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good news,growing from seed is great
I've only just started using jiffy 7 pots as both Mark Diacono and Sarah Raven (my gurus) swear by them. However.... finding them quite weird to use and seeing v negative comments on some USA websites re drying out and damping off etc.
So here are some no doubt really daft questions - what's the best way to label them? I didn't want to plant a whole tray with same seed so had to label each pot individually. I'm using the smallest plastic labels I can but hard to get them inside the pot and then they keep falling out! all a bit stressie if you ask me!
Also when I first watered them to get them swell up they were absolutely drenched even after I drained them off. Didn't seem a good start in life for wee seeds to me!
Anyone got some general tips and hints on using Jiffy 7 pots.
Also - general question - to exclude light or not? Same experts seem to give differing advice depending on which of their books/websites/seed packets you read and I am now really confused!! Any advice much appreciated
Hi kimlien, not ever heard of the jiffy 7 pots before, but on having a quick look at them I can imagine it might be hard to keep control of the moisture levels.I used some similar( I think) biodegradable pots for some lobelia seedlings, can't say that I was that impressed. Sometimes they seemed really dry and others too wet. Slugs laid their eggs in them, so won't be using them again.
As for labelling, another poster suggested if you have loads of the same seedlings going, colour code it with a piece of coloured straw. I thought this was good idea as it saves labelling every pot.
I would follow the advice on the seed packets re light. For a lot of seeds the advice is generally the same ie sow about 1/2 " and then cover with fine compost. There are some though that are different.
I always sow into small (7cm) square plastic pots, using seed compost...I often sieve it if it's particularly lumpy and the seeds are exceptionally small. Tiny seeds I just sow on the surface and press lightly, larger seeds get a light covering of sieved compost or seed-grade vermiculite....and big seeds just get pushed into the compost. Water from the bottom with clean tap water and spray with cheshunt compound which helps to stave off 'damping off'.
Don't allow the compost to become too wet, too cold, too hot or too dry....it sounds more complicated than it is. To judge if the pots are too dry just pick them up...it will be obvious if they are drying as the pots will be lighter...just stand in tap water to soak up water by capillary action.
If the night temperatures are very cold then provide extra protection, I pop a propagator lid over them whilst they are small. In the daytime it's surprising how quickly the pots can become too hot if the sun is shining through glass...even when we have snow on the ground outside...so perhaps move the trays/pots to a place where the sun is a little less intense.
This is just what I do and isn't necessarily the RIGHT way to go...and I am not hovering over the pots all day long as I'm out at work a lot of the time.
This year the cold has checked a lot of my seedlings...ones that would usually have been moved to the (unheated but well insulated) GH by now have had to be kept in the conservatory (much less posh than it sounds...we built it ourselves out of reclaimed materials...but it's warmer than the GH) Hopefully once the weather improves the seedlings will catch up..
It's still early, I've still got lots of seeds waiting to be sown.
Using the Jiffy 7 plugs, I normally stand them in tepid water until they won't swell any more. Use warm water, it speeds up the process, and they don't seem to get too wet.
I tend to use the windowsill propogators for them, you can pick them up for around £7 delivered from Amazon or Ebay (ebay is cheaper at the moment). What I tend to do is use two sets of labels, and put them across the width of the propogator. That way if you've got 18 jiffy 'pots', you can have 6 pots of 3 different types of seed - I wouldn't try any more than that, otherwise your propogator will be full of seed labels.
When potting on, I buy different coloured square pots (again ebay), and matching seed labels, only bother writing out one label, it saves time when cleaning up when everything's in beds or baskets. You can re-use the pots and labels year after year. I also use the square pots and shuttle trays rather than the round ones, as you can get 3 trays of square pots into a coldframe or pvc greenhouse, whereas you can only get 1 or 2 trays of the round pots in.
Small seeds scatter a pinch of them over the top & cover with vermiculite, medium & large ones push into the centre & leave them to it. When they germinate, hoick them out of the propogator & into a small (and I mean small) pot, label individually until they're big enough to go into the coloured pots outside in the coldframe or greenhouse.
Ive just bought my vermiculite from wilkingsons half the price
I've never used any vermiculite in any of my seed sowings £8 on something that is not needed. I use some good fine compost in a propagator (Wilkos) and that's it.