View Single Post
Old April 8, 2015   #49
AZGardener's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Zone 9b Phoenix,AZ
Posts: 390

Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
Oh your asking for a miracle. I am the worstest ever at taking pics. I'm surprised the above doesn't have finger or feet in it.

What I do is get the 288 Plug trays. Here's a link. I don't know if the Mega Store has them cheaper or not.;pg109044.html

I take the trays and on the wide section I start cutting them up into sections where they are 3 cells wide and usually 8 or 9 cells long. I always have a long piece left and I cut that up too.

A gallon baggy will hold two trays of the 3 cells wide by 8 cells long. Unless it a big seed , almost all my veggie and flower seeds I start in this method.

Since I was growing so many different varieties this year I cut my trays up into 6 and 9 cells and a few 24 and 76 celled trays.

I fill it cell with Fafard Super Fine germinating mix. It is very fine and has everything in it to start the seeds out. You usually can find it at some garden centers or if not, some will order you in a bag. The bag is 2.8 cu. ft and one bag is about 20 bucks, but will last you for years. Some garden centers sell the small about 2 quart bags.

I fill the holes, take a mist bottle, actually it an old empty insecticidal bottle that got cleaned out and I give each cell two squirts of water that has a bit of hydrogen peroxide in it. Take a wooden stick or a paint brush, make me a tiny hole in the center, about 1/4" deep and sow one seed at a time. It's a great way to relax.

Once the seeds are in, I just cover with tiny amount of fine grade vermiculite. If I'm out of vermiculite I just add a tiny bit more seed starting mix and give one more quick squirt of water.

I cut up blinds and use two at opposite ends of each little seed tray. Stuff them in the gallon baggy. I start closing the baggy at opposite ends. When I get to the middle I hold the baggy there with my fingers and blow into it to blow it up. Makes a nice little gh effect.

Than I just put the trays on the kitchen table and I have an over head light that stays on 24/7 and I just wait til they seeds sprout. I do not use heat mats or anything like that. The heat from off the old-fashioned 60 watt lightbulbs works just as well. I just have to watch the seeds don't sprout and start stretching on me. Tomatoes no problem as they can be buried deeper.

I have to check for sprouting constantly. Once they start sprouting, more than one or two, than I remove the trays and place them into a flat that has a cut up white kitchen trash bag in it. Like what you see in the first pic. That keeps the bottom of the seedlings roots from drying out and makes them start forming rootballs inside the tiny cell. I can stuff a cut up 288 cell tray of assorted cultivars and varieties in one tray. Saves on a whole lot of space when you wanting to start hundreds of types of seeds and I can fit 4 seed trays, that over 1,100 seedlings, once out of the baggies under two of them think it 4' indoor/outdoor grow lights.

Also once they under the lights than I just water along the sides of each cell with a $1 plastic ketchup bottle from Walmart. I can water all the trays in a matter of minutes. Once they been under the lights for 7 days than I start adding tiny pinch of MG to water bottle, just a few grains. Evey time I transplant, I wait 7 days before I start adding ferts.

Draw back is that when temps start rising here, I may have to water them twice a day as those tiny trays dry out lickety-split. But, I don't have to worry about damping off disease

Once sprouted they go under the lights on the plant stand til they have their first true set of leaves, sometimes I wait til they have two sets of true leaves, just depends on how busy I am and then I start transplanting.

I transplant into the tiny bathroom plastic cups and I can get 50 of them cups on a flat to put under the lights til they ready to get transplanted into 3 or 4" and out the door.

My method is not for most folks. It too time consuming for them. But it was the way I was taught by my mentor, and his mentor who was P. Allen. Smith .

The only thing is every few days til the seeds sprout I open the baggies up and let old air out and new in and blow the bag back up. If I see to much humidity on the top of the baggy, than I take seed trays out and put in a new baggy and wash old one and dry for another set of trays.

I have it down to two squirts of water per cell because I found more than that and you can possibly mold your seeds.

I been using these trays and same method for years and years.

I still get tomatoes and peppers and other flowers.
Thank you so much for sharing your method Starlight!I really appreciate all the details too. I will try it in the next month or two for our second summer season... Now I need to go shopping on Growers Supply, hehe One thing, turns into two things, turns into.....
Kelly from Phx, AZ
Toes and Tomatoes on FB
AZGardener is offline   Reply With Quote