Seeds forum: BioDome "sponges" out-of-stock! Seed-starting mix OK?

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Name: Emily
Mid-Cape Cod, MA. zone 7a
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CapeCodGardener
Apr 27, 2010 9:42 AM CST
Hi--
ANyone familiar with the BioDome seed starting system? I've used the system for three years, with generally good success. The styrofoam block floats on water, under a plastic dome.

Here's the site from Park Seed that describes how they work:
http://www.parkseed.com/gardening/PD/96601/

Now Park Seed says that the smaller sponges are out-of-stock for the season. Have any of you used seed-starting mix (moistened) to plug into the block rather than the sponges? It seems like it would be fine, but I wondered. . .
Name: Franklin Troiso
Rutland, MA (Zone 5b)
Life is to short to eat rice cakes
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herbie43
Jun 8, 2010 5:52 AM CST
emily - sorry for this late answer but i jsut saw this. i have used seed starting forumula for 20 years and i find it much better than anything else.

all i do is put as much seed starting forumula that i thnk i will need in a large pot and add enough warm water to make it nice and moist. leave it over night and plant your seeds the next day.

fill up the container you plan to put the seeds in (i only put one seed per container) using a pencil make a hole deep enough to plant the seed according to the package directions. take a little more of the moistened soil and place on top of the hole you just made. thats it.

i'm sure you kinow you way around the rest of the seed starting world.

frank


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frank
Name: Emily
Mid-Cape Cod, MA. zone 7a
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CapeCodGardener
Jun 10, 2010 10:14 PM CST
Thank you, Frank!

In the absence of having enough of the Park Seed seed-starting sponges, I used a version of your method by creating several little trays filled with seed-starting mix. Your advice to use warm water and to let the moistened soil "rest" overnight is something that I will do from now on.

I also tried pushing seed-starting mix into the little "holes" in the BioDome styrofoam seed-block before I dropped seeds into it. ( The block then floats in the water under the aforementioned BioDome.) This method worked, sorta, but I didn't have reliably good germination without using the sponges from Park Seed.

I had the best germination--and healthy seedlings-- when I put the seeds in the Park seed sponges OR when I put them in the plastic seed trays in the way you recommended.

Lesson learned! If you're going to use the BioDome "blocks," only use the proprietary sponges. But you can have equally good germination and healthy seedlings using your method. And it costs less.

Thanks for taking the time to respond! It's all an experiment with me, and it helps to have advice!

Name: Franklin Troiso
Rutland, MA (Zone 5b)
Life is to short to eat rice cakes
Charter ATP Member
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herbie43
Jun 11, 2010 5:43 AM CST
after talking with others on this cubit we are going to try using whatever our favorite brand of potting soil for containers (i.e. MG potting soil for containers) instead of seed starting mix.; some people on DG have used it and it works for them. i also tried some last season and it works just fine.
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frank
Name: Franklin Troiso
Rutland, MA (Zone 5b)
Life is to short to eat rice cakes
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herbie43
Jun 11, 2010 5:47 AM CST
ou can check out "using two soils) on this cubit to see what others think.

i tried parks domes a few years back. i made the mistake of buying the largest
of those sponges. i was not happy with the results.

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frank
Name: Emily
Mid-Cape Cod, MA. zone 7a
Charter ATP Member
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CapeCodGardener
Jun 11, 2010 7:59 AM CST
Thanks, Herbie, for the link to the "using two soils" thread. Good to know from all the seed-starting experts that Promix BX works fine, because that's what I generally purchase for my container gardening efforts like pots and EarthBoxes. One less type of soil to purchase is a good thing! Smiling

Regarding the little BioDome sponges, which I've used for three years with generally good success: I've come to the conclusion that they work best for me IF I use the right size sponge (they come in small, med., and large) for the seed. Too large a sponge for a small seed and there seems to be too much moisture held in the giant sponge, or maybe the little "hole" into which you drop the seed is too deep; anyway, no or poor germination. But big seeds like pumpkins, squash, sunflowers, etc., do fine in them. Little seeds work in the small size sponge--you basically drop one (or two if you wish to double-sow) into the hole. Really tiny seeds work better in seed trays where it's easier to broadcast them.

I found the BioDome system to be most useful when I was a complete newbie and needed a complicated "incubator-type system" to make me feel more confident. Now after a few years of experience and the help of this cubit, I may do more of the regular seed-starting trays.

Name: Franklin Troiso
Rutland, MA (Zone 5b)
Life is to short to eat rice cakes
Charter ATP Member
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herbie43
Jun 11, 2010 8:10 AM CST
that was my mistake when i ordered the sponges. i opted for the biggest ones they had but when the the plants started to get bigger i founjd it difficult to get a container to report them in unless i had to use something bigger than 4 inch which i didn't want to do because larger containers would take up to much room in my mini greenhouse which was sitting in my living/compuer room.


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frank
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Jan 10, 2013 5:57 PM CST
Thanks, Franklin!

>> all i do is put as much seed starting forumula that i thnk i will need in a large pot and add enough warm water to make it nice and moist. leave it over night and plant your seeds the next day.

I also start with moist potting soil, but I always thought I also had to "water in" the seeds to settle the soil around them. I thought it waqs necessary to water until some water came out the bottom.

So I guess I have over-watered every tray of seeds I ever started, even BEFORE I started misting the surface.

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