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Feb 6, 2010 9:53 AM CST
|The 1st couple of years, I had started seeds near a sunny window. Since the space was very limited, I only started a few trays and only seeds that were about 4 week before last frost.|
Since I got the seed starting shelves with lights, the amount of seeds that I start are more than a thousand.
Feb 9, 2010 5:45 PM CST
|Your lights should be positioned about 2 inches above the plants. Watch out for the ones that bolt like tomatoes. You may have to adjust the lights several times.|
Feb 10, 2010 12:08 PM CST
I was in Garden Retreat the other day and they have seed starting equipment. What do you and others think of what they have?
Feb 10, 2010 12:29 PM CST
|Very nice, good quality and it is always great to buy local.|
Is this Miss Melinda?
Feb 19, 2010 1:39 PM CST
|I take it Garden Retreat is a store?|
I have a small indoor shelf/light system but I use it more for cuttings. I do start some seeds indoors. Most I wintersow though.
Feb 19, 2010 1:48 PM CST
|Yes, It is one of the only local to Calgary stores that sell greenhouses, cold frames and seed starting equipment.|
Great set-up Karen! I like the metal shelves. We have 2 of them in the kid's toy room. When she is ready to get rid of some toys, I sure could use them! Thanks for the idea
Feb 19, 2010 9:11 PM CST
|Joanna, is that the Park Seed Biodome system that you are using? Wow, that's a lot of starts!|
Karen, your plants grown from cuttings look SO healthy? Are they coleus and geraniums? I grow these every year from seed under lights, but it looks like I could save a lot of effort if I tried cuttings (do you give tutorials?)
Feb 19, 2010 11:31 PM CST
|Emily, My indoor unit is from Lee Valley Tools. I did have a problem with the balast in two fixtures, but LV replaced them and everything works great.|
Feb 20, 2010 6:39 AM CST
|Thanks, Emily. I've gone kind of nutty for coleus in recent years. They are so easy to propagate from cuttings and so hard to kill. I bought the plants from Rosy Dawn in the coop last year at DG and propagated from cuttings in fall. Now some of those cuttings are filling 6" pots. They have become my donor plants and I have some at different stages in 4" pots and some in yogurt cups.|
Very easy to do and they thrive under lights.
Feb 20, 2010 6:43 AM CST
|This was my first attempt at geraniums so I only kept 7 cuttings. Now I wish that I'd kept more. I read somewhere on the web that they would rot if not left to callous over first. So after I took the cuttings I just threw them in the garage for a day. They wilted and looked bad but they did callous so I stuck them in some damp potting mix and in a plastic bag. They rooted fast and have been blooming all winter.|
Feb 20, 2010 6:50 AM CST
|I wintersow most seeds but I do start a few indoors. For those I use disposable food trays with clear lids, like this. It's out of focus, but you get the idea.|
Feb 20, 2010 7:03 AM CST
|Oops, I didn't address Emily's question about tutorials. I'm certainly not an expert at this but I just started reading on the web to learn how to do cuttings. I take a cutting with several sets of leaves, cut off the lowest set and bury that stripped node in moist (not wet) potting mix. Usually I use 6 oz yogurt cups. I eat yogurt every day so have an endless supply of free cups, and these work great. I put the potted cuttings either in a plastic bag or cover an entire tray with a humidity dome. I uncover each day for an hour or so to let them get air, then recover. I gradually leave the dome off for longer periods. At first the cuttings will wilt without that added humidity but within a week or two they root and do fine without. When they tolerate long periods without the dome, they are rooted.|
I have way to many coleus and ordered some new types from Rosy Dawn this spring. All my friends want them, so I am giving some away in spring after they're healthy and growing well.
Feb 20, 2010 8:52 AM CST
|Thank you, Karen and Joanna! I appreciate so much the information AND the photos. I am interested in your set-up Joanna, since I just found out that the new light system I ordered from Gardener's Supply a month ago is now back-ordered and won't be here for at least another month, grrr. And I need one now to get started! So I'm looking into cancelling that order and going for Lee Valley. Is your system the high-intensity "four-light" Floralight, or the one with two lights? Can't quite tell. |
Karen, that is a great tutorial! For the past three years I've grown the Wizard Mix coleus seeds and had lots of the little pretties all summer. BUT, I'd really love to have them in my sunroom over the rest of the year! (Same with the geranium Black Velvet mix I grow.)
Here's a photo of the different coleus in that seed mix. Kinda hard to see!
Feb 20, 2010 9:06 AM CST
|Emily, that is beautiful. I've grown the Wizard mix too and they do make pretty plants. Last year I overwintered cuttings from those so that I had bigger plants to set out in spring. That little tray of seedlings I showed above are the new Versa series. This is my first try with those.|
After you get your indoor lights you should try propagating some coleus cuttings in the house over winter. They're really easy.
Feb 20, 2010 9:40 AM CST
Beautiful healthy plants there. I wish I had an indoor area to do cuttings. Maybe when the kid is ready to get rid of her massive amount of toys and then I could have an entire room.
Yes, it it the 4 bulb Floralight system. The ONLY thing I don't like about it is adjusting the light fixture up & down. You unscrew at the side and have to adjust one side at a time. So, while holding the fixture with one arm, you unscrew with the other, adjust and then tighten in place. Then you do the other side. The light fixture is heavy so it's easier with 2 people, but doable with one person.
Feb 20, 2010 11:09 AM CST
|My set up is shelves with ordinary two fluorescent lights.|
I stack books under the trays to raise or lower the trays so they are close to the lights. I can fit two trays under each so 6 trays. I have another fixture over a desk where I prop the trays on boxes so they are close to the light.
One set up,--- I saw at Garden Retreat would allow for sixteen trays!---it is on my list of things to buy---sometime!
Right now I can only do up to 8 trays under lights.
I am just getting begonias, geraniums and petunias going now.
Feb 20, 2010 12:27 PM CST
Could you tell me more about Garden Retreat and the indoor light fixture you are mentioning? I can't find an on-line Garden Retreat site (that isn't a spa!) ;-)
AS you can tell, I'm on the lookout for a new indoor light stand for my seeds and cuttings. I have a very utilitarian one I made myself in the basement, but I would like one that looks OK to be in my new sunroom.
Feb 20, 2010 12:42 PM CST
|Garden Retreat is a locally owned & operated garden center in Calgary. I'm sorry, I don't know the manufacturer brand name of the shelves/lights unit that they carry.|
Feb 20, 2010 7:55 PM CST
|Joanna, I'm trying to decide if I should cancel my Garden's Supply 3-tier, 2 T-5 bulbs per shelf stand, or go for the 4-bulb Floralight system that you have. I've been reading about it, including some of the problems you had with ballast customer service. In the end, do you recommend this system?|
Here's the item that I presently have on order: