Any good suggestions for seedling growing? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 12-24-2007, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd like to get a good start on some seedlings this year (not quite this early, but I want to start thinking about it!). I don't really know anything about grow lights, though. I was thinking I could do some seedlings in my garage, with lights, but I'm not sure that the required light setup would be worth it.

Last year I did seedlings on the kitchen counter, which was just ok - they didn't get quite enough light, so they were leggy and the beans especially got tangled and when I planted them outside some of the untangling killed the plants. : I'd like to do a lot more beans from seed this year because the kids love them and the bean seeds are so much cheaper than, say, heirloom tomato plants.

I don't think I have any better space than the (unheated) garage, though. Anybody btdt?

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love. ~ Neko Case

 
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#2 of 7 Old 12-25-2007, 10:00 PM
 
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I just did a set up in our pantry with regular shop lights as sunlight. Let me see if I can find photos... Ah, here you go. But our water heater's right there, and it's in our insulated basement, so it regularly stays about 65-70*.

My mistakes? Not starting the seeds early enough, not transplanting them into larger/separated pots as soon, etc. Mostly timing.

My trick with tomato and pepper seedlings though included using my heating pad and digital turkey thermometer to keep the soil temp of 'em (at least the peppers) at 85-90*.

Beans.... can you just direct seed them? That's what I do. Of course I grew a ton of beans to can this year, and need to grow even more this next year to can even more. I think I used almost half a pound of bean seeds, ended up with 300+ sprouts, and this jungle. There's no earthly way I could start that many seedlings in my house, anywhere.

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#3 of 7 Old 12-26-2007, 03:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the great photos! Hmm, I hadn't thought about growing seedlings the pantry. It's under-utilized space, for sure. And the temps would be much better there than in the garage.

I should just sow the bean seeds - that's a great idea. We tend to go a little overboard with tomatos and I want to branch out a bit, no pun intended. Can I ask what zone you're in? I might try to get a bit of a head start on them because we can't plant outside until Mother's Day, more or less.

I have high hopes for this spring, like I do every spring, but you're so right that timing is really, really tricky.

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love. ~ Neko Case

 
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#4 of 7 Old 12-26-2007, 05:03 AM
 
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I'm in zone 5, out "last frost date" is around May 15. Just a few hours from the Canadian border.

I think you can sow beans a week or two before the last frost date, they just take a little longer to come up. Than, oh, say, like late June when I planted that jungle I showed you. Seriously, I was like a month or more behind in everything. Didn't even get any seeds started indoors until early/mid April, it was bad (early-mid March would've been perfect!). My tomato and pepper crop was practically non-existent from the stuff I started (luckily I did buy a few plants as backup, but still, it was a sad, sad year).

I have high hopes for May - I don't want this baby coming early at all because I have things I need to plant! We'll see what it does - I'm hoping to get everything planted and ready to go so all I have to do is water and wait for things to grow while I'm dealing with a newborn again.

I'm totally cheating and using those cloth-like weed barrier dealies that let water in but not sun - anything to cut down on weeding and the workload this summer. I plan to throw those cloths down (maybe not in the position they'll end up in later as planting happens) in March/April so the weeds don't even have a chance to get a foothold in the garden.

I've been trying to convince hubby to wander out of town with the kidlets for an afternoon sometime soon so I can get the pantry back in order - right now it's still a disaster from the end of canning combined with pregnancy exhaustion. It's so not pretty. But it does crack me up that I start seedlings on one side of the pantry and months later they end up canned on the other side...

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#5 of 7 Old 12-26-2007, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So literal, not just figurative, Idaho! (I grew up in MT, so I'm really appreciative of the slightly longer growing season in the Midwest.)

I've never had any luck with any peppers except jalapeno. We did one this year for salsa. But the 25 plants I put in last year? No dice. The tomatoes did great, though, although this last summer we had a couple of hot, dry spells that impacted the very last part of the crop (the flowers were sluggish in the heat so the corresponding late tomatoes didn't, um, come to fruition.)

I forgot to plant nastertium last year and missed them for color and for salads. Must be better organized this year!

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love. ~ Neko Case

 
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#6 of 7 Old 12-26-2007, 02:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmonter View Post
I just did a set up in our pantry with regular shop lights as sunlight. Let me see if I can find photos... Ah, here you go. But our water heater's right there, and it's in our insulated basement, so it regularly stays about 65-70*.

My mistakes? Not starting the seeds early enough, not transplanting them into larger/separated pots as soon, etc. Mostly timing.

My trick with tomato and pepper seedlings though included using my heating pad and digital turkey thermometer to keep the soil temp of 'em (at least the peppers) at 85-90*.

Beans.... can you just direct seed them? That's what I do. Of course I grew a ton of beans to can this year, and need to grow even more this next year to can even more. I think I used almost half a pound of bean seeds, ended up with 300+ sprouts, and this jungle. There's no earthly way I could start that many seedlings in my house, anywhere.
I LOVE your garden!!!

Laura wife to Chris proud mommy to our lil monkey (c-section 6-10-06), our other lil monkey (HBAC 3-08-09) Our next and last son (due by HBAC mid July 2011) and our angel (10-03-04). My middle son has many severe food allergies.

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#7 of 7 Old 12-26-2007, 03:26 PM
 
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Yeah, I thought it was a rather clever location for me. Especially because I love it here and have no plans to move for a *very* long time.

Jalapenos are on my to-buy and to-start list this year unless I slack off and just buy plants from the Tomato Lady, so I don't have to buy the veggies (as well as sowing carrots early and doing turnips - I have a number of things I really want/need to can), we'll see how that pans out.
Do you have any kind of shade near the garden? We've got three trees, old crabapple I think, on the west side of the main garden that have a tendency to shade stuff past about 4-6pm. Which I figure gives the plants a little rest from the direct heat, but they still get the ambient sunlight or whatever you want to call it. But peppers, if you get them in *right* after the frost here and it doesn't frost again, seem to do okay. First year I did them I should've caged them because the plant/stalk had a hard time holding itself up with the peppers that appeared. Out of our 4 little plants I think we ended up with at least 4-6 dozen peppers, it was nuts.


Laura ~ Thank you.

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