Daylilies forum: Using Planting Sponges for seed starting

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Name: Virginia Harmon
Woodside, CA 94062 (Zone 8b)
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VHarmon
Jul 22, 2017 4:35 PM CST
Pam posted a pic of her fabulous seedling roots in the July Seedling thread.
They looked healthy and vigorous. I recently purchased seed at auction to experiment with water tray germination. I used hydrogen peroxide and diluted fertilizer with great results on the germinated seeds but I had poor germination. I have attributed that to the medium that I used.

I'd like to know more about the sponges sold by Park's for my next trial. Best size for hems? Water tray/bed or capillary mats? If you have any experience or thought, please join in the conversation.

Thx
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Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
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Polymerous
Jul 22, 2017 5:01 PM CST
I was wondering about the size, too (they have 3 sizes), and also what the size of the tray itself is (I didn't see it if they gave it anywhere). This has to fit with my grow light setup, and if I can only use one of those BioDome things per shelf/tray, that's 3 total which is somewhat limiting (and which would probably make me get one of the smaller size sponges).
It's daylily season!
Name: Virginia Harmon
Woodside, CA 94062 (Zone 8b)
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VHarmon
Jul 22, 2017 6:00 PM CST
The measurement of the dome and base are provided on the page for purchasing the bio dome. The sponge tray fits just inside that measurement. base measures 14 7/8" long x 9 1/2" wide x 2 1/4" high, This is true of each size. My inclination is to purchase the 60 cell, however, that might require the seedlings be transplanted too soon. Perhaps the 40 cell allows a longer growing time in the cell.
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Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
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gardenglory
Jul 22, 2017 6:19 PM CST
I grow in the 60 cell. I do have the 40, for the really big seeds, but even tho you might think your seed is to big for that little sponge, I have no problem with the 60. I grow in earthboxes, on garden carts, as I have limited sun, and this way I can move with the seasons. Since these are grown in water, the roots are really long, and can get to the water in the earth box really quick. I have seen much better seedlings than mine, but this gives me the most seedling in the least space, for my situation. Trial...error...and alot of time and money.. Whistling
I know Rich on the LA grows in different type water system. Ill have to see if I can find that.
Name: Virginia Harmon
Woodside, CA 94062 (Zone 8b)
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VHarmon
Jul 22, 2017 6:22 PM CST
Now I'm off to research "earth boxes"!

I have 2 3 tier 48" T5 light stands that I use for germination of crops. It's a pretty good set up with humidity trays, capillary mats and water tray options.
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Name: Virginia Harmon
Woodside, CA 94062 (Zone 8b)
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VHarmon
Jul 22, 2017 6:27 PM CST
I noticed a picture of the system on Rich Howard's Facebook page. I don't remember him identifying the system. I'm also interested in his process. I've purchased a lot of seed from him recently, I'll ask about it.
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Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
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Polymerous
Jul 22, 2017 7:29 PM CST
Thanks for the info! Thumbs up Thank You!

I probably would not use Earth boxes (I used them once a long time ago) but am still interested in seeing how others, especially with space limitations, start and grow their seedlings.
It's daylily season!
Name: Diana
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Region: Nebraska Organic Gardener Dog Lover Bookworm
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ShakespearesGarden
Jul 22, 2017 9:24 PM CST
I noticed those lovely roots and had some of the same questions.
Thank You! to all for the input...

*off to research*
Scout's motto: Be Prepared...
Name: Virginia Harmon
Woodside, CA 94062 (Zone 8b)
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VHarmon
Jul 23, 2017 12:41 PM CST
I spoke with Rich regarding his trays and medium.
He uses RootMaker Cell Trays which he buys from the manufacturer but are also available from AM Leonard.


Thumb of 2017-07-23/VHarmon/e6cf96

He also uses Roots Organic Soilless Medium.
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Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
Bee Lover Birds The WITWIT Badge Butterflies Daylilies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
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gardenglory
Jul 23, 2017 1:19 PM CST
I looked into these once before, but since I have the sponges. Im thinking tho, since you can leave these in much longer than the sponges, would it be worth it to plant them early and let them get the size of the ones in the picture. I know he has shown them blooming in those. Maybe not the best representation, but, point is, they can stay a long time.

Thanks for finding out the name. Hard to forget that, but I did.



[Last edited by gardenglory - Jul 23, 2017 1:20 PM (+)]
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Name: Virginia Harmon
Woodside, CA 94062 (Zone 8b)
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VHarmon
Jul 23, 2017 1:26 PM CST
I'm sure that the difference in size means cultivating in trays for extended periods. The sponges are also available in larger sizes just as RootMakers are available in different sizes.

I have made my decision and ordered the Parks' sponges in 60 cell trays. My light stands are also used for propagation of cut flower crops, veggies, fall ornamentals and for striking cuttings so I can't dedicate them to long term dayliliyseedling production.

Thanks for your imput, Pam.
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Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Jul 23, 2017 7:01 PM CST
I have used one kind of cell trays (not the same one as pictured above) in the past. There is a gotcha to it, which is why I don't use them anymore. If you let the seedlings get too big (the size in Pam's picture is "too big"), then it is very hard to wrestle the individual seedlings out of the tray, without damaging the tray in the process. Moreover, while you are trying to wrestle seedlings out, it is possible to dislodge/push out the labels you have in whichever cells. Both of these have happened to me, and so I have some seedlings whose parentage I am not 100% certain of; I have to guess at what they are, based on what labels fell out of the tray. (No, I did not map the contents of the tray; I was relying on the labels. D'Oh! ) But even if I were to map the tray, that still does not solve the problem of "let the seedlings get too big and you'll have problems and/or damage the tray getting them out". Not to mention that I felt those large cell trays were a pain in the posterior to stack and store.

I think I agree with Virginia that maybe the 60 cell tray - at least for me - is the optimum one. I have to do a lot of daylily seedlings within a few months (so the 60 cell tray allows me to pack them in there); I also use my light stand for propagating other things as well (veggies, for starters), so I want to pot the seedlings up and move them out as soon as they are "big enough".

Thanks for this thread!
It's daylily season!
Name: Virginia Harmon
Woodside, CA 94062 (Zone 8b)
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VHarmon
Jul 23, 2017 8:09 PM CST
I'm glad to have had a very productive conversation.
Thank you, Polymerous.
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Name: Virginia Harmon
Woodside, CA 94062 (Zone 8b)
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VHarmon
Aug 3, 2017 6:43 PM CST
Last Saturday I received close to 200 seeds from Westend (Tommy Maddox) on the LA. They were packaged in ziplock bags having been refrigerated for 3-5 weeks. The bags were shipped in a bubble envelope and a box. They were well protected. Tommy doesn't dry his seed. With the heat encountered in transit their on moisture was enough to cause stratification. A few seed, likely the oldest in the bags were already pushing their root through their skin. I refrigerated them overnight and sowed them the following day in Park's sponge planting system.

I loaded the sponges with a solution of mycorrhiza and seedling nutrients.

Today, just 4 days later I have cotyledons!


Thumb of 2017-08-04/VHarmon/bf6c0d

This picture doesn't load at its original quality. Sorry.

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Name: Arlene
Florida's east coast (Zone 9a)
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florange
Aug 3, 2017 7:02 PM CST
I'm reading this with interest. Earlier in the year I purchased a biodome from Park Seed and ordered the largest they had for tomato and peppers. I'm going to be planting them this weekend because by Sept we need to get the plants into the ground for the fall/winter crop. This is the joy of living in an area that gets little or no frost! I'll post pics when I get them going.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Aug 3, 2017 7:03 PM CST
I don't think heat can cause stratification, but it can cause germination.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Aug 3, 2017 7:06 PM CST
I was glad to read that not everyone dries their seeds. I have been taking my directly from the garden to the fridge and was hoping it would not cause a problem. But, I have not been storing mine dry, so I may still lose a lot of seeds we will see. If I start seeing them mold or rot I will change my storage method.
Name: Virginia Harmon
Woodside, CA 94062 (Zone 8b)
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VHarmon
Aug 3, 2017 9:01 PM CST
Yes, Larry , you're right and I mispoke. They germinated on their way west.
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