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In my last post I talked about my 2017 seed starting plans. In my first garden season I started a handful of seeds inside. I was mildly successful in starting basil, peppers and chives, but I think my timing was a bit late. I didn’t use any special equipment beyond a little Jiffy Green House and the sun. Last year I opted to skip starting seeds on my own. This year I am trying a little harder, mostly because I want to see if I can start tomatoes from seed.
2017 Seed Starting Supplies
2017 Seed Starting
I started Opal basil, Blue Berries tomato, Dixie Golden tomato and Cut and Come Again zinnias on February 28th. Since I put plants in the ground in the first week of May the past two seasons I felt like this would be good time to get things going. I used the Jiffy Pellets and green house to get the seeds started. I sowed multiple seeds in each pellet for each variety of plant. During my first year I learned that cinnamon was a great ally in fighting fuzzy mold growth. I liberally sprinkled ground cinnamon on all my pellet tops.
Amazingly after 3-7 days all the seeds had sprouted at what looked like a nearly 100% germination rate. I moved the sprouts under the LED light at a distance of around 3 inches. While LEDs are typically much cooler than other lights, the particular bulb/shade combo I ended up with puts out a nice amount of warming heat. I can’t say for sure but I think this is a good thing in creating a happy environment for the sprouts.
Once the teeny nubs of true leaves popped up I went ahead and thinned the seedlings down to one. This was probably risky in that I didn’t really have the best picture of the strongest seedling of the bunch. So far, looks like no harm done though.
Fast forward to March 12th and the tiniest set of true leaves started to show much more on all the sprouts. Unfortunately, so were roots. I really hadn’t anticipated having to move the sprouts into other containers so soon. A quick inspection of all the pellets revealed that every single plant was starting to grow roots through the pellet netting.
In an effort to save money I decided to use Solo cups we already had on hand for the seedlings. A bit of gravel in the bottom, a fill of Hoffman Seed Starter soil and a sprinkle of vermiculite went into each cup , followed by the seedlings. It was a calculated risk but I removed the pellet netting prior to planting. I very carefully peeled it off of each pellet and thankfully the roots seems to slip right through without incident. I went this route because I remember some roots being pretty bound up in the netting before and I wanted to try to avoid that.
The Solo cups are now safely tucked under the grow light. I think these cups should be the seedling’s last stop before planting. I plan on watering them with diluted Neptune’s Harvest Organic Hydrolized Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer until it’s time to plant them out. Now I just have to hope the weather cooperates.