Re: Seedling growth (Mike Groothuis)
First I should say that I am not trying for maximum growth myself.
This is because of a lack of room. I only have one four-tube fixture going,
which allows four standard flats. Mostly I use the 96 cells (96 to a flat,
in 12's). I don't want them growing past the point where I would have to
move them up from these cells before May, when I plant them outside. Maybe
Jim Hawes can add a few things here, because he does push his seedlings to
grow as fast as they can.
For maximum growth, you should sow them as soon as possible
(October) and keep those lights on 24hrs. I believe the recommended distance
for all plants is two inches from the foliage. This is far enough away that
they won't burn the leaves. You are giving them plenty of fertilizer so I
wouldn't worry aboout that. The point where they dry out enough to slow
their growth is hard to be precise about, so you probably shouldn't let them
get too dry. It's probably a good idea to let the surface dry once and a
while to keep down the molds, algaes, etc., but don't push your luck.
Several people have reported a spurt of growth following the
disturbance of repotting, so you might want to take a batch or two and repot
them now as a test, maybe snipping 20% of the roots on some. That's about
the only thing I can think of that might give them a boost at this stage.
If you can do this as an experiment, how about taking pictures
before and after as to how the ones that were disturbed did compared to the
ones that were not? I wonder too why they are so different year to year. One
thing that comes to mind is drying out. If it happens just once, enough to
slow the growth, they will never catch back up to where they would have
Hey Bill. Let's see. The lights are on 16 hours a day with a timer. I use
those standard 40w tubes in a 2-tube fixture. I have 2 different shelves
shelf has the light about 6 inches off the foliage, the other has is 3
inches or less. This is just to test the distance for better performance.
Fertilizer is Peter's Professional triple 20 @ a rate of 1/2 tsp/gal of
water about every other to every third watering. I grow my seeds in cells
from the start. I plant between 7-10 seeds per cell and then cull them in
February (I started growing them October 19). They have bee dry a couple of
times, but never have wilted.
It seems like I do exactly the same thing ear to year (for the most part)
but the seeds one year may grow great, but the following year just limp
along. Maybe that's just the name of the game.
> Hi Mike,
> Almost forgot about this one. Let's start with some questions. How
> many hours per day do you leave the lights on? How far away from the light
> tubes are they? 40w tubes? How about fertilizer? When do you move them
> the flats into cells? What size cells? Do you move them into larger cells
> later? Have they dried out at any time, enough that they wilted?
> Flowering early has a lot to do with species background. Laevigata
> and yingeri seedlings flower earliest and most reliably. Most seedlings
> different backgrounds will do it occasionally. Usually flowering the first
> year slows down the growth of the seedling, so it's only a good thing if
> want to squeeze in another generation of crosses. It may well take another
> year or two before it matures.
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