Starting seeds economically

Discussion in 'Market Gardens' started by AshleyB, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. AshleyB

    AshleyB Well-Known Member

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    We are hoping to do a bit of market gardening this year. How do you start lots of seeds as economically as possible? What potting medium, containers, etc. do you use? Thanks for your input!!!
     
  2. tchan

    tchan Well-Known Member

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    Spagnum peat moss is what I use as a growing medium and I sterilize it first. And for containers either 128, 250 or 512 commercial seed trays or (my newest experiment) I have been using those clear plastic containers that they use in bakeries for cookies and turnovers and stuff. We were cheerfully buying them with the cookies and pastries in them and then sterilizing them after we ate everything but that got expensive so now I buy them new from the bakery for .15 cents each. It is turning out to be quite economical and you can get lots of seeds going in them and then just plant them out in the garden or in larger containers.
     

  3. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    I don't know how well it would work on a large scale, but I use paper towel and toilet paper rolls. All you need a scissors and trays to put the pots in. They are easy to make, but I suppose could get time consuming if you needed tons of them. I usually make them while watching TV.
     
  4. Colorado

    Colorado Well-Known Member

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    I do buy seed starting mix. Then repot in to potting mix. Looks like I will be starting in Jiffy mix and then into potting soil. I plant in anything and every. I like trays and cells but costs. I even have some paper food cups for starting just a few and set in tray and mark the tray and don't move them around or I get messed up what it is . My main crops tomatoes and peppers I plant in shallow pans using bottom heat. Then when up good transplant to some thing deep enough and give room to grow. I am making paper pots for starting melons and cukes. I have never tried that before. Peat pots cost too and melons and cukes do not transplant good.
     
  5. circlevranch

    circlevranch Well-Known Member

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    I buy soiless mix to start my seeds and then when they are ready I pot them into a combination of potting soil and soiless mix. I use starter trays to plant most of my seeds at first. Once the plants get 2'' high I plant them into Jiffy Peat Pots. I buy my Jiffy Peat Pots from a local wholesale garden supply company. I get 1500 Jiffy Peat Pots for $60.00. I also use the plastic cells when I can get them cheap. I like the Jiffy Peat Pots best and I don't loose many plants to transplant shock. I'm going to be trying Plug Trays for the first time this year I understand it speeds up the planting not sure on that one yet?
     
  6. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

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    The larger seeds I start directly in 6-packs...8 to a tray, so they are called 806s. By larger I mean all the vine crops.
    The other seeds (except onions and leeks) I start in a "community" 4-inch pot. When they have germinated and started the first set of "true" leaves, I transplant them to 806s.
    When you do marketing, you can tell your customers that you will take pots of any size to recycle. I've not had to buy anything for the 14 years I've been here except 6 inch pots for lilies.
    Also, if you buy a new case of 806 inserts as well as the trays, called 1020s, you can reuse them over and over if you are careful. Even when a tray breaks, I put it inside another broken try with the broken sides at different ends.
    If you are using the transplants only for your own use, and not selling them, you can also re-use the 6-packs that have some damage, and it rarely harms the plants.
    I also do not sterilize anything, as the freezes during the winter and the heat in the greenhouse during the summer after the transplants have been put in the ground (so I leave the empty 806s and 1020s in the hot greenhouse) seem to take care of everything! I do not heat the greenhouse in winter.
    For soil mix I use Pro-mix BX for everything. It is easier to have one mix and you just adapt the amount of soil you cover the seed with to accomodate each type seed.
    Hope this helps.
    Ann
     
  7. mommagoose_99

    mommagoose_99 Well-Known Member

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    For nearly everything I use Jiffy7's . I buy by the case in lots of 6cases(1000 jiffy7s per case. I set 72 jiffy7s per solid 1040 plastic trays.
    I place 2 seeds per jiffy7 and then put the seeded trays in a warm place until the seeds germinate. They are then put under shop lights until they are ready to move to the cold frame, that is usually when they have one set of true leaves. If you are interested I will post the URL for where I buy my Jiffy 7's.
    Linda
     
  8. AshleyB

    AshleyB Well-Known Member

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    Linda, I'd love the url for the Jiffy 7's.

    This is great info, keep it coming, I'm getting a lot of great ideas!
     
  9. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

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    Hi,

    I splurged this year and bought the 'mini jiffy greenhouse' basically it is a typical 72 hole tray with lid, and a heating pad beneath! (disapointingly simple) $34.99 and it's sitting in a box. I used the tray out of it, and so if I am to return it I need to buy another tray.

    Anyhow, the reason I am not using it- I simply set my seed trays on the radiator! With a thermometer, I have noticed the temp. fluctuating between 80F (when the boiler is running) and 68F.

    :dance:

    I like the jiffy peat pellets ($1.99 for 25) but if I were trying to start seeds without spending anything, I would use cardboard boxes lined with tin foil or wax paper, and cardboard egg cartons filled with good old fashioned top soil with compost. Keep them in a somewhat warm place.
    Best of luck!
     
  10. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    I have an acre market garden. I use 1020's and bales of ProMix. Some seeds germinate better with bottom heat, others don't need the added warmth. Keep in mind that plants generally don't naturally grow with soil that's warm than the air 24/7. When seedlings have their first true leaves I pot up from the tray to six packs.
     
  11. mommagoose_99

    mommagoose_99 Well-Known Member

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    The URL for Silver Creek Supply (Jiffy 7's) is:
    www.silvercreeksupply.net/index.html

    I guess we will have to call them for this years pricing. It is not listed on the site. I have 2 1/2 cases left from last year to get me started and will have to buy more later. The phone number is:
    570-374-8010.
    Linda
     
  12. JAS

    JAS Well-Known Member

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    Since I lack the know-how and room to plant my own on a large scale, a friend and I will order our seeds and a local nursery will plant them for us. I am not sure of the price off hand, something like $1.00 per 3-pack but don't quote me on that. I don't know how that compares to buying all the material yourself and possibly adding a greenhouse.... The plants we got back last year were wonderful and already hardened off. I plan to do more this year.