Friday, April 02, 2010

Seed Germination Problems.

I started tomato and pepper seeds this year at the beginning of March. I could have started them earlier, but had other things to do. Here it is four weeks later and the only thing I have to show for it all is ONE Tommy Toes start.

This year, I used a combination of seed starter (which I'll never use again - It resembles rabbit feed insofar as it's pellet-like ... to absorb moisture, I assume) and sphagnum. The seed starter was too heavy and large, not to mention that it held enough moisture to mold on occasion.

Lacking a greenhouse, basement, or any other setup, I did pretty much what I did last year with that Burpee seed-starting number (most of which fell apart over the summer). I planted the seeds in biodegradable pots (mostly peat because I found a great deal on them), watered them, and covered them with little plastic sandwich bags for humidity. On warm days, I put them outside, bringing them inside in the evening as the evenings turned cool. There was a lot of back/forth involved, including taking off the sandwich bags if it looked like there was too much moisture, etc. My kitchen table was always a mess with various stages of pots.
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Today, I took three of the peat pots apart to see what was happening within.
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The answer was, basically, NOTHING. There was NO sign of sprouting, and not even any sign of a seed!

Since we're going to be busy with other things the next few days, I decided to spend some time today starting new seeds using the hippy method that some learned during the 60s to more quickly sprout marijuana seeds. <--I don't, personally, know anything about that, but my next-door neighbor mentioned it one day.

Basically, seeds are put between two damp pieces of soft paper (like paper towel), put in a plastic baggie and put somewhere warm, but not necessarily sunny.

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Takes a lot less room and zero work while the seeds germinate. AFTER germination, they can be transferred to the pots and set in increasingly bright light.

Fortunately, peppers and tomatoes are the ONLY two garden items I germinate first. Everything else grows quite well seeding outdoors. I wouldn't even be surprised if some tomatoes and peppers will volunteer from last year's crop.

How's your garden doing?

1 comment:

Diane said...

Egads, woman. That's not a very good start to the gardening year.

For the record, I think peat pots (and peat pellets) are crap. TP roll pots are great for quick things that will get planted out quickly but not for tomatoes & peppers. That's just my experiences, though.

Now what's up with the rabbit pellet starting mix? Seed starter, assuming it's soilless starter mix that you can buy in the stores, is very hydrophobic, as is peat moss so I think I may be misunderstanding that part of it.

Tell me what ails ya and I'll doctor it for ya...

Lots of folks like the presprouting in paper towels method you're trying now. I've not done it much myself so I'll be watching with interest.

Seed starting's been a (mostly) success here this year and gardening season is shifting into high gear. Yee haw!