Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My First Seed Starting Kit

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I know I have said more than a dozen times this year that I would not start anything from seed. I am too busy with so many other projects right now. I don't have the time to fool with learning how to do it this year. I will just buy plants.

Well, I was at Home Depot looking at some other stuff today and there was a Burpee complete seed starting kit for $7.99. How in the world could I pass that up? The kit contained a tray of 72 cells with seed growing pellets in each cell. You just add water and the pellets expand to fill the cells and then you plant your seeds. You then add the plastic top and booyah, a mini greenhouse.

I put the finished greenhouse on top of my fridge and aimed my heat vent at it to keep it warm. The quantities below are what I planted to fill the 72 cells.  This is way more than I will ever use, but I figured some won't germinate and some may not make it so better sow way more than I need. If anyone has any tips or has used one of these I am all ears. Thanks.

12 - Roma Tomatoes
12 - Better Boy Tomatoes
12 - Best Boy Tomatoes
12 - Jalapeno Peppers
9 - Habanero Peppers
9 - California Sweet Peppers
6 - Black Beauty Eggplant

Here is the kit, everything you need for eight bucks.

Here is a picture while planting the seeds.

Mini Greenhouse is ready to rock, let's see what happens.


Ed said...

Wow, that's a lot of tomatoes. What will you do if they all make it? Tomatoes should germinate first followed by eggplants then peppers. Are you using flourescent lights after germination? If the they are going on a windowsill be careful. The tomatoes may fry with the dome left on waiting for the others germinate.

Jenny said...

I got the same kit at Walmart for 5.99 and another one for free from freecycle exchange and planted all cold-season vaieties like salads, cabbage, bokchoy, spinach. Second one has herbs selection. I think I'll get another one for tomato and peppers but they'll have to wait until March as they need much warmer setup - 75-80 to germinate properly.

Annie's Granny said...

I agree with Ed. You're going to have much different rates of germination/growth. You might have to cut sections apart and move the growing seedlings to another container and under lights while the later germinating ones remain under the dome. Wow...that's a lot of tomatoes. I usually have nearly 100% germination with mine!

GrafixMuse said...

Ok, I think you are officially addicted to gardening. LOL! Do you have a shelf or a workbench you can use for a temporary seed growing area? Some place where you can hang an 8-foot shop light? I would consider picking up a package of the 10-12 oz plastic cups, some plastic trays to hold the cups, potting mix, and an 8-foot shop light.

Poke some holes in the plastic cups and fill them part way with potting mix. When the seeds sprout and begin to grow, transplant them to the plastic cups, label them, and place under the light with a tray underneath to catch the water.

Kris said...

Thanks for the comments everyone, I appreciate the feedback.

Ed - The kit has 72 cells and is perforated right down the middle. So you have 36 cells per section that you can break apart if need be. My logic was to put all tomatoes in one 36 cell side and then break it off and take it out of the dome, while leaving the remaining 36 to germinate. I wasn't planning on using lights after germination, just putting them near a sunny window. Is that ok? As for the number of tomatoes, I plan to give extras to friends. I will probably only plant 6 tomato plants and give the rest away.

Jenny - $5.99 is a great deal, thanks for following my blog.

Granny - You are a smart cookie and already knew what I was thinking. Do I have to get lights? I am trying to keep it super cheap and simple this year.

Grafix - Yeah, it would appear that way, but I guess I could be addicted to worse things. The only area I have that would work is my utility / laundry room. There is a little area I could put a small table and small light. No where near eight feet though. Maybe a four foot light would fit though. Do I have to transplant them to bigger cups? That was another thing I was concerned about. I was kind of hoping just to go from these cells, straight to the garden. Is that doable? Remember I have a baby coming in April :)

Annie's Granny said...

I'd say lights are a must, unless you have an awful lot of sunshine coming in overhead. I can buy 4' double tube shop lights for $10.99. One of those should probably cover all your cells if you break them apart and elevate the low growing seedlings so everything stays 2-3" under the light. I have my seedlings sitting on anything I can find to bring them up to height, but some of them are really still not close enough, so I'm probably going to buy some more lights.

Kris said...

Ok, I am going to tell my wife, "Well Granny said I have to get them, so I have to. I really want to do with out them babe, but Granny knows." :)

How long do you run your lights on your seedlings? Thanks for the feedback.

Annie's Granny said...

I turn mine on when I get up, and off whenever I wander in towards evening. I think 12 hours is probably optimum, but I think I give them more like 10 hours.

Kris said...

Thanks Granny, I will see what I can rig up as far as lights and shelving.

GrafixMuse said...

Whoops, I meant 4-foot shop light, not 8-foot. Not sure where my brain was :) Personally, I would rather transplant the seedlings into larger containers and let them get stronger before moving them into the garden. But maybe you won't need to. When is your last expected frost date?

I have my lights on a timer that it on 12-14 hours a day. I check the seedlings daily for their watering needs and fertilize them with diluted liquid fish emulsion every two weeks. Otherwise they are pretty trouble free.

Kris said...

The last frost probability according to my records is:

90% probability will be Feb 22nd
50% probability will be March 11th
10% probability will be March 28th

I can see where you might want to make them grow stronger in your neck of the woods. Do you think mine would be OK not to up pot?