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Germination ?'s


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Old 01-28-2012, 10:18 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Default Germination ?'s

Sooo i've talked to some in PM's but figure that's being kind of selfish for anyone new to the forum's that might be a tad shy to ask some of the ?'s.

First ? to start the year off is: How do you all germinate your tomato seeds??

Last year i made a weak nute solution and plugged my seeds in my Sure to Grow cubes and just went at it. Problem was i didn't understand a lot of what i was doing and i used my weak nute solution for several weeks. This year i've did a bit more research in which it's gotten me a bit more confused so here are my ?'s

How many of you all soak your seeds before you plant them in your cubes?

Those of you that do soak, what are you soaking them in?

I've read letting them soak in H202 will make them pop sooner?

Do you use PH balanced water or just normal tap till they get going?

If you use nute solution what PPM are you going with?

When using the nutes do you all start week 1 as soon as you plant the seed, as soon as the plant's sprout, or after they have there 4 main leaves?

How soon do you transfer them into your main growing system?

I have an idea on most of this, i just really like hearing feedback and i'm sure there are other's out there silently watching this forum wondering.

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Old 02-03-2012, 05:02 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello T'Mater,
I didn't reply to this thread when I first saw the it for two reasons. One, I just wanted to give others a chance first, the other was because some of the questions don't pertain to how I do things. But here's what I think.

Quote:
How do you all germinate your tomato seeds??
When I do germinate seeds, I just use a small plastic container with a lid. Fold a paper towel to fit on the bottom (about 4-6 layers thick), then dampen it (not soaked, just damp). Set my seeds on top, use a spray bottle filled with plain water and mist the top. Then put the lid on to keep in the moisture, and place it in a warm place. I generally check them daily for sprouting. If not, I give them a quick mist, put the lid back on, and put them back.

Quote:
How many of you all soak your seeds before you plant them in your cubes?
I don't soak them at all. I sprout mine before placing them in the growing media. Unless you want to count germinating/sprouting them the way I explained before placing them in the growing media as soaking them. Then I always do that.

Quote:
I've read letting them soak in H202 will make them pop sooner?
I have never herd of doing that. But I doubt there is any difference in sprouting time. But soaking them for 20 or 30 min in 3% H2O2 or diluted amount may kill any pathogens or fungi that could be on the seeds, and affect the plants health from seedlings. Though I don't think soaking them much longer would be beneficial, but more likely to kill the delicate first root. Though give it a try. Do three Identical batches at the same time. One using regular water, one with a quick soak in H2O2, and the other H2O2 instead of water.

Quote:
Do you use PH balanced water or just normal tap till they get going?
I don't adjust the pH for seeds. I just use straight RO water from the tap as is. I don't start adjusting pH until I start using nutrients.

Quote:
If you use nute solution what PPM are you going with?
I don't use the expensive PPM/TDS/EC at all, their not necessary to grow hydroponically. I fallow the mixing directions from the nutrient manufacture. Once the sprouts have started to get their first set of true leaves, I mix the nutrient solution to between 1/8 and 1/4 strength. To make things easy I just take a gallon water jug, make that full strength. So I have a gallon of full strength nutrient solution (sometimes I pH adjust it, but most of the time I'm too lazy), then just dilute it as I need. Store it in a dark closet to keep algae from growing.

I gradually increase the strength up to about 1/2 strength. By then the seedlings are about big enough to be placed in the hydroponic system where I still use about 1/2 strength nutrient solution. Once placed in the hydroponic system I make sure pH levels are right. When the plants get a little bigger, I'll increase the nutrient strength to 3/4. I don't usually ever make/mix the nutrient strength higher than 3/4 of the manufactures directions for a full strength solution.

Quote:
How soon do you transfer them into your main growing system?
It depends on the plant, how fast it grows, and the system. You don't want it to get to large to fit in the baskets etc. that you need to damage the plant to transplant it. But if you transplant it while the plant is real small, you waist a lot of nutrient solution. Not so much of an issue in drip systems where you can use less nutrient solution without running the pump dry. But if it takes 20 gallons to flood your flood and drain system without running the pump dry, you need more than 20 gallons of nutrient solution for seedlings is a waste. Seedlings don't drink up much water or nutrients, so it's a waste to need too much nutrient solution for seedlings.

Basically if you have a system designed for 4 large tomato plants, and even used the bare minimum water volume per plant. You have a 10 gallon water/nutrient solution reservoir. Four, 4 inch tomato seedlings can easily get by on 1 gallon of nutrient solution for 2 weeks. If you change the 10 gallon nutrient reservoir after two weeks you wasted about 9 gallons of nutrient solution. On the other side of the coin you could wait 4 weeks to change the nutrient solution. Tomato plants grow fast, and would probably be well over 1 foot to 18 inches tall by then. Thus drinking up much more water and nutrients.
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:21 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Thanks for answering, like you i was really hoping several other's would chime in, guess not.

One last ? that i forgot to ask.

When do you start giving them any nute solution?

I'm assuming not till after they pop open and start to grow.

Guess i shouldn't have just put tomato seeds, but seeds in general. Atm i just do Tomatoes so out of habit that's what i tend to say when i talk about seeds in general. LOL
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Old 02-04-2012, 06:30 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Well as I mentioned,

"Once the sprouts have started to get their first set of true leaves, I mix the nutrient solution to between 1/8 and 1/4 strength. To make things easy I just take a gallon water jug, make that full strength. So I have a gallon of full strength nutrient solution (sometimes I pH adjust it, but most of the time I'm too lazy), then just dilute it as I need. Store it in a dark closet to keep algae from growing.

I gradually increase the strength up to about 1/2 strength. By then the seedlings are about big enough to be placed in the hydroponic system where I still use about 1/2 strength nutrient solution. Once placed in the hydroponic system I make sure pH levels are right. When the plants get a little bigger, I'll increase the nutrient strength to 3/4. I don't usually ever make/mix the nutrient strength higher than 3/4 of the manufactures directions for a full strength solution."

I tried to word it in a more general description, rather than specific to one type of seed/plant. As far as what I do, I still generally fallow this same general rule of thumb. But not all seeds grow at the same speed or size, so that's why I don't mention a timeline or specific sizes for guidelines. Other than I start with a weak nutrient solution once the seeds have started growing their first set of true leaves. Faster growing plants will naturally get bigger faster, thus should have their nutrient strength increased earlier than slow growing plants. Tomato plants just happen to be a fast growing plant (under the good conditions). Witch leads me to another variable that is the conditions will greatly affect the seedlings growth (air and root temps, humidity, light etc.). Environmental conditions are more important than exactly when to increase nutrient strength, or even how much to increase it to me. But once you start a few plants and see how they respond to any changes, you'll have the feel of it quickly (even have your own preferences).
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:39 AM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Ya i already have 2 out of 20 that have popped.

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