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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 November 18, 2017   #1
murihikukid
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Default My Understanding Seeds is nil?

Hi...Having grown tomatoes for 4 seasons...this season is the first time I have germinated seeds on damp paper towel...checking them every day ...hopefully I am starting to understand seeds but still have a lot to learn...I have always been told that seeds will "feed" themselves for the first 2 -3 weeks.... I am wondering if the seed goes very depressed and flat does this mean the food supply has gone and its time to start new ones...also I notice a dark stain on the paper towel where seeds have sometimes lain..Has the seed burst?.My germinating started great using this method and then I had a lot of failures...I am not blaming the method...I could be to blame or the seeds I bought were not up to the standard I thought I was buying...Here in NZ the major garden companies have very limited varieties for sale and one has to go online and search mainly our online version of ebay for seeds ..

I would be very grateful for comment ...Thanks Ron...
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Old November 18, 2017   #2
PhilaGardener
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Hi Ron,

Most folks will put seeds on a damp paper towel in a plastic bag and then put that in a warm spot for germination (not sun!). Have you tried saving your own seed? It shouldn't take more than a few days for tomatoes to germinate and then you need to move them to some seed starting medium before they root into the paper towel. I prefer a peat based mix from the start to keep diseases like damping off under control.

You might send a pm to the member Medbury Gardens - a very experienced grower on the other side of Christ Church from you who can point you to local sources of good seed.

Have a great growing season!
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Old November 18, 2017   #3
brownrexx
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Ron, not every seed is going to grow. This is normal and is called the germination rate.

If you had a 100% germination rate every seed will grow
80% germination rate means 8 out of 10 seeds will grow and so on.

Different varieties have different germination rates. Storage conditions and age of the seeds can affect germination rates.

All seeds contain enough energy to allow the first "seed leaves" to get above the ground and into the light where they can start making food for the roots. Seeds do not need any fertilizer or help to do this.

Brown spots on your paper towels are probably just some color from the seed coats or they could be dead seeds that did not germinate and are nothing to worry about. You did not do anything wrong.

Try not to worry so much. It's a natural process and really does not even need any help from us to happen.
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Old November 18, 2017   #4
carolyn137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murihikukid View Post
Hi...Having grown tomatoes for 4 seasons...this season is the first time I have germinated seeds on damp paper towel...checking them every day ...hopefully I am starting to understand seeds but still have a lot to learn...I have always been told that seeds will "feed" themselves for the first 2 -3 weeks.... I am wondering if the seed goes very depressed and flat does this mean the food supply has gone and its time to start new ones...also I notice a dark stain on the paper towel where seeds have sometimes lain..Has the seed burst?.My germinating started great using this method and then I had a lot of failures...I am not blaming the method...I could be to blame or the seeds I bought were not up to the standard I thought I was buying...Here in NZ the major garden companies have very limited varieties for sale and one has to go online and search mainly our online version of ebay for seeds ..

I would be very grateful for comment ...Thanks Ron...
I agree with everything that Brownrex has said,but wanted to add a few more comments.

I BEG you to please read the following link,which is a preview for my seed offer,still not up.

Please read the section on seed germination.

http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=45775

The seeds you describe as having depressed centers are immature seeds and few will ever germinate.

That is the fault of whoever saved seeds and packaged them for sale.

When Linda Sapp at TGS first offered seeds for the well known Black Cherry variety that was bred by her husband Vince, now deceased,the seeds that she first offered had many of those immature seeds with a depression in the center.

http://t.tatianastomatobase.com:88/wiki/Black_Cherry


Most of us were able to get a few germinated and got new plants,and when we saved our own seeds the germination was always over 90%.

I've made many seed offers,my saved seeds,for many decades, now others do the seed production for me and I source the initial seeds. I would have saved several thousands of seed for each variety, and would send the SAME seeds to all who who requested them

I always put up a germination thread just to be sure.

For the same exact seeds for a single variety the % germination for different individuals could and did range from ZERO to plus 90%.

When I asked those who got lousy germination what method they were using, it was almost all who said placing seeds on wet paper towels inside a sealed baggie.

That's why in the first link above no way would I ever suggest to anyone to use that method.

I think I mentioned in 1st link that I sow seeds directly in a good seed starting mix, and I won't go on from here unless you want me to.

Carolyn
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Old November 18, 2017   #5
Cole_Robbie
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Originally Posted by carolyn137 View Post
I sow seeds directly in a good seed starting mix
me too. I also add a layer of vermiculite on top. I know paper towels work, but I tend to have trouble transitioning from paper towel to grow media.
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Old November 18, 2017   #6
brownrexx
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I also never use paper towels. I sow my seeds directly in soiless seed starting mix.

I see no reason to do the extra work of transplanting the germinated seeds when they germinate just fine in just a few days in the seed starting mix.

I always get at least 90% germination from the seeds that I plant.
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Old November 18, 2017   #7
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I do use the towel and baggie method, though I sometime shift to the direct-to-dirt method for some truly recalcitrant varieties (I'm looking at you, C.pubescens) where I sow multiple seeds per cell.

(Now remember, most of my experience is with peppers not toms.)

IME the brown spots are sometimes discoloration from the coat, but I treat it as mold starting and drip some hydrogen peroxide on the area. Some of those seeds germinate normally so don't assume that they have split or died.

Most pepper seeds are flat, with depressed centers. They don't look like they have enough food for three days much less two weeks but they do. Some don't, though, and even when germinated don't have enough energy to break the soil after transplant.

Temperature is important for germinating. I'd say at least 80°F and no more than 90°F. Some varieties seem to like the bed cooler than others. I'll be running along at 87°F and after the eager ones try to jump out of the bag I'll turn it back down to 78-80° when suddenly the superhots starting showing signs of life. Be careful where you're measuring bed temperature as in some configurations I've gotten false readings - false in terms of what the seed actually sees.

When I lay down a baggie I will usually start 8 varieties of at least 6 seeds each (if I have enough). At some point, despite adding H2O2 to keep the mold down you just have to give up and throw the whole bag away. For me that is about 3 weeks elapsed.
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Old November 18, 2017   #8
Labradors2
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I like to use the paper towel in a baggie method and to be able to see what is going on and not waste a pot on something that isn't going to germinate.

I too have found that for those seeds that take forever to germinate, they will mold and die in the paper towel if left too long, so whenever I see discoloration on the towel, I transfer the seeds to new damp paper towel.

Linda
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Old November 18, 2017   #9
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Originally Posted by Labradors2 View Post
I like to use the paper towel in a baggie method and to be able to see what is going on and not waste a pot on something that isn't going to germinate.

I too have found that for those seeds that take forever to germinate, they will mold and die in the paper towel if left too long, so whenever I see discoloration on the towel, I transfer the seeds to new damp paper towel.

Linda
This is what I do too.
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Old November 18, 2017   #10
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This is what I do too.
Hi...Yes I did that ...I religously checked my paper towels for seeds germinating and then put them in jiffy pots with moss if they had roots...a lot were planted about Sept 29th and over 40 have failed..I know its stupid but I am still Checking them all and watering them?? .Thats not a problem as I did enough but I wonder what I did wrong ...I used a head band magnifier to lift the seeds but my impression was if I lifted them (no matter how careful I was ) ones with a very small root were more at risk than ones with a longer root .... the type of paper towel MAY make a difference also ....I presume some type of paper towel has less of a risk of them sticking or as what happened to me the roots went through the towel ..

Re seeds..Yes I will be saving seeds from any variety that appeals to me taste wise so I will not be reliant on seed sellers next year.....I have one Indian Stripe plant ? The final one from seeds I had so its getting special attention ...I loved Black Cherry But the skins were too tough for me too eat so I am looking for a variety if there is one that has a similar taste...

So once i get todays greenhouse work completed I will be thoroughly reading all the replies which I am extremely grateful for... Regards Ron
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Old November 18, 2017   #11
dmforcier
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If they germinated, went into the ground, and haven't showed up within a week, they're dead.
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Old November 18, 2017   #12
ginger2778
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Originally Posted by murihikukid View Post
Hi...Yes I did that ...I religously checked my paper towels for seeds germinating and then put them in jiffy pots with moss if they had roots...a lot were planted about Sept 29th and over 40 have failed..I know its stupid but I am still Checking them all and watering them?? .Thats not a problem as I did enough but I wonder what I did wrong ...I used a head band magnifier to lift the seeds but my impression was if I lifted them (no matter how careful I was ) ones with a very small root were more at risk than ones with a longer root .... the type of paper towel MAY make a difference also ....I presume some type of paper towel has less of a risk of them sticking or as what happened to me the roots went through the towel ..

Re seeds..Yes I will be saving seeds from any variety that appeals to me taste wise so I will not be reliant on seed sellers next year.....I have one Indian Stripe plant ? The final one from seeds I had so its getting special attention ...I loved Black Cherry But the skins were too tough for me too eat so I am looking for a variety if there is one that has a similar taste...

So once i get todays greenhouse work completed I will be thoroughly reading all the replies which I am extremely grateful for... Regards Ron
I just meant that if I see the paper towel starting to get spots on it I take those seedlings off and put them on a new damp paper towel.
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Old November 18, 2017   #13
murihikukid
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If they germinated, went into the ground, and haven't showed up within a week, they're dead.
Yes..You are right although I recall emptying the soil mix from the cells of a propagator into an alloy tray a couple of years ago ...I put it out in my wash house and I got three plants from the soil two to four weeks later with no water ..I learn't a new respect for tomatoes and so I very rarely give up ..but yes in this case its time to empty all the small jiffy pots and recycle ..There was one variety Indigo Ruby and all failed.... cheers Ron
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Old November 18, 2017   #14
brownrexx
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Some people may really like this paper towel method but I really think that you will be better off just planting the seeds into Jiffy pots to start with and forgetting about the paper towels. If something does not germinate then you can just replant another seed or two in the same pot and you will avoid the possibility of mold getting onto your seeds from the damp environment of a baggie or possibly injuring delicate roots by pulling them off of a paper towel when you try to transplant them.

Carolyn137 is a tomato growing expert and also a microbiologist so if she advises against paper towels then I would heed her advice. She knows what she is talking about based on years of experience.
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