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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Seed Starting!

For those of you in the northern part of the country - especially my home state of South Dakota, you would wonder,  why in the world would he be starting seeds.     Here in wonderful Southern California, you can grow all year long.  BUT you have to stick to winter crops that love the cooler weather for planting this time of year.  
I planted my first tray of many tonight.  Spent the first part of the evening cleaning and disinfecting all my plug trays and germination trays and cleaning the cobwebs of my light stand.  
You have to disinfect the trays with some water and little bit of bleach to kill any diseases.  I didn't do this one year and only sprayed them off and over half my seedlings died shortly after sprouting.  It was most likely caused by damping off which kills the seedlings almost overnight.  

I planted Fall Towers Romaine Lettuce.   The seed is pelleted, which mean that the seeds are coated in a clay ball, making it easier to handle.   I always try to use pelleted seeds whenever possible as my 50 year old eyes cannot see small seeds anymore and I usually miss some parts of the plug tray or put too much seed down.      When planting lettuce with pelleted seeds - you need to cover the pellet - to keep it moist or it will drip up locking the seed in a hard clay pellet and i will not germinate.  But if you cover too much, it won't have enough energy to break through the surface.  
I will keep you posted on the progress as this is the first time I have grown pelleted lettuce seed.

Here is a stock picture of Fall towers romaine lettuce growing in the field.

Here is a picture of the seed packet and also a picture of the pelleted seeds in my hand.  They are very easy to handle at this size.

A picture of the plug tray empty,  then filled with starting mix and one seed in each plug.

Finally - under the grow lights and on top of a germination heat mat.   The heat mat is set for 70 degrees.