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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old March 20, 2019   #1
SueCT
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Default Time to start my seeds!

Its about time to start my seeds, and something just occurred to me. I usually start my seeds in small 3 ounce dixie type cups with a jiffy type seed starting medium, although I have not been using that brand recently. Then when they have 2-4 true leaves I transplant into large Solo cups with miracle grow potting mix. They have enough food in the potting mix to keep them until transplant into the garden. Sometimes, ok most times, lol, I get a few done at the 2-4 leaf stage and many more that grow larger than they should before I get them transplanted into the Solo cups. I am thinking about switching it up a bit and maybe putting potting mix into the lower half of those 3 ounce cups and the seed started just on the top half so that they have a small amount of fertilizer earlier, and as insurance until they transplanted. Do you think it is worth trying, or not worth the trouble? I am once again going to try to limit how many seedlings I grow, so I am not so overwhlemed by trying to keep up with transplanting and taking of them. OK, Ok, ok, but I have to try even if I am doomed to fail. I will blame my failure on Marsha this year.
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Old March 20, 2019   #2
nyrfan
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With the fertilizer in the bottom half, you would likely need to pot-up sooner.

To try & offset that, I suggest sowing just 2 seeds per 3 ounce cup. If 1 germinates... it's good there until the roots are ready for 18 oz. Solos. If both germinate, separate them at the 1st true-leaf stage or cull the weaker. You can supplement with liquid feeding if using 100% Jiffy Mix.
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Old March 20, 2019   #3
ginger2778
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueCT View Post
Its about time to start my seeds, and something just occurred to me. I usually start my seeds in small 3 ounce dixie type cups with a jiffy type seed starting medium, although I have not been using that brand recently. Then when they have 2-4 true leaves I transplant into large Solo cups with miracle grow potting mix. They have enough food in the potting mix to keep them until transplant into the garden. Sometimes, ok most times, lol, I get a few done at the 2-4 leaf stage and many more that grow larger than they should before I get them transplanted into the Solo cups. I am thinking about switching it up a bit and maybe putting potting mix into the lower half of those 3 ounce cups and the seed started just on the top half so that they have a small amount of fertilizer earlier, and as insurance until they transplanted. Do you think it is worth trying, or not worth the trouble? I am once again going to try to limit how many seedlings I grow, so I am not so overwhlemed by trying to keep up with transplanting and taking of them. OK, Ok, ok, but I have to try even if I am doomed to fail. I will blame my failure on Marsha this year.
Oh ho!
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Old March 20, 2019   #4
SueCT
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Your too kind offer was too much of a temptation, but I do appreciate it, lol!
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Old March 20, 2019   #5
SueCT
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I had been planting 3 per cup, and a good number would only have 2 of the 3 come up, overall about 80-90% germination, with poorer results from older seeds. Once seeds get to 5 years old or more I would sometimes go for 4. The problem is space. Fewer seeds per cup means more cups to plant and more space needed. They probably would grow faster, but would they stay healthier until transplanting? I might try just a few, and mark them so I know if there was much difference. I usally plant 3 cups of each variety, so I might do 1/3 with the potting soil in the bottom. You make me think twice about it, so I won't go with the majority of them that way.
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Old March 21, 2019   #6
brownrexx
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I use a few drops of a liquid plant food in my water for the seedlings after they get their first true leaves and before they get potted into larger pots with potting soil.

A weak solution is recommended, no more than 50% of full strength.
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Old March 22, 2019   #7
slugworth
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started 12 days ago and I had to transplant already.
some of the cells had 3 or 4 seedlings and I wanted to divorce them before they got too many roots.
100% potting soil from the dollar store which is good this year, no sticks.
10 different types of tomatoes with more seeds that should arrive in the mail next week.
It is late for me,I usually start in february.
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Old March 22, 2019   #8
SueCT
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I personally would never start in February. They would be too leggy and too big to transplant well. General recommendations is 6-8 weeks before plant out. I also wouldn't have enought room for all those large plants in the house, and I don't try to rush them out into the garden with all kinds of stuff to protect them. Good luck with yours. We are supposed to have warmer than normal weather this spring so maybe we can plant out a bit earlier than usual. I planted about 65 seeds and have more to do. I only have room in garden for 12-16 plants and then a few in pots. The rest are given to family, friends and coworkers.
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Old March 22, 2019   #9
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If your seedlings get too big in the little cups, just add a little fertilizer. It ought to keep 'em healthy, although they ought to grow faster....
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Old March 22, 2019   #10
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infant mortality and many don't make the indoor/outdoor transition for me,so the more plants the better.
A lot of seedlings also gives me plenty of source material for grafting experiments.
They say we are supposed to have a hot May here so I may actually be eating tomatoes 4th of july.
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Old March 23, 2019   #11
SueCT
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I have lost plants to wind burn during the hardening phase and to physiologic curling but never to transplant shock or other issues. But like I said, I never start that early and don't try to extend the season by planting early which I know some people like to experiment with. Smaller plants usually = less transplant problems.

I don't fertilize because the miricle grow has it in the mix. I don't want to overdo it. Even when I start in March they sometimes get to big for the space I have by plant out time. If I had a cooler space I prefer fuller, stocky plants to big tall plants to plant out. Even starting now they will likely get taller than I would prefer.
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Old March 23, 2019   #12
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I plant the big plants deep or trench plant.
or serpentine plant, buried -exposed -buried- exposed.
we got snow last night,yuck.
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Old March 23, 2019   #13
taboule
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Quote " infant mortality ..."

Isn't it great how we anthropomorphize our plants
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Old March 23, 2019   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taboule View Post
Quote " infant mortality ..."

Isn't it great how we anthropomorphize our plants
What! Anthropomorphize our BABIES?
We do, of course, but "infant mortality" is a term that neatly sums up what's happening.
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Old March 26, 2019   #15
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I took the guts out of a led uv light women use on their fingernails to try to wean the plants off grow lights
and into the sun last year but the light only stays on for 3 minutes at a time.
I have a big clone plant in the recovery room suffering from sunburn.
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