Vegetables and Fruit forum→So I am lazy...

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Charlotte, NC (Zone 7b)
kevin101
May 14, 2020 8:32 AM CST
Instead of starting seeds indoor and transplanting them later, I directly sowed the seeds outside.
None came out. Nothing!

How often do you need to water the seeds?
mulching needed?
cover by plastic film´╝č

How come wild plants can grow wihtout care at all?!


Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
May 14, 2020 8:57 AM CST
We need more information.
What specifically did you plant?
did you till the soil?
did you add compost?

re wild plants...
yes they can take care of themselves... if everything is to their specifications.

if you scattered seed from wildflowers over the lawn... nothing would happen.

those vegetables that you planted... originally came from other places... they didn't evolve in your area.

plastic? no.

mulch? not over freshly planted seed.
mulch the soil after the plants are large enough not to be harmed by it.

re water...
touchy subject...
if the rains are enough, watering shouldn't be required. And... there are things we can do to conserve moisture, the mulch... you've already touched on.
adding compost and/or animal manure, and "green manure", also helps the soil to hold moisture.

to address the why can't the plants take care of themselves question... many can.

at my house, I have climbing beans, crowder peas, tomatoes, calico peppers, maxixe, poppies, iris, and many other things all growing from dropped seed from last year's garden... thing is... I did a lot to improve the sand.
[Last edited by stone - May 14, 2020 9:07 AM (+)]
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Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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farmerdill
May 14, 2020 9:30 AM CST
Concur: most vegetable seeds need loose friable soil to grow. That means tillage, or containers with potting soil.
I consider raised beds and straw bales as types of container gardening.
Most vegetable seeds will germinate direct seeded. Most of the summer vegetables do best direct seeded. Many plants have small seeds and yet are large plants at maturity. In order to get proper spacing, they need transplanting. Another reason is get an early start to your growing season.

Probably the major reason for lack of germination is soil temperature. Some types sown too early will sit in the ground and rot. If your Charlotte is North Carolina you should be able to germinate most common plants if planted in friable soil. Fertility is problem for the maturing plant but not for germination.
Name: SoCal
Orange County (Zone 10a)
Lazy Gardener or Melonator
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SoCalGardenNut
May 14, 2020 11:11 AM CST
You need to start them in potting soil, I just dig a small trench and throw some seeds and the cover them, then water, that's the important part. I'm a lazy gardener too.
2022 wishlist: Pastelorama, Pastelegance, and Blonde Vision.
Charlotte, NC (Zone 7b)
kevin101
May 14, 2020 12:05 PM CST
stone said:We need more information.
What specifically did you plant?
did you till the soil?
did you add compost?


cilantro, spanish pepper, basil, oregano, some flowers...Some I buried in a hole, some I just threw on the ground.
I did till the soil.
Water occasionally, in between, I can see the soil is try. That is why I was thinking mulching.

Sad. maybe I will stat indoor next year.

Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Herbs Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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pod
May 14, 2020 12:20 PM CST
Also, depth of seed might be an issue. Most cannot be planted too deeply.

Birds have been known to plunder through freshly tilled soil and might pick your seeds out.

Soil does need to maintain an even moisture level to stimulate germination.

But, I agree with @FarmerDill the soil temperature is usually the main problem with germination.

For me seed starting and transplanting is the lazy way of doing it successfully. Thumbs up
Believe in yourself even when no one else will. ~ Sasquatch
Name: Doug
Austin TX HZ10, better than (Zone 8b)
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DougL
May 14, 2020 3:03 PM CST
You can assume that if you want seeds to germinate, the soil needs to be kept moist. Not sopping wet. Just moist. Once they germinate, and send roots southward, surface moisture is irrelevant.

Soil temperature requirements really depends on the seeds. Winter crops are happy to come up in cool soil. Summer crops (peppers, basil) want warm soil.

Depth? Just follow the instructions on the seed packet. But yes, the soil needs to be loose and friable. If the soil turns into concrete, nothing will come up. Mulch over concrete won't help.

As to direct seeding, if cutworms are an issue, you'd be better off doing transplants. Why? Because then you know where the plants are, and can protect them. If you direct seed, the seeds will move around, and the cutworms can get to them before you have a chance to protect them. In general big seeds (squash, cukes) make big strong seedlings when they germinate. Small seeds (peppers, tomatoes) make small delicate seedlings when they germinate. So direct seeding the latter can be chancy.
[Last edited by DougL - May 15, 2020 8:48 AM (+)]
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Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
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Intheswamp
May 15, 2020 8:04 AM CST
I've never seen a good, lazy gardener. I've seen good gardeners that have figured out how to make tending a garden easier on themselves and may "appear" lazy but they are far from being lazy.

Reasons for no germination:
*Soil too cold or too hot...this time of year most likely too cold for what you planted.

*Soil too wet or too dry...needs to be consistently moist. If a tiny seedling sprouts and the soil dries out the seedling will quickly die. If the soil is too wet the seed can rot or the tiny seedling can drown/rot. The surface soil needs to be moist but not soggy.

*Seeds planted too deep or too shallow...plant at depth recommended on seed packet. Different seeds require different depths. A large bean seed needs to be an inch or so deep, a cilantro seed needs to be only about .25" deep. Some need light and some need darkness.

*Bad seed. Seed can be bad off the rack at the store but I think those are rare. It all depends on how they've been handled and stored. Most seeds are fairly resilient and can handle some mishandling but they are living plants and are subject to the same conditions that can kill growing plants...extreme heat is the #1 killer. Age will also lower their germination rates. Where *you* store the seeds, even temporarily, can make a difference...for example, don't leave seeds sitting in a hot car all day...remember that they are tiny living plants.

You've got some good replies from some very good gardeners here. Don't skim over what they've written and ignore what you don't understand, but rather delve deeper reading articles online, books, etc., to understand more in depth what they are telling you. To get you started here are a couple of links to study:

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/e...

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/h...

https://www.gardeningknowhow.c...

I took "Charlotte" to mean Charlotte, NC....but, there are many "Charlottes" around the country so I may be wrong. You might want to clarify that in your profile's "location". Thumbs up

Don't give up. You apparently have the desire to grow things. Once you get some things growing I suspect you will find that you will be an active gardener...not a lazy one. nodding

Best wishes, Thumbs up
Ed
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: Doug
Austin TX HZ10, better than (Zone 8b)
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DougL
May 15, 2020 8:47 AM CST
In mid-May, unless you're in Alaska, the soil is warm enough to germinate pretty much anything. My soil temp is about 78F. Yours should be around 67F (in NC). No prob.
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Seed Starter
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Intheswamp
May 15, 2020 9:14 AM CST
DougL said:In mid-May, unless you're in Alaska, the soil is warm enough to germinate pretty much anything. My soil temp is about 78F. Yours should be around 67F (in NC). No prob.

It has been unseasonably cold until this week here in Alabama and seeds that I planted cow peas, beans, cucumbers, and okra have struggled (or all butfailed...okra). I think other areas east and north of me have reported a similar below-normal temperature situation. With @kevin101 complaining about a lack of germination he probably planted more toward the first of the month, I would guess. Shrug!

The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
May 16, 2020 7:05 AM CST
kevin101 said:

cilantro, spanish pepper, basil, oregano, some flowers...Some I buried in a hole, some I just threw on the ground.
I did till the soil.
Water occasionally, in between, I can see the soil is try. That is why I was thinking mulching.

Ok, Thanks... Now I have some idea of the problem.
At my house, I planted some old cilantro seeds... someone threw them out... I rescued them from the trash... these cilantro are in bloom now... I planted them in the autumn with the far older carrot seeds I had... carrots didn't grow....

Anyway, I planted both on the soil surface... bury such tiny seed, they won't be able to make it.

And... when dealing with small seeds... That is when the amount of compost or other organic material is going to matter.

I was very surprised to see the comments poo-pooing the importance of amending the soil and how that helps the seeds to germinate...

Here's the deal...
At my house... the un-amended sand dries out and forms a crust... I find it impossible to water the sand often enough to keep it moist!

The organic amendments help the sand to hold moisture... and... paradoxically, helps the clay to drain!

Pepper and basil need warmer soil temps...

The flowers?
Names?

None of these seeds would have benefitted from being buried.

And... you actually were on the right track when you were considering mulch...

What I do... is to spread compost / horse poop on the surface of the soil after I've dug some in... and sow the seeds on top of the "compost".

And... If I do it at just the right time... There is no need to water....

I watch the weather... go out and plant stuff when they predict rain.

[Last edited by stone - May 16, 2020 7:09 AM (+)]
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Name: Doug
Austin TX HZ10, better than (Zone 8b)
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DougL
May 16, 2020 10:00 AM CST
You amend the soil that you're going to plant in. That's what makes the soil friable. Not put mulch over planted seeds. Planting seeds directly in compost is iffy. Hard to keep compost uniformly moist unless it is mixed with soil.

No one here was poo-pooing the importance of amending the soil. That's ALWAYS important.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
May 17, 2020 2:30 PM CST
DougL said: Planting seeds directly in compost is iffy


Ok... maybe iffy at your house... I've been planting this way for 30 years in my area...

So, maybe you are talking about store-bought compost... as often as not... I'm just using the horse poop that comes from a local stable.

And... I try to avoid watering...

Name: SoCal
Orange County (Zone 10a)
Lazy Gardener or Melonator
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SoCalGardenNut
May 17, 2020 2:48 PM CST
I planted in my compost and it didn't survive. Except the seeds from my compost thrived.
2022 wishlist: Pastelorama, Pastelegance, and Blonde Vision.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
May 17, 2020 2:57 PM CST
We need more information...
What seeds did you plant? how thick of a layer of compost? How much did it rain? Winter or summer?
What is the native soil like? Clay? Sand? something else?

Did you try some of the seeds in other plots... ie were they viable?

Name: SoCal
Orange County (Zone 10a)
Lazy Gardener or Melonator
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SoCalGardenNut
May 17, 2020 3:10 PM CST
I always threw my seeds in my garden, most did sprout, but one time I thought my compost was just as good to start my seeds, nothing sprouted. Like I said I've been gardening for 31 years now. I'm not a newbie, so I agree with Phil, that it's iffy. The same soil all around. No sand here.
2022 wishlist: Pastelorama, Pastelegance, and Blonde Vision.
[Last edited by SoCalGardenNut - May 17, 2020 3:11 PM (+)]
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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
May 17, 2020 3:20 PM CST
I'm still trying to understand the problem.
Did you toss the seeds on the compost pile? Fill a container? Or spread the compost out? How thickly did you spread the compost?

"The same soil all around." So... clay?

did you save some of the seed and try a different planting method?
Wouldn't be the first time I had some non-viable seed....


[Last edited by stone - May 17, 2020 3:25 PM (+)]
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Name: SoCal
Orange County (Zone 10a)
Lazy Gardener or Melonator
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SoCalGardenNut
May 17, 2020 3:29 PM CST
I sowed them in my compost. I covered them too. Mostly clay soil here. But I didn't try them a different method, but I knew not to sow them in compost again. My compost also has some soil, not all 100% compost either. Like I said it's not something to suggest to a newbie to try. I don't sow my seeds in clay soil either. I sow them in potting soil or starting soil for seeds. Much looser soil. Perhaps I think my compost was too rich, it came from my worm bin.
2022 wishlist: Pastelorama, Pastelegance, and Blonde Vision.
[Last edited by SoCalGardenNut - May 17, 2020 3:33 PM (+)]
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Name: Dr. Demento Jr.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
May 17, 2020 8:14 PM CST
kevin101 said:
I did till the soil.
Water occasionally, in between, I can see the soil is try. That is why I was thinking mulching.

How did you till it?

I roto-till my garden to a depth of at least 8 inches; unless I cannot get back in and have weeds growing, I do it only once now, not three passes vert., horiz. and diagnal as I used to .
I plant as soon after doing it as I can as waiting can make a huge difference depending on weather and how many weeds were in the garden in the fall.
I now mulch, in one form or another as much garden as I can depending on mulch available to me. That control weeds better but is not a cure-all.

I have just thrown seeds out when I have planted all that has to have its orderly place and then taken seeds that I did not want to take up space in th e seed box out haphazardly.
Results were what you can expect when you just toss some thing out, lousy Only squash or vining veggies can some times be a nice bonus that way but planting is like shopping , you get what you pay for, little effort , little reward.

Watering, if I think it is too dry before plants sprout or are just coming up I will water for at least one full hour once a week.
With mulch, not as much to worry about as unlike soil, mulch will not dry and crack.
I have seeded, up here in the countries ice-box, tomatoes , onions and other such things that are usually planted live and have had mixed results depending on how warm it was, and howearly and long it stayed warm but all produced usable fruit.

Some plants just take longer than one wants to come up.
An outdoor garden is not like an indoor seed sproutng lab or even close.
Soil is better than the bagged stuff, is taken care of but it works at its own pace, not yours.
Up here carrots take a long, long, long time to come up as do some other veggies where as radishes are here and gone in very short order; though letting them grow and go to seed makes nice flowers the bees love.



Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
May 18, 2020 6:53 AM CST
SoCalGardenNut said:I sowed them in my compost. I covered them too. Mostly clay soil here.


I'm still not understanding.
Did you bury the seeds in your compost pile?

When I've sown seeds in the native soil types we have here in middle Georgia... I get poor results... every time.
By top dressing the soil first, I usually achieve some measure of success.

When I've gardened in areas that had decent soil, (Think mid-west), topdressing the soil first wasn't required.

If you saw seeds from the compost growing... that seems like the compost was not to blame for your seeds not growing.... But rather... something else.



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