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Old February 21, 2018   #31
FourOaks
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Now that it looks like I will be using more plug trays, I decided its time to speed things up. Sowing a 512 tray does take quite a while, and I hate trying to roll seeds between my fingers.

About a week ago I ran across an interesting product.

https://www.impseeder.com/

Its nothing more then a piece of sheet metal with bent sides and holes drilled along the edges. You set it down on the appropriate plug tray, dump your seed right on, then you just drag the individual seed over to each hole. It has holes on both sides. You just work row by row, sowing the seed.

Grant it, its no vacuum seeder, but its bound to be faster.

So this morning, I made my own quick and dirty version.



In my opinion this is light years ahead of rolling and pinching seeds. I timed myself. It took 15 minutes to sow this entire flat. I got slowed down just a bit by seeds that were sticking to each other, and to metal itself. I need to smooth out some of the grinder marks. But overall a success!

This is one of those products that is stupidly simple, and it works. As you drag the seed across the hole, the hole dislodges it from your finger and it drops right into place. I didnt miss any holes, and only had a few doubles.

I might yet purchase the actual product. But I wanted to try out a homemade version, to test the waters.
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Old February 21, 2018   #32
Cole_Robbie
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How do you keep two seeds from going into one hole?
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Old February 21, 2018   #33
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You're supposed to spread the seeds out so you can put your finger on one seed and drag it to the hole.
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Old February 21, 2018   #34
FourOaks
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How do you keep two seeds from going into one hole?
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Originally Posted by Rajun Gardener View Post
You're supposed to spread the seeds out so you can put your finger on one seed and drag it to the hole.
Bingo! Its just that simple. I did the entire 512. I think I had maybe 10 cells that were double? That I didnt count, so its a guess.

When you start dragging the seeds you will quickly realize when you have more then 1 seed. Just takes a little practice, thats all. Just pick up your finger and try again, or once you get really good, you can drop 1 seed in a hole then immediately drop the other seed in another hole. Or just dont worry about it.

This evening I sowed another flat, it went quite a bit faster, once I knew what I was doing. I did make a change. I wrote the number beside the hole. 1,2,3, etc. It makes it much easier to keep track of what hole you dropped the seed into.
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Old February 21, 2018   #35
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Bingo! I did make a change. I wrote the number beside the hole. 1,2,3, etc. It makes it much easier to keep track of what hole you dropped the seed into.
Shame on you!!! You should've picked that up on the video.
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Old February 21, 2018   #36
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Shame on you!!! You should've picked that up on the video.
Honestly, I saw that in the video. My first thoughts were "im an adult, I think I can keep this straight. Its not Rocket Science."

After about the 4th or 5th seed on the test run. I was lost..

So this evening, I just wrote the #s right on it. As you drop the seed, just count out loud. Believe me, it works! Especially when you have to fight a seed that is stuck or when you run out of seeds and have to dump more.

I attribute the numbers to really speeding up my time.
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Old February 22, 2018   #37
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Another busy day of sowing seeds and transplanting.



Dahlia transplants. These are "Unwins Dwarf".



Sewed more Dahlia seeds



The variety in question. If these do well, next year Im going to hunt these down in larger quantities.



Sewed a bunch more of Basil, Catnip, and Oregano. I came to the conclusion to just cover the 512 trays with Clear Wrap.

Last edited by FourOaks; February 22, 2018 at 05:58 PM.
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Old February 22, 2018   #38
Rajun Gardener
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Looks like fun, keep rolling. It seems like I'm always transplanting and I just started more seeds.

You're gonna have to make a jig to pop those plants out, you better hit up Youtube for ideas soon.
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Old February 22, 2018   #39
FourOaks
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Looks like fun, keep rolling. It seems like I'm always transplanting and I just started more seeds.

You're gonna have to make a jig to pop those plants out, you better hit up Youtube for ideas soon.
Yep. The way I see it, seeds are cheap, for the most part. Especially if you buy in bulk. But I do like the smaller packs for stuff im new to, or to stuff im still learning how to germinate or grow. For instance Petunias. Even worse Wave Petunias. I have tried year after year. Not a lot of luck.

Definitely got to keep up with seeding. Dont want to run out of plants at a critical moment. For a lot of stuff, I think 2 week intervals are probably reasonable. You can keep stuff looking fresh that way. Then the stuff that is looking exhausted you can nurse back to good health. Whether it involves transplanting, pinching back, or heavy fertilizing. (Can you tell I did a stint at a Nursery?)

Oh yes to the jig. Probably just a board with dowels standing up right. Pop out a few rows at a time.

On another note, I really want to learn as much as possible about using these plug trays. Im really thinking that in a couple years a Wholesale Plug Business might be an interesting business venture.

Last edited by FourOaks; February 22, 2018 at 07:58 PM.
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Old February 23, 2018   #40
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Question about covering the planter with clear wrap or whatever.

I have run into a slight problem with hot pepper seeds (5 different varieties of pepper seeds) that I started in one of those 72 hole trays.

The tray came with a clear plastic cover.

Some seeds germinate way ahead of the others. So I have some little plants that need the cover removed and some seeds that have not yet germinated.

The little plants are still too small to transplant, but they are tall enough to touch the plastic cover.

What do y'all do in such situations?
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Old February 23, 2018   #41
FourOaks
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Question about covering the planter with clear wrap or whatever.

I have run into a slight problem with hot pepper seeds (5 different varieties of pepper seeds) that I started in one of those 72 hole trays.

The tray came with a clear plastic cover.

Some seeds germinate way ahead of the others. So I have some little plants that need the cover removed and some seeds that have not yet germinated.

The little plants are still too small to transplant, but they are tall enough to touch the plastic cover.

What do y'all do in such situations?
In my opinon, you can transplant as early as you want. I personally think that the earlier you do it, the less potential for setback you have. I know some folks recommend waiting until the first true leaves, I have no problems at all transplanting at the Cotyledon stage. Matter of fact, I have some I need to do as we speak. Just need to get some Perlite.

Just be careful and dont break the taproot. Which that does bring up the fact that the earlier you transplant, the less roots you have to deal with. Thats an incentive in my book.

Most of the seedlings in this pic were transplanted at the Cotyledon stage.

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Old February 26, 2018   #42
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Today I loosely started on a project that I have been putting off. A heated bench!

Several years ago I bought a 100 foot long gutter heat cable. The kind that is designed to keep ice from forming on the roof/gutter line. Its been in my stash, packed away. I want to say its 500 watt. But I could be wrong.

Since we have some cold weather coming back, I figured now is the time. This is a not permanent install. Just a test. Further tests will be needed, but so far its looking good.



First the bench was cleaned off. This was full of the 512 plug trays.



I installed screws on each end, about 4 inches apart, then looped back and forth. Then returned the trays. This is about 1/3 of the plug trays.



Loosely covered with a scrap of greenhouse plastic. So far the results were promising. During the day, when it was only in the low 50's outside, the bench topped out at about 72.

Right now the outside temp is 45. The remote thermometer is indicating the bench is 62.

Im thinking if this was really tightened up, it would work much better. Will have to look into a thermostat for it.
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Old February 26, 2018   #43
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FYI, I would check the heat at the cable to make sure it doesn't cook the plants in the cells it touches. Maybe lay some of those cheap moving blankets from Harbor Freight over the cable if it gets too hot.

Nice ingenuity though!!
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Old February 26, 2018   #44
FourOaks
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FYI, I would check the heat at the cable to make sure it doesn't cook the plants in the cells it touches. Maybe lay some of those cheap moving blankets from Harbor Freight over the cable if it gets too hot.

Nice ingenuity though!!
You bring up a good point. In the end, I *think* I want to build a bench that contains either sand or pea gravel, with the heat cable about 1/4 inch deep. Something like that.

An update to the temp. Currently outdoors 38, the bench is holding at 62. I brought in as many flats as I could. The rest are covered with the frost cover. I have a propane heat source in their as well, set on medium. Im not sure what the temp in the GH is itself. Only have the one remote, and its on the heated bench.
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Old February 27, 2018   #45
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I think there's a huge waste of heat under the cables. Why not buy insulating panels -styrofoam - in the building industry, about one inch thick. Another suggestion : the heat will be concentrated above the cable. I would bury it in half an inch of sand. A thermostat looks compulsory unless you check the temperature constantly and are ready to switch the cable on and off 24 hours a day. 500 watts is impressive when a 60 ft long gardening heating cable only burns 90 watts...
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