Seeds forum: Sowing in vermiculite

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Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Jan 18, 2013 4:48 AM CST

Moderator

Some time ago JonnaSudenius posted an article about this on ATP. The article is also on her seed site:
http://seedsite.eu/zaaiinstructies.htm

The idea intrigued me and I had to give it a try. One week ago, on Jan. 11, I sowed 3 little containers- one of echinacea and two of different begonias. They're under lights with bottom heat. Yesterday I could see 2 sprouts in the echinacea, and today one more is popping. There is no sign of the begonias yet, but even in soil I think they've taken a couple of weeks in the past. I'm hopeful.

I have to say, this was easier than sowing in potting mix- no sterilizing soil or containers, no daily misting... this is an easy process. I don't think I'll use the method for wintersowing, though. I keep that as my "lazy gardener's way to start seeds". I don't want to have to pot up the seedlings. My wintersown babies go right from milk jugs to garden bed.

Karen
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Jan 18, 2013 7:53 AM CST
Are you going to transplant them into pots or do they stay in the vermiculite until they go outside?
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Jan 18, 2013 9:20 AM CST

Moderator

Joanne, I asked Jonna that specific question in an email. She said she usually pricks the seedlings out and transplants to soil when they are around 2 true leaf size. The lids stay on until transplanting, so they never need watering. If larger sized seedlings hit the lid, she takes it off and mists the seedlings daily.

I had doubts about tiny, dust like seeds, like begonias, falling too deep within crevasses in the vermiculite particles, but Jonna assured me that it works well for dust like seeds.

This is an interesting experiment for sure. So far I'm pretty impressed by 3 echinacea sprouts in a week's time. Many people find them hard to germinate, but I've generally had good (or at least acceptable) results wintersowing. These particular echinacea are supposed to bloom the first year, but I don't believe they would if wintersown. That's why I decided to try these particular seeds. I didn't treat the seeds first (like soaking), I just sowed them. Prepping and sowing the 3 containers probably took about 10 minutes total.

Karen
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Jan 18, 2013 9:26 AM CST
Did you take any photos? Would love to see how you did it.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Jan 18, 2013 1:00 PM CST

Moderator

No, I didn't but I'll get a shot today or tomorrow.

Karen
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
Image
kqcrna
Jan 18, 2013 2:44 PM CST

Moderator

Just simple plastic containers, no holes in top or bottom.
Thumb of 2013-01-18/kqcrna/20c8c6

Echinacea sprouts, if you squint...
Thumb of 2013-01-18/kqcrna/c52ca7

Karen
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Joannabanana
Jan 18, 2013 3:12 PM CST
Cool,
Thanks for the photos. When do you think they will need to be transplanted in a soil mix?
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Jan 18, 2013 3:33 PM CST
Cool, indeed! And yes, I can see those little sprouts! I just checked, and my local supplier of potting soil also carries vermiculite! He said they have medium and coarse, but couldn't describe what "medium" looks like. Gonna pick me up a bag for sure!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Jan 18, 2013 5:52 PM CST

Moderator

really keep the lid on the whole time??.. would think they would rot.. no?
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Jan 19, 2013 5:04 AM CST

Moderator

Apparently not, according to Jonna. Shrug! (But I'm not Jonna. I might not have the same good results in the end!)

Karen
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Jan 20, 2013 3:41 PM CST

Moderator

I have sprouts in both begonia containers. It has been 9 days since they were seeded. They're barely visible specks, but I definitely see green.

I really didn't expect the B. boliviensis to germinate. I saved those seeds from my barely alive plants last year. None of the pods completely ripened on the plant. They fell to the ground while still pink and full of moisture. I saved a few anyway, and now they've sprouted. Very cool!

Karen
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Jan 20, 2013 3:44 PM CST
That's great! Thumbs up
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Calin
Weston-super-mare UK (Zone 7b)
Bulbs Lilies Plant and/or Seed Trader
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fixpix
Jan 21, 2013 1:39 AM CST
Sounds cool.
I have never tried "V" and no idea what it looks like and what the method is.
I just had some perlite sometimes mixed in with potting mix and sand.
But pure "V" for seed germination... this I need to try.
I am disappointed ... I had some carnivorous seeds and sown in some mix I made and after I saw many tiny sprouts, at a later-on check, most were gone, only one left. And I could see some small worms, really tiny and see-through. Maybe they were hungry... Maybe "V" is not a medium these worms will call HOME.
:)
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
Image
kqcrna
Jan 21, 2013 5:03 AM CST

Moderator

I'm sorry, Cain. Were your seeds outside? Clear worms sound like slugs.

Vermiculite
http://www.vermiculite.org/pdf_word/Vermiculite_Horticultura...

Karen
Name: Calin
Weston-super-mare UK (Zone 7b)
Bulbs Lilies Plant and/or Seed Trader
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fixpix
Jan 21, 2013 6:03 AM CST
Well, they were really tiny. Could barely see them. Very see-through and slim. :)
Inside the apt, probably I kept the medium too wet (I thought this was needed for carnivorous plant seeds)
Yea... I need to find something better for my seeds.
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
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jan 21, 2013 1:13 PM CST
I wonder if watering seedlings with dilute hydrogen peroxide would bleach those worms to death.

Some sites advise diluting down to 0.1 or 0.2 % (1:32 or 1"16 dilution if you start with 3% H2O2).
That's 1-2 ounces per quart.

Some experienced gardeners use it stronger, at least for soaking hard-shelled seeds, without ill effect.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
Image
kqcrna
Jan 21, 2013 4:05 PM CST

Moderator

Some of the echinacea seedlings are slow to stand up, still horizontal on vermiculite surface. Also slow to shed the seed coat, but they just started to sprout a few days ago so hopefully they'll progress.

The begonias are still barely visible.

Karen
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Jan 21, 2013 4:58 PM CST
Nice to get sort of a "blow-by-blow" report on the seedling progress. Thanks, Karen! I'm really hoping to be able to use this technique!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
Image
kqcrna
Jan 21, 2013 5:07 PM CST

Moderator

I'm hopeful for the method too. Looking good, but too soon for a verdict. Smiling

I have 2 more types of echinacea seeds. I'm giving the current ones another week or two to see how they do. If they progress well, I'll likely sow a few of the other types the same way. Otherwise, I'll probably wintersow them.
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
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jan 21, 2013 7:10 PM CST
I wish we had slow-motion videos of seedling growth on You-Tube.

I think I'm potting mine up or transplanting them 'way too late. I try to wait until the root ball in the six-pack insert or plug cell is solid enough to pop out without crumbling.

Maybe I should aim for the other extreme: prick them out while the root is too small to rip apart.

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