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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 February 17, 2018   #1
DonnaMarieNJ
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Default Starting early veggies indoors

Do I treat the lettuces, celery, and other early varieties as I would tomatoes? I have little luck starting these indoors. I don't want to plant seeds outdoors in the spring. I want a head start.

Do I plant the seeds like tomatoes? Do I use a seed heating pad to germinate? Do I put a lid on the tray for humidity? Do I put them under a grow light when they sprout?

What, in general should I do? I can't seem to find the right way to do this.

Thanks!
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Old February 17, 2018   #2
bower
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Lettuce and celery both need light to germinate. I do mass planting to start - just sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil mist heavily and cover tightly with a clear lid. Pop the lid and mist at least once or twice a day until they sprout. You can sprinkle soil on top of the lettuce once they've sprouted. I usually leave them dense until a first true leaf is out, then transplant to whatever density is desired. For transplanting outdoors they get a nice size in sixpacks.
Celery seems to like the heat mat off and on - I like to give them day on/night off for a couple of days and then let them chill under the lights. They take awhile so be patient. I do think presoaking celery seed might help to speed it up, but forgot to try again this year.
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Old February 17, 2018   #3
kath
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Hi, DonnaMarie!
My celery just popped up yesterday from a 2/9 sowing- I never soak seeds ahead. Like Bower said don't cover except with the finest bit of material and keep in a lighted place. I had mine on top of a fluorescent fixture that was on 16 hrs./day for onions, parsley and mini-dwarf tomatoes. With things that like cool weather, I avoid heat mats because mine tends to make the soil really hot. I keep them on the mantel over the wood stove or on the slate surround or on top of lights and it's plenty warm. If you have a sunny window, a covered tray can stay pretty warm during the day already, too. Everything still needs a light at germination so as not to get leggy.

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Old February 18, 2018   #4
Cole_Robbie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bower View Post
Lettuce and celery both need light to germinate.
So that's why my lettuce has not come up....whoops.
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Old February 18, 2018   #5
jmsieglaff
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I plant lettuce, broccoli, kale indoors. For lettuce I've never made a point of giving it light, I just very lightly cover and mist heavily, so maybe my technique implicitly gives it enough light? All of those type seeds sprout in a few days for me atop the fridge in the kitchen and then under the lights, then cold frame, then their final garden place.
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Old February 18, 2018   #6
Raiquee
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I think everyone has different ways of sowing seeds. Celery is very slow germinating comparing to other things like tomatoes and such.

I do standard practice for all of my seedlings. Never soak my seeds. I toss them in dirt, cover them up, water every other day, keep on a heat mat and under lights. Once they all pretty much come up they come off the heat mat. I find it I don't do a heat mat I get a much wider range of a germination period, which i'm not fond of because i'm growing 100's of seedlings and I want everyone on the same page. lol.
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Old February 18, 2018   #7
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Do be careful with mixing veggies in the same plug trays. Lettuces in one, parsley and celery in another, cole crops in their own and then the many trays of flowers. Much easier to manipulate under lights based on growth rates and sprout time.

As far as bottom heat goes; tucked around the wood stove, on top of the fridge and water heater, CFL's throw off a lot of heat in a confined area and on top of fluorescent fixtures. I put a wire rack on top of the fixture and the plug tray on the rack. Your ballast needs to expel heat.
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Old February 20, 2018   #8
DonnaMarieNJ
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Well, I obviously made mistakes already. I'll have to work around it.

Thanks, everyone.
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