Top tips to start seed off

Need to know the best time to plant?

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Pawty
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Top tips to start seed off

Postby Pawty » Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:00 pm

Hi,

Just starting to plan what to grow this year at the allotment. I don't have a greenhouse so have to start seed off in windowsills and my cold frame so space can be a bit of an issue ( especially with two naughty cats who have made there mission in life to knock everything I grow on the floor).To save space and maximise germination does anyone have any top tips?

I just read KGs December edition and noticed that rob starts parsnips off on damp kitchen paper which is then placed in ziplock bag - and says it saves space and you can see when the seed germinates. He then plants all the germinated seed into invidual pots. What a great idea! Do you think this method would work for other seeds?

Beans I'll probably continue growing in root trainers as have been quite successful. Broad beans go straight in ground. Tomatoes and chillies i tend to put 5 -10 seeds in a pot and place in propagator in the windowsill.

Any and all tips would be much appreciated.

Pawty
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby robo » Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:48 pm

Have you seen the seed trays aldi sell the ones with the clear tops I've used them as propagaters and also handy in keeping mice from eating your planted beans and pease
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Pa Snip » Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:56 pm

Pawty
I made a drastic decision early last year and did not sow a lot of my seeds at the normal time, nor did I sow them all for starting off in cold frame or greenhouse.

Instead I waited and sowed direct outdoors once dangers of frost had past and soil had warmed up.

Guess what, In the main I still harvested crops at the same time.
The more I pay close attention to what is happening the more I see just how young plants are knocked back when transplanted.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Westi » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:30 pm

Hi Pawty

I make more room for pots by placing a piece of laminate shelving on the backs of 2 chairs in front of the window in the back room, about the same height as the window. I gave it a lick of white paint to reflect more light. You quickly run out of window sills otherwise and it is only there for a couple of months and it accommodates a larger propagator so you'd be able to sow toms & chillies singly, lessening the number of times you need to pot on.

2 of my cats love it, sleeping on the propagator lid - so much for the light levels! Their party trick though is to pull out the plant labels, so I do get the odd surprise now & again on lottie.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Primrose » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:40 pm

Ii think this coming season I may experiment with putting things in one of those very large transparent shallow household storage plastic containers with a plastic lid to use as a propagator and keep it indoors near the patio window for light and heat.
I always have problems getting Beans to germinate so may place them on damp tissue paper in one of my food storage containers for a few days first and then only put them in compost when I see the beans which are viable and starting to sprout. Always seem to end up resolving these at least once.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Monika » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:06 pm

It's funny, isn't it, how gardeners get itchy fingers the moment the new year starts and a bit of sun comes out! Every year I try to rein myself in and not start to early because plants always seem to catch up with the earlier sown ones without any detriment. Germination is never the problem but then keeping the seedlings light and warm enough before they go out, so, this year I am definitely, definitely, definitely not going to start early .......
By the way, starting parsnip seeds on damp kitchen paper (known as the "Johnny method" on this forum, I believe) does work for other seeds but it's a bit fiddly for very small seeds and not usually necessary, I find.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Motherwoman » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:16 am

Top Tip is Pa Snip's... sow later and if possible outside. That way you have room for the must sow indoors stuff. I sow all my climbing beans, french and runner, direct in the soil now with no noticeable difference to cropping. And I must admit to feeling quite smug when everyone else's planted out beans are being whipped to shreds in a late May wind and mine are only just popping their heads through.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby robo » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:07 am

I had three tries at sowing Pease and beans last year none even sprouted the only ones that where successful I had planted straight into the ground I know what I will be doing this year, outside of our conservatory I erected a gazebo so as I could put a couple of pieces of carpet that our grandsons dog can wipe his feet on instead of treading mud through the house on the gazebo I hung a bird feeder that is made from an old pop bottle I filled it with corn I feed the chickens with it has a nice green 3 inch high growth at the top I am now wondering if I could adapt other pop bottles
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Pa Snip » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:58 am

One very definite exception to sowing later outdoors are pea's

The first of those are sown in guttering which has been cut into 600mm and 1mt lengths.
Slid out of the guttering when ready into channels, there is less root disturbance.

Unlike sowing later, direct into open ground, this is no solution to Pawty's problem
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Tony Hague » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:45 pm

I have tried moving to sowing direct, or in seed beds, to reduce the amount of attention needed more so than greenhouse space. I have had poor results with climbing beans though, they seem to always get eaten but weevils or slugs before climbing the pole.

Leeks are a problem too. I found that in moduled they seem to run out of steam before reaching the pencil thick size I'm told they should reach before transplanting. Well, maybe one of those little diary pencils. In a seed bed I thought they might do better, but much the same result. Any top tips for leeks or climbing beans much appreciated ...
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby KG Tony » Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:07 pm

I got this through from Simply Seed recently that pepper sowers might find interesting:

The Cheats Guide to Germinating Chilli and Pepper Seeds.

What you need:

One packet of our chilli seeds - you can reseal them, and they are foil lined!
One piece of kitchen roll.
A splash of water.
A bit of heat.

Then check out our guide here: http://www.simplyseed.co.uk/blog/the-ch ... seeds.html
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Westi » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:58 pm

That is interesting & simple to do Tony!

My other thing I am going to try is sprinkling cinnamon over the trays to prevent damping off, get that a bit as the propagator does get a bit of condensation even with the vents open & propped up with a peg.

Other Tony (H), I sow my leeks straight into deep pots, probably at least a foot deep & wide, just sprinkle them on the top, cover lightly with compost, keep them inside until no frost then they just go out with the other pots, so are watered with them every couple of days. Don't sow right near the edge of the pot so those growing can push away from the others. Massive root growth & needs a bit of gentle untangling, but sometimes lucky & I can trim the roots all in one with big scissors. Never had any luck with leeks in any sort of trays.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Pawty » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:09 pm

Hi,

Thanks everyone! Thanks to me going through the old KG mags I may have got a little carried away when looking through the real seed catalogue (the seedaholic within took over) - cue some veg and herbs I've never heard of including Bolivian Giant Achocha , papalo herb, Huauzontle Aztec Broccoli and ocra ..... it's fare to say a few questions are on there way!!

Pawty
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby PLUMPUDDING » Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:31 am

I do exactly the same Pawty. Is it ocra, or Occa you've ordered? I've been growing the pretty pink Occa from Real Seeds for years now. It's perfectly hardy and grows again from any you leave in the ground but the slugs like it too. The unusual herbs also did well and were interesting flavours.
Last edited by PLUMPUDDING on Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Tony Hague » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:38 am

Westi wrote:Other Tony (H), I sow my leeks straight into deep pots, probably at least a foot deep & wide, just sprinkle them on the top, cover lightly with compost, keep them inside until no frost then they just go out with the other pots, so are watered with them every couple of days. Don't sow right near the edge of the pot so those growing can push away from the others. Massive root growth & needs a bit of gentle untangling, but sometimes lucky & I can trim the roots all in one with big scissors. Never had any luck with leeks in any sort of trays.


That's a method I haven't tried, and could give a go. Thanks for the idea !
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