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First time seedling planter

cazsophieq2019cazsophieq2019 Carrickfergus, Antrim Posts: 173
Hi again

This time my query is about germinating seedlings.

Recently became the owner of seedlings given to friends who don't have gardens so have decided to plant them.  The seeds are for: chillies, dill, basil, coriander and cumin.  So I've potted up in small biodegradable cell pots, within a propagator on a south west facing window.  

Was watching youtube videos on this also and there was a tip for misting seeds with an Epsom salt water solution (2 tablespoons of Epsom salts to 1litre water) daily. 

However I'm now realising that in the video I watched the person presenting the tutorial didn't actually state daily misting with said solution but also didn't state that it was for an initial boost first watering.   So wondering if I could be doing more harm than good misting them everyday with said solution or perhaps I should stick with plain water?  

Thanks again in advance for your advice and happy Easter.

Carol  

Posts

  • herbaceousherbaceous E. BerksPosts: 2,278
    You don't say how big the seedlings are @cazsophieq2019 but whatever size I don't mist any seedlings only young plants. Also I take the cover off seedlings once they venture above ground.

    Those biodegradable pots do dry out very quickly but, personally, I would be watering regularly from below i.e. water in the gravel tray or whatever you use underneath the pots.  Dill particularly will probably just lay flat if it is sprayed and you risk them damping off.

    I'm no expert so this is just experience and observation but I  don't add any salts (or indeed any other chemicals) when I water, just plain tap water which has been standing for a few hours to let the 'stuff' evaporate.

    Anyway good luck and a Happy Easter to you and maybe others will have more experience of this technique.
    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • cazsophieq2019cazsophieq2019 Carrickfergus, Antrim Posts: 173
    You don't say how big the seedlings are @cazsophieq2019 but whatever size I don't mist any seedlings only young plants. Also I take the cover off seedlings once they venture above ground.

    Those biodegradable pots do dry out very quickly but, personally, I would be watering regularly from below i.e. water in the gravel tray or whatever you use underneath the pots.  Dill particularly will probably just lay flat if it is sprayed and you risk them damping off.

    I'm no expert so this is just experience and observation but I  don't add any salts (or indeed any other chemicals) when I water, just plain tap water which has been standing for a few hours to let the 'stuff' evaporate.

    Anyway good luck and a Happy Easter to you and maybe others will have more experience of this technique.


    Hi herbaceous

    Now for my first rookie planter mistake, I used the term seedlings instead of seeds lol

    I only planted them last Wed soaked the compost placed the seeds as per (various tutorials reading up etc)  then misted them.  There seems to be a start of green poking of the basil.

    So, they aren't quite seedlings yet lol silly me. 

    So I should try watering from below.  they are in a propagator so I've been misting them every day.  

    How often should I do the watering from below?  Once a week.

    Thanks again for your advice :-)
  • herbaceousherbaceous E. BerksPosts: 2,278
    No problem @cazsophieq2019 and spraying seeds is fine but I would lay off the epsom salts and, personally, I put water under them when the tray is dry. Can't say how often because it depends on a few things but better less than more in most cases.

    Is your propagator heated? That might make a difference, both of mine are and they do need watching as it is easy to get a lot of mist in there which means too much water circulating. That can rot seeds and damp off seedlings.

    It sounds as though they're fine if the basil is getting it together - exciting isn't it? Growing things is about patience and dealing positively with failure so if it all goes Pete Tong just start again and hope  :)  All of the seeds you have will be fine sown up until the end of June so no rush. And after June if they are for the kitchen windowsill.

    Good luck and maybe let's have a picture when they all decide to put in an appearance!




    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • When you're waiting for seeds, the aim is to keep the compost moist/a little damp around the seed, not soaking. I'm personally not a fan of blanket "bottom up" watering, because it requires the compost to get soaked before the surface gets damp.

    The size of the seed is key in my opinion. Big seeds (beans) can take bottom watering or even careful top down watering (don't disturb the seed).

    But for smaller seeds you don't want to soak the compost as seeds can rot, which is why I don't generally water bottom up when sprouting little seeds like nigella or coriander - you need relatively a lot of water to soak up to the top of your pot where the seed is probably only a few millimeters below the surface. Then your seed is sitting in a wet environment for days, increasing the chance of rotting. For the same reasons you don't want to water top down, because smaller seeds can wash away especially if you cover them with vermiculite which easily washes around.

    So generally better to water the compost first before sowing, then use a mister to make sure the surface and top few millimeters (seed size and depth) are moist as needed, without disturbing the seed. Once the seed has sprouted and taken, you can gently water top down. If you cover your seeds or use a propagator you may not even need to water again until the seed has sprouted.

    But again it all depends on knowing your plant, just keep thinking about the conditions it needs and what the root system / plant wants to look like. Beans are massive and you can throw a bucket of water at them. Peas are small but with a tap root that hates disturbance so bottom up watering is good. Chillies like to be dry, so top down watering helps control that. And so on!
  • cazsophieq2019cazsophieq2019 Carrickfergus, Antrim Posts: 173
    Thanks.so much both of you, beginning to think I might have over watered some and umderwatered others as they're all in the same propagator, must admit gave them a bit of a bottom up soak earlier .... Eeeeek as they'd already drived up since misting this morning.  I'm obsessed lol.

    Well I guess time will tell ..... They're.right beside a South facing window sill.which gets pretty hot particularly on.a day like today hence drying out quickly, so if they do fail I'll put it to learning.

    Thanks again.
  • herbaceousherbaceous E. BerksPosts: 2,278
    Good luck @cazsophieq2019 hope all goes well. Just remember that the ones that survive usually turn into sturdy plants the others are just endless trouble........
    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • cazsophieq2019cazsophieq2019 Carrickfergus, Antrim Posts: 173
    Such a good reminder, thank you. 🙂
  • @cazsophieq2019 one thing to remember - there's probably no benefit to keeping seeds in direct sunshine on a south facing window ledge, and in fact will possibly make extra work for you to keep on top of due to drying out.

    Seeds (generalization!) need warmth and moisture to germinate, and some also benefit from light to assist germination. However sunlight is not the same as direct sunshine from a south facing window!

  • You mentioned chillies .. If these are super hots they can take 6 weeks and more to germinate 
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