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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old August 2, 2017   #796
Ricky Shaw
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I like that it has as good or better germination than the peat/coir starting mixes and it reduces or eliminates damping off. It's hard to over-water and cheap, it's free of herbicides, easy to work with and very little compaction.

I use it to test germination rates a lot. Mostly when sowing multiple seeds per cell and not so much for transplanting, because the roots are hard for my gnarled fingers to separate.
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Old August 2, 2017   #797
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I remember the roots being hard to separate for me too. I have decided to mix some DE in the jiffy mix I bought because it is just too wet. So, I am going to fill the sand pail about 2/3 full with my mels mix which has peat in it. Then I'll add a very good layer of jiffy mix with DE mixed into it. Then put a layer of DE on top, plant those seeds and put some more DE right on top of them. I think I will have a great way to grow the seedlings out and only transplant when I put them out into the garden.
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Old August 2, 2017   #798
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DE rocks, I tell anyone with seed starting issues to use it. When I get done I add all mine to the compost as silica is good for plants.
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Old August 2, 2017   #799
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Given the root development, I think DE definitely works better when you do a single seed in a separate cell. I started mine in egg cartons with the fine DE this year, then moved them to small pots with the course DE after they had their first true leaves. I found the course DE so much easier to work with than the fine stuff, and it stays cleaner which makes reusing it easier as well.

While I did up-pot most with Wondersoil, I had a few extras that I was not intending to plant. They got left in their small pots of course DE, fed and watered regularly, for an extra four weeks. Then after I pulled the garlic at the end of June, I decided to plant them -- five dwarf project plants, one pepper, and two eggplants.

They had super dense root systems which I loosened up by gently shaking out the DE (easier to do with the course type), and they practically tripled in size within a week! They have all caught up to my earlier plant outs in both size and fruit set.

I'm seriously considering skipping the Wondersoil up-potting step for all of them next year.
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Old August 2, 2017   #800
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I only use the big granular size and my seeds germinate perfectly. Never had an issue and I've been doing it for years. I use Craig's method with DE and no issues. Just have to fertilize. It works 100%.
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Old August 2, 2017   #801
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Maybe I'll experiment using just DE in some of the containers. I bought some trays from Walmart last night thinking I could get three sand pails to fit inside it but only two will fit. So, I pulled out some 18 oz party cups that already had holes drilled in the bottoms of them and can get 7 per tray. I am going this route instead.

This is what I bought at walmart, they are for plant pot protection of furniture. These are tall and the cups won't fall over in them. Some will sit a teeny bit sideways because it isn't a perfect fit, but I can always right them in the tray.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Gardener-...746#about-item
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Old August 6, 2017   #802
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My Brandy Wine Pink has germinated in only three days in my layered mix. There is activity on the Mortgage Lifter as well, just hasn't broke through the DE yet.

Updating this:

The Mortgage Lifter has broken the surface already.

I seeded BWP and ML on 8/2/17, making it only three days for germination.

Update:

Bush Beefsteak and Abe Lincoln have both broken the surface.

These were also planted on 8/2/17, making it 6 days for germination.
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Last edited by Rockporter; August 8, 2017 at 05:06 AM.
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Old August 9, 2017   #803
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockporter View Post
My Brandy Wine Pink has germinated in only three days in my layered mix. There is activity on the Mortgage Lifter as well, just hasn't broke through the DE yet.

Updating this:

The Mortgage Lifter has broken the surface already.

I seeded BWP and ML on 8/2/17, making it only three days for germination.

Update:

Bush Beefsteak and Abe Lincoln have both broken the surface.

These were also planted on 8/2/17, making it 6 days for germination.

New Update:

Atkinson has broken the surface.

This was also planted on 8/2/17.
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Old August 13, 2017   #804
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockporter View Post
New Update:

Atkinson has broken the surface.

This was also planted on 8/2/17.
The other Atkinson broke the surface on 8/10/17

Both Atkinsons are helmet heads and the stems don't seem to be very green. They are hydrated though so I will keep watch.
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