Seed starting - whats your tried and true method? (Share your results!)


I feel ya, every time I go in and tell them what I am growing they all just look at me funny…I grow all the weird stuff though.:grinning:


Thanks dimitri. I don’t usually plant more than one per cup or cell, so no need to thin. This year I decided to hedge my bets, in case germination wasn’t high. They all have germinated though!


Trying a experiment in my cold basement. Ambient temp 65. Pepper seedlings didn’t seem happy. A cheap Jiffy humidity dome (which seals very poorly, basically just sits on top of the tray) was enough to push daytime temps to the mid 80s to low 90s, just from the heat gain off the grow light. They have shot up since. It’s 91°F in there now. Humidity is moderate as it ventilates pretty well.


Did i understand this correctly… u have a humidity dome on sprouted plants?


Yes, it was too cold. It keeps them a bit warmer. It’s flimsy and doesn’t raise humidity much. Just an experimental thing.


JMO, i would stop that experiment.

A fluorescent light over them very close will solve your heat issues.


Whatever you do, peppers really do like heat. This year I started my seeds slightly warmer than usual, and my peppers actually sprouted before my tomatoes! That is the first time that has happened, the peppers are usually several days later than the tomatoes.

I am running late this year, I was going to skip veggies but my college daughter is home and she wanted to grow some vegetables so we will have a vegetable garden after all.


The second it comes down to thinning out tomatoes i start getting crazy thoughts like “do i really want less tomatoes?” “what if one of them dies and then i need this one?” “I mean i could make a little more room” Its a dangerous downward spiral and best to do it once there true leaves are coming out and there is no stem rot.


I think I already suffer from those!


My annual ritual of starting my plants plus a few hundred extras to donate to the school PTA plant sale is an enjoyable diversion, but this year the sale is canceled due to covid-19, so I guess I’ll offer them through Craigslist and local Facebook groups, etc. and donate the proceeds to the PTA. Here is my setup (used for microgreens, orchids and other things in the “off” season). A somewhat random assortment of LED lights…

I’m using a nice light gemination mix from Berger (BM2) augmented with 20% diatomaceous earth (floor dry) which the seedlings really seem to love. Here is one tray of peppers started at the end of February - they are ready to be up potted.


And the big ones on the bottom (including some super hot peppers, micro tomatoes and some jalapenos I wanted to offer as big plants) were started around the first of the year. The jalapenos and another small sweet pepper all have peppers forming and even the super hots are setting buds.


Last year I mentioned I use carnivorous plants among my tools to keep the fungus gnats at bay. This year I can see the cape sundew (drosera capensis) is the king of the gnat eaters.

With careful attention to letting the soil dry out, plus possibly the diatomaceous earth helping, they haven’t been bad this year. But the ones that show up seem to find their way to the sundew. Here is a close up of one of the pads. There must be at least a hundred gnats stuck to this hungry little plant.


I have a bunch of carnivorous seeds and this seems to be the year to try and start them. Do you have any suggestions on starting them or any good guides you know of?


Hi Richard. While I have started some sundews from seed, the cape sundew I bought as a small plant. In general a good way to grow many carnivorous plants from seed is to fill a pot (or a pack of seed starting cells) with moist long fibered sphagnum moss and sow the seeds onto the surface. Place the pot(s) in a tub and fill the bottom of the tub with a half inch or so of water so that it continuously wicks up and keeps the moss moist. If you are keeping them in an area of lower humidity, you can place plastic wrap or a clear top over the tub to keep the humidity high, and keep it under cool lights or just in a cool bright area - not in the sun where it will super heat and cook the seeds.

If it is a pretty humid area (like a basement) you can mist the surface regularly instead of covering with plastic, which is better to keep away molds/mildews/fungus, but risks drying out if you’re not careful. Some carnivorous plant seeds are tiny and can be slow growing, so it can take a lot of care and time to get them up to any size from seed. Also, depending on the type of plant, check if it requires any stratification before germination. Good luck and let us know how it goes.


Thanks for the inspiration Zendog, Yeah i think i will do some research first and i was going to go with a seed tray heatmat and a dome, i have not stratified the seeds yet or anything but will let you know how it goes! We have no humidity here so eventually they would need to go into some form of terrarrium i place near my fruits and vegetables when i dont have plant starts.


Indoor terrariums with lights are great for the tropical types of carnivorous plants. This nepenthes loves it in the vivarium with my kid’s dart frogs.


This is such a neat idea! So very generous of you!!
If most of my tomatoes make it, I will have 50-60 extra. I have offered them to friends and plan to bring the extras to my church to give away. Some of our more senior members used to garden quite a bit, but can’t now. They still like to grow a few plants in pots, so maybe some of mine will work for them.

I read your post last year about your carnivorous plants. That is just the coolest thing!! I don’t have any experience with them, but now I am interested and will do some reading up on them. Thanks for sharing the pics!!


I got very lazy this year - in the vegetable department. Been busy with fruit trees . . .
So, I bought one of those little trays of the Jiffy expandable peat pots for my tomatoes and cukes. I don’t have a big garden - just a small one for fresh eating and sharing.
I’m JUST planting my seeds today!
But, I’ve found that if I plant outdoors, too early - the plants just sit - and don’t take off till mid-May, anyways - or even later. I may go buy a tomato or two . . . just to have something taller than 6", out there!

I’ve tried all sorts of ‘methods’. Paper cups. Peat cups. Plastic cups. Plastic trays and seed mix, like the Burpee. Most important to me is not having to disturb the root system when transplanting . . . and often - just getting the little plants out of some of the plastic trays causes problems.
I’ll try the expandables - and may have to move them to a bigger peat pot before they reach the garden. I have 2 heat pads to give them a kick in the pants! - - - :crossed_fingers:

My first effort at growing my own seedlings - was in 1975. I remember I planted them in paper cups, set those in cake pans - and put them in the oven to germinate. Worked great. But did get in the way of ‘dinner prep’!


Most plants have no ill effects from disturbing roots but what does bother almost all plants is soil temps to cold. It will set them back.


Plants doing very well so far this year, pushing the limit on starting things early with tomatoes and peppers in 1 gal pots. Growing my transplants out in my warmer upstairs office versus colder basement has made a huge difference in vigor and overall health.


On 3/14/20 I planted a variety of vegetables and flowers in a seedling mix that was equal parts of these
ProMix Garden Mix : Peat : Coconut coir : DE (Napa floor dry)

Peppers are starting to get their second set of true leaves, and lower ones are yellowing - indicating I should be fertilizing or something else?

Looks like i forgot to thin my peppers down to one per cell, oops! Need to do that.

It’s been several years since i have started peppers indoors, don’t remember when or if I up-potted last time I grew peppers. Anytime ok? How long can you keep them in this size 6-pack (72 cell size)?

So I check seedlings several times a day, letting soil dry out and plants maybe starting to wilt just a bit before watering from the bottom. Everyone looked OK in the evening, but by morning, the Veronica romanesca cauliflower was severely wilted, and two of the little guys aren’t going to make it, I’m afraid. I haven’t fertilized these yet either. Is it time to transplant these guys or just a lack of fertilizer causing leaves to yellow?