SCOOL -- Seed Starting

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A comprehensive overview of seed starting, and some pictures of greenhouse construction using a pipe bender from lostcreek.net.

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SCOOL -- Seed Starting

  1. 1. Seed Starting andGreenhouse Construction Daniel Parson www.parsonproduce.com 404.452.4321
  2. 2. Planning First!Field Layout Seed order Row Spacing Number and varieties of seed needed Number of plants Direct seeding or Transplanting
  3. 3. Daniel’s Seed Timeline• January 1-15: Seed Order – Complete rotations and plan for season – Inventory and dispose of old seed – Organize seed order and call• February 1: Begin seed starting in greenhouse• March 1: Begin direct seeding and transplanting
  4. 4. Seed Plan: What, Where, When, How Much Date-Transplant Est Date-Seeding Est Date-Harvest Est Days to Harvest Feet per Ounce Days SD to TD Rowfeet Variety Crop FieldChioggia Beets 1 20-Aug 55 14-Oct 200 150Red Ace Beets 1 20-Aug 50 9-Oct 200 150Gypsy Broccoli 1 29-Jan 28 26-Feb 58 25-Apr 250Pacman Broccoli 1 29-Jan 28 26-Feb 50 17-Apr 250 # seeds per foot # of Seeds / Oz Ounces of Seed Plants / Foot # of Plants # of Seeds # of Flats Flat Size Variety CropChioggia Beets 14.67 #REF! 2934 2200 1.334Red Ace Beets 14.67 #REF! 2934 2200 1.334Gypsy Broccoli #REF! 0.85714286 214 50 5 500 6000 0.084Pacman Broccoli #REF! 0.85714286 214 50 5 500 6000 0.084
  5. 5. Resources Reference Sources• The New Seed • Johnny’s Selected Starters Handbook Seeds Nancy Bubel • High Mowing Seeds• Seed to Seed • Fedco Suzanne Ashworth • Peaceful Valley• savingourseed.org Farm Supply • Seeds of Change
  6. 6. Stages of Germination• Imbibition--taking up water• Seed coat ruptures• Enzymatic action breaks down starch• Synthesis of proteins• Cells divide and elongate• Seedling develops and emerges
  7. 7. Cotyledons/Seed Leaves• Contained in the living seed• Provide vital nutrients• Indicate plant health
  8. 8. Why Direct Seed• Better root establishment• Some crops require it• Quality seedlings• Earlier harvest• No transplant shock
  9. 9. Why Grow Transplants• Crop timing• Earlier start• High quality plants• Greater choice for varieties• Less field weeding• Spacing and stand management
  10. 10. Seed Starting• Depth and light requirements• Temperature• Pre-treatments• Soil/media• Moisture• Seed/soil contact
  11. 11. Seed Starting• Depth and light requirements• Temperature• Pre-treatments• Soil/media• Moisture• Seed/soil contact
  12. 12. Depth and Light• Rule of Thumb: Plant twice as deep as seed width• Some require light to germinate – Cover with vermiculite• Depth can provide moisture in field• Plant shallower in greenhouse
  13. 13. Seed Depth• Use your fingers• Build a peg board for flats• Estimate when making a trench• Set your precision field seeder
  14. 14. Light• Some seeds, especially flowers, need light• Some seeds germinate only in darkness• Light may release dormancy ***As soon as they germinate, ALL seedlings need plenty of high-quality light***
  15. 15. Light Plastic or Glass?• Glass polarizes light – Seedlings grow toward the plane – Most expensive• Plastic diffuses light – Plants grow straight – Less durable
  16. 16. Seed Starting• Depth and light requirements• Temperature• Pre-treatments• Soil/media• Moisture• Seed/soil contact
  17. 17. Temperature• Different seeds need different ranges• Provided by: – Weather – Heat mats – Heated bench/floor – Greenhouse ambient heat***A special environment can be created for germination***
  18. 18. Temperature Effects 60Days to Germination 50 40 Carrot 30 Cucumber 20 Okra Tomato 10 0 41 F 50 F 59 F 68 F 77 F 86 F Temperature Range
  19. 19. Temperature Effects 120Percent Germination 100 80 Carrots Cucumbers 60 Okra 40 Tomatoes 20 0 41 F 50 F 59 F 68 F 77 F 86 F 95 F 104 F Temperature
  20. 20. Heat Mat and Temperature Controller
  21. 21. Seed Starting• Depth and light requirements• Temperature• Pre-treatments• Soil/media• Moisture• Seed/soil contact
  22. 22. Pretreatments• Soak – Soften seed coat – Dissolve inhibitors--ex. Parsley• Stratify – Cold treatment or changing temps – Echinacea and artichoke• Scarify – Score seed coat
  23. 23. Seed Starting• Depth and light requirements• Temperature• Pre-treatments• Soil/media• Moisture• Seed/soil contact
  24. 24. Soil/Media In the Field• Adequate seedbed• Till or cultivate just before planting In the Greenhouse• Select a fine/light mix• Conventional potting mix has fertilizer and wetting agent
  25. 25. Daniel’s Former Soil Mix• 6 cu ft peat moss• 2 cups lime mixed into peat• 4 cu ft vermiculite• 4 cu ft perlite• 4 cu ft good quality compost• 2 cups kelp or Azomite• 4 cups Fertrell 4-2-4
  26. 26. Daniel’s Current Soil Mix• 2 @ 3.8 cu ft peat moss• 4 cups lime mixed into peat• 4 cu ft vermiculite• 4 cu ft perlite• 4 cu ft worm castings• 2 cups kelp and 2 cups Azomite• 4 cups Symphony 5-4-3
  27. 27. Fertilizing• Starter fertilizer in potting mix• Water with fish or kelp – Stimulates growth – Reduce before transplant – Stop fertilizing to hold plants• Soak in fish or kelp before transplanting
  28. 28. Choosing Flats• Size of plugs/number• Shape – Round – Pyramidal – Square• Durability• Cost• Availability
  29. 29. Soil Blocks• Set in plastic or wooden trays• Ease in potting up• One tool makes infinite number of blocks• Soil Mixture – Moisture content – Consistency
  30. 30. Seed Starting• Depth and light requirements• Temperature• Pre-treatments• Soil/media• Moisture• Seed/soil contact
  31. 31. Moisture In the Greenhouse• 1000 water breaker: ‘red head’• Constant moisture for germination• Allow plants to dry before evening In the Field• Plant before rain or into moist soil• Good seed/soil contact
  32. 32. Seed Starting• Depth and light requirements• Temperature• Pre-treatments• Soil/media• Moisture• Seed/soil contact
  33. 33. Choosing a Seeder• Singulation of seed• Precision• Proper spacing• Speed of sowing• Cost• Row marking
  34. 34. Direct Seeders from Johnny’s European Push Seeder Six Row SeederGlaser Earthway Precision
  35. 35. Direct Seeding-Spacing• Between plants – At planting – By thinning – Should fit with cultivation• Between rows – Use row marker – Should fit with cultivationKnott’s Handbook for Vegetable Growers
  36. 36. Seeding FlatsVibro Hand Gro Mor Mini-Seeder Wand Seeder Earthway Precision Plate Seeder
  37. 37. Transplanting Tips• Harden off in any season – Expose to outside sun and wind – Reduce watering• Soak or water flats just before planting• Be sure the root ball is covered• Plant in late afternoon or evening
  38. 38. Resources Reference Sources• The New Seed • Johnny’s Selected Starters Handbook Seeds Nancy Bubel • High Mowing Seeds• Seed to Seed • Fedco Suzanne Ashworth • Peaceful Valley• savingourseed.org Farm Supply • Seeds of Change
  39. 39. Seed Starting 101 Daniel Parson www.parsonproduce.com 404.452.4321

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