Starting Plants

Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:29 pm

Any suggestions on the ideal room temperature for starting plants? I germinate with good results by putting the tray on a heating pad set on low, but end up losing or severely stunting them after pricking out and transplanting because the house isn't kept warm enough. This year I'm going to try using a thermostat and a electric heater for the spare room I use. Maybe I should find a marijuana forum to ask this on, but I trust you guys better! But then, these little red tractors are just as addictive!! John

Re: Starting Plants

Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:26 pm


Here are some references about starting plants from seeds:

Should answer your questions.

It is snowing here, what is it doing 40 miles south?


Re: Starting Plants

Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:03 pm

Thanks Bill. I'll check those links. We've been getting wet snow off and on all day, about 2-3" on ground. Went to Niles this morning, more there than here, snow seems to be coming from SE. John

Re: Starting Plants

Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:03 am

Are you sure your plants are dying because of temperature? Temperature will affect the rate of growth but should not kill them except for freezing of course. I grow about 3000 plants from seed each spring and let my greenhouse temperatures fall to the mid 40's overnight to slow the rate of growth and make a shorter stockier plant. This adds about a week to the time from transplant to set out. Seeds are germinated on a hot pad, and pricked out for transplant with 4 true leaves and moved to the greenhouse. Are the stems on your plants narrowing at the base just before they keel over? If so check out damp off. Cooler starts should not affect later growth when the plants are set out and hot weather hits them. Greenhouse operators use higher temperatures to reduce growing time not because it is necessary or even desireable. I'm speaking here of things like tomato, pepper and eggplant. Cabbage and other cool weather plants can be grown even cooler. Vern

Re: Starting Plants

Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:34 am

Thanks for your reply VW. I'm pretty sure my problem stems from the room not being over about 65 in the late spring (thermostat shoved back most of the time since the weather is warmer). The links Bill sent me seemed to indicate about 10 degrees warmer ubtil the plants are hardened off. I'm going to give it a shot and see what happens. Plants aren't that expensive, but I'm a hard headed (according to the Mrs.) old school do it yourself kind of guy. Just hope this snows gone by the end of May so I can plant something!! John

Re: Starting Plants

Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:24 am

There are many reasons for starting your own plants. I use a grow tunnel and need plants about two weeks early. Another is that there is a much larger selection of variety, which is how I started growing tomato plants. Dad wanted some that the greenhouses didn't grow. Years ago greenhouses didn't start more than half a dozen kinds. We won't talk about how many moons ago that was. Anyway I first grew them in a manure heated hot bed made from a couple of boards and an old storm window. Plants were direct planted in the soil and grown until time to transplant them into the garden. Low tech and labor intensive but it worked. I grow and sell a few plants each year at a roadside stand like some people sell veggies but I don't have to hoe in the sun. This year I'm growing about 30 varities and am just started seeding. The latest for the seed companies are grafted plants. I have the grafting clips and have tried it and actually have had a couple live. Not something I'm going to get into but have to try something new sometimes. Good luck gardening! Vern

Re: Starting Plants

Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:06 pm

Your seedlings sound like a bad case of red spider mites! they will kill indoor tender seedlings if they get on them!---I start plants here in cold soil!--not all seeds will sprout if too cold or wet! Big problem I have is the spindly thingy, but I used to grow them at the other place in east window on a big table,--so they should grow for you! thanks ; sonny

Re: Starting Plants

Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:28 pm

Another thing that may have been against me was I have been using softened water on the plants. One of the sites Bill suggested advised against this due to the possible salt levels. This time I'm using water from the cistern. We'll see what happens. If nothing else, I learn something new with every try. Like Tom Edison said, at least we know what won't work!! Happy Easter everyone. John

Re: Starting Plants

Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:45 pm

JOHN!!! Right there just might be your problem!! LOL!!! I use water that I catch off the garage roof to water mine, and if its frozen, then I use regular well water,---no softener or salts in it! thanks; sonny

Re: Starting Plants

Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:32 am

Seeds are starting to come up. For some reason, I had never caught the warning about the water before, but it seems like this year they are germinating better. Won't be long till I have to repot them and rig up the lights. Thanks for everyones input. John