One Seed Growing Approach

All about seed grown plants. How-to information, progress reports, show of your results.
daiv
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Post by daiv »

Perma-bump! 8)
All Cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are Cacti
peterb
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Post by peterb »

i still pretty much use this method but have switched back to bottom watering more for the first several months, rather than just spray watering.

I stopped using Metromix and substituted Jiffy seed mix for water retention. I don't use much of the seed starting mix, especially not for Echinomastus, Ancistrocactus, Echinocactus, etc., but found if I just used sandy soil/grit it was too dry here in Phoenix. I still get some lovely crops of algae on the soil surface but that doesn't seem to harm seedlings. If I sow Blossfeldia or other dust-like seed I sterilize and cover, a la the baggy method.

I also use lights now, because I sow in the winter. I don't rely on the lights after about 4 weeks though as the pots all go on a windowsill then.

I really wish I had a controlled environment to grow seedlings in! Someday I will go completely mad and have acres of greenhouses. :-)

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eekawill
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Post by eekawill »

When your doing the baggy method do you need to open them to water or not?
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Post by peterb »

Not for a very long time. I used a closed plastic container for Blossfeldia a couple years ago and after the first watering they didn't need more water for months, perhaps 5 or 6 months.

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eekawill
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Post by eekawill »

peterb wrote:Not for a very long time. I used a closed plastic container for Blossfeldia a couple years ago and after the first watering they didn't need more water for months, perhaps 5 or 6 months.

peterb
would that depend on the size of the pots because i have 2 different size pots i am thinking about using and im not sure which one i should use? would the smaller one need to be watered before the bigger ones?
The best time to plant a cactus is twenty years ago. The second best time is now...
Zone 5a-5b...
(looking for L.Williamsii seeds pm me if you have some to sell...)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eekawill

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Post by iann »

It might depend on the thickness of the plastic. I use a fairly thin saran wrap over the pots and they start to dry out after a couple of months. Or maybe its because the bottom of the pots are not covered. Anyway, I can stand the pots in water for a little while if they get too dry. Because of the constant humidity, the soil doesn't need to be saturated, just moist.
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Cacti77
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Post by Cacti77 »

tumamoc wrote:I have some questions regarding your seed growing approach:

1) What is in metromix?
2) Is it a bad idea to provide the seedlings organic matter (e.g., poting soil, sphagnum, duff)?
3) I would like to grow my seedlings outdoors. Is a fungus problem inevitable? Is it still worthwhile to bake the soil initially?


I use a mix of 50% miracle grow organic soil, 25% coarse sand, and 25% perlite sometimes.

I also use another mix of homemade soil, I have found the seeds sown on top of the miracle grow organic grow much faster, obviously because of the nutes, and are just better off in the long run. They stay green and grow at an even rate, they develop incredibly vast root systems earlier in life than seed planted in other mixes.

I planted a number of different species this year (opuntia, gymnocalycium, ferocactus, echinopsis, echinocereus) and have noticed some seeds like this substrate and some do not. The opuntia, echinopsis, ferocactus, and echinocereus species are doing great with it.

I also mist two times a day with distilled water, the water around my area is very nasty, leaves a white residue on the soil surface, calcium I guess. I put a glad sandwich bag around each pot when I first sow the seeds and leave it on there until they have grown a bit. They are a 12-18 inches away from two T8 fluorescent tubes, 2600 lumens each. This turns some of the seedlings red at the tips, or all over, but they recover so no worries there.

Anyways just thought I would add to this helpful post.
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Post by DannabisAx »

Do you think most seeds do better on the soil surface or just lightly covered with soil?
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Post by peterb »

I have found that for most it makes no difference, as long as whatever you cover them with isn't too deep. I have started just sowing directly on the surface with most regular seeds, as per Ian's advice. They do just fine. Larger seeds like Opuntia pulchella I like to push down to about 2X their size.

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Post by eekawill »

I just noticed on of my seed bags has started to growing something other then cactus i was going to try to take a picture but i watered them for the first time since i planted them last winter and you cant tell because the soil is wet but is there something to put on them to prevent fungus and bacterial growth that wont affect the cacti themselves?
The best time to plant a cactus is twenty years ago. The second best time is now...
Zone 5a-5b...
(looking for L.Williamsii seeds pm me if you have some to sell...)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eekawill

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Post by Gnostic »

I use 3% hydrogen peroxide to fight mold and fungus. I've also heard this helps oxygenate the soil. I've been using it for a couple of months now with no negative side effects. My seedlings actually look greener than ever. This link may help :)

http://www.using-hydrogen-peroxide.com/ ... oxide.html
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eekawill
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Post by eekawill »

Gnostic wrote:I use 3% hydrogen peroxide to fight mold and fungus. I've also heard this helps oxygenate the soil. I've been using it for a couple of months now with no negative side effects. My seedlings actually look greener than ever. This link may help :)

http://www.using-hydrogen-peroxide.com/ ... oxide.html
Thank you!!
The best time to plant a cactus is twenty years ago. The second best time is now...
Zone 5a-5b...
(looking for L.Williamsii seeds pm me if you have some to sell...)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eekawill

Will B.
peterb
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Re: One Seed Growing Approach

Post by peterb »

Hello again- A few amendments to the method I originally described a few years ago.

I have slowly shifted away from all peat or coir or vermiculite or any commercially available organic, non-soil growing medium. You may notice that there was initially some discussion of my use of Metromix 360, and I have come around to agree with loph and others who warned of its unsuitability for cactus seedlings.

The mix I use now:

5 parts desert loam (good, mixed particle soil with very little clay, often found near arroyos and amended a little bit with arroyo gravel)
3 parts Napa high fired clay "oil dry" #8822
2 parts very coarse gritty non-setting sand

Heat pasteurization is essential. I microwave about 3 cups of the mix at a time on high for 5 minutes, wet. It should be steaming hot.

I have also become much more diligent about soaking pots, tray, heat pad in bleach and rinsing very well. The initial watering is usually hose end, but I use RO water after that. These measures have cut way down on probs post-germination. Also, I use lights now, aiming to provide at least "3000 lumens" with lights about a foot away from the tray. These are sufficient for the first 3-6 weeks or so.

Otherwise, I'm using pretty much the same method.

peterb
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Re: One Seed Growing Approach

Post by promethean_spark »

I just use tap-water for watering, but I add about a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per quart to sterilize it. Municipal water will be chlorinated, which should make it pretty safe to start with.
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Re: One Seed Growing Approach

Post by peterb »

Tempe water is terrible for the small pots. High pH and causes extreme algal blooms on the surface.

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