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Thread: Watering seed trays once inside electric propagator

  1. #1
    Nanny Chicken is offline Germinator
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    Default Watering seed trays once inside electric propagator

    Hi...I hope someone can help me with this problem that I encounter year after year.

    I have had my electric propagator (E P) a few years now but due to this issue I feel I don't get the most effective use from it so I am seeking advice from all of you who use the same method.

    Once my seed is sown and the trays/modules etc are in the propagator what do you suggest should be the watering regime in as much as frequency and method?

    I check the E P daily for hopeful signs of germination and if the compost is dry I water the trays either using my water sprayer (mist bottle) or my miniature houseplant watering can which has a mini mini sprayer attachment.

    Both methods only seem to moisten the surface of the compost which I was pretty confident was all they needed to get started but today out of curiosity I lifted a small seed tray out and it was solid - not rock solid but like cake. It seemed impossible that a seedling was going to be able to permeate that dense a mass to put down roots (albeit tiny ones).

    I sowed several small seed trays 10 days ago with very little sign of germination and I can't help but think its my watering approach. Any ideas??

  2. #2
    Thelma Sanders is offline Gardening Guru
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    It sounds more likely, to me, that the compost is iffy. Good compost doesn't set hard, it usually has enough fibrous stuff in it to keep it open.

    When I have to water, I use one of those drinking bottles and give everything a quick squirt.

  3. #3
    Nanny Chicken is offline Germinator
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    Hi Thelma, thanks for your reply.

    I was so sure it was a watering issue but you make a good point about the compost - it is J A B's seed sowing compost but its not a freshly started bag. I am considered to be slightly (ahem) frugal in all things green fingered, so I thought I was stretching out of my comfort zone far enough when I overfilled the seed trays and then levelled off the excess - to start a brand new bag would have blown my mind! I didn't give it a thought.

    I'll start a new bag and sow some fresh seed tomorrow and see how they compare in a few days time.
    Baldy likes this.

  4. #4
    Bren In Pots's Avatar
    Bren In Pots is offline Bad Hair Day
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    Watering from the bottom always works out well i find, I've got a piece of capillary matting in the base of my Heated Propagator and by keeping it damp my seedling don't dry out.
    ESBkevin likes this.

  5. #5
    Nanny Chicken is offline Germinator
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    Thanks Bren - I do have some capillary matting that I could put in there although I currently have a layer of very fine gravel in there. One of the many articles I read about EP's was one by Mr Alan Titchy Titchmarsh who said he used a layer of silver sand in the base of his. I pour the condensation from the lids onto the gravel when I open up - not sure if I'm supposed to or not.

  6. #6
    Bren In Pots's Avatar
    Bren In Pots is offline Bad Hair Day
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    Have a read at this older thread most folks seem to use matting.

    http://www.growfruitandveg.co.uk/gra...tor_77625.html

    thing is with gardening there's no wrong answers just different ways of doing things.
    johnjohn likes this.

  7. #7
    Nanny Chicken is offline Germinator
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    Thanks Bren that's really helpful - it's so interesting to share other people's experiences. Each time I have g@@gled "how to use my EP" it just returned loads of adverts and articles/video clips stating the blinkin obvious.

    This all started because of my immediate success with the window sill propagation kits that were 3 for a tenner or suchlike several years ago. Grandad Chicken then purchased the EP as a Christmas present the year afterwards and so each year I feel obliged to give it a go - but it has been a constant source of frustration. I am determined to crack it this year - so thanks again!
    Bren In Pots likes this.

  8. #8
    Teabag is offline Sprouter
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    I've been pouring the condensation off the lid back into the tray which got a capillary mat on too.. (?!)

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