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Just wondered if anyone else has experienced the same problem as I have this year - I have raised my usual favourite tomatoes, cucumber and pepper varieties from seed, using my electric propogator to give them a good start. I have not varied any of my usual practices, although I have used a good quality seed compost this year rather than my usual multi purpose compost that I normally make do with. All seed types and varieties are the tried and tested ones that I have used before. All so far, except for two cucumber plants have died or are of a small and incorrect formation (too few leaves, small leaves etc). What I have noticed is when I have removed the seedlings to pot on, the root systems on them are either very small or flimsy; they do not seem to have developed properly. Not to be deterred I have tried another tray of the same - only to encounter the same problem! Is it just me or has anyone else experienced this? It is very frustrating, as my own raised stock for the greenhouse this year is virtually non-existent!
Funny you've brought this up - I invested in some John Innes seed compost rather than the usual MPC, and myfirst sowings of courgettes and cukes just didn't make it. Toms are OK though, but I don't think I'll bother again with the seed compost.
I've had probs with peppers & chillies, seed compost from B&Q neither germinated, fresh seeds, had warmth, light, under cover overnight in house. Had 2 attempts. Ended up buying 2 chillie plants..don't need many. Toms & cumbers in multi have done just fine.
i first used mpc and seeds went crazy and leggy, so i brought special seed compost, but it gets a hard crust on the top, a few things are coming up but not what i expected it maybe just the difference in the temperatures being so irate
This year I used compost for seedlings for sowing seeds, by mistake but it's been quite successful so far except for half of the cucumbers damping off. I always thought you had to use seed compost because other types were too rich for seeds but now I'm wondering if you could use almost anything. Certainly, the tomato seeds that remained in my home made compost last year germinated all over the place after I used it as a mulch around the garden.
Not sure why you'd be using an electric propagator at this time of year - far too hot. You'll be surprised to hear that seed does not need to be baked, in order to germinate. Room temperature is perfect now. All my seeds have come through, using the plastic bag method - very cost effective.
Jiffy 7 pellets are the way to go. Only use seed compost for really big seeds now, peas and beans. Really must pot on the pumpkin and courgette seeds I sowed with my son, they're in his room in a windowsill propogator, if I don't do something soon they'll start walking around with the terrific root system they have.
I've been very impressed with both the germination rates and the growth using the pellets (plus a box full is about the size of a box of tea bags and will last well over a year), wasn't really expecting them to be as good as they are, but they are fab.
Strangely this year I used seed compost when I've always used multi purpose in the past-mainly because the compost recently has not been great and also because I just saw it in local supermarket and thought it would suit me better at the time. It was a Westland one and virtually everything has germinated without problem. Only casualties were a few dwarf sunflowers and some of the spinach.
Hi Marshmello - electric propogator has been in use since early February - it has taken so long to try and establish these plants (that's another problem too). Now, at this time of year I wouldn't bother with it. As I said before, everything else including the propogator has been standard practice for me, but this year - no show! I have in the past raised seeds both in and out of the propogator, with no real difference. Maybe, if I'm not too late I'll try without and see what happens - can't be any worse! Thanks for the comment!
Thanks for all the above suggestions and responses. This makes me think that by trying to do the 'right thing' by way of the compost, I should actually stick with what I know and do what I know works best. It is interesting to see how many other people actually have done similar things with similar outcomes - the joys and experience of gardeneing! You live and learn! Just in response to Mummy Muddy Paws - growing windowsill plants is great - the outcomes are fantastic without the faff! How you move away from the reality sometimes in order to get a 'professional' response with limited success! I wish those Courgettes and Pumpkins that you and your son have enjoyed much success!