GGS Seed Starting Challenge: First Update blog

GGS Seed Starting Challenge: First Update

Planting DayThe Great Garden Supply team is off and running with the Seed Starting Challenge! Our seeds have been planted and we are seeing some fantastic growth in almost all of our containers after only 21 days.

What did we plant? Quite an array of tasty things:

  • ~ Blue Lake Pole Stringless Beans
  • ~ Early Prolific Straightneck Squash
  • ~ Clemson Spineless Okra
  • ~ Chadwick Cherry Tomatoes
  • ~ Long Red Cayenne Peppers
  • ~ Sweet Basil
  • ~ Baby Romaine Lettuce
  • ~ Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
  • ~ Georgia Southern Collards
  • ~ Select Salad Blends
  • ~ Rainbow Bell Peppers
  • ~ Cilantro
  • ~ Evergreen Bunching Onions
  • ~ Jalapeno Pepper
  • ~ Bright Lights Swiss Chard

We decided to plant our chosen seeds using a few different methods and two different planting mediums to see what would work best. We chose Jiffy pots, the Smart Float Grow Tray, and a Hydrofarm Heated Germination Station from our store along with plain, old egg cartons to plant our seeds. In the Jiffy pots and the Germination Station we planted half of the cells with Fox Farm Organic Potting Soil and the other half of the cells with Black Gold Waterhold Potting Soil. The Smart Float Grow Tray had it’s own planting medium. Inside the egg cartons Sterling planted Collards, Jason planted Beans and Sheri planted Cilantro.

All of the plants are being rotated underneath a Jump Start Grow Light System in addition to their location in our conference room near windows which receive natural sunlight for most of the day. Additionally, the seeds growing within the germination station have been placed on a heating mat.

Seed Starting Challenge, Day 7

Seed Starting Challenge, Day 7

One Week Later

After one week, there was talk of foul play since Sheri’s egg carton showed no signs of growth and she had left the actual seed planting in Sterling’s hands. Sterling’s egg carton of Collard seeds, on the other hand, showed abundant growth in each cell. Jason’s beans were as dormant as Sheri’s cilantro. The Jiffy Pots had similar results and of the pepper, collard, tomato, okra and cilantro seeds, only the collards had little, green sprouts. The Germination Station had swiss chard and lettuce sprouting but nothing from the cells with onion, squash or basil. The Smart Float Grow Tray also had lettuce (baby romaine) growing but no beans or green peppers. In regards to which soil is showing better results, it’s hard to tell just yet. Where things are sprouting we observed similar growth in both the Fox Farm and the Black Gold potting soils.

Two Weeks Later

12 Days Later

12 Days Later

Now we are seeing some great growth! Sterling is off the hook and has since received apologies from Sheri as it’s now obvious that Sterling not only planted her cilantro seeds but he obviously gave them some love as well. Sadly Jason’s egg carton is still barren and we’re wondering now if maybe his carton was the victim of unplanted seeds. Almost everything we have planted is showing signs of strong growth although there are still a couple of types of seeds that are not sprouting at all.

Three Weeks Later

21 Days Later

21 Days Later

Things got a little bit dicey over the weekend and because of schedules the grow lights were not turned on and off as much as they should have been. Add to that the ever dependable New England weather which forecasted bright, shiny skies all weekend only to rain and be quite chilly for most of it. We came in on Monday to some very sad Simpson lettuce and are in the process of coaxing it back to health. Our cilantro, squash and bean plants all have strong growth and look fantastic. Still nothing from our tomato, okra or two types of pepper plants. We will continue to talk to them and water as necessary and hope they are simply late bloomers.

Half and Half Tray

Half and Half Tray

We also made an interesting discovery with our half and half tray. While trying to prune through a few plants which were crowding and smothering one another, we realized there were quite a few plants that were not thriving. Before eliminating the sad seedlings, we put water into the bottom of the tray thinking that if the roots wicked up the moisture perhaps the leaves above might perk up. No such luck with that effort however what this showed us was that the Black Gold Waterhold was wicking up all of the water leaving the Fox Farm side completely dry. The fact that the Fox Farm side was not thriving nearly as well as the Black Gold side was now making more sense to us. Instead of admitting defeat, we simply pulled the offending sprouts and replanted new seeds. The only affected plants were the Swiss Chard, Green Onion, Simpson Lettuce and Sweet Basil.

Our goals for this weekend are to make sure the seedlings receive adequate light and warmth (supposed to be a bit chilly here in Massachusetts) and to continue to water them from the bottom up. We’re hoping that many will have to be moved to larger containers upon our return to the office on Monday.

Check out our Great Garden Supply Planting Guide for information about when and how to start various types of seeds yourself!

Great Garden Supply Planting Guide



17th April 2014

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