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


I water my seed starting soil with Bt var. israelensis (Bti), as a preemtive measure against fungus gnats. Its the same strain that kills mosquito larvae. I have a small tub of granular Gnatrol that has lasted me many years as you only need a tiny sprinkle in the water for it to be effective.


Does anyone know what the deal is with seedlings from the box stores? The cabbage, broccoli, and kale are like 4x larger and better looking than mine. Are they grown in a green house and started in like December? Do they have a better chance when moved into the garden? I’m amazed at how large they are when compared to mine despite all my work. Grrrrrr


id like to know as well. i have my seedlings in a coir, castings, perlite mix watering w/ fish emulsion/ kelp fertilizer. they are growing ok but are still very small for 3 weeks old. left the heat mat i started them on in there so its consistently 74 at lights off and 80f lights on. peppers are growing much quicker than the goji and alpine strawberries that were planted the same day.


Has anyone successfully germinated hungarian paprika seeds? I have them in a baggie sandwiched in a coffee filter damp/wet, on a seed mat in a room that is about 70 degrees and they just dont want to sprout. It’s been 6 weeks. I must be missing something here. Do they need light?


Bottom Heat…70 degress may be too cold to germinate.


I have a seed mat that I’m using.


You mean one of those seed starting heating mats, right? If it is right on it, you may have cooked your seeds. I’ve done that once and the seeds never germinated. The temp right on my mats is something like 120 degrees or more, but yours may be different so I don’t know for sure that is your issue. How hot do they feel when you pick them up to check on them?

For starting my seeds, I fill the pots with soil that I’m going to use for the seedlings, then put the seeds in baggies/paper towels on top of the soil and put a humidity dome over it. That puts the buffer of the pots/soil between the seeds and the mat and seems to keep it from being too hot, but the soil will still get over 90 degrees under the dome if I don’t use a thermostat, so I use the thermostat and set it to cut off at 88 degrees just to be safe

Pepper seeds can be difficult to germinate and I’ve certainly had some take 4 or more weeks and some that just never germinated. Older seeds take longer and some of the super hots take a long time as well. If you have some, I’d start another batch of seeds and maybe put something between the seeds and the mat or try another warm place like on top of the fridge, etc. You can keep the originals going and they may still surprise you, but having a backup going would be a good idea. Good luck.


Yep, I do believe they are grown in a greenhouse and in a very controlled environment, brassicas like it cooler so the temps will be maintained to reflect that. I used to start all my seedlings in my basement under lights. After I got my greenhouse I have had to push my seeding dates forward by 4 weeks. IMO it is not only the warm, but the high light provided by the sun, even on cloudy days.



Is your greenhouse heated for the brassicas, or do you allow them to drop down below 32 degrees.

I have come to the conclusion that the brassicas just don’t like it under the florescent lights, either in my basement, or in the garage (where it is cooler). They do okay to start, but either sputter out or stop growing once they get three or four leaves. Once I get them into a hoop house outside, they pick up, but they never look even close to what I could buy at the stores.


my greenhouse is not heated in the day, it gets up to 35C during the days right now. I need a fan as well as an exhaust fan and the door open wide to keep it cool. At nights the heat is set to come on at about 6C that is pretty cool but I find that most of my flower and vegetable seedlings don’t mind the cooler nights as long as the days are warm.


Following up on my last update two weeks ago. Up-potted the majority of plants to 16 oz cups a few days ago and even though I severed some of the roots there hasn’t been much noticeable transplant shock. Also started my cucumber and melon seeds and melon rootstock seeds today. There’s about 4-5 weeks until everything gets planted outside.

Tomatoes and peppers are looking fantastic compared to previous years - very stout and healthy. Eggplants and basil are a bit behind for some reason, by about two weeks. Alyssum is already starting to flower which is pretty exciting.

Pictured here is the Carmen sweet pepper and Black Karim tomato.


I started seeds in soilless foam this year and have great result. It’s clean, easy to water,and easy to separate tovpot up…


I’ve grown real Hungarian paprika over the years. For whatever reason their seeds have been among my most challenging to keep going. My favorite strain from my grandfather’s garden in Germany just stopped producing viable seeds one year. After maybe 10 years of going great year-after-year one year the seeds just weren’t viable. I didn’t do anything different that I know of. I tried year after year from my last batch of seeds but I finally gave up. They were always reluctant germinators and very slow growing indoors compared to just about everything else.


A word of advice on those rockwool cubes is you should pre-sepeate them now while you still can because the plants will root into each others “cell” and you will be ripping them apart when you go to transplant them later.


The way I start all my seeds, as well as the propagation of things, is 50/50 mix of wormcastings (which I harvest from my worm farm as needed) and either coco coir or perlite. The broad spectrum of mild nutrient from the castings speeds up germination and keeps the plants happy longer until I up pot.
Depending on what type of seeds, I may put a heating mat under the tray.


It looks like a whole piece. But cells are separated at bottom,only attached together on the surface.


I just started a tray of sunflower seeds in garden soil. Wish me luck! I am using a heatmat. They were from my own plant last summer that i saved. I don’t think sunflowers like root disturbance so hopefully May is warm.


i use 1/3rd coir, 1/3rd. castings and 1/3rd coarse perlite. since using castings i don’t get any dampening off.


Castings is the best stuff you can use in my experience. It does not smell, it hold a wide fauna of nutrients and minerals, aids in germination, and properly holds on to moisture. And pretty much free (only cost is the farm itself).


i agree! has saved me a lot on fertilizer. when i don’t have many scraps i feed them chick starter. my farm is 2 medium totes. about 500 worms in each. i only swap out the bedding for new in the spring so what i get is near pure castings :wink: