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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 December 5, 2009   #16
Blueaussi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnpeppers View Post
Call me crazy, but I actually sift a batch of Pro-Mix to use as a starter medium...fine and fluffy; works like a charm. A bit over the top, but I want my babies to be comfortable.


Welcome tnpeppers! You're lucky to be able to get Pro-Mix! I've heard a lot of good things about it, but I'd have to drive about 2 hours to get any.
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Old December 30, 2009   #17
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Default seed starting

I've heard having a fan blow lightly, periodically over the seedlings strengthens the plants. Have you tried anything like that?
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Old December 30, 2009   #18
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Originally Posted by Epicurus View Post
I've heard having a fan blow lightly, periodically over the seedlings strengthens the plants. Have you tried anything like that?

Yes, and it can also help prevent mold or mildew problems, iffen you have any. Just don't set the fan to blow so hard or long that it dries out the little seedlings.
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Old February 3, 2010   #19
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I was wondering if keeping the heat mat under the seedlings while they grow will help to keep them growing if my garage is in the 40's? I know it will help germination, but is soil temp or air temp more critical at the seedling stage? I realize that of course both need to be at an optimum, just trying to utilize my space at home.
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Old February 3, 2010   #20
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My personal opinion, not based on anything but my own observations, is that if the soil is warm, the seedlings can tolerate a little cool air. You might also put plastic or some other kind of buffer around the seedlings to hold some of the heat from the heat mats/soil. It may increase the air temperature around the seedlings by several degrees. If you have artificial lights on the seedlings, putting something like aluminum foil around the lights and seedlings will help hold the heat from the lights.
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Old February 3, 2010   #21
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I will try the foil and plastic, I also have some grow fabric that will help insulate as well. I used to grow them under some lights I have at school, but transporting back and forth and watering over breaks and weekends can sometimes be a pain.
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Old March 12, 2010   #22
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Darn! I am only growing for personal use and also to give plants and some tomatoes away so I don't have a heat mat.

I planted some of my tomato seeds 6 days ago and some of them 5 days ago. None of them are up yet.

I planted them in a seed starting mix that was nicely watered, covered them with saran and now I wait. Does the heat mat really speed things up by several days? I planted a good 60 seeds and not ONE has popped out. Should I be concerned?

I am heading out of town for the weekend so hopefully some will pop out while I am away.
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Old March 13, 2010   #23
dice
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Quote:
Should I be concerned?
I would not be. I would just set them in a warm place
and wait (near a furnace vent works if you have
central heating; some people use the top of a refrigerator,
etc). By a window where the sun will shine on them if the
clouds break during the day helps, too.
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Old March 13, 2010   #24
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Yeah, they have been on top of my frig. Hopefully when I get back from the beach tomorrow I will have a few little surprises popping up!
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Old March 14, 2010   #25
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OK - planning to sow tomorrow (meant to do this Feb this year but between an unexpected job opp & two ugly periodontal surgeries... well, it's mid-March for me again!).
Last year I used the dense sowing technique on an electric blanket with FANTASTIC results for tomatoes, peppers, basil & Italian parsley.

Question - Do eggplant respond the same to "The Technique"? Do they handle dense sowing & then being mercilessly ripped asunder from their sibs as well as the tomatoes et al?

One of my finds - the thin clear plastic el cheapo big trashbags they use in hospitals holds 3 seed trays & keeps moisture in & around those flats - not on the table, etc. I found that opening & gently flapping the bag opening daily seemed to keep the plastic off the medium - anyway, they are cheap & worked well for me. I also used the thin plastic vegie bags slit down the side to make a rectangle that fit on top of the tray - worked well but need to watch for tray leakage.
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Old March 14, 2010   #26
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Hey there, Stormy! Yep - eggplant, peppers, tomatillos...as well as lettuce, spinach, chard....different flowers....

One of the most critical things is, following transplanting, ensuring that the new seedlings have a safe place to recover for a few days. Our newly planted 4 inch pots (or whatever we move the packed seedlings into) are well watered and live on the garage floor for a few days before being eased back into full sun and the elements. Early on, as I was just getting into using the method, I found that if you move the seedlings right back outside immediately after transplanting, you can lose them because they had not adequately "recovered" - adjusted - probably due to inadequate water take up, or sun or wind burn.
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Old March 15, 2010   #27
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As I was tending to my alarmingly growing menagerie of seedlings, something else that needs to be emphasized - as critically important - came to mind. It is to keep an eye on things, monitor frequently. Especially for those people who are using the dense planting method, once those tightly packed seedlings get growing, they also get thirsty - especially once they get into some sun, and when it gets warm. This is not a method that will work well if you only check your plants a few times a week - I check my developing trays at least twice a day - morning and evening - and add afternoon as well (which Sue does if I am at work). Drying out seedlings (drooping, looking floppy and dry) will typically recover well when you get to watering them, but it is not something that I expect the seedlings will appreciate if it happens too often.

The flip side is true as well - let the surface dry out between waterings - otherwise you can get a bad round of damping off (especially if you don't use a sterile soil less mix)
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Old March 16, 2010   #28
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Thanks - just got done seeding 72 different types of peppers - maters later today (am I glad I am tapering off the post-surgical steroids!). Note to self - sooooo glad I rinsed & scrubbed all the trays with Clorox water after transplanting out last spring! It was almost like they were new when I pulled them out of the trashbag storage today (ahhhh).
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Old February 1, 2011   #29
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10 days now, I planted pepper seed 5 different seeds and 4 different basil's, the pepper are not coming up. But the basil are, they are on a electric blanket on the floor

Last edited by FILMNET; February 1, 2011 at 12:34 PM.
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Old February 1, 2011   #30
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I have found that pepper seeds prefer a warmer soil than tomatoes for germination. Even so, many peppers take much longer to germinate than most tomatoes. I have had peppers take 2-3 weeks under less than ideal temperatures. I often soak peppers in +/- 80° water while prepping their trays...it seems to slice a few days off of the germination time.
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