Top tips to start seed off

Need to know the best time to plant?

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Primrose
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Primrose » Sun May 07, 2017 5:10 pm

Does it help to soak runner and French bean seeds for a few hours before planting them?
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Geoff » Sun May 07, 2017 6:41 pm

I would say definitely not.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby PLUMPUDDING » Sun May 07, 2017 6:55 pm

I'd say no too, they easily go rotten if they are too wet.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Westi » Sun May 07, 2017 7:00 pm

Courgettes, leeks & sweetcorn have been pants!

3rd sowing of the courgettes during the week, but pumpkins all germinated. Only the 1st pot of leeks came up, so maybe 20 or so, but weirdly same seed & compost etc in the first 2 pots, but no show in the 2nd pot. 2 out of the 24 sweetcorn sowed have emerged & they were sown 3 weeks ago. The sweetcorn seeds are still in the pots so can't blame mice, not damp, soft or anything, pretty much just how it was when it came out of the packet! Again very strange.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Monika » Sun May 07, 2017 7:15 pm

Sally Wright posted some brilliant advice on soaking/sowing bean seeds on 26 March this year under the title "Getting good bean germination" - I printed it off and have followed it successfully. You can find it using the search option.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Primrose » Sun May 07, 2017 7:32 pm

Sally's advice repeated here again. I think where I have gone wrong is possibly using water from my water butt to water them , which is very low now and possibly has a concentrated build up of fungus In it.

Re: Getting good bean germination
by sally wright » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:42 pm

when planting bean seeds (I am assuming the non hardy kinds here) there are one or two things that may increase germination. Open the packets now if they are foil packed. Seed suppliers will over dry beans beyond what is natural for the beans. This is done to make them last longer. The thing is that by the time the bean has absorbed enough water to start growing the fungi in the soil have got a head start on rotting out the seeds. By opening the packets in advance this will allow the beans to take on a little atmospheric moisture and become adjusted so they will be able to germinate at their natural speed. If you forget to do this then you can sow the beans in their pots and just wait 24 hours before watering them in.
Always water seeds with fresh tap water; water borne fungi that will be present in rainwater and stored water are the ones which will do for your beans.
Add some sand to your potting mixture; beans need a lot more drainage than you might think.
Water thoroughly when you have sown them and then wait 2-3 days before you do so again.
Do not expect 100% germination from beans; it ain't gonna happen, so sow at least 10-20% more than you think you will need.
Don't sow too early two to three weeks before planting out is quite soon enough.
Don't sow too deeply; the depth of a short fingernail is quite sufficient.
Try to save your own seed; most beans come true from seed and the advantage of this is that you are using genetic material that has already survived your germination regime once. Remember most seeds we buy to grow here are imported from very different climates.

For sowing direct outdoors, if you have forgotto open the packets early and have only opened them on the day of sowing, water the holes before putting in the beans and backfill with dry soil. Before putting in the beans you can clean the outside of the seeds by soaking for a few minutes in a weak solution of bleach (about one teaspoon for a litre of water should be sufficient) or some liquid fungicide this should be long enough to coat the seeds and prevent the fungi from attacking for a few days. Don't bother with this if they have a coating on them already.

Most of these points can also apply to other large seeded plants such as sweet peas, peas, broad beans, sweetcorn, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers etc. In the case of the squash family (cucurbitacae) I would lay the seeds on the surface of the compost and cover them with a 1cm depth of vermiculite as this allows the seeds to receive light which will aid their germination.

Regards Sally Wright.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby PLUMPUDDING » Sun May 07, 2017 7:36 pm

I agree Monika, excellent advice, and the only suggestion for soaking is for a couple of minutes in dilute bleach solution to kill any fungal spores. I wish I'd done this as out of six varieties I've sown the Cosse Violette have all rotted off after germinating and growing a couple of inches. They are all planted in the same deep module tray, have had exactly the same treatment and all the others are growing nicely, so that variety must have been contaminated.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Pawty » Mon May 08, 2017 8:06 pm

Hi,

I spoke too soon...... the kale have all died in the cold frame and the sweetcorn have suddenly decided to germinate just after I'd started some swift off ...... the life of an allotmenteer .......

Pawty
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby tigerburnie » Tue May 09, 2017 11:16 am

Do you know, I reckon we've got duff seeds this year, I'm having difficulty with some stuff germinating and not all of it's because it's last years seeds either. 2 dozen sweetcorn sown and 1 has germinated...................grrrrrrrrrrrrrr
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby robo » Tue May 09, 2017 12:07 pm

Overturned , my sweetcorn is exactly the same 24 sown 1 germinated
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Primrose » Tue May 09, 2017 7:03 pm

I son,t think I'll even bother sowing my sweet corn packet then . I'll just soak it and out it on the bird table ! Having exactly the same non germination problems with courgettes.
As a matter of interest are there any Trading Standards rules re the sale of contents of seed packets? Duff ones can cause a great deal of frustration and disappointment.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Pa Snip » Tue May 09, 2017 8:12 pm

It would be difficult to prove that any seed could be alleged to be 'faulty'

I am wondering if some of you may not actually be suffering with a seed problem, is the problem the medium the seed is being sown in.

Do all your seed failures involve the same seed variety from the same seed company, chances of that seems a bit slim.

Mrs S has used a completely different compost mix to usual, a lot of her seeds are failing to germinate.

I am doing my usual topsoil & MP compost mix and so far things are not looking too bad.

I have only just started sowing so my germination success rate could still diminish to the same level as Mrs S.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Primrose » Tue May 09, 2017 8:27 pm

Pa, you have a point about possible seed germination being due to the compost rather than the seed but in my case from the same bag of compost I've had good germination of leeks, kale, tomatoes and cucumbers and poor germination of beans and courgettes. Make that what you will. I suspect many of us get an unlucky batch of something for totally unexplained reasons. One of the things that always gets us coming back the next year, I suspect, to try and up our game.
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Westi » Tue May 09, 2017 9:00 pm

It is a strange year indeed & so glad not just me! I think seed not compost as well Primrose - we live all around the country & don't use the same compost but most of us get our seeds from the same companies. Or are they all letting the Chinese supply them as it's much cheaper - I've regaled you with my French garlic coming from China (not doing too well) - is there other seed being produced there now as well?

I think I might be allowing more of my plants to flower & collecting my own reliable seed if it turns out the seed companies have gone for the cheap (well for them, not us anyway). Maybe KG can assure us?
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Re: Top tips to start seed off

Postby Pa Snip » Wed May 10, 2017 8:03 am

It is very difficult to get a picture of how seriously germination is failing without some facts.
I threw compost into the equation merely as a possibility since it is something we all use
Are they any more or less compost companies than there are seed companies, yes the chances are we all use the major brand name companies for our seeds
Given that a lot of major names are no longer independent of one another it is highly likely the seed originates from the same source despite the name on the packet

How about instead of just saying " My beans (or whatever) haven't germinated" we actually put the company name and the variety.
At least then we stand a chance of producing a picture

A simple statement of fact relating to current problems may narrow the field down.
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