I was wondering if anyone else had the same observation as I have.
I use a soil that is specifically for germination (high sphagnum
moss content I think) and it seems to do a good job of germination
but then the seedlings seem to lack vigor. When I transplant the
seedlings into larger vessels with "regular" potting mix, the
plants suddenly become vigorous.
Anyone else have this experience?
You are probably not packing the soiless mix hard enough and the roots
are weak from not having any resistance as they develop. I'm not
saying to pack the mix hard or very tight, but firmed in before you
put seeds on it, then cover the mix with the seed and if the seed
needs dark to germinate just press that seed firm into the soil
leaving it out to the light and water lightly. If the seed needs dark
to germinate, still place seed on packed soiless mix and cover it with
either vermiculite or more soiless mix. The mix is more likely milled
vermiculite, not peat, but I don't know what you have there.
As a plus, make sure the mix is moist before you pack it into the
flats or tray you are using. Most mixes have a wetting agent so the
media will absorb better, but don't over water.
My main problem has been getting light to the young plants. My cold
frame helps a lot. Once up I plant outside as soon as possible so I am
latter than most folks about here.
These sites have a bit of what your question is aimed at.
Just book marked them myself as I never thought to ask that question
concerning best practice after germination.
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA
Book "Our Media Not Theirs" Many Stars
I have noticed the same thing. I am guessing that the germination
soil has few if any nutrients since the seeds have everything they
need for germinating. What do "they" suggest, transplant when the
first set of true leaves appear?
Thanks for the reality check Steve and Susan. My own guess was
that it was the sphagnum moss who's dampness kept the roots too
cool, after they went outside, but who knows.
Thanks Bill for the informative web sites. And thanks to Jangchub
for telling me where she thought I probably screwed up.
I don't think so, as I had my starts sitting on a temp controlled 80 degree
base with 480 watts of fluorescent lighting only inches above the 6 flats I
started and I experienced the same deficiency you speak of. I was surprised
at how much miracle grow I had to push at them to keep them greened up.
As valuable as new starts are, I constantly errored on the side of too
little. Once I moved them outside and planted them, they snapped right to my
expectation of fertile and healthy.
One thought I had as I was going through the period is that it much
resembled the nitrogen deficiency one experiences when new bark mulch is put
onto a planted flower bed.
I don't have your wattage but mine were on a hot pad under grow
lights and they germinate well. The only real problems I've had
with germination this year were a couple of medicinal herbs (black
cohosh and jaiogulan) and some errant mice nibbling the peppers:o()
The thing with my seedlings is that even when fish emulsioned
and moved outside into full sun, they still lacked vigor (I wait
for more growth before planting. My garden isn't for sissy plants.).
They only perked up when they were re-potted with regular potting
soil making up the additional volume of the pot or when they where
planted in the ground.
Oh little mysteries of life.
Again, thanks for the observation.
The starter I used, Magik-Moss Seed Starter is excellent, as far as
composition, water retention and working form, but it seemingly has the
nutritional value of shredded plastic. Next year I'll mix a couple of cups
of alfalfa meal and a little bone meal with each bucket. That should green
things up, as compared to the pale starts I was constantly chasing with
nitrogen this year.
Billy, here's what I did this year and the results were incredible. I used
the same starter, as I liked it very well. To approximately 6 quarts of it I
added 1 quart of my homemade compost, 1 pint of alfalfa meal, 1 cup of bone
meal and 1/3 cup of green sand.
I potted up the flats and planted. Starting from the first watering I used
1 well rounded tablespoon of Soluble Root Growth Enhancer per gallon of
water. http://www.biconet.com/soil/rootGrowth.html I watered with this
mixture 3 - 4 times through the 6 weeks they were under lights. When I
took them outside to take in sunlight and harden off, I gave them a couple
of waterings with fish emulsion at about half the label recommendation.
These plants were twice the size of anything I have ever started, and
healthy, oh my. The amazing thing is how nice the roots looked when I
planted them. Though I used 3 inch square containers for the tomatoes and
smaller for peppers, etc. none were root bound, as I would of expected for
plants as large as they were.
To some degree yes. After moving to a new home, I've been trying to
establish some new California poppies late in the season. I saw
almost nothing growing from seed this late. I eventually tried
Jiffy-7 "peat pellets" which are primarily sphagnum moss as well as
square peat pots with potting soil (Miracle-Gro Moisture Control).
The seedlings (germinated indoors) coming out of the pots (soil
moderately packed) come up more slowly and smaller, but they seem
stocky and strong. Most of the seedlings from the pellets are growing
taller, but spindly with long stems sticking out underneath the base.
One reason may have been when I kept them too long indoors. They
seemed to get longer stems because they grew and leaned towards the
sun coming from the window. Another part could be the fertilizer in
the potting soil as well as the resistance to root growth from the
packed soil. I move them outdoors to condition them to the sun, but
some seedlings have died from the heat. I guess that's fine, since
I'm trying to develop seedlings that won't just die when they get
I did have one really nice example growing from a pellet, that I've
since transplanted to a pot. That one I germinated in a different
area, and took it outside as soon as I saw the taproot well
established and before the stem popped up.
I have removed the netting from the pellets before transplanting. The
peat pots I've watered and pulled back to keep the soil around the
seedling intact. I've used plastic seedling pots, but I have a hard
time getting them out without damaging the root. I also tried ripping
the used peat pots into pieces to use as a soil amendment.
Just for fun I'm trying to sprout up some heliotropes from seed in the
peat pellets. I'll see how that turns out.
Yes, I get the same observation.
I start seedlings in small one inch pots. After germination about %80
percent for most of my plants. Then I transplant with potting soil in 5
inch pots. I transplant the seedlings just after the true leaves
arrives. I also cut off the lower seed leaves on many of the plants that
seem to lack vigor after a week or so on the transplants, it seems to
help the plants. When the weather gets nice the plants get planted
Billy, I know that you have far more knowledge about plants than I do.
Questions: Is something wrong with this observation?
Is this processes the norm?
Enjoy Life ... Dan
Email "dan lehr at comcast dot net". Text only or goes to trash automatically.
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