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


Re; Fertilizer. I get a kilo (they like to measure in kilos) of General Hydrponics Maxi grow or Maxi bloom at my neighborhood doper-hydroponic store. About $17.

The small scoop’s worth (about 5 grams) in about a gallon of water will feed your seedlings very nicely until you are ready to plant them. I kept some tomatoes in those peat pellets going along for weeks after they were transplant sized that way. Towards the end I was using a slightly higher concentration.


There must be a whole lot of people growing dope out there… When I bought the grow light above on Amazon all the reviews were talking about “flower”, “mother”, I had no idea what they were talking about. Then I found a review titled “dope for your dope” and the light bulb finally went on :grin:

On the subject of that LED bulb Dimitri linked to, I did a quick cost estimate, my guess is you will save about $30 per year on your electrical bill compared with running T8 bulbs of similar lumens for seedlings. So it costs more but will pay for itself in a few years. Also the bulbs themselves should last 4x as long so you would need to buy a whole pack of fluorescent replacement bulbs in the same period. Anyway the cost seems high and I almost didn’t buy it but in the long run its cheaper.


Yes they are. Special sites and stores for everything…You can even get special Psylosibin Mushroom growing kits…Looks like the 70’s are coming back legally VIA internet…


Scott, got a link to your LED light?


i got much better germination w/ the castings than i did before and more of them survived. i also mix a light dose of liquid kelp to water them with. that helps w/ early root growth. my father used to have a 55 gal drum in his greenhouses, fermenting with kelp added to the water. he used this exclusively to water his seedlings. he would also add fish emulsion. stunk like hell but he had the greenest thumb of anyone I’ve ever known! to avoid the stink i just mix it up a gal. at a time.


usually good in a 4in pot until i transplant to bigger or into the ground.


i have 2 10 gal totes in my spare room with compost worms in them. probably 500 in each. every spring i dump them out on the picnic table , put in fresh coir, and put the worms back in, get about 50lbs of castings thats much richer than the store bought ones. they change out the bedding every 3 months. i go around with the wheeler and give a couple good handfuls around each of my fruit plants before i put down fresh wood chips. i also add a few handfuls into the planting hole for new trees and bushes. gives them a great start and doesn’t burn roots.


Thanks. I haven’t done the worm thing, so I might have to order some castings. I can get the fish emulsion at Lowe’s. But, I have a good organic liquid fert (Medina) that I bought in Texas before we moved here that works very well.

I noticed this Burpee coir mix has some perlite in it, so I guess that helps with aeration? I just wonder what the coir/perlite ratio is. Do you add any vermiculite to this mix?

I’ve been doing a lot of reading the last couple days about what’s a better medium, coir or peat. The good thing about coir is that its pH is somewhat neutral and sterile, compared with peat, so I don’t have to worry about those nasty gnats.

I’ve used peat every year I’ve done my indoor starts and have had mixed results, especially with peppers and herbs, although tomatoes do better. Perhaps the higher pH would help with the peppers? I’m wanting to try some leafy greens and brassicas indoors this year also, so I’m a bit leery about trying a completely new medium this year. I think I got good heat pads and lights, so I’m good in that dept.

I transfer my seedlings to 10oz plastic cups when they get about 3in tall, then they go back under the lights until it’s ready outside to plant them in the garden.


It looks like the one Scott has is the HLG 65 which you can buy on the manufacturer website or Amazon. At 12-16" above the plants it covers a 2x2 ft area. If you need more growing area there is also the HLG 100 which for $50 more gives you a 3x3 ft growing area.

Like Scott said, there is more cost up-front with these lights but over 2-3 yrs you end up saving money.


From my notes. I start in Aug and harvest until May. Somewhere along the line, like about now, the leaves are taking on the arrowhead shape, which, to me, signals bolting…likely due to not watering.

Sowing . Soak seeds overnight. Place seeds on wet paper towel, spaced out (in 3"x 6" space). Fold paper towel and place onto aluminum foil and fold and seal like a flat envelop. Place ‘envelop’ on edge (so roots grow down), in 'frig where they won’t be disturbed. If seeds were soaked they are ready in 1 cycle (10 days), if not, 2 cycles. Xplant to cells to grow under cool lights until weather is cool. Prep bed for xplanting outside by using some lime and slug bait. Fall planted spinach under poly provides greens all winter.

Growing . Spinach does well with a combination of cool weather, short days, high soil fertility (use seaweed/manure teas), ample water, and neutral pH (6.5 to 7.5). Shade if weather hasn’t cooled off yet. Shading/watering will delay bolting.

Protecting. May need to plant in protected area to reduce vole losses. May also need to protect from rabbits & slugs & root parasites (vape+MOS).


So you don’t do a spring spinach?

Like I mentioned before, I start them inside for a project. The light is on for the onions, so I don’t want to waste the space. I should get plenty of spinach for spinach asparagus quiche in the spring, which we will freeze and save for the winter.

Thanks for the prepper.


ROFLMAO The weed forums are a tremendous source for growing info. They are highly focused on the quality of the end product and if you are growing veggies and want good quality and nutritious produce, there is a lot of info to be mined from what they have posted. :blush:


I try to grow as much over winter as I can to save space for veggies that will grow in spring. As they finish, I am tucking in cauli, broc, romanseco, under poly. I just froze another batch of spinach last night, and will get maybe one more before I pull it - when the interplanted brassicas are sizing up good. I do the same with cilantro and dill. I make pesto w/cilantro and then freeze some plain, and just dry the dill weed. Dill will not go to seed. If I want seed I have to grow it over the summer - but it doesn’t take up much room.


Scott- now that you have a good grow light you might find starting now is a bit early for our area. I started this time last year, and my tomatoes would have been 2’ tall by planting time if I didn’t cut them back really hard (twice!). With my old crappy shop light setup now was the right time… I guess I do need to think about getting my to-be-grafted tomatoes going though. Good call on that. They are so much slower to germinate- and the grafting sets them back a few weeks.


Thats about how high I used to like to have them, I would then bury the stem in a trench to give it more rooting area. But they would end up being more like 3’ due to the legginess without a grow light. With the grafting I can’t bury the stem as it would defeat the purpose of a disease-resistant root. But hopefully with the grafting setting things back a bit they won’t end up too tall… if not they will get a pruning :slight_smile: The basil I really should have waited on but its easier to do everything in a batch. It’s going to get a haircut or two if it gets too big.


Once you buy the LED you might as well use it. With it being so cheap to run and long-lived you can just keep it going and grow basil, cilantro and other sensitive herbs in rotation all winter long.


no i don’t add vermiculite but it can’t hurt. pure castings turn to mud when water is added so extra drainage might not be a bad idea. I’m not putting enough of it in there to radically change the mix.


i have a friend of mine that works at a medical cannabis facility. he has taught me a lot! you should see his regular garden at home! he’s a organic grower for all his plants.


Scott- if you bury the grafted tomatoes below the graft line, such that roots grow from the desired variety too, won’t you lose the benefits of the graft?


Right, thats why I said I can’t bury the stem.

My little baby tomatoes are coming up now! I’ll need to start reading up on tomato grafting methods.