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Old February 13, 2017   #1
AlittleSalt
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Default Starting Flower Seeds Indoors?

Tomorrow or Wednesday, I want to start some French Dwarf Marigold seeds in 72 cell trays. https://www.amazon.com/Pro-Hex-Tray-.../dp/B004NSD3CC Planting date could vary depending on the information provided in the replies here.

Last freeze/frost day is around 5 weeks from now, but this is Texas, so it could still freeze in earlier April.

My first question is: Can I grow them (1 Plant per cell) in the seed cells until plant out, or are they more like tomatoes and peppers that need to be potted up?

Question 2a: Do the seed cell trays need to have fluorescent lights an inch away like tomatoes need?

Question 2b: If not, there have been a lot of days with high temperatures in the 60s to 85 degrees lately. Could I just set them outside in the sun once they have germinated and bring them inside at night?

I am going to try this with 7 packs of French Marigold seeds to fight the RKN (Root Knot Nematodes) in our gardens. I think the transplants would have a better chance than planting seeds directly as I have always done.

A just for fun fact: French Dwarf Marigolds are the first flowers I ever planted. I had just turned 13 years old that day.
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Old February 14, 2017   #2
MissMoustache
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I'm no expert.

But from what I've seen you can grow marigolds in the small cells until plant out. After all they're sold like that at the box stores and greenhouses. However I've read that they do better with something a bit bigger because they get root bound otherwise. In short I would pot up.

I have grown marigolds the last few years. I usually space lights 2-3 inches away. I'm paranoid about scalding or setting fire to the plants. It ain't going to happen...but it keeps my anxiety happy with a little more room. Long story short on that...yes. One inch to about three is good for French marigolds.

I've never tried taking marigolds out before Memorial Day weekend here. I don't know how cold hardy they are but I think experimentalism is the stuff that makes life fun. Go for it! At a low of 60 they should be fine.
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Old February 14, 2017   #3
HudsonValley
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1. I think it depends how soon they'll be planted out. I started mine in cells and potted up to 4" pots in 2016. I don't know whether it was necessary, but some were root-bound and blossoming by the time I planted them out -- then again, they must have been 6 or 8 weeks old by then. Still, they did just fine and continued to bloom until the first snow arrived in October. Dead-heading spent blossoms seemed to help.
2a. I started them indoors, around the perimeter of my T5 lights (maybe 6-7" away, but not directly under light, because the prime real estate went to tomatoes). They seemed happy enough and didn't get leggy.
2b. My grow lights are in the garage, which is heated to around 60 degrees; your daytime outdoor temperatures sound fine. They seem to be pretty tough little plants, even if your growing method isn't perfect.

I remember growing marigolds as a child, too, along with hot-pink and orange zinnias... Good luck in your nematode battle, Robert!
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Old February 14, 2017   #4
KarenO
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Hi Robert,
For flowers in general that have small seedlings I usually sow seed thinly in a shallow container or small flat and then ★★★★★ them out individually and transplant each into individual cells once growing at say the 2-4 leaf stage. Choosing the best. For marigolds and many other annual flowers Professionals typically seed plug trays and then transplant to sellable six packs or pots.
All you need is a head start so anyway you choose will work.
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Old February 14, 2017   #5
KarenO
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Sigh... that word blanked out was obviously not an innapropriate word
Letss use the word "pick" them out instead although the other is common language to transplanting seedlings in horticulture
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Old February 14, 2017   #6
AlittleSalt
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lol Karen, I wrote the word "as" the other day, but my nerve diseased finger typed an extra S. I felt bad about it when I posted and saw there were stars. That was just a typo on my behalf.

The word you used is appropriate. Thank you for replying.
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Old February 14, 2017   #7
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Hi Robert, Marigolds are one of the easiest flowers to grow. That is why so many school children use the Marigold as their first learning experience in starting seeds for Mother's Day. These will take most whatever you throw at them and still reward you with nice flowering plants.

4-6 weeks ahead of plant out is plenty of time to get them off to a good start. Hey, you can even direct seed them in the garden. It works up here in Wisconsin so it should be easy for you down there.

No you don't have to keep these under the lights, putting them outside or in your window would be fine as long as it does not get too cool. I would not allow them to be colder than 45 degrees though. You can choose to pot them up or not. If not, just loosen their roots well before you put them in the garden so that their roots are not bound and can spread out freely.

Happy Valentines Day!
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Old February 14, 2017   #8
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Marigolds are really easy to grow. You can not fail anyway you try it.
How about winter sow, no need for hardening off, no occupying indoor space.
Here's how to do it if you are interested.

http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/20...er-sowing-101/
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Old February 15, 2017   #9
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I grow a flat each year to edge two of my beds. I really like the Janie series since they stay short and have big flowers. I always plant the seeds loosely in a 1020 tray with a couple of inches of potting soil since they transpant really well and do not seem too worried about a few broken roots. I sow them 7 weeks before I plant them out since I want them flowering at that time. I have included a picture of my 2016 flat just before I planted them (2 * 50 seed packs from Parks).
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Old February 18, 2017   #10
rhines81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewWestGardener View Post
Marigolds are really easy to grow. You can not fail anyway you try it.
How about winter sow, no need for hardening off, no occupying indoor space.
Here's how to do it if you are interested.

http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/20...er-sowing-101/
Very nice link, thanks! I'm thinking I'll throw a few things outdoors like this just to see if it works.
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Old February 18, 2017   #11
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RJ, that tray is beautiful.

I am finally caught up on getting the gardens tilled and pepper/tomato plants watered. Tomorrow, I'll will get the marigolds started.
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Old February 18, 2017   #12
NewWestGardener
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Salt, seriously look into the link I posted above. Use milk jugs as greenhouses, no need to use indoor space and no hardening off, the seedlings are natually acclimatized to the elements, it is a very good way for starting some seeds, especially the hardier ones.
I started marigolds, cosmos and a few other flowers this way last year, it might work for you.
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Old February 18, 2017   #13
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I believe in the Wintersown way. I started researching it right after joining Tomatoville. Your advice is well appreciated.

The problem is that Winter forgot to happen here in this part of Texas this year. Today, it was 80 degrees. I will be starting them outside - just without a dome. Otherwise, they would cook. The weather people are saying this is one of the warmest winters on record here. I've lived here almost 52 years, and I agree with them.
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Old February 18, 2017   #14
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I started some Pyrethrum daisy indoors this year to make my own Pyganic type spray. They are tiny and took around 3 weeks to sprout. I have done marigolds before and they are super easy.
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Old February 19, 2017   #15
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I'm going to be starting my marigold soon too. I'm just going to put them in peat
pellets.
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