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Old June 21, 2012   #31
ChrisK
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Ray, what was the fertilizer application for the pepper experiment?
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Old June 21, 2012   #32
RayR
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Ray, what was the fertilizer application for the pepper experiment?
Plain water until true leaves appeared then Drammatic K Fish Hydrolysate & Kelp Fertilizer, 2-5-0.2 at 1ml per quart of water.
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Old June 22, 2012   #33
Levent
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Capsicum seedlings in diatomite under LEDs 17.03.2012
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Old July 4, 2012   #34
babice
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RayR - love this experiment and your results. Have you got any theories yet on why the DE works so much better for toms, peppers & onions as a seed-starting mix? And how are these plants doing thus far, assuming you've got them outside? Have you experimented with mixing the DE in with your potting mix?
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Old July 4, 2012   #35
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RayR - love this experiment and your results. Have you got any theories yet on why the DE works so much better for toms, peppers & onions as a seed-starting mix? And how are these plants doing thus far, assuming you've got them outside? Have you experimented with mixing the DE in with your potting mix?
I don't have all the answers but I don't think there is a lot of mystery here either. Starting seeds this way is a form of hydroponics and that is where some of the answers may be found.

1.) The DE is made of irregular shaped particles so there is no compaction which allows more oxygen getting to the young roots and the roots have an easier time growing between the light weight particles.

2.) DE is very porous so the wicking action from bottom watering keeps water and nutrients moving upward to the roots.

3.) DE has a pretty ideal Cation Exchange Capacity, so it is able to retain nutrients and provide them to the plants when needed.

4.) DE is made of mostly insoluble silica, but has small amounts of soluble silica which is a micronutrient.

Levent has been doing this for a lot longer than I have, so maybe he has something to add.

The plants that I kept are doing just fine out in the garden.
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Old July 5, 2012   #36
meadowyck
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Gosh, I'm in luck found a place that sells food grade DE and it is only 1.00 a pound, provided you purchase a 50 LB bag, which isn't a problem as I'm going to also use it for the yard, for flea control. Going to pick it up next Tuesday, hurrraaaayyyyyy, plus I'm going to start all my seed in it as well.

Thanks for sharing your results with us.
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Old July 13, 2012   #37
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Hi,
Ray stated all the rationale that leads the diatomite to success in seed sprouting.I can't add anything more.It was explained decently.
Diatomite is a reliable solid medium option for S/H (simple hydroponics) Here's an example that resulted fruitfully!
Capsicum annuum 'Tricolor Variegata' in S/H (I call it double pot method formerly known as hydroculture)
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Old July 13, 2012   #38
nativeplanter
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Ray and Levent, I am really impressed by the growth you are getting from DE. Especially the seedling roots! I think I'll give it a go. How do you determine the amount of nutrients to add to the water once leaves have developed? I'm unfamiliar with Drammatic, so I don't know how your dosing compares to the regular dilution rate. Is it possible to put in terms of percent strength of fertilizer? Or how does one figure it out?
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Old July 14, 2012   #39
RayR
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Ray and Levent, I am really impressed by the growth you are getting from DE. Especially the seedling roots! I think I'll give it a go. How do you determine the amount of nutrients to add to the water once leaves have developed? I'm unfamiliar with Drammatic, so I don't know how your dosing compares to the regular dilution rate. Is it possible to put in terms of percent strength of fertilizer? Or how does one figure it out?
I was just making an educated guess based on my original observations with DE.
DE will wick up and absorb far more water than seed starting mix, therefore it will also draw up more nutrients that are introduced into the water. It just seemed reasonable to use a lighter dose of fertilizer in the water with that consideration. Besides, in my initial experiment with onion seedlings, I used a higher dose of fertilizer at first, but that only seemed to encourage thick algae growth on the surface of the DE. In my second trial with onions, I cut back the fertilizer and the onion seedlings grew just as well and the algae growth was minimal.
On the Jiffy Mix plants after noticing the DE plants were doing better, I upped the fertilizer dosage on the Jiffy Mix plants, but that didn't make any difference, the DE plants still grew better.
I used Drammatic K Fish & Seaweed because that is what I had on hand from the previous year and it worked fine, you could use some other brand and it will probably work just as well. I didn't even try using synthetics because I have been working strictly with organics for a few years now, but I guess there is a lot of room for all kinds of experiments.
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Old July 14, 2012   #40
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Hi,
Ray stated all the rationale that leads the diatomite to success in seed sprouting.I can't add anything more.It was explained decently.
Diatomite is a reliable solid medium option for S/H (simple hydroponics) Here's an example that resulted fruitfully!
Capsicum annuum 'Tricolor Variegata' in S/H (I call it double pot method formerly known as hydroculture)
Nice pepper plant.
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Old July 14, 2012   #41
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I use only inorganic liquid fert in suggested dose.For this plant I apply alternately fert (8-8-8) and plain water.So the effective dose becomes half.

Last edited by Levent; July 14, 2012 at 01:02 PM.
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Old July 14, 2012   #42
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Here's the current state of some pepper plants in containers from the DE seed starting experiment. Very healthy and moving right along with fruit set and many flowers.
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Old July 14, 2012   #43
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That are some really nice looking peppers. The company that I have an order with keeps putting me off for the 50lb bag says it is due in this day then I call first (thankgoodness) nope didn't come in yet. I'm giving them two more weeks to get their act together before I go looking somewhere else as they have horses there and I'm also hope to talk them out of some horse manure when I go....LOL
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Old July 20, 2012   #44
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Solanum quitoense (Naranjilla) seedling in diatomite
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Old July 20, 2012   #45
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Do you guys find that smaller seeds get lost under such large particles?
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