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Starting Seeds Indoors- is it the window??  RSS feed

 
Amit Enventres
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Location: Ohio, USA
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Hi all,

So I know there's a million YouTube videos and blog posts on the topic yeah, I already have seen a bunch, but one thing I don't know - since I'm from California and recently transplanted to the Midwest- starting seeds indoors. I've done it in California successfully in California, but not much luck here. I think out of the 50+ seeds I've tried to start, about 2 have successful popped up. That's bad odds. I made a seed mix which is about 2/3 peat and 1/3 "garden soil" which is a mix of compost, soil, vermiculite, and peat. It's light, fluffy, and holds plenty of water. I put that in toilet paper rolls cut in half in plastic trays. Now, I've tried 3-4 different methods, without success.

1. Soak the prepped seed mixture plus seedlings, until the water slightly pools on the bottom of the tray, then put them on a hot water urn that keeps the temperature about 70-75 degrees, near a somewhat sunny window (if you know what the weather's been like here, you'll know what "somewhat" means). I then waited about 48 hours and set it by a sunny window. No go. I got 2 weed seeds to germinate that way, but no celery.

2. Put the seeds in a wet paper towel, put that on the hot water urn for 48 hours, put these seeds in the tray on the urn for a week, then set by a sunny window. 1 seedling seems to have germinated from the strawberries.

3. Put basil by a sunny window, keep moist. The temp in the house is between 63-69 degrees, but the window sill is colder. No go. I did get this to start by the paper towel and recently put that in the soil and put those by the hot water urn at night, so we'll see what that yields.

4. Direct seeding of celery into the soil by the windowsill. Maybe 1.

So, I'm wondering - what the heck am I doing wrong?!?!?

In Ca, basically I could set the tray by any light window or under an office light without solar-light to supplement and I would get germination. Even in winter, when it was cold. Is it my mix It seems like the right stuff. Do I need more light? At 90% Pure Live Seed, I should be getting better luck than this!

Any suggestions would be great!!
 
John Elliott
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Celery is a cool-germinating plant, so the temperature is not the problem, but it's the time. Celery can take two weeks to germinate even under optimal conditions.

Here is a good reference which will tell you how long it can take seeds to germinate at different temperatures.

Basil isn't going to germinate until the soil temperature is in the 70s. It's a heat lover like tomatoes and peppers and eggplant.
 
Terri Matthews
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Location: Eastern Kansas
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The other day I frosted some of my windowsill seedlings: it got below zero and it was just too cold for them! So, I set the survivors back on a counter as Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be very cold again.

I like in Kansas: if you are further North then the answer might be the cold seeping through the glass.

Welcome to the midwest: I also tarted in Kansas! I like Kansas much better!
 
Amit Enventres
Posts: 389
Location: Ohio, USA
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Thanks! Gee that chart is nifty! That and my meat thermometer (lol) will be used to locate the best parts of the house for per each species. Hopefully that will help - perhaps I do need to break down and get a grow light to avoid cold windowsills until the average daily temperature stays above 30 . I didn't think it that cold at the double-pain windows, but I'm not sitting there in the middle of a stormy night. Again, thanks for your help! I assumed starting seeds in this climate would take longer, but I did expect them to eventually start! Guess I'm glad I'm starting early- maybe I'll get something to grow by next fall! LOL!
 
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