans for hoop type. I'm using 1" thin wall pvc (painted) and a mixed frame of ripped 2*4's. It's covered with poly and/or vinyl shower curtain liners.
The seed starters are doing well in it.
Jeff
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The plastic cover was the reason I'm giving the Jiffy a try. One of my cats ate a few of the sprouts that I have in peat pots, I have lots of spares on the wet plates so I replaced them and covered them with glad wrap to discourage the cats (tomatoes are poisonous to cats so it's not good for the cats as well as for the seedlings).
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Year before last, I had mice. Last year I sealed the tray cover on with book binder clamps. This year I have appreciably larger plants, but the pride seems to have done their work, no problems.
The cover also holds in the humidity, and heat, which helps with the germination. If not using prepackaged peat pots, be sure to sterilize soil at 200°F for 30 min. to avoid mold (damping off), and having to start all over again 2 - 3 weeks later.
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Hmmm... Are you putting your seed trays outside in the open or indoors?
Every time I used any clear plastic covers indoors, I get white looking mold on the seed starting soil a few days later. Indoor humidity where I live runs around 50%. It rains allot during April and May in Michigan. I use small fans with the covers off the trays to keep the mold away. I wonder if location makes a difference?
One other topic: How do you sterilize your soil? I use an equal amount of water to soil and pour the boiling water over the soil. I have heard from others that sterilizing soil in an indoor oven stinks to high heaven! Do you use an outdoor grill or open pit?
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Enjoy Life... Dan

Garden in Zone 5 South East Michigan.
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I germinate inside.

Yeah, damping-off.

With the hot pad and the cover on, I get a lot of condensation, on the cover. No problem.

Move to California and see ;O)

Small electric toaster oven, inside. Usually use something like Gardner & Bloome Potting Soil, but the stuff from Home Despot should work too. Gives off a little earthy smell, which dissipates quickly. Making stock from soup bones smells worse. If I stunk up the place, the little woman would hang me by my, uh, . . . toes.
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Hmmm... I have no space for a toaster oven :( The big oven for soil, no way. Counter space limited: Coffee pot, Blender, Stand Mixer, Food Processor, Food Saver, Butcher knife Block and Compost Crock. Under cabinet: Microwave over Oven, Small DVD player and an XM/Sirius radio.
For now, boiling water method seems to work.
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Enjoy Life... Dan

Garden in Zone 5 South East Michigan.
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Good luck with that. Let me know how it works out.
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I use the boiling water method during the changing of house plant soils. Works good enough for me, no problems so far.
For seed starting kits, I do not have mold problems with tops off and my ceiling fans running. However, I purchase my seed starting soils from the local nursery and I presume already sterilized. My home soil is not the best mostly clay. So I have no problem with buying good soil and compost that goes into my garden. Someday I will make my own seedling soil and use your method of sterilizing the soil.
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If that presmption was true, I wouldn't need to sterilize my germination soils. The peat starter would be sterilized, because they only have one function. Except for germination, potting soil needn't be sterilized, it would just be an added cost to the producer.

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By the word "Yeah", you do develop mold on your seedling soil also? If so, why still use the covers? The mold can't be good for plants?
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Only if I don't sterilize the soil. If I sterilize the soil, I have no problem with damping off.

"Kills them dead", so after waiting for a week for germination, and then spending 2 weeks watching your babies get eaten alive by mold, you get to start all over again, hoping that if they survive, you won't fry them when you leave them outside to harden off with the tray cover on. Gardening can teach anyone humility.
Confidence is sterilizing the soil. 200F (93C) for 30 min. Otherwise go back to "Kills them dead".
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General Schvantzkoph wrote:

I like the Jiffy Tray. It is not cat proof and in in fact appears to be a cat magnet. The cover simply cannot withstand the weight of a cat.
A sheet of clear poly works (no cat appeal). I think a good solution you may be a box glued up of polyisocyanurate (R Max), with a bit of glazing (clear poly) over it. The polyiso will help keep in the heat at night. 4' * 8' sheets are under $10. Set the tray inside.
Jeff (who may not know much about gardening but has a lot of experience with cats!)
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I find the jiffy trays week and flexible. I like to use Heavy Duty Lattice Flats with the trays for added strength. Example found at http://www.charleysgreenhouse.com/ using "8619 Heavy Duty 1020 Lattice Flats". Dogs Rule and are trainable :)
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I understand that the dogs are in charge of the pack, but why would you put them on a train?
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To be honest, the dog has me well trained. The first day I got my little dog, he kept barking to go outside. After a dozen times during the day, I was getting tired of the routine and for for the first time I said NO! He looked me in eye and walked to my floor planter and peed on it! The little rat has some intelligence! He showed me who was in charge. I installed a doggie door the next day. Both of us are happy :)
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Wait 'till the raccoons find it ;O)
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Billy wrote:

I had that trouble with the raccoons raiding the cat food. Put it (18 lb bag) in a large container with a latch.
Next night I heard a noise and went to investigate. Found two in the container just looking at me, wondering why I was awake. They had no fear of me or the cats and obviously no problem with the latch.
Jeff
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The doggie door leads to the deck. I made a gate for the deck. I close the gate at night and open it during the day. My deck is really a poop deck. I am amazed the little seven pound five year old yorkie is still alive. Still someday a wandering coyote will get him. So far coyotes, hawks, foxes and cars have not got him. The little dog kills a mouse or two each month. Plays with the mouse until it is dead.
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