seedling tray--whoopsie

I'm starting seeds for the first time ever. I didn't want to over-do it and so only planted enough to fit in one tray. I've got basil, parsley, strawberries and arugula in there. The basil and arugula has sprouted, I think I see a couple parsley starting and nothing on the strawberries. I had read that strawberries (and maybe all seeds?) need darkness to germinate. But obviously the sprouts will want light at this point. So what do I do now? I've got one of those plastic trays with separate compartments, a plastic bottom and cover. I guess I can cut the trays apart if it comes to that. What would you all recommend?
Thanks in advance!
LauraJ
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Laura J wrote:

Some seeds need light to germinate, some need darkness. To provide darkness, just put a bit of potting soil over the seeds (maybe 1/4 inch). If your tray is full now, just press your thumb on the cell and compress the soil in there a bit, then refill with soil. If you covered the seeds when you started them you probably don't have to do anything more.
In general, it's more convenient to start different seeds in different trays. Different seeds take different lengths of time in the tray before they're ready for transplant, and if they're all mixed together you have to work around the ones that aren't ready yet.
If you buy any annuals, save the small cells they came in. Wash them out and put them away for next year. Then you can start different seeds in the various cells.
I generally find it useful to start seeds in the smallest possible cell. I use a 288 (i.e. 288 cells/flat). The disadvantage in the small cell is that they dry out more quickly. The 288 seems to be the smallest cell I can use and only have to water once a day (although on really hot sunny days they need to be watered in the afternoon as well as the morning). Nobody sells plants in 288 cells so it's probably impractical for the home gardener. 72 cells are very common, although there's a trend toward larger cells.
The advantage in the small cell is that the roots fill the cell more quickly, making it much easier to get out of the cell for transplanting. This is important to me, since I plant 600-800 lettuce per week. For the home gardener, you can afford to dig the plant out of a larger cell, since you don't have as many to handle.
If you plant things like melons, use a peat pot instead. They don't like to have their roots disturbed.
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Thanks for all the info! I will store it away for next year to prevent making the same mistake again. For now, my seeds are out in the light (or at least will be as soon as it stops raining around here). I use the smallest cells as well though somehow don't think I'll ever have a need for 288 of them! My yard isn't that big, unfortunately.
Thanks again!
LauraJ

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If done this for Morning Glories for that reason. What else ornamental is fussy about root disturbance?
Jim
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On Mon, 26 Apr 2004 18:03:59 GMT, "Laura J"

Hmmm. 'Park's Success with Seeds' doesn't say anything about light requirements for strawberry seeds, but *does* mention germination time is 30 days. And no, not all seeds require darkness. Dill, for example, needs light. Usually, seeds that require darkness to germinate are simply covered with soil. Unless you scattered the strawberry seeds on top of your starter mix, they should be OK. The other seedlings *do* need light to keep growing. Don't mess up your seed tray -- you could just put little paper covers over the strawberry cells, but I don't think it's necessary.
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Thanks everyone! Strangely, I just noticed that some of the strawberries ARE coming up now (I planted them 9 days ago). So who knows. It's all a big mystery to me but hopefully it will be a productive one!
LauraJ
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