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Illinois
ccerna2
Mar 9, 2018 9:04 AM CST
I planted my succulent seeds 2 weeks ago and I put plastiwrap to contain the moisture for the seeds except now the soil smells and I don't know if that's normal or if I should remove the plastiwrap?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Mar 9, 2018 10:26 AM CST
Welcome!

Although plastic wrap may help with germination by keeping the humidity higher, it needs to be vented. If water droplets form on the inside of the wrap, the humidity is too high and you are in danger of rotting your seeds. If your soil smells bad and the seeds have not germinated, I would say that's what has happened.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
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Baja_Costero
Mar 9, 2018 10:39 AM CST
I do not vent any of the plastic wrap that I put over germination pots to contain the moisture. My goal is 100% humidity underneath. Water droplets form on the inside of the wrap with the daily fluctuations in temperature and that is never an issue. I leave the plastic on until the seedlings inside are big enough (like maybe the size of a small pea) to tolerate a bit of variation in soil moisture.

I am wondering why you can smell something through the plastic wrap (are you removing it regularly?)... in any case, the way to deal with situations where the plastic wrap has to be left on for a long time (and I might leave it on for months in the case of very small seeds) is to sterilize the soil before you sow the seeds. My preferred method is to microwave the soil in the pot with a lid on and that works to prevent rot almost all the time.

Welcome!
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Mar 9, 2018 12:52 PM (+)]
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Illinois
ccerna2
Mar 9, 2018 3:04 PM CST
Hi Baja,

I did remove the plastic wrap once because the soil looked a little dry so I sprayed some water on it and put the wrap back on but the next day it started to smell. So what should I do now? And if I were to use your method of microwaving the soil to prevent rot, how long would I have to microwave it?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Mar 9, 2018 3:26 PM CST
I'm visualizing a lightning storm in your microwave. You should be asking what kind of medium Baja uses that it can be microwaved.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator
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Baja_Costero
Mar 9, 2018 3:29 PM CST
I suppose what you decide to do depends on the smell. Smiling If you have lots of extra seeds, why not try again but with some attempt to sterilize the soil.

This is how I microwave my germination pots.

Soil: 25% compost, 25% coir, 50% fine pumice
Container: 4 inch round, plastic, azalea style (wider than deep)

Fill containers with soil (I do 2 at a time and don't fill them all the way... leave a little space at the top). Water carefully to completion with purified (drinking) water. Move each container to a new clean saucer and cover them both with an inverted saucer on top. They are now ready to be microwaved. You can reuse lids from big food containers (cleaned well) if you don't have a stack of saucers handy. The idea is to keep the container closed top and bottom so that nothing blows in to contaminate your work until you're ready to sow the seeds. Make sure your container and saucers/lids start out clean, and/or bleach them if you have any doubt.

I stack two of those containers (each with a lid and a saucer) in the microwave and

repeat 10x (20 seconds on high, then 2 minute wait)
or I suppose you could do 25 minutes at 15% power
but don't run full power for too long or the lids will start popping off explosively

About two cycles before the conclusion, the containers should become too hot to touch comfortably and start to exude a faint steamy soil smell. You can scale this to any size or number of containers as long as you end up well past the hot-finger test and steamy smell phase.

Leave the containers covered and on their saucers until the soil cools back down to room temperature. Then top them off with clean water if necessary and move them to new clean saucers as the old ones will probably be pretty dirty by that point.

Sow your seeds on top (only cover them if they're relatively big), mist with clean (drinking) water, and cover immediately with plastic wrap. I would use a rubber band or scotch tape to affix the plastic. Do not remove or lift the plastic until you're ready to get it off permanently, which is generally when the seedlings are sufficiently large and succulent to tolerate the soil drying out a bit. This is a judgment call (you can always show up here with a picture when you think you're ready) and it depends on the size of the seed as well as the speed of the baby plant.

Here is an example with some recently germinated golden barrel cacti.

Thumb of 2018-03-09/Baja_Costero/7c20cb
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Mar 9, 2018 3:45 PM (+)]
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