Started seeds today

I went out to the greenhouse today and got busy starting some seeds. I planted 3 kinds of onions, shallots, kohlrobi, 2 kinds of turnips, cabbage, broccoli, beets and swiss chard.
I decided to go ahead and start them in the greenhouse since we are already heating it to keep some citrus alive.
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I transplanted some volunteer potatoes yesterday to a new bed. It took about an hour to prep and transplant. It's not as cold here as it is in most of the country, but my fingers still hurt like hell afterwards. I got 3 new germinating trays so I don't need to sterilize them with chlorine before I use them. When I reuse them, they will get sterilized first. Now all I need to do is sterilize some soil and I'm ready.
In the past, I've just filled the germinating cells with wet potting soil, and then poked little holes in the potting mix to put my seeds into. This year, I will pass some of the potting soil through a strainer, and use this fine potting soil to sprinkle over seeds laid on top of the wet soil in the germination cells. I hope this helps with germination and pricking-out.
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wrote:

Billy, what process do you use to sterilize soil? I've got some beautiful leaf mold, but it's full of weed seeds.
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I asked him that same question a few years back... His response...A toaster oven. It is after all a simple but effective solution. Far better that pouring boiling water over the soil like I use to do.
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Yeah, a toaster oven set to 200F for 30 min. Potting soil is in a metal bowl. A germination tray hold about a half gallon of soil (1.9 L). It takes a temp of 181F (83C) for 20 min. to sterilize. The extra time is for the temp to penetrate the soil.
Thanks for helping out Dan. Way to go Nad.
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wrote:

THANKS!
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wrote:

What kink of potting soil do you use?
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Gardner & Bloome and thanks for the article on the FSMA bill.
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Nad R wrote:

I had thought in terms of letting the composting process run to completion. Last year's composting pile turned the year it cooked is this year's compost ready for use. Effective when you have the open space available. I did some composting when I had a back yard. I recently switched to an apartment with a desk so there's no more room.
I wondered if the toaster oven would work for seeds. Some seeds can survive drying out. When I read it I thought it was for mold, fungus and whatever. Toaster oven is clever for small amounts - Thanx!
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Hmm... If you have a balcony, I would do it outside. It can stink up your home. It's not like home made bread.
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Doug, what do you want to do with the seeds? If you plan on these seeds being fertile after getting the shake and bake treatment, I'd forget the oven. Failing that, use a thick wall container and see what happens at 100F (Do they go that low? hmmm.)
Try to mimic what the seeds would experience in their native habitat. Don't heat 24hr/day.
Somewhere on the net there are instructions for making a solar food drier. I made something similar last year for drying herbs. It is basically a box with one transparent side, and the side opposite the transparent side should be black, and there should be a small hole on top, and a large hole on the bottom. When the transparent side faces the sun, the air heats, the water evaporates, the warm moist air goes up and out the hole on top, and dry cool air is sucked into the bottom of the box. <http://www.i4at.org/surv/soldehyd.htm or more generally <http://www.dehydratorbook.com/homemade-dehydrator.html
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Billy wrote:

Also thanks to Nad R for the hilarious image of baking my dirt in the kitchen oven. Much more entertaining than my previous thought of using the propane grill on the deck as an oven.

Kill the weed ones to reuse last year's topsoil.
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How much topsoil are we talkin' here?
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Billy wrote:

Now that I live in an apartment with a deck, two buckets worth about the size I can just barely loop my arms around. Several times less than I used when I had a place with a back yard. Reusing the dirt becomes something fun to do to have keep some planting skills from dissappearing.
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Even with that small amount of dirt, earthworms and mycorrhiza will help produce better results. Unless you suspect that you have Fusarium, Verticillium wilt, or some other soil disease, I wouldn't sterilize it. I sterilize my potting mix because I'm germinating seeds in it, and have had trays wiped out, in the past, by damping off.
<http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/277/
<http://www.ehow.com/how_2074004_use-mycorrhizal-fungi-garden.html
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Absolutely... baking cloche for outdoor grills and pizza stones. Outdoor grills can provide constant high heat over 500 degrees and higher and often does a better job than the on/off heat of indoor gas ovens. Outdoor grills with the clay cloche work fine for baking breads and pizzas.
However the other side of the planet... Never cook dirt in your clay pots it will wreck your pot with baked on dirt inside it and may never get rid of the smell. Use those steel bowls for dirt. On the other hand how about those inexpensive outdoor fire pits?
There is the time honored method of pouring boiling water onto your soil, not as effective but better than nothing.
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