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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 March 14, 2006   #61
nctomatoman
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Status report - as of now (after midnight - Tuesday AM!) I have at least one flat (15 pots) of all hot and sweet peppers, tomatillos, eggplant, and am up to the "M"s with tomatoes (Magnus was the last I transplanted tonight). It is really nice therapy - especially with the unseasonably warm weather.

A few observations - in most cells, there is a range of plant sizes. The 15 largest go into individual pots, the smallest all go into one pot to size up (hence a future transplant job!).

Transplanting into dry soilless mix is very gentle on the seedlings - I poke a hole with my index finger and ease the seedling into the mix with my thumb - warm watering then firms the mix around the plant.

Even though the seedlings have been in the sun, once transplanted, I leave the flats of pots with newly transplanted seedlings in my garage for a few days so that the seedlings can recover a bit from the shock of being pulled apart from each other.
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Old March 16, 2006   #62
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I have just finished sowing the first flat of seeds. 36 varieties and 290 seeds planted. I have slavishly copied Craig's method. No pictures to show but I will lay the blame on Craig if it doesn't work and if it does work will naturally take the credit.

The scientist in me could not resist all those pictures...
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Old April 4, 2006   #63
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I use the same method as Craig (no where near the number of plants he has. Lordy). First time was an accident in 1999. I was planting a lot of seeds per cell hoping one or two were still good. They all came up. At first I freaked but as the weeks passed they all seemed fine. Been doing it that way every since. One year I lost my "cell map" before I got it entered into Word. I cried. Really. I'm not sure I've ever recovered from that trauma. When it was time to pass them out to folks using the community garden plots, they got pots marked. "tomato"..."pepper"..."flower".

Now I enter it first thing, email a copy to myself, upload it to a server and print a wallet size version!
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Old September 4, 2006   #64
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Default Great Thread

Thanks Craig for your efforts.
This thread is coming in handy again
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Old September 23, 2006   #65
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Default Hope this works!

Hello,
I am trying to resurect this old string. What I am wondering is this, what do you all use for artificial lighting to start seedlings indoors? (Please give me specifics) Also when do you start seedlings indoors? And do I understand correctly, that you seperate all those little seedlings at some point? Thanks kindly
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Old September 23, 2006   #66
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I use a home made 250 watt metal halide (MH) lamp.

MH because:
1. Highest efficiency. Higher than fluorescent.
2. Smaller fixture size.
3. Dependending if you want blossoms or fruits, great selection of color temperature. From 3000 K to over 10,000 K.

4. Long bulb life, about 10000 hours.
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Old September 25, 2006   #67
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Wow-
I would have said that I was the only one using metal halide for seedlings... I also use 250W metal halide for seedlings, with a standard spider reflector. I would add to dcarch's list that the spectrum is fuller, closer to sunlight, and includes a bit of the UV and infrared ends of the spectrum. The former toughens up the plants and the latter provides warmth.

The biggest thing to be aware of when using these is that you really can fry the plants if you don't adjust the distance properly. Speaking of which, I can grow up large, sturdy seedlings without adjusting the height of the light. With the flourescents the light has to be right on top of them or else I get leggy plants.

All that said, I do have several custom plant stands with 1020 trays directly below flourescent lights. I just don't usually use them for heat-lovers or quick-to-plant-outside seedlings like tomatoes and peppers.
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Old September 25, 2006   #68
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My setup currently is (3) standard 4-foot double bulb fluorescent fixtures.

Each fixture has one Phillips Cool Blue Plus bulb and one Phillips Daylight Deluxe bulb. The light spectrum seems pretty good and the plants are growing nicely.

Quite a far cry from my initial setup of just one fixture - the plants just sat there and turned yellow.

If you're going to go the fluorescent route, I would definitely suggest using multiple fixtures to get your saturation up.
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Old September 25, 2006   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirtanon
My setup currently is (3) standard 4-foot double bulb fluorescent fixtures.

Each fixture has one Phillips Cool Blue Plus bulb and one Phillips Daylight Deluxe bulb. The light spectrum seems pretty good and the plants are growing nicely.
Same here. 2 fixtures with a blue and daylight light bulb in each. Once the tomato and pepper seedlings were out of here, I started 2 4' long planters of lettuce which are producing very well under one of the fixtures (the other fixture is put away).

Very cost-effective. Just keep the fluorescent lights VERY low, so the leaves of the tallest seedlings are almost touching the bulbs.
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Old September 28, 2006   #70
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Default Re: Hope this works!

Quote:
Originally Posted by spankykitty
Hello,
And do I understand correctly, that you seperate all those little seedlings at some point?
Yes, you will certainly be separating those little seedlings and putting them each into their own pot, preferable a 4" pot with a good potting mix like Fafard or Metromix. About 4 weeks after germination, those little plants are big enough to handle and ready to have a place of their own. The little runts can be potted as a group at that time and then separated into their own pots in a couple of weeks, but I think that it is best to go ahead and give them each their own pot for best performance.

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Old November 29, 2006   #71
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I had read this a while back when I was still lurking about. I have been laying awake at night trying to figure out a couple of things, but after rereading it all my questions were answered. I have always done the dense planting, but in odd containers that would fit into a gallon ziplock plastic bag or flats into a trash bag.

But what seems to be most peoples concerns, is about seperating the dense seedlings....When I first started growing things from seeds, I was at a local greenhouse getting flats & supplies.....There was this very old guy sitting at a desk transplanting tomato seedlings that were dense planted, he had these huge hands that were crippled up...I stood there and watched him for it seemed like hours, but was not anymore then 5-10 minutes, after watching this man, I knew that I could do that with no problem...and it was not a problem the first time I tried it and have had no problems with seperating them. One tool that might come in handy for those who are unsure is a regular table fork, you can use the fork to lift out the seedlings, then just lay them on something and you can gently remove one at a time or use the fork to pull a couple away from the mass at a time and seperate them. This is a very good system and I can see that for large plantings is an excellent way of doing this.
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Old January 22, 2007   #72
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nctomatoman
How much of the MetroMix360 or Fafard3b do you buy for the 6,000 seedlings from plug flats to and into the 4" pots?
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Old January 23, 2007   #73
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I think this thread deserves a sticky....

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Old January 23, 2007   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
I think this thread deserves a sticky....
I agree.
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Old February 12, 2007   #75
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Hello,

I just read this thread. How on earth did I miss it last year?? Dunno.

Thank you for the photos and the information. I will try this method in a very limited way. If it works for me, I will apply it with vigor next year. (I say "if" because I worry I lack adequate patience for all the transplanting.)

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