Seed Starting for 2021 (Scheming and Planning)

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nnnnnate
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Seed Starting for 2021 (Scheming and Planning)

Post by nnnnnate »

I've been obsessing over this for the last month while trying to figure out what seeds to order and what supplies to procure. I am planning to sow flower seeds for the first time so I'll need to get organized for that. I'm thinking that I'll build/buy a rack with multiple shelves and add some lighting (probably via costco LED shop lights.)

This is what I'm mainly hoping to re-create in a section of my house in 2021.
Image

In the picture there are a few colors of salvia and the green is sweet potato vine. I've done some looking and bought seeds from Harris Seed for Victoria Salvia (blue), Summer Jewel Red Salvia (red), and Evolution Violet Salvia (violet). I picked those ones for color but also I was also trying to match plant height which I think these listed for 18-24" or so. Another deep dive I've been on is color theory and picking plantings that will fit a theme and look good together. This is all new to me so I am trying hard but may crash and burn. I'm also wanting to seed some lantana camara (the red/orance/yellow ones) but have so far not found what I'm looking for.

I've also ordered some dahlias and want to try and start them early so I can take cuttings and get more yield for my money. If I could do the came with petunias that would be great but I don't have any of those to over winter.

For the rack I've seen a few options that look intriguing. Wire racks seem to be the easy way to go, for a lot of money I could get a LED SunLite unit, and I found plans for one made from wood on fine gardening. Maybe the idea I like the most is using an Ikea Fabrikor glass display cabinet as a "greenhouse" which might get wife approval to move into the house rather than be banished to the garage. It seems like there aren't any of those cabinets at the ikea near me so its probably out.

There are lots of seed starting kits but I'm leaning towards the standard 1020 greenhouse style. It seems like Johnnyseeds.com has all the pieces that I'd need so unless I can find them locally for a decent price I'm leaning towards them for online ordering.

Anyway, I'm hoping to update this thread over the next year with what supplies I come up with and would hope others will jump in as well with their seed starting plans for next year. What are you hoping to start from seed and what is your set up like? I've done extensive searching here and have only found a few bits and pieces of info about what us yard nerds are doing on this front. I'd really like a greenhouse but its not in the cards right now.
Last edited by nnnnnate on Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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gm560
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Re: Seed Starting for 2021 (Scheming and Planning)

Post by gm560 »

I start a lot of seeds in my basement as well as grow plants from cuttings. For shelving I built something like this out of 2 x 4s. I want to say that a shelf 6 feet high and 8 ft long cost me only around $50 to build.

Image

I also bought some Mylar blankets (the ones marathon runners wrap themselves in after a race) and stapled them on the back and sides.

For lights, I have many, but these have been the best:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HI ... UTF8&psc=1

Actual grow lights will give you more than shop lights. Shop lights will work for starting seeds, but once the plants get larger they will need a non trivial amount of light to put on growth. If its not supplied they will look for it and grow to be "leggy". This can still happen even with powerful lights, so I suggest getting your plants into the real sunlight as soon as temps safely allow in the spring.

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nnnnnate
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Re: Seed Starting for 2021 (Scheming and Planning)

Post by nnnnnate »

Thanks for the post @gm560. As I've looked at grow lights I tend to get lost with the information especially with lights shaped like the one you link. Its 12"x8" and I'm wondering what is the footprint that it can effectively provide light for. Are you lighting up a 24'x18" area or 48"x24"? I'm not necessarily opposed to paying for a grow light if that is what will give me best results but I just haven't gotten a great lay of the land on them. It also seems like the info I can find is geared more towards growing weed in a tent rather than plants on shelves like what I'm intending to do.

Am I right to assume that the mylar blankets are to just reflect the light back towards the plants?

I don't have a basement that I can use (in-laws live down there) so at this point I am kind of limited to a single rack maybe 48" long in my insulated and attached garage. Its got a gas furnace in it so while I don't want to keep it at 70* I can keep it from getting real cold. Last winter I don't know that it ever really dropped below 50 without adding heat.

Do you start the same type of seeds every year or do you change it up?

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Re: Seed Starting for 2021 (Scheming and Planning)

Post by gm560 »

nnnnnate wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:54 am
Thanks for the post @gm560. As I've looked at grow lights I tend to get lost with the information especially with lights shaped like the one you link. Its 12"x8" and I'm wondering what is the footprint that it can effectively provide light for. Are you lighting up a 24'x18" area or 48"x24"? I'm not necessarily opposed to paying for a grow light if that is what will give me best results but I just haven't gotten a great lay of the land on them. It also seems like the info I can find is geared more towards growing weed in a tent rather than plants on shelves like what I'm intending to do.

Am I right to assume that the mylar blankets are to just reflect the light back towards the plants?

I don't have a basement that I can use (in-laws live down there) so at this point I am kind of limited to a single rack maybe 48" long in my insulated and attached garage. Its got a gas furnace in it so while I don't want to keep it at 70* I can keep it from getting real cold. Last winter I don't know that it ever really dropped below 50 without adding heat.

Do you start the same type of seeds every year or do you change it up?
I have those lights covering an area of probably 48"x24", maybe even a bit larger. I also have them on an adjustable rope so that I can bring them closer to a plant if it needs more light. I try to time my planting so that I can move them outside before they require too much. Also things like petunias are pretty hardy so you can put them out pretty early in the spring. So last year I had those lights focused on tomato plants later in the spring bc most of the other plants were already outside (not planted though so that I could bring them in if a night was supposed to get really cold).

My intent with the Mylar is threefold. Not sure the effectiveness of them all but the idea is 1. It reflects the light back at the plants. 2. It maintains a little insulation to trap heat generated by the lights 3. (Related to #1) it keeps the light in to minimize my basement glowing like I am growing weed down there.

Your garage sounds like my basement. Its not heated but never really drops that low. During really cold months you could use a heating mat if the cold is stunting growth. You should invest in some anyway because they really help with germination of seeds.

This year I started veggies for the first time. In years prior I only did annual flowers, mostly petunias, but also pansies for spring plantings. We like doing mass plantings (few hundred plants), which if I bought full sized plants at a garden center would be super expensive.

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nnnnnate
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Re: Seed Starting for 2021 (Scheming and Planning)

Post by nnnnnate »

With that coverage area I think I'll end up ordering one of those lights to test out. If it covers about a 2'x4' area I can manage with one per shelf on the wire rack I've been looking at.

The gardens that I saw the lantana camara at closed to the public last Saturday but I called to see if I could get some cuttings to try and keep alive over winter. I got called back and the head gardener is going to save a few plants for me to pick up Friday. This kind of pushes my timeline up at least a little since I'll need a light to keep these plants going. I did find some latana seeds on etsy which showed up the other day. I've read they take up to 2 months though to sprout. Our temps have been hot for us (70s) but are going to tank in the next few days down to freezing overnight and highs in the 40s.

Hopefully I'll have pictures of something to show in the next week.

Topic Author
nnnnnate
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Re: Seed Starting for 2021 (Scheming and Planning)

Post by nnnnnate »

I got that grow light linked to above, well, the newer version of it and picked up a rack from Costco. The rack was $90 and 4' wide by like 12" deep with 6 shelves. I moved some things around in the garage and got the rack into place. I also picked up those lantana camara plants that I'm going to try and get some cuttings from and keep alive over winter.

I really don't know how much light they should be getting so I've been doing like 4 hours under the lights a day. Give or take.


Image

After the lawn tools insta commercial today I'm thinking I need to make a tray of KBG for the rack too.

Topic Author
nnnnnate
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Re: Seed Starting for 2021 (Scheming and Planning)

Post by nnnnnate »

Its been a few months but, perhaps surprisingly, the three lantanas are all still alive. Two are looking better than the third but they are alive and have been pushing out new leaves and some flowers. I've only been running the grow lights for like 4 hours a day but they garage has been in the mid 40's and low 50's.

Before Christmas I picked up some 1020 planting trays and a few more domes as well as some commercial potting soil. Last night I decided it was time to try and take some cuttings to see if I can get any to root and provide some starts for this next season.

I clipped branches and left a node below any leaves then dipped each one in rooting powder (hormodin 3) before putting them in the tray. Some of the cuttings are from more woody branches and some were more green. It just depended on the plant that I took them from. With the three donors I divided the tray into approximate thirds and put little dividers in. We'll see how things go.

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