Hi everyone, it's gardening time again!
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.
How many lettuce sprouts should I allow to grow per cell?
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
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.
On Sun, 19 Mar 2006 19:59:46 -0500, "TQ" <ToweringQs AT adelphia.net>
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.
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.
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.
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