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CULT/HYB: Starting seeds

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: CULT/HYB: Starting seeds
  • From: Linda Mann <lmann@icx.net>
  • Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 10:53:52 -0700 (MST)

A while back, someone (Kathy G?) requested posts of our variations on
starting seeds.  I don't know if this is worth much to anybody, but
here's how I do it.

I used to use old washtubs from the dump with bullet holes for drainage,
but had to upgrade this year due to a GLUT of seeds (thanks listers for
detailed directions on how to make crosses, ripen pods, and sending me
even more seeds).  My new seed boxes are made from 1/2 inch thick
pressure treated 6 inch wide lumber sides with old galvanized barn
roofing with nail holes (not as big or as much fun as bullet holes, but
cheaper and less worrisome to the four-legged children) for drainage
nailed to the bottom.  They are about 2 ft wide by 4 ft long and are
filled with a mix of alfalfa pellets (bottom layer), creek sand, seived
garden soil (gravelly loam with the gravel removed), potting soil from
the local nursery, mushroom compost, a dash of 6-12-12 fertilizer and
ground dolomite limestone.  Seeds are planted fairly thickly in rows in
these boxes (I am selecting for toughness, so don't mind losing the ones
that can't take crowding).  

When we have sudden drops in temperatures well below freezing after
several days or weeks of fairly warm temperatures (probably starting in
early March), I will pack a couple of rows of 2 liter soda bottles full
of water around the outside and on top of the boxes to buffer the
temperature extremes and cover the whole thing with Reemay plant bed
cover (more than one thickness if temps are really ghastly) until
temperatures moderate.  

Seedlings stay in these boxes until guilt motivates me to untangle them
and set them out in a temporary 'holding' bed in partial high shade near
the water hose (last year, this was mid-summer).  Of the seeds I started
last year, one or two actually look like they might bloom this spring. 
I will probably move them to the main 'test garden' this summer.

Linda Mann east Tennessee USA

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