Seed starting chronicles 2013

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Toole's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-07-02
Seed starting chronicles 2013

I find the seed raising discussions on this Forum of Gene, Rick and others absolutely fascinating.

I have no experience in the use of fluorescent lights ,baggies, etc as living in a somewhat 'soft' climate i just sow seed and place it outside as soon as i receive it,regardless of the time of the year.

If i consider the pots are getting too wet i place a poly sheet over the pots .It's not a fail safe method - Sure :) in an individual pot i lose a few to rot but not all however ,as a number do come up.

Following are current pics with the date of sowing --unfortunately i haven't kept records of when germination occured ,(might need to look at doing so from now on).

Some of the seed trays .

Muscari macrocarpum -- x Tasmania sown in late Nov 2012-- My thumb shows the size of the small pots that I generally use.

Clintonia udensis-- x AGC of BC sown early Feb 2010.

Lilium wigginsii --x Gene sown mid spring ,beginning of Nov 2011 .

Pulsatilla turczaninovii --x Rick sown early winter ,middle of June 2012.

Cheers Dave.

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

I've split this off into Seed starting chronicles 2013, Dave... even though some of your late germinators were planted well before that!  
Just hoping to encourage other seed-starters to post here if they wish to (and don't want to start separate threads)...  :)

Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Toole's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-07-02

Oops !.--Lol. ;D ;D

Bottom of the South Island New Zealand
Zone 8 maritime climate
1100mm,(40 in),rainfall p.a.
Nil snow cover

Harold Peachey
Harold Peachey's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-03-22

I am very curious about the new led grow light technology-seems to be a mixed bag of information regarding their reliability.  Does anyone have experience to share with these devices?

Harold Peachey
USDA Z5, Onondaga, NY US

Title: Member
Joined: 2010-05-02

Re LED lights.  I don't know much about them but I know who probably does. Marijuana growers. I've stumbled upon some of their forums by accident and it's apparent those folks really know how to grow plants. I would think LEDs would be attractive to pot farmers because they don't suck the juice like metal halide or sodium vapor lights. My guess is that if you hunt up a marijuana forum you may learn something you can apply to alpines and other legal plants.


Jan Jeddeloh, Portland, Oregon, USA, Zone 8.  Rainy winters (40 inches or 1 meter) and pleasant dry summers which don't start until July most years!

Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Good thought, Jan.

Ether ourselves or someone we know, I think we all have stories of avid alpine seed growers being "raided" by police because of their "excessive" use of electricity for lighting.

Regarding actual marijuana growers, I see them a couple times of year at the store where I work.  They always ask for a fertilizer with an exact nutrient formulation that no one makes (or would ever make), like 12.5-11-14.  Yes, they'll do anything to maximize growth. :D

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

ClifflineGardens's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2013-01-14

I really hope I never get raided, but I've grown under LED for a year, and recently switched to 120 watt fluorescent. Use mylar on the walls of your grow room to increase grow area. LED is garbage, sorry. I tried so hard to convince myself that it would work, looking at the decreased energy bills. A common problem is the lights start blinking on and off after a while. Since it's hard to buy just the bulbs, most units are one piece. You get leggy growth with Fluorescent, but turn the plants often when they lean, and maybe put a small fan in your room and the stems should thicken up. Plus, our plants are not illegal like marijuana, and they're going outside in the Spring anyhow.

You can buy really expensive LED setups that work well, but expect to spend way more than they $170 for a good fluorescent setup. 120 Watts is the lowest.

I want to add, that I love marijuana grow shops, I bought Greensand, glacial flour, grow lights, mylar, coco peat, and guano at a shop in Chicago. You think you can get that at Lowes or Home Depot? Where else could I buy those things in December in Chicago?!? To me, it's what a garden supply place should be. They also sell GA-3 and IBA in any formulation you desire, powders, gels, whatever. Plus, everyone there seemed really mellow...

ClifflineGardens dot com

Fort Collins, CO zone 5b

Gene Mirro
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-25

My seedlings under fluorescents are nice and stocky.  I think it's because I grow at around 60F.  I find that seedlings get stretched and weak if I grow them at 70F.  Also, you have to make sure that you surround the growing area with reflective surfaces, like strips of white insulating foam.  Otherwise the plants will lean in towards the strongest light.

My plants grow so well under cheap cool white fluorescents that I see no reason to use anything else.

If you want to attract law enforcement, run halide lights indoors, especially at night.  That eerie purple glow coming through your curtains will get their attention.

SW Washington state, 600 ft. altitude

Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-23

You are right -----not every plant likes high light and heat.

I am having good success with meconopsis this year.
I started them in a south window in December when the winter sun is not strong.
I have kept the thermostat so that the area where they are is at 60º F .
They are progressing slowly, transplanted into trays of peaty soil, and kept at 60º F

I have tried them under lights,but while they germinate faster, the young plants do not like the heat under the lights.
Most poppies are cool season plants.  Now when I do petunias----it is heat and bright lights all the way.

Having my own fresh meconopsis seed also helped a lot!  Only a couple of commercial sources send viable meconopsis seed.

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Got some germination now...
Oxtropis splendens started germinating in 5 days at room temp after scarification; seeds collected last summer from my old plants which are starting to decline a bit.

Erigeron aurantiacus started germinating in 7 days at room temp; also collected from a plant in the border - it will look a lot more interesting in the rock garden.  

Trifolium nanum started germinating in 2 days at room temp after scarification.  

Trifolium andersonii v. andersonii started germinating in 2 days at room temp after scarification.  

Gentiana erectisepala - a few germinated in 15 days at room temperature after soaking seed overnight in a few drops of GA-3 solution; seed from Pavelka order received in early 2011 ; collected at 4700m, Heizi Shan, Sichuan ,China; "similar to G.algida but broader lvs, big white to pale yellow flws with blue stripes outside, alpine meadows".

Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

deesen's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-01-31

I've got seed of a few Dodecatheon species from the exchanges this year and would welcome advice as when is the best time to sow please?

David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b


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