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murihikukid September 26, 2017 08:27 PM

My First Attempt with Seeds on Paper?
1 Attachment(s)
Hi...My Eyes are not good so I am hoping I am not seeing things...This is my first attempt at germination using a damp paper towel in a loctite bag....Its now 2 1/2 days since I put 4 seeds in a paper towel and I have been checking daily for any signs of growth....

Now I think I see a small white tail coming from each seed and I am hoping my photograph will show this........

Am I right and is it at this point one carefully moves each seed into my Sphagnum /Perlite/Vermiculite mix cells ........and do I add a few grains of lime??? with my mix?

Any comment and advice will be gratefully appreciated...Thanks Ron

zeuspaul September 26, 2017 08:37 PM

Move it now. If you wait the sprout becomes longer and more delicate.

greenthumbomaha September 26, 2017 09:36 PM

Hi Ron, you are doing everything fine. If you don't think you can dislodge the seed with the radicle attached, you can tear a small piece of the paper napkin with the seed attached and plant them both together.

I've never needed to add lime but my water is alkaline. At this stage, the simpler the better. You won't need to feed for about two weeks. I do add mykos as soon as I think of it though.

I'm sure others will have more tips. - Lisa

murihikukid September 27, 2017 12:43 AM

3 Attachment(s)
Thankyou..I really like this method least I am not watching my cell tray all the time for signs of a plant poking through.....
Its all trial and error with me so here is what I did,,,,I mixed two cups of Sphagnom Mulch with one cup of Perlite and one cup of Vermiculite in a bowl and felt it was dryish so I mixed one cup of rainwater with a very small amount of Miracle Gro MAX FEED soluable plant food ...I just cut a corner off the Miricle Gro bag and put the handle of a fork in and picked up a very small amount and put it in the cup of water ,,,Hopefully I will not suffer because of this ?????...I put a tablespoon in the bowl at a time and mixed it in and then repeated till the cupwas empty..

I had bought some peat planters so put the mix in four of these and then put them on the capillary cloth on my propagator ...I carefully planted the four seeds ...Put the cover on and put the propagator outside ...Now I have not worked with Jiffy Peat Planters before and noted they were quickly getting water from the capillary cloth so I had some small foam cups....I cut the bottoms off these making sure the peat cups sat inside and the bottom of them rested against the capillary cloth ......I was frightened that they could disintigrate..

And thats it ...I am hoping that I will have success..these seeds are for a Black from Tula that has potato leaves ??So I do not think anybody knows what it is but I have tried one fruit of this variety and it was absolutely beautiful...I am calling it Myra ....after the lady who gave me seeds...If my plants are successful I will save seeds and send over to a number of people I am in debt too......Thanks Ron

PhilaGardener September 27, 2017 07:44 AM

Looking good! Very rewarding to see growth even earlier than planting directly in mix.

ginger2778 September 27, 2017 08:34 AM

The seeds look great! Wondering what your thought process is with the perlite and vermiculite. Why each, and in that quantity?

murihikukid September 27, 2017 11:32 AM

My Seeds?

Originally Posted by ginger2778 (Post 666285)
The seeds look great! Wondering what your thought process is with the perlite and vermiculite. Why each, and in that quantity?

Hi...I recall seeing the mix on Google which I think is a Cornel University one So I got specially grown sterile Sphagnom moss..and mixed it with the vermiculite and perlite....I was confused when the recipe went from parts in volume too additives in teaspoons which did not make sense to me so I hope the very small amount of Miracle Gro does no damage ..I checked the PH and it was 6.5 so thats exactly what i wanted ...I also checked which also had the Cornell recipe ...Do you think its not right?? Its all trial and error with me and I am old so I struggle a lot ....At the moment I am wondering if I could have introduced Mycormax(Mycorrhizae) into my mix instead of later and I have the CX Hydroponic 6 pack of samples that I just have to try at some stage... I have Tasty tom and Sweet scarlet seeds in paper on the heating mat and they could be ready to put in a mix at the weekend...The Tasty Toms being a hybrid could turn out to be anything but I had to try... I do have "mature" Tasty Tom plants on order from a commercial grower who tell me they will be ready in October...
Once my own seeds grow their first true leaves they are going to be put into a growth chamber I have made for the hardening off process ..Its temperature controled with 4 x Red and 2 x Blue LED computer cooling fans blowing air over the seedlings (3 at each end) and 10 x 150cm LED tubes providing light directly above....these are all on the lid of the chamber which is raised and lowered onto the chamber.....The seedlings themselves will be in pots that sit on self watering trays which will be raised up to the lights????instead of the lights being lowered onto the seedlings....Could not risk a mishap with the lid falling onto my plants and safety came first.....Of course I haven't a clue if it will actually work but Yes...I got a real kick out of seeing my seeds with their small root and I am sure there is going to be a lot of surprises later....I really want my young plants to be strong with a thick stem and hopefully lots of flowers after they go through the hardening off process ..and are transplanted out into the greenhouse...When I think back a year when I was really struggling starting building the mark10 greenhouse ...and I now find myself over 3 months ahead of where I was last season I am starting to really enjoy Tomato growing especially as I love everything about my Tasty Toms and not growing numerous varieties which to be honest ..most were disgusting but in saying this it was not a good season so I do not know if it was the weather or what it was...
Maybe if Amazon come to NZ they may invest in getting through the paper work required for the importing of Tomato foods into the country for the home grower..Its so limited over here ...
Again thanks for the comments ..Regards Ron

ginger2778 September 30, 2017 08:26 AM

Hi Ron,
Just a few tidbits to offer. I mean this to be constructive.:) There looks to be a far greater quantity of perlite than you need for growing tomatoes at any stage. For very young plants, much less, maybe only a few pinches in a cup that size would be more than sufficient. For mature plants, about 1/3 to 1/2 that much will do the trick. Perlite has the purpose of making air spaces in the soil so the roots don't get overly soggy, but too much means the roots don't get as much nutrition.
Vermiculite has a sole purpose of retaining moisture, and you want a moist but not drenching wet mix.
Last thing I NEVER feed my starting seedlings at all until they have their furst true leaves, they don't need it. The seed leaves (cotyledons)have all the nutrition they need until the seedlings are about 2 weeks old. It's a waste of money, and too much moisture to add any plant food before that. I hope you find this helpful.

murihikukid October 1, 2017 12:07 AM

Ginger..I welcome Constructive comments otherwise I will get nowhere...As posted I used the cornell university and seed mix recipe ..and I used the 2 part moss / 1 part perlite and 1 part vermiculite recipe and not the equal part recipe that they also recommend I have done 23 seeds so far but I will take your advice and ease back on the Perlite and the Vermiculite for my next seeds.....I have just done one Tasty Tom seed thats germinated and laid the seed on some grains of Mycorrhizae and then covered ..I was intending to do 4 but on inspection of my two paper towels I could only find one that had actually germinated...Its an experiment so I will wait and see what happens
Meantime my first seeds I germinated (4 x of not Black from tula ) which I have named Myra's Delight after the lady who gave me the seeds are sprouting out of their mix ...It seems so quick...So far everything is going just great ....The weather is perfect for tomatoes...My green house is lovely and warm after small alterations during winter ....

Today I am connecting the tubing which handles water into my growth chamber located in my house from the control unit reservoir and I am hoping for big things with it...The water is pumped through radiators with fans attached and its the water heat that conrols the temperature within the Chamber...My plants will be under strict temperature and LED light control so I hope I get everything right ....
What I like is that at no stage will the roots be interfered with as my initial mix is put in a Jiffy cup ,,,and the cup and my seedling will be transplanted to a bigger cup at the first true leaves stage when they go in the growth chamber...for 2 to 3 weeks then out into my greenhouse ....
My one weak spot is fertilzer...compered to America we appear to have little choice here...In fact there seems to be a lot of fly by nighters advertising all various types of magic stuff for tomatoes....I will be checking my Ph far better than i have in the past and hopefully will work out how to use some of the Hydroponic products that were given to me...

My Tasty Toms as I understand should fail because I am using seeds from a hybrid plant..but I had to try and I can get "mature" Tasty Toms later if required from suppliers.....I still wish I could get a tomato like my father grew ..they had a beautiful taste ...I believe they were Popentate but of course this was back in the 1950's and have since lost the taste although I did buy some tomatoes about 7 years ago thay had the taste ...This was years before I decided to try and grow a few plants myself...How I wish I had saved some seeds.. Regards Ron

ginger2778 October 1, 2017 07:35 AM

Ron, mycorrhizae is just bacteria(fungi). It isn't helpful for seed germination, it colonizes the roots to help them with breaking down nutrients for absorption. Using bacteria/fungi on a seed does nothing for it. It's purpose is to help break down organic fertilizers once the large seedling is at its final transplant home. A seed and it's subsequent 2 weeks old or less seedling does not need food, or mycorrhizae, and has enough nutrients in its cotyledons for the first 2 weeks of life. It is only just developing roots.

murihikukid October 1, 2017 08:33 AM

Ginger..I take on board everything you are saying that you know my basic plan..I would really appreciate knowing if you think I should feed my seeds at the first true leaf stage (at the point when they are put in the growth chamber.).. If not ..At what point should i introduce them to a soil mix ....I thought the jiffy pots with the moss mix may require a more nutrient mix round them at the point when they are put in the growth chamber but it could well be that it is better to wait til after they have gone through the hardening off process..I presume at some stage in their young lives they will reguire some lime etc.....The biggest problem at the moment is I cannot find 1/2 my seeds ...This is the second lot I have lost ...I put them somewhere "safe" and cannot recall where....I thought the first lot that included expensive Rootstock seeds would appear but havn't and now a second lot that I bought 18 months ago has vanished yet I was checking them a couple of months ago ??? It infuriates me as I am sure i put them in a drawer with my other seeds...Thanks Regards Ron

ginger2778 October 1, 2017 09:57 AM

Yes Ron the correct time to give them a pinch of dry food, or 1/2 strength liquid food is after they get their first set if true leaves well formed, for me it's about 2 weeks from sowing seeds. In South Florida there is no need for a growth chamber, so I have no idea what one is or does, maybe another Tviller will know.

carolyn137 October 1, 2017 01:40 PM


Originally Posted by ginger2778 (Post 666657)
Ron, mycorrhizae is just bacteria(fungi). It isn't helpful for seed germination, it colonizes the roots to help them with breaking down nutrients for absorption. Using bacteria/fungi on a seed does nothing for it. It's purpose is to help break down organic fertilizers once the large seedling is at its final transplant home. A seed and it's subsequent 2 weeks old or less seedling does not need food, or mycorrhizae, and has enough nutrients in its cotyledons for the first 2 weeks of life. It is only just developing roots.

Not only does it do no good to treat seeds, it's also good to know there are two different kinds of mycos, arbuscular being the other one.

Here is a link that explains it

I didn't have time to read all in the above link but mycos were first detected in the cornfields of SW US Native Indians. It's dry out there,and they had to try and hand water which was difficult. However the mycos were able to colonize the roots and facilitate more water uptake and that's still true today.

Especially for home growers since they can water when needed and they can apply fertilizer in several ways viz spread solid around plants, apply via sprays.etc..

Hope that helps,

Carolyn, who almost forgot to mention the following. I can't remember the name of the man who introduced Myona and many others,he lived just N of NYC, but his son moved out west from NY,way out west, I think it was Oklahoma and he was a dentist. I was in touch with him and he was of the opinion that tomatoes grown in the presence of mycos had adapted and couldn't be grown well without them,so cautioned me that some of the tomato seeds he sent me,of his father's may not do well the first season, but to try to get some saved seeds and try again the next season.

I couldn't stand the suspense, remembered his name was Andrew Rahart so fetched the link from Tania

The above is a superb variety and I'd forgotten all about that.
OK, the son was in Wy, I got that wrong,but otherwise looks OK.

The End.:lol:

dmforcier October 1, 2017 02:13 PM

Ron, get yourself a magnifying glass. My eyes aren't terrible, but I still do all my seed work under a glass, with tweezers.


Perlite - volcanic foam which is useful in that it does not absorb water, but holds air to provide oxygen to the roots.

Vermiculite - manufactured material that retains water and reportedly a little air. I've never found it useful in my situation, but many do use it, especially in hot climates.

The quantities in a growing medium aren't that important; both are chemically neutral. IME effectiveness depends greatly on the consistency of the other components and the watering regimen. In a soil that cycles quickly between wet and dry, perlite may not make a difference. But in soil that sometimes is saturated for days (e.g. rainy spells) that oxygen may be important. At any rate, Al's 5:1:1 recipe has perlite making up 1/7 of the medium. In your greenhouse, I wouldn't consider it necessary at all.


When growing under domes under lights or sunlight, be careful of the temperature inside the dome. I place a thermometer inside until I get it stabilized in a good range - low 90s F is the hottest I want. Mid-80s is better.

murihikukid October 6, 2017 03:42 AM

Hi..I am back...All my germinated seeds ended up on the floor after two propagators were knocked over After I finished howling at myself I got the egg thing me bob ...the thing that one picks eggs up from the frying pan with and used it to pick up all the moss mix from the floor into a plastic tray .....4 or 5 pottles out of 23 survived with a seed still in them.....So the plastic tray is now in a large oven bag out in my greenhouse and I am hoping most of my seeds will pop up and allow me to carefully repot them ...Of course the tray has no drainage so I am mist spraying them and I will not be able to identify them till they grow fruit although one variety has a potato leaf ..The two others are Tasty Tom or Sweet scarlet later I can post a photograph and somebody might be able to identify the Sweet Scarlets...
I have started a complete new batch and to avoid any more accidents they are now out in my greenhouse instead of being inside.....

Now with all this seeding, I do have a couple of question re germinating on a paper towel ..I see many plus's in this method and I am using a headband magnifier ....
But Is the long early root that is what is referred to as the tap root and this leads to my second question...My Sweet scarlet seeds Germinated extremely quickly and had a long root..(they should have been potted much earlier)..I put a hole in the moss to accomadate the root verticly ...Later I thought this might have been wrong and maybe I should have laid the seed with root horizontally on the moss and then applied more mix on top.....and let it find its own way in life???

Seeing the seeds and how they quickly develop really saves me time ... I redo any seed that looks dormant on a new paper towel and bag but I do not give up on the originals and I keep rechecking the clictight bag but as time goes by I will give myself a cut off point as I do not want to have too many plants to care for...Far easier than waiting for weeks waiting to see life from a propagator cell...

I also have some queries about the moss mix ...It just does not seem right and I am thinking of applying some normal seed raising mix round the stem after the growing leaves appear ....their so spindly and to me how secure are the root base in my moss mix ...I even used a 3-1-1 mix for my latest effort..I am doing my best....Oh yes a cat got inside and was taking advantage of the heating mat and lying on the clictite bags .. Maybe thats why my first batch of seeds really took off??

Cheers Ron

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