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Heated mat for Tom's and chillies

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  • #61
    Well it's either too wet or too dry. I can't seem to win The compost is peat moss which is perfectly adequate for seed sowing. If I take the lids off, the compost will dry out and the heat won't stay in the soil and the air around it. The lids with the vents fully open still create humidity. There is nothing that I can do about that. All I know is chillies are the most impossible plants I have ever grown. Even the 3 I have managed to get and pot on are no bigger.

    I just think the quality of seeds isn't what it used to be otherwise I would have had much better germination.

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    • #62
      I don't grow chillies but I do grow sweet peppers and I have found that they can be the devil to germinate, and seeds are expensive. What I did last year and repeated this time, which has worked well, is save some seed from a ripe pepper and instead of sowing them in compost, put them to chit on wet kitchen paper in a small pot with a lid. Put the pot on the heat mat and check daily for signs of roots. As soon as a seed makes a root, pick it up with tweezers and plant it in a pot, then cover that with a transparent lid (yogurt pot lids work well) and put it back on the heat mat. I find it takes about 2 weeks for the seeds to develop roots and a further 10 days or so for seedlings to appear in the pot. At least this way you are not wasting compost if the seeds are not viable.
      A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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      • #63
        Well I just give up. Only 2 more started to emerge but never actually came through.

        Also the one I potted on from last week is fast going downhill.

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        I have unplugged the matt and given up

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        • #64
          Marb, when I am sowing seeds I always add gravel of perlite which opens up both peat based and peat free compost, it's possible that your compost is too compacted and staying to damp or stopping good root formation, I would suggest that you but a bag of washed concrete sand and make a 50/50 mix with your compost, if your not happy with the mix add slightly more compost, the garden books will tell you not to use anything other than horticultural sand but I have been using course concrete sand for years with no difficulty, I have also used the sand by its self when sowing seeds,so give it a go as you will never know till you try it
          Last edited by rary; 15-04-2024, 02:15 PM.
          it may be a struggle to reach the top, but once your over the hill your problems start.

          Member of the Nutters Club but I think I am just there to make up the numbers

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          • #65
            Well, still pathetic weeks on. I have no idea why they haven't germinated 😔
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            • #66
              The ones that did are getting no bigger weeks on
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              • #67
                Maybe consider what Rary said re your compost in post #64 ?
                I’d guess that the fine roots aren’t coping with your compost- too moist then too dry, or constantly too moist. Are you bottom watering?…from the recent piccie it looks like you’re not.
                Are you maintaining a constant heat with your heat mat or turning it off during the day?

                All our compost here is peat based and I really struggle to get some seedlings to grow without ‘diluting it’ (if you know what I mean)
                I’ve found that they rot or dry out, and the peat seems to hold onto the cold more unless kept at a steady temperature.
                I know the books say it’s fine, but I really struggle with it unless it’s mixed with sand/ perlite/ mole hills.( you don’t seem to have as much pearlite in your pots as I would put in)

                Just a few thoughts from my limited experience with growing tomatoes from seed.
                Last edited by Nicos; 25-04-2024, 02:54 PM.
                "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

                Location....Normandy France

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                • #68
                  Peppers do take ages to grow,mine are very small still. Your tomato leaves are bigger than my tomato leaves,they look good. My seedlings are so small,plants grow faster when it’s above ten degrees,we’re not seeing that yet.
                  Location : Essex

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                  • #69
                    What conditions are they growing in?
                    The compost looks wet and if it is cold too then consider the conditions where they grow naturally.
                    When I grow chillis/peppers/aubergines even after they've germinated I keep them in a heated propagator until they're a couple of inches high with lots more than seed leaves. Then if they come out of the heated prop they go into a warm greenhouse during the day.
                    To see a world in a grain of sand
                    And a heaven in a wild flower

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                    • #70
                      They stay in the cold greenhouse as its been hot in the day. They should be hardened off by now anyway although I cover with fleece on cold evenings. I gave up with the matt in the house as they were no better. I have other Tom's potted on much bigger. I have tried to get mole hill soil but there doesn't seem to be any anywhere presently. No idea why. Perlite is expensive so only have limited amount left. I water from the bottom and not sure why you think it looks like I water from above?

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                      • #71
                        “Tomatoes and will perform poorly at temperatures below 16C (61F). “

                        “Tomatoes prefer a temperature of 21 - 24C “

                        from…https://www.thompson-morgan.com/how-...and%20diseases.

                        Hardened off or not Marb - my guess is that it’s just too cold at night in an unheated greenhouse, causing them to stop growing.
                        "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

                        Location....Normandy France

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                        • #72
                          As I want to try and maintain a steady temperature overnight I cover all my plants and seedlings with fleece every night, don't go with weather forecasts as they are usually predictions of the average temperatures, and one or two degrees lower can make quite a difference in growth, as for the compost, looking at your photos I still reckon that you need to add grit to your compost, I have recommended using washed concrete sand but if you prefer to use perlite I would go for a bulk bag which is a lot cheaper in the long run than the small bags sold in the garden centeres, and believe me I always look for the cheapest
                          it may be a struggle to reach the top, but once your over the hill your problems start.

                          Member of the Nutters Club but I think I am just there to make up the numbers

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                          • #73
                            Could you maybe bring the toms back indoors at night Marb67?

                            I'm not sure I can add any good advice about the lack of germination but I hope my ramblings about how I do things might help.

                            I never bother with specific 'seed compost' for any of my sowings - I just use a peat free multipurpose.

                            I don't have a heat mat or propagator either. Everything stays in the kitchen or bathroom with a clear plastic bag over it until they stick their heads up then the bag gets taken off - the hardier stuff goes into the blowaway & the heat lovers/more tender stuff stays on the kitchen windowsill (the brightest one we have) until they get too big to live there anymore, which fortunately usually coincides with it being the right weather to at least harden off.

                            At the time of sowing I water by filling a couple of inches in the sink then standing the containers in the sink until the top of the soil glitters or feels damp to the touch then let any excess drip out of the bottom on the draining board before bagging - I don't recall ever having needed to water anything again until after germination (the plastic bag stops the top drying out).

                            Sometimes you do just get a dud pack of seed - even from the well known suppliers.

                            I do recommend putting seed of anything you're not sure about the viability of or is known to be more difficult to germinate between damp kitchen roll placed in a plastic container. This works well for me with chillies which are temperamental little beggars that sometimes come up in days then other times take weeks for no apparent reason that I can fathom. One of the benefits of pre-chitting is you can put them in your warmest room to trigger them off without worrying about space (or light for seeds that don't need light to germinate, only warmth) & don't waste compost as you only pot up sprouting seeds. It also takes some of the roulette out of things as you can clearly see if something's sprouted or not - whereas the compost sown seed you have that extra time waiting for signs above the surface - so I've found pre-chitting helpful for seed where there's a smaller window of opportunity to re-sow if things don't go right first time.
                            Location: SE Wales about 1250ft up

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                            • #74
                              I use a mix of six scoops of compost three scoops of sand/grit and two scoops of perlite,the quantity is unimportant as long as the ratio is the same, if for seeds I use this mix, if I am potting on I add some blood, fish and bone, along with a small quantity of chicken manure pellets
                              Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20240426_125057.jpg Views:	1 Size:	563.3 KB ID:	2578253 ​ though they look quite leggy they will be planted deep to allow more root formation
                              Last edited by rary; 26-04-2024, 12:29 PM.
                              it may be a struggle to reach the top, but once your over the hill your problems start.

                              Member of the Nutters Club but I think I am just there to make up the numbers

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                              • #75
                                Thanks folks. I shall add kiln dried sand to my mix as I still have loads left over from when I played some outdoor floor tiles. It's dry and clean in the shed. No point bringing seeds indoors as kitchen is a building site as having new one fitted. Anywhere in the house won't be much warmer than greenhouse as central heating is hardly on. This Winter seems to be lingering well overdue. Must be that global warming eh 😉

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