Newbie advice needed

I have bought some seeds that I wish to grow indoors.
Coriander Basil Chiles.
I have only ever tried to grow coriander before and although it starte to grow - lots of wee flies were coming out of the compost. I have no recently been told that you need to sterilise compost for indoor use?
Anyway.
My first question is how do you get started with the seeds. Do yo germinate them first? What is the best way to do this? I remember bac at school we germinated seeds in dishes with paper and put them in hot place.
I have a hot boiler cupboard that would do the trick. How do I ge started? :)
Secondly. Compost sterilising? How do you go about doing this?
Also the compost I have seems very spacious - by that I mean ther seems to be a lot of pockets of air between the soil particles - do yo need to compress this down or am I best using a different thing fo growing in altogether?
thanks in advance. I look forward to a response :
-- Milesy
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I've tried growing herbs indoors at work under the fluorescent lights. Everything bolted and got leggy.
If you are going to try this, you will need some good grow lights in order for it to work.
Best way to sterilize compost is to pressure cook it for 20 minutes. Alternately, you can bake it but I can't recall the temp off the top of my head to sterilize it. You could probably google for that. :-)
Good luck!
--
Peace, Om
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Forget growing chiles inside unless you are prepared to buy some heavy duty growlight$. In which case you could probably get them cheaper from an organic market.
Why would anybody want to sterilize compost, providing it had gone through hot composting to begin with? Is this homemade compost or bagged compost?
--

Billy

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In article

I concur.

I don't know what he is using, but the only reason I'd ever sterilize compost is if I was going to use it to grow mushrooms. It's recommended even for Oyster Mushroom starts even when using mostly nitrogen enriched paper.
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rich and alive? Your compost should be light and fluffy.
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I personally don't sterilize compost. I was just trying to help the OP with a method for doing so if he thought it necessary...
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Some seeds are better sown directly as the seedlings don't transplant well, others you can start in seed trays and transplant. In your case I wouldn't mess about, plant them where you want them to grow. They don't want to be hot, warm is fine.

Too hot.

Don't bother. Microbes are good. What is the source of this compost?

good
do you

firm it down a bit before planting but not heavily.
As others have said you will need *really* good lighting to grow these. Unless they are in a window getting sun some of the day with supplementary artificial light, or very high powered artficial light they will not prosper.
David
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Starting seeds is a tricky business (not) - ha ha. The seeds WANT to germinate, it's in their genes. You need to provide the right conditions: usually moisture and a moderate warmth. Some seeds like it cool (ie, spinach) but in general, all my plants start great on the heating pad. It took 3 days to get lettuce germinated in 4inch pots this week.
I use a sterile potting soil for starting seeds. I find that watering the mix when planting compacts it enough, no need to pack it before putting seeds in. Do of course press the seed into the mix for good seed/soil contact, but again, no need to compress significantly. If you don't have a source of heat, you can use hot - but not boiling - water to wet the mix before seeding. You should put a thermometer in your cupboard - if the temp is 70F or under, your're fine. Just remember to check your seeds every day!
You may have to work a little to find the right timing - some plants started too soon will get leggy, esp. lettuce. I've never had problems with tomatoes started in Feb/March (Zone 5) b/c by the time the plant wants to really start growing, I'm setting them out during the day for at least a few hours, and they get pretty stocky.
The looseness of your starting mix is a good thing, because plants need air and the developing roots will find it no burden to stretch out and grow! Which leads to the care and feeding of the young plant - keep an eye on your seedlings, they can suck it up at stages of development. Water when needed, but don't drown them! I like to "pot on" some plants - tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, spinach. Seeds of these plants started en masse in 4in pots can be transplanted when you see the first true leaves on the plants.
After you get seedlings, they will want light - as much as you can give them. I use plain 'ol flourescent shop lights. Set the plants right up to the lights, unless you are lucky enough to have big window. I visit seedlings daily, to make sure they are not drying out, and to rotate the plants around the lights (dimmer at the ends). After all this, I make sure to harden the plants off before setting them outside. Even if you are going from GH to outdoors, you should take the 3-4 extra days to harden the plants off and get them used to the rough world/full sun.
Can't speak to the compost question, as I never have enough to bring inside. Remember that even plants that are not recommended to transplant can do just fine if handled with care. For example, I start my sweet corn indoors and transplant - the only problems I've ever had is when I used peat pots (b/c you can plant the whole pot). Big mistake, I won't do that again! And chinese cabbage never seems to give me problems when I TP it :shrug:
Most of this info is already out there - you can google seed starting or starting seed and have a couple lifetimes of reading to do :)
Good luck to ya, and don't forget to go through your seed packets BEFORE you order new ones :D
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On Thu, 6 Mar 2008 21:03:06 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:
<Snip>

<snip>
Good post, but I will add one thing......peppers require a higher temperature for germination. I have found that 80-85F results in faster and higher germination. Lower temps will reduce and prolong germination with peppers.
I usually set my germination flat of peppers in the closet on top of the water heater, where it remains close to these temps and move them to the garage and lights when they have popped thru.
Care Charlie
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Charlie,
I started a couple of Texas Chilpequins (pronounced chile peteen in Texas) the other day. I've got them in little cups in a pan over a heating pad. Stuck a thermometer in the soil this morning & it read 90. I understand that these are a bit slow to germinate, so hope that temp is good. I think it'll do OK.
Robert
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Back it off man. 85 F is as high as you want to go.
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Billy

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Milesy;777018 Wrote:

Hmmmm, Lots of little black flies?? I've had that problem with house plant myself. I've found the best thing to do is use a soil based insecticid that kills the eggs. If you are using shop-bought compost it should b free of these annoying little beasts (that i've heard referred to a fungus gnats), they tend to lay eggs in the compost after potting up This combined with some flypaper hung up close to the pots should clea the problem up (worked for me). Hope i've helped
-- Koscha
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