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starting seeds

 
rachael hamblin
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What techniques have you all used for starting your seeds?  We currently have some going in a tray with a clear plastic cover, we're starting a lot more this week and are thinking we'll try several different techniques and compare them. 
 
                    
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Great way to start seeds is "sprouting" which is popular with long-term ocean cruising where space is at a premium and greens and vegetables a necessary rarity. Using bell jars, cheesecloth, seed packets for edibles, herbs and beans insert seeds, cover mouth with cheescloth, wash in tepid water several timesw a day and grow a protable garden. Method was big in the 60s and 70s but now seems to hard to find on the internet.
 
Kelda Miller
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What I've learned for seed starting:

heat is more important than light for the sprouting stage. So even a dark basement will do

once the plants are up you want to give them sun, but balanced with wind/movement so they don't get too leggy. I've envied my neighbors greenhouse and she let me have some starts in there, but she keeps it closed up. So I've actually found that the starts I move outdoors in the sun and then indoors every night are much healthier then the ones in the light stuffy greenhouse.

we have a south facing bathroom, and that bright warm wet environment has been great for getting the heat lovers (tomatoes, pepper, basil) sprouted and up.

allium family (onions, leeks) you can trim every so often to make them stout before transplanting

i usually wait to transplant at least until there's some true leaves (not just the beginning two)
 
rachael hamblin
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for starting indoors would you recommend giving them some time outside on mild days to help in the wind/movement department?  my starts are pretty damn leggy right now, is there any way to fix this?
 
Dave Boehnlein
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Location: Orcas Island, WA
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Some things (primarily Brassicas, I think) can be planted deep if they turn out leggy and they don't mind so much. Other things probably aren't so variable. We had some leggy zinnias about a week ago. We moved them from a partial sun windowsill to a full-sun greenhouse and propped them up with little twigs. A week later they actually seem to have eschewed the twigs and are once again standing on their own. So long as they don't get knocked over with watering I suspect they will make a go of it.

In other words, if you can give the plants full sun, they may rectify their legginess. Note, exposing starts that are already leggy to wind and movement seems like it might just knock them over permanently. Do so with care.

Dave
 
rachael hamblin
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These guys are basil, cilantro, and oregano babies, young enough they don't have their first set of true leaves yet and yet have stems from 1" to 3" tall...I think they're putting all their energy into heighth.  Maybe if the weather is good tomorrow I'll take them out in the yard with me.  Do you know anything about planting these deeper?  I could try covering up the stems a bit if that would help.
 
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