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sepp holzer doesn't transplant annuals  RSS feed

 
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Another thread reminded me about this - and I think I didn't mention it here before.

Sepp has a greenhouse.  But the only thing he uses it for is earthworm breeding.

Most people start seeds indoors and then transplant them later.  Sepp never does this.  And he is in the alps of austria.

A tomato is an excellent example that is often used.  And Sepp used it as an example too.  Sepp points out that the tomato goes through 10 to 14 days of "transplant shock" - whereas planting a seed does not do that.  So by the time the transplant is done with the transplant shock, the seed has caught up.  And then the tomato plant that is growing from seed is healthier and more vigorous.

Can anybody think of any commonly transplanted plant where this would not work?

 
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  Fukuoka sowed seed  in august following natural paterns at least in his rice clover oats and barley feilds rather than his restore earth mix. most wild plants drop their seed during the summer. If the seed is not suitable for the winter climate were we live, then what.
  I am growing tomatoes from the seeds of a tomatoe in my kitchen now, i want to get used to growing vegetable seeds, but Sepps system sounds much less hard work and when i get things from my balcony out into the ground they don't half start to grow well. Is there just ever so much more light in the garden? I don't know or is open ground much better for them,. As they grow much better there putting the seeds straight out must be  a good idea and with a lot of things the first thing a seed does is to send down a long tap root that will get it water in a dry spell so interrupting that does not seem a good idea. agri rose macaskie.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:Can anybody think of any commonly transplanted plant where this would not work?


Maybe not a plant, but perhaps a system.  Some systems require transplants because seeds would not get above the cover of mulch/weeds/etc. in time.  I realize that mulch can be pushed aside, and weeds cut back (repeatedly, if need be), but some of the transplant systems seem to work.

I like the notion of no-till transplanting, where roots are not held from breaching the bottom of the pot mechanically, so much as by air-pruning or sheer depth.  There isn't so much transplant shock, as the roots find soil where it had not been.  One example, here, uses coconut or bamboo pots, placed on un-disturbed soil or in shallow holes:

http://fukuokafarmingol.info/fggaia.html

When my first crop of luffa gourds comes in (thanks again, Jennifer!), I might set aside a section or two about as deep as my mulch, to use as starter pots of this sort.  My current plan is to cut a big tube from the outer 3/4" or so, and three smaller tubes from the interior section.  And the ones used for scrubbing might become pots, too, at the end of their service life...
 
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I checked out the link - what a wonderful idea.

I have bamboo, but it's not big enough around for this.  I wonder what else could be grown or used to make planter pots?  I'll have to do some research.

Paul:  So does Sepp throw out tomato seed around his place as he does his other seeds?  Or does he just skip growing tomatoes?  And if he does grown them in this way, what month does he throw the seed out? 
 
rose macaskie
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  Jami Mcbride, you have bamboo there is a really nice video of harvesting bamboo shoots in you tube. if you put in bamboo shoots it wil appear first on the list of videos they give you. takenoko harvesting bambo shooots. It  also shows you the locals clearing the bamboos, so the forest of bamboos is an open one. It is american in japan video, agri rose macaskie. 
 
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The bamboo internode "pots" could also serve as cutworm protection if they were planted with an inch or two sticking above the soil line.  I have plenty of bamboo up to 5" diameter here that I could use.  One problem is that it is going to take more than one growing season for the bamboo to decay, so the transplanted seedling is going to have a root run restricted to the bottom of the bamboo cylinder.  This could be a good use for old, partially rotted, bamboo culms that had been consigned to the compost pile.  I have plenty of those around.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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basjoos wrote: the transplanted seedling is going to have a root run restricted to the bottom of the bamboo cylinder. 


The article I linked to mentions knocking a hole in the bottom of each one to allow roots through.

I'd be tempted to use segments without the septum at all, and just be careful to hold the growing medium in place during transplanting.  Sawing through each septum and halfway between would give twice the number of starter pots, and each would have something of a neck at the bottom, but not too much restriction of root growth.

Edit: I had forgotten the term "septum:" I re-wrote slightly for clarity using that word.
 
Mike Turner
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I was referring to using sections of internode without any nodal septa, so you just have an open ended bamboo tube filled with soil.  But the roots are going to be restricted to the small area inside the bamboo tube until they can reach and grow out of the bottom end of the bamboo cylinder, spread out into the surrounding soil, and then some grow upwards to access the near-surface soil around the transplant tube, a somewhat unnatural growth pattern for roots. 
 
Jami McBride
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Thanks for the info Rose ♥ I'll check it out on youtube.

On the link they are using half a coconut shell, I assume with good size holes in the bottom (didn't get that far).  They just sit it on the ground usually (no dig, no disturb) and leave it so the roots can grow out the holes and into the soil.  Of course at some point the shells will break down, but it would be a good long while.

This brings up many good questions, the first being how much restriction can roots take?  I did the research and found you don't want to crowd roots, they don't survive crowding well.  Whether this means growing down through a tube/bamboo and out is too restrictive or not I don't know.  However I found side by side studies of peat pots vrs other more sustainable materials, and the peat pots were TO restrictive (surprise).  I know they don't break down well for me. 

I really like the idea of casting seeds, no potting - no fuss: and not transplanting or hardening off.  I believe one of modern man's flauts is micro managing.  We make our own problems.  But ...... You knew there was a but didn't you?  I want my tomatoes, not all year-round, just one good season please.

So where does this leave us?

 
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Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
When my first crop of luffa gourds comes in (thanks again, Jennifer!), I might set aside a section or two about as deep as my mulch, to use as starter pots of this sort. 


wow, I had not even thought to do this!  What a great idea. 

The best argument I have for starting seeds indoors is to learn to identify the seedlings.  I plan to start a few indoors but mostly plant out seeds.  My plants do a lot better outdoors than in.
 
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gosh it seems whether this will work in any given situation is very dependent on alot of factors. some people/methods seem to be better at mitigating transplant shock better than others. in my experience, by the end of the season most plants appear to be the same when considering transplants vs volunteers or started from seeds on purpose. but I do get earlier tomatoes from the transplants. there seems to be a "sweet spot" in the maturation of the tomato plant when it is capable of handling transplantation well. too small or too large it gets shocky.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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basjoos wrote:
I was referring to using sections of internode without any nodal septa, so you just have an open ended bamboo tube filled with soil.  But the roots are going to be restricted to the small area inside the bamboo tube until they can reach and grow out of the bottom end of the bamboo cylinder, spread out into the surrounding soil, and then some grow upwards to access the near-surface soil around the transplant tube, a somewhat unnatural growth pattern for roots. 


Oh, good point!  I was not imagining a need for near-surface soil, but now that I think of it, that probably would happen.

The half-decomposed bamboo sounds much better, and the shorter sections of wider culms better still. It might also be OK to slide the tube up a little viz. the root ball, late in the transplanting process.

I like the idea of luffa, because it doesn't seem like it would be much of a barrier to root growth once the sides are thoroughly mulched and air pruning ceases to be an issue.  I'd expect it to decompose more rapidly than coconut shells or bamboo culms, as well...but I'll have to see if it works!  Un-tested ideas are usually wrong.
 
Jennifer Smith
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Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
Un-tested ideas are usually wrong.


I think you will be pleasantly suprised here.  I can't see why I hadn't thought of it.  The luffa breaks down completly in a season when used to hold pots in place in the flowerbed.  My heavily mulched, compost in place, flowerbeds.  The luf
 
paul wheaton
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Jami McBride wrote:

Paul:  So does Sepp throw out tomato seed around his place as he does his other seeds?  Or does he just skip growing tomatoes?  And if he does grown them in this way, what month does he throw the seed out? 


I know that he talks about growing tomatoes, but I have no memory of a tomato in any of his videos.

I would imagine that he would mix some seeds into his mixes.  I would guess he also plants a few seeds on the average last frost date, and maybe a few earlier in special spots.

 
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i find that to be only true part of the time..i planted both transplanted tomato and direct sown tomatos..the same time..as in MIchigan you can't direct sow early..my direct sown tomatos had NO tomatos on them this year..at all..none..nada..zip..

my transplants had gobs of maters..more than we needed fresh, canned and frozen.

so Sepp may be able to get good crops from direct sowing..but even direct sowing in our greenhouse didn't produce a single tomato this year..

it was of course the coldest and wettest summer here since 1950
 
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rose macaskie wrote:
I am growing tomatoes from the seeds of a tomatoe in my kitchen now, .....


Another possibility may be to seed the tomatoes out in the garden, but cover them in the early season with a mobile greenhouse. For adaptation, instead of removing the greenhouse from one day to another, it can be opened during the day and closed during night. Something also mentioned by sepp holzer as the practice of his mother in the farm garden.
 
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The tomatoes that self seed in my garden do usually set fruit but the plants don't get very big and most of the fruit doesn't ripen before killing frosts. Maybe if I weeded the seedlings down earlier to avoid competition and as suggested above, gave them some early season protection I could get decent cropping.

I think this thread has inspired me to try planting tomato seeds around the last frost date here in the spring to see what happens.
 
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I don't think Sepp just chucks his tomato seeds just anywhere. Remember, he's got a quite complicated system of heatretaining walls and stone fields and (was it 72?) microclimates all over his farm.

This may explain why his tomatoes grown and produce profusely.

Pascal
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I've used cardboard or newspaper pots for seedlings, you just open up the bottom of the container when planting.  I love the coconut, gord, bamboo ideas!  Protection from underground rodents is very important in some places, especially with little plants. 

Transplant shock setback can be true, but I think it's truer of really giant plants.  Tiny baby plants that are placed gently recover much faster.  This season I had seeded tomatos that started producing fruit at the same time that these huge brandywines that were started in a green house (started in like, january probably - not my doing, not my greenhouse) did.  We put three foot tall plants in the ground and they sat there growing roots for a whole month before they even made a new leaf.  It's exiting to put a big plant in the ground, but it's seriously counter productive (or not that much of an advantage) in the long run, in my opinion.  The root ball just can't be proportionally developed if it's a big plant in a smallish pot. 

You CAN have success with transplanting larger plants if you give them an emormous container to grow up in...and then transplant carefully...but few plants are worth the trouble of this hassle. 

I've heard that you can pour really hot sand down in bamboo to burn out the....what'd you call them?  Septa.  The thingies that make it not a tube, is what I call them.  That's how thai folks make them into water pipes.  I saw pictures of some really neato irrigation systems using entirely bamboo....where is that link.....
 
rose macaskie
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  i grew a gingko on my balcony for six or seven or eight years from seed, there are some ginko trees in the square here and after more than six years at least, maybe more years, it grew its first branchs , one longer one towards the wall that does not appear in this foto that faces the wall of windows you see in the photo here,  the wall that recieved some sun light in the morning and a shorter branchs in nearly the other direstion a bit toward the house  that seemed to be as a counter weight .
It is what i call intelligence in plants the seedling seemed to have worked out which way it should develop in order to reach the light and that a counter weight could be a good idea if they have worked ou tall this information about th eir surrondings and then you move them they have a whole lot of new computing to do. In normal circumstaances their roots rpobably grow toward water sorces.
    There is also here a plant in ht ephoto a succulent who put out to down growing branches to hold up the wieght of its horizontal growing stem. Its leaves also turn their borders up and form a cup if it rains and that cup also gets a hole in it. I can understand them wanting to capture water but not to want to drain it off if they want to  have it,
  i have seen a documentary on intelligent plants which includes experiments that show plants have memory they memorise a place and its light sorces. agri rose macaskie.
intelligent-plants-dos.jpg
[Thumbnail for intelligent-plants-dos.jpg]
 
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I've found that in some seasons here it can be really hard to direct seed and then keep the weeds from out competing During certain seasons there are just too many wind blown seeds and being able to keep track of the desired plants over the "weeds" is pretty impossible.  Either you weed while the seedlings are really small and it is really hard to keep track of what is weed and what is wanted or you wait till stuff gets bigger and easier to see what is what but by that point the desired seedling is already being crowded and getting set back.  It is in those situations that I would often like to wait till the plant is big enough to hold it's own over the weeds to transplant it.  (depending on what it is of course.)

I generally think direct seeding is better but I have not always had such good success with direct seeding due to competition or inability to keep the seed bed evenly moist for good germination etc.

Ah this all just makes me want to find more perennial edibles to plant so as not to mess with all the annuals and trying to figure the right time to plant them this year etc.
 
rose macaskie
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  The idea of having a lot of room round your plant is not really permaculture as i hav eudeerstood what i read aobut it., if giving a lot of room is what TCLynx means by keepng down the weeds when they are very young round his seedlings.
    Permaculture copies the growth in woods and and in nature and usually a lot of bare ground does not form a great part of places left to nature. According to the permaculturist and gardener geoff lawton  leaving a lot os space around your plants it comes from farming and is not so much a neccesity of the plant as of the person weeds with machines, if the plant is planted in rows with spaces between the rows and between plants it  so that they can weed between lines with a tractor. H says that to have a space between plants in a garden were you don't have a tractor and where the space is less and to waste it is stupid, is not necessary and he also says that in a garden there is not so much weeding to do and it can be done in a giffy and that you only garden because you like being outside with the plants.
    That last is not  a permaculturists attitude, it is a bit dilitante, a permaculturist is there gardening because he believes in it. A permaculturist is also trying to have less time working that is his way of being dillitatnte and the first seeds and weeds will stop a second lot from growing if you leave them in. If you wait a bit you will have less weeding, only one lot of weeding.
      Of course a really tight woven grass or something of the sort will strangle your weeds but a lot of seedlings some of which are weeds and some of your own planting wont unless you really let them run riot, let them grow but not too much..
  It is fine to let the weeds grow quite big, tilll they really are begining to crowd out your seedling, leave them as long as possible. If the soil is not compacted and damp it is easy to pull them out.
    You always want enough plants growing to have leaves shading the ground. The leaves that form a complete shade to the ground make a microclimate.
    If the weeds are biggish when you pull them that means more organic matter for your garden. Pull them when it looks as if the plant you are growing is getting big enough to take their place quickly.
  The idea of the organic gardener John Seymours, is to have plenty of plants in your raised bed or in your huglekulter bed so as to create a microclimatre and avoid evaporation from the soil. To always refill spaces that might appear in your bed to  put in weeds if  you have nothing else.
    His raised beds are made narrow enough to garden them from the sides without stepping on them and so the soil wont compact and full of manure so as to grow a maximum of plants in a small area because the ground is full enough of nutrients to grow a lot in a small place. He takes as his model chinese market gardening that uses humanure and old french that uses manure from the horse drawn transport that then existed.
    In this way you can grow a lot in a small space. In permaculture a lot of organic matter is part of the trick for having soils that will produce a lot in a small place and the manure from ducks or hens you keep in your garden.
    When you pull up a vegetable you plant another you can always have lots of seedlings ready or put in more seeds, this means you don't need to dig, pulling up the plant serves to make a new space for seeding or putting in new plants. putting in more seeds than you need also makes aground cover quicker. 
    As there are always a lot of plants they create a microclimate a humid area or level that helps seedlings not to dry out and whose roots helps to take off any extra water if you water them too much.
    Plants work like humidifiers of the air they sweat, water evaportes from them, if there are lots this keeps the air humid around the youg plants . Their leaves also shade the ground and stops the sun heating it up and the water evaporating from the earth.
      The question of how much plants loose water pumping it up and evaporating it and how much they prevent water loss from the earth is complicated. Covered with plants the earth can have variouse layers of protection from the sun, the layer of fallen leaves, organic mulch and a layer of small plants leaves and then of the leaves of bigger plants . In a climate like the mediterranean one the shadow of a lone tree and remember it is a shadow that moves during the day may help rather than hinder the plants shaded. I find the sun so high overhead in summer that the trees hardley produce shade, my trees are pretty small though. agri rose macaskie.









     
 
                              
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I understand about wanting to have lots growing and I don't really like weeding.  I've just found that during certain seasons here the weeds really will smother out the desired plants and it can be hard to keep up with the weeds until the plants are big enough to hold their own.  Hard for some seedlings to really make it if completely shaded by all the plants around them and pulling out the weeds tends to disturb the seedlings around them sometimes. 

I think this may again be a situation of needing to figure out what works in each location.  The extra humidity produced by the plants in a fully planted bed might be a really good thing in an arid climate.  Here in Hot Humid Florida, planting too close together can be really bad for some things.

I'm still experimenting to find what will work well here.
 
Travis Philp
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GlobalMinotor wrote:
I don't think Sepp just chucks his tomato seeds just anywhere. Remember, he's got a quite complicated system of heatretaining walls and stone fields and (was it 72?) microclimates all over his farm.

Pascal


Thanks Pascal. I have taken that into account and am planning measures to create warmer microclimates for this. I have the luxury of practically limitless rocks at my disposal which tend to be perfect size for edging garden beds. I intend to line as many beds as possible in zone 1, and constructing them in a raised sheet mulch style for extra heat generation/retention. Further out Ifrom the hose I'm going to try planting into old hay bales that I'll get from a nearby farmer who is happy to give them to me...His stash of bales is about 3 bales high, and about 30X 50 feet in dimension so thats a hell of  a lot of instant garden beds.
 
paul wheaton
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Supposing one is a bit bonkers about getting a jump on the season and wants to have bigger plants sooner ....  what about the whole idea of cloches?  It still seems easier, faster and cheaper than transplanting.  Suppose you have a gallon jug with the bottom cut out.  You could place that jug (corked) where you want your tomato to grow about six weeks before the first frost.  About two weeks later, the soil will be much warmer.  You then plant the seed.  Two weeks later you have a plant about two inches tall and you can remove the cork.  Two weeks after that, the plant is about to touch the cloche and it is now time to remove the cloche.

If you transplanted a similar size plant next to that, and planted a seed next to that, wouldn't the cloche plant outrun either?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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If you were really bonkers, a small transpant would go under the cloche in the second week.

And there would be a dollar-store mylar car windshield shade staked up on the north side of the cloche.

I should start my tomato seeds.

Lacking luffa, I'm going to use some little baskets I wove out of green grass a while back. They should be dry by now.
 
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If you don't want to use metallic looking mylar reflectors, you can use just about anything that is white. White reflects as well or better and is more diffuse. You don't have to worry about a fold or bend focusing sun rays haphazardly on your prized plants. Use bricks or stones and paint them white. White plates and dishes dishes. Anything white will work.

Back to the original question: are there any plants that won't work if you direct seed? I think that where there is a will there's a way. I'm going to try plant various things directly this year that I normally wouldn't.
 
                              
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There are some plants that do not germinate well in cold soil (tomatoes, peppers, peas, and corn) being a few I know of.  To get around the whole transplant issue, perhaps chitting (pre sprouting) the seed in a warm environment before planting out in the cloche.  It might help to figure out some methods of warming up the soil a bit extra for those in addition to the cloche.

I actually would have been better off chitting my snow pea seeds before planting this past fall as I planted them on a warm day and then we had a cold front go through that night and I had very poor germination.  Snow peas actually like nice warm soil to germinate in but cool weather for growing.
 
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why not use bottom heat from compost pile to warm seed raising trays
 
                              
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That could work if you happen to have a pile giving off steam right when you need to start some seeds and won't be turning or adding anything to the pile for a week or two depending on the seeds.

 
                          
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yes lynx its called planing or forward thinking, may be a prob with your humanure pile but nothing stopping building a compost pile for the purpose, and why cant seed trays be temporarily removed if you need to add or turn you pile?
 
                              
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If you have the coordination to get a hot pile ready at will to be ready to heat on a date favorable for starting seeds, I applaud you.

The humanure pile stays pretty hot but since it is a continuous pile and there are other factors involved, there would only be limited windows for placing trays of seeds on the pile though I'm sure it could work if one wanted to.

I've found chitting (or sprouting seeds in a baggie on wet paper towel) to be pretty effective for some things.  Just be sure to plant them out as soon as you see them sprouting so it's done before the roots are large enough to be easily damaged.
 
                            
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Travis wrote:
... Further out Ifrom the hose I'm going to try planting into old hay bales that I'll get from a nearby farmer who is happy to give them to me...His stash of bales is about 3 bales high, and about 30X 50 feet in dimension so thats a hell of  a lot of instant garden beds.


Growing in old hay bales? I've never heard of that before. I would be very interested to hear how that works out.

Pascal
 
                          
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GlobalMinotor wrote:
Growing in old hay bales? I've never heard of that before. I would be very interested to hear how that works out.

Pascal

works well, i tried this many years ago in a rental house with a concrete yard, i used lucerine and pea straw bales, not old but cheap at the time, just gave them a good soaking of compost tea, and planted out using small hand full of potting mix ( had no made compost) this was in south australia mediteranian climate, got three consecutive seasons before i hade to turn it into a raised bed by shoring up sides then i just continued as with sheet mulching, it also seemed to require less water so a definate recomendation for areas with limited water.
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Good points
 
                              
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Yea, straw and hay bale instant gardens are actually pretty easy from what I hear.  Benefit of using hay instead of straw is that it will provide nitrogen as it breaks down.
 
                          
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just need to moniter moisture as they hold so much it can cause root rot
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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I could see a problem if a pile were too hot, and released toxic levels of ammonia.

Deep enough mulch to absorb the ammonia might well block most of the heat. I guess you could place the starts in a gap in the mulch.

Ammonia might also burn emerging root tips, which could help prevent them from becoming root bound if you left them too long.
 
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i"ve had experience planting tomatoes from my vermicompost. It sems that open pollinated heirloom tomatoes that I eat and then  put  the cuttings or old tomatoes into the worm bin then spread the compost will sprout very healthy tomatoes  I hope this info will help  Sam
 
rose macaskie
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I have read in some other place of of putting  a cloch on the ground and it warming up the soil and allowing you to plant seeds earlier in the year, as  paul wheaton suggests. So it has been done by someone. agri rose macaskie.
 
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