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shop bought seedlings and residues of chemicals - how do they perform anyway?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I know a lot of people who spend a lot of money buying seedlings and quite some of them buy at the hardware store or a nursery. Of course, none of them are organic. I wonder how much chemical residues are in these seedlings at harvest time especially with fast-growing plants like basil or lettuce? How is seedling production regulated? And how do these seedlings perform in the garden? My guess is that they are grown very fast. What fertilizers does the industry use?
Just wondering, I myself never buy any seedlings it's just interesting to know. Buying seedlings is imo a waste of money.
 
Posts: 353
Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
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trees
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I quit buying seedlings the year I bought some Celebrity and beefsteak seedlings a couple years ago. I couldn't tell which tomatoes were the beefsteaks and which were the celebrity, I had the feeling from the shape that they were all celebrity. But the plants weren't determinate so I had no idea what I'd bought. The next spring I got some volunteers where they were grown and I let them go. The tomatoes looked like Celebrities. So either they weren't Celebrities or Celebrities aren't really hybrid. It was important to me as I was trying to determine if Celebrity would resolve my late blight problem. Since I don't know what they were I couldn't make a rational judgement of how they did with the blight problem.

So, I said to myself, never again . I'm growin my own. Every seed I buy will be a non hybrid and I'm saving seeds from this years produce for next years garden. That's what I'm doing this year. The only thing I had a problem with this year was the zucchini seed I saved wasn't ripe enough to give me seeds that felt plump enough to germinate. I rebought Fordhook zucchini which wilted away in my trays or when I planted them out. So I planted seed in the ground which are coming up and looking fine. I scored a zero on seedling purchases for my veggie garden. DW did buy flower seedlings, I need to look into growing some pansies seeds, which they say are hard to do, ....on the sly.

As far as residues in either seeds or seedlings I don't pay extra for organic seeds. When I think of how small that tomato seed is and how big the plant is when the tomatoes are ripe, I can't imagine there's a problem there. Actually it would be interesting to me to know how much additional volume there is in the plants and fruits, a million to one???

But it may be more important to know what residues are in the potting soil you or your nursery uses to grow your seedlings

 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
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I was looking in google for some other stuff and saw these pictures of huge greenhouses, and something didn't feel right. I wanted to know more about how usual seedlings are produced.
 
John Duda
Posts: 353
Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
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Another problem with seedlings is the cost. Most of the sellers, this year are selling them as singles in 4 inch (100mm) pots for a lot of money. I can buy 2 packs of seeds for the cost of one of these seedlings, which gets worse when you want a half dozen or perhaps even more. With seed you get a much larger variety, and you can pick out an heirloom instead of the 95% hybrids you see at the store. I pick my seeds by what tastes best instead of some phony claim of better plants with a hybrid. The only thing I see that's better with hybrids is disease prevention. The thing I notice is for some reason I never get the problems they say their hybrids are resistant to.

And I wonder what's the story behind the tomato blight. I grew or watched my mother grow tomatoes for 60 years without a single instance of blight. I've been getting late blight for, what, 8 years. Where did it come from, how is it spread. Seedlings???

 
Posts: 91
Location: Saskatchewan
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Angelika Maier wrote:I know a lot of people who spend a lot of money buying seedlings and quite some of them buy at the hardware store or a nursery. Of course, none of them are organic. I wonder how much chemical residues are in these seedlings at harvest time especially with fast-growing plants like basil or lettuce? How is seedling production regulated? And how do these seedlings perform in the garden? My guess is that they are grown very fast. What fertilizers does the industry use?
Just wondering, I myself never buy any seedlings it's just interesting to know. Buying seedlings is imo a waste of money.



In my experience these seedling perform just fine. Most greenhouses would not use any herbicides and typically no pesticides. They would frequently add an inorganic water soluble fertilizer, most often a 20-20-20, to the water to make the plants grow greener and look healthier.

As far a I am aware there is very little regulation regulation on greenhouses. These businesses rely on minimizing input costs, and chemicals are expensive. Nursuries also rely on a good reputation. Hardware stores rely on convenience to make sales, their plants might not be as healthy.

I would think that when a plant is bought as a seedling and raised in an organic garden it would have undectectable levels of remaining chemicals. I would be more concerned with the general environmental damage done by the plastic plant trays, mined perlite and whatever other materials the nursery has sourced. Starting your own seedlings can be done in reusable containers, and a growing medium from a known source.

As for the practicality if buying seedlings it is mostly a question of the availability of time and the number of plants that are being bought. If a person works long hours and only grows a small garden for fresh produce only in the summer. It might make more sense to buy a few seedlings than to start their own. I suspect that the majority of people who use this site do not fit into that category.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2019
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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Funke' s Nursery is near me.
He probably has 100 varieties of tomatoes,
5 plus varieties of peppers and dozens of herbs, that he grows in house.
His starts are cheap enough that I can't turn them down, and he encourages you to save your own seed.

He knows the value he gives is incredible.
If I had planted out at the "correct" planting date, my plants would have died, 3 times over,from late frost.

Instead, I let him hold onto "my plants"  for me, until I was really sure that we had had our last frost.

If my own greenhouse, and personal life were not in disarray, I would have loved to raise my own from seed.

Buying starts is like buying day old chicks instead of hatching out fertilized eggs, or  keeping a roo' and that entails.

I've heard that even the Amish will buy starts for some plants...
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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There are many really good people raising good stuff, I wonder more about the seedlings in hardware stores or the potted herbs in supermarkets. Of course, one would assume that if you own a greenhouse you wouldn't spray because someone has to spray.
 
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