seed starting round 2, tips for the adventerous seed starter

It is the late middle of March.  Now is the time to have most of your seeds sown or at least the ones like peppers and tomatoes.  They need 6 – 8 weeks indoors to grow into the tough little seedlings that will grow into fantastic summer vegetable factories.   Unfortunately, like the white rabbit I am late for a very important date.   

However, I have learned quite a bit just from the past 2 weeks of trying out this new seed starting method.

  1. Sand grains for soil blocking should be smaller than 1mm.  However, if a 25 kg bag of 1mm sand has already been purchased, it will still have to be used.  Using half the amount of sand from the previously used recipe may compensate for the large size.
  2. When planning a seed starting tray that is not easily labeled, a chart that shows where the plants will be should be made.  When said chart is made, do not make it super complicated with things like 2 Alaskan Daisy, 2 Stevia and 6 Bouncing Betty plants in one row.  Make each row 1 type of plant.  It is far too complicated and annoying to be all fancy.  
  3. Wood is hard to keep moist all the time and different parts will dry out more quickly according to how old/moist the wood is.  Using plastic to cover the trays should help mitigate the issue, but the blocks need to be checked daily.
  4. Seed starting towers should not be too tall.  If it is really tall, it makes it really hard to move the things on the top shelf.  When your taller and stronger other half has back problems and cannot get up of the couch to help, the risk of dropping a very heavy shop light on your hand is very high.  
  5. Miniblocker soil blockers need an insert that makes a small hole where the seeds need to be sown.  Without this insert, the seeds germinate on the surface and are not really stable.  They, unfortunately, do not have an insert so it is best to poke the seeds a little deeper with the tip of a pen or pencil to encourage a more cozy relationship between seed and soil.

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    sad seedlings
  6. Plants that don’t like heat shouldn’t be started in the same box as the ones that need a heating pad.  They germinate too quickly and they get a little spindly even when there is a direct source of light.  Plants that take a longer time to germinate should also be planted separately than those that germinate quickly so that they will not be disturbed.
  7. If the space is available, plant your seeds in the larger soil blocker.  

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This week I planted all of my tomato plants (Abe Lincoln, Homestead, Golden Jubilee, Manitoba, Roma, Tiny Tim [to sell in planters], Striped Cavern [to save seeds for more plants next year], Cherokee Purple, Peacevine Cherry and Oxheart), pimento peppers, basil, chia, lemon balm and cumin.

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the stoutest of the bunch 

I also transplanted the first sad looking greens (see #6) to the 2 inch cubes as well.  I saved about 12 plants from 36.   The other ones just look awful.  Hopefully they will do better away from the heat.  Only time will tell.  I ended up having to build make shift inserts for the 2 inch blocker because I lost mine.

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I hope you are all enjoying all the fun and exciting plant related activities that spring brings.

Happy gardening!

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3 thoughts on “seed starting round 2, tips for the adventerous seed starter

    1. It was actually an issue wherever the wood was a little older and drier. However, I found that a plastic insert cut out of an old shopping bag has remedied the issue. With just a little change everything is running much more smoothly!

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