Seed starting for Lettuce Indoors

Hi everyone, it's gardening time again! <smile>
I always have a difficult time with starting my lettuce plants indoors. This year I took a new approach which was more successful than previous years. Here's the details...
I'm using those modular plastic seed starting things with 6 cells per 5 inch by 5 inch module, each filled with pre-moistened seed starting mix. Then I water each cell with a water & benolmyl solution to keep it safe from mildew & disease. Ok, that's my usual routine with all my plants starrted indoors.
The part I did different this year is that instead of using a tweezer to plant 3 or 4 lettuce seeds per cell, I spill out the seed on a flat surface and use my fingers to pinch a whole bunch of seeds and then gently push the whole bunch into the very top layer of soil for a given cell. The results were great becasue now I have about 6 to 10 sprouts in each cell. Then I used a pair of mini electrical diagonal cutters to snip out all but 2 sprouts in each cell.
Question is... How many lettuce sprouts should I allow to grow per cell?
---pete---
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My guess is two sprout, maybe three per cell. The problem will be separating them from each other when it/s time to transplant into the garden. Too many sprouts per cell will make a dense rat/s nest of roots.
I have found lettuce to be one of the easier seeds to starts indoors, providing the seed are fresh.
I 3/4-fill a plastic tray with 'moist' potting soil, lightly broadcast the seed, cover seeds with a shallow layer of 'moist' potting soil, then cover the tray with a loose fitting, clear lid (altho plastic wrap would probably work, too).
Seeds sprout in less than a week. Once the first set of true leaves appear, I add a little more potting soil to snug them up. About a week later, I transplant the larger ones into another tray on 2" centers.
--
TQ



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On Sun, 19 Mar 2006 19:59:46 -0500, "TQ" <ToweringQs AT adelphia.net> wrote:

Ok, so that means I should only have one sprout per cell because I can imagine being able to separate them after they've grown grown a bit. lettuce plants are so delicate. What I'll do is initially leave 2 sprouts per cell and then after one or both get to a point where I can see they will survive, I'll just keep the strongest one and cut out the other.
Thanks!
---pete---
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You may want to try this method. I sprinkle a few lettuce seeds into a container lined with damp paper towelling, put a lid on it and place in a not too warm place, for lettuce seeds, about twentyfour hours. After this time the seeds will have chitted and can be lifted with a pair of tweezers and planted one to seed thingy. You will have a guaranteed one plant per cell and no thinning. This method is particularly useful for parsnip, as they are very erratic when it comes germination, they can then be planted directly into the seed row, one per station, again, a guaranteed plant per chitted seed.
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Dave, I like that idea! Come to think of it, that sounds like an excellent way to make use of old seed packets of any type of plant. I keep track of my seeds and when they get so many years old I automatically get rid of them for fear that I plant them and they won't sprout, leaving me short of that kind of plant. However, with your method I can dump out the entire "old" seed packet onto the paper towel and pick out the seeds that actualy germinated and then toss out the rest.
Thanks! ---pete---
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