Daylilies forum: what is the best way to start seeds indoors?

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Name: Kim
iowa (Zone 5a)
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kimmer
Jan 23, 2012 2:11 PM CST
Just was wanting others opinion on the best way to start seeds indoors. I have tried soaking them in peroxide and water in fridge. And a little with soaking them in peroxided and water and placing them on top of the fridge. Any other ways that people have had success with? Kim
Name: shirlee
southeast (Zone 6b)
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mistyfog
Jan 23, 2012 10:50 PM CST
Kim, I have tried several methods over the past few years, but
the method this past season gave me the best germination
rate. More than I wanted were 100%. Of course, this is for this zone, which
may or may not make a difference.

First, the gathered seeds were allowed to dry for 2 days.
Second, the seeds are placed in a small plastic bag with
a tiny piece of folded paper towel dampened with a 10% peroxide
and distilled water solution. The refrigerator is set to 39 degrees
and the seeds are placed in the bottom crisper. The paper towel
is placed in the top of the bag, away from the seeds. I put all the
small bags of the same date into larger bags, then the next later
dated bags into larger bags, etc., just to keep up with when they
might be germinated, and checked them often. So, a really lot
of seeds fit into the crisper. The seeds stayed plump.

The seeds began to germinate (thought I would have more time to plant)
in about 3 weeks in the refrigerator, and as they did, I planted all
the seeds in the bag. I heated the potting soil in the microwave
to avoid fungus gnats and bacteria, which appears to have done the job,
as I did not have damping off or gnats from the potting soil.

I plant seeds rather shallow, one-fourth to one-half inch beneath
the soil depending on the size of the seed. Then place plastic wrap
over the pot, and secure it with a rubber band. The plastic
wrap keeps the soil moist, so no need to water. I have had no
damping off with the use of the plastic wrap. When I see the
green spikes of the seedlings coming up, I remove the plastic wrap.

Did a comparison of the microwaved and not microwaved soil
the year before, and definitely saw a difference. The seedlings
will stay in the house until mid April to mid May usually. If temps permit, they
are then taken outside, and acclimated to the sun slowly depending on the weather, and
planted into the beds prepared for them.

Lots of ways to do this with good results, as others have found
what works for them as well.



[Last edited by mistyfog - Sep 16, 2012 11:27 PM (+)]
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Name: Ann
Manhattan, KS (Zone 5b)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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annred97
Jan 24, 2012 8:13 AM CST
Shirley,
How long did you heat your soil in the microwave. I tried that and still have fungus gnats flying around. Just started a few seeds that had sprouted in the fridge--I'm holding off on most of my planting till February mostly because of the fungus gnat issue. I lost lots of seedlings last year. They germinate and come up great, look good for quite a while, then start dying as their roots are chewed off by the gnat larvae. I have tried lots of suggestions: cinnamon, keeping the medium dry, a layer of perlite on top of the soilless mix, etc. Getting a little frustrated. I still had plenty of seedlings to plant, but some crosses did very poorly. Maybe that's another way to weed out the weak ones :~(
Name: Michele
Cantonment, FL zone 8b
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tink3472
Jan 24, 2012 8:31 AM CST
I have tried various methods as well for fungus gnats; cinnamon, sand, chamomile tea and they didn't work. I never did try the dishsoap drench though. I don't know if you use chemicals or not, but what some hybridizers use in their greenhouses for fungus gnats and other pest is "Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub"; Bill Waldrop and Larry Grace use it. It comes in liquid or granules; I have used the granules in my potted plants I bring in for the winter. You just sprinkle the recommended amount and water it in and it gets absorbed into plant. I've used it outdoors as well in my potted plants and seedlings. For me it works great.
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Name: shirlee
southeast (Zone 6b)
Daylilies Garden Photography Hybridizer Butterflies Clematis Dragonflies
Pollen collector Herbs Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Composter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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mistyfog
Jan 24, 2012 9:22 AM CST
Kim, microwaves vary as to heating so to give how many minutes would vary.
Wet soil heats more quickly, but even when using dry potting soil, I heat it till
it steams without melting the plastic pot. In trying this, I did slightly melt a
couple of pots. It does get really hot, and have to run cold water through
just to handle it.

Last year I had seedlings in basement and upstairs. The ones upstairs
had the potting soil nuked, but basement not. Used same potting soil
for all. The ones downstairs had gnats so bad we had to resort to
chemicals. No gnats upstairs. Used distilled water and peroxide as
described above on all. No problem this winter, as yet anyway.

I have in past years used the vacuum cleaner to rid each crop of tiny
gnats. That saved the seedlings without having to use chemicals inside
the house, but it did take constant surveillance. This is why I tried
the microwave.


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