2017 Petunia grow out
We have already reached the limit of people who are going to participate in the grow out, however, if you have your own petunia seeds or go and buy some petunia seeds and want to grow along with us you are most welcome.
I also invite everyone to stop in, read the posts and watch the grow out in action.
As I said on the sign up page for this grow out~
Most people love the colorful petunia, however we usually buy them at the store. It can get expensive if you want to have allot of them and your choice of type of petunia at your local store is limited.
However there are many different types of this beautiful flower that you can get from seed. But you might think it is just to hard to grow them from seed.
This is not so and even tho these petunia seeds are teeny tiny, many of them now come in 'pelleted' form which makes each seed larger. Meaning you can use tweezers and plant them individually in each starting pot.
As I learned last year from my first time starting them indoors, petunia seedlings are very easy to grow. The seedlings are very hardy and don't seem to mind being transplanted.
This makes them a great plant to start from seed for the beginner gardener and a joy of not so much fuss for the ol timer gardener.
Now for all the grow out participants~many of the seeds are in route to you and when enough people get their seeds we can start. I have still not heard from every member of the grow out, but even so, if they contact me they can just have a late start.
Depending on what zone you are in, some of you will be able to plant your petunias outdoors or in hanging baskets before your plants bloom. In other zones like mine here in 6b, your plant might well begin flowering before you plant them outside. This is fine and you can keep cutting them back if they start getting leggy. They seem to love this and will become that much bushier.
On to our grow out~
The five main things you need to grow these plants are, a growing space that stays a comfortable room temperature, a good seed starting mix~(either bought from a store, or your own mix), a container to start your seeds, water and a good lighting source.
Some very helpful tools to keep your plants healthy are~
Cinnamon~many times in a wet, warm environment fungus will grow and this will kill your seedlings. Cinnamon is very good at killing fungus. I highly recommend that you sprinkle cinnamon on top of your planted seed. It will not hurt your plants and you can keep using it as you feel the need.
Diatomaceous earth~this is used to control insects and is especially important if you have other plants in the same grow room. ~To the insects, the diatomaceous earth is a lethal dust with microscopic sharp edges that cut through the insectís protective covering, causing them to dry out, thus killing them when they are either dusted with the diatomaceous earth or applied in a wet spray form. One of the benefits of diatomaceous earth for insect control is that the insects it helps to control have no way to build up a resistance to the diatomaceous earth, like with many of the chemical control insecticides. Here is more information~(and this is cheap and you can find this earth at most feed and seed stores.)
Fertilizer~we will not need this for the first part of our grow out. But when our plants get large, it is good to feed them with a liquid fertilizer at half strength every few weeks until we get them outside. I just use miracle gro and cut it with water.
For this grow out I want everyone to take pictures of their seed starting space and use picture documentation to share with the rest of us how you like to start your seeds.
Any and all questions are welcome and encouraged, (this goes for anyone who is just watching the grow out also) we are a mix of gardeners, some who have already grown petunias indoors and some who have not. Some who have started seeds indoors and perhaps some who have not.
We are here to help and encourage each other. We are here to share our own ideas and ways of seed starting. There is no pass or fail. I want to hear your own ideas and see your own unique ways of growing seeds.
I want to both teach you what I know, or what has worked for me and I want to learn from each of you.
I want you to keep taking pictures as your seeds grow to show us how they are doing. I like to keep the pictures going until we plant them outside and we can keep showing our pictures after they are planted.
In this way, seeing many different environments we all learn new things.
One more very important thing. Is it perfectly ok if one or more plants do not survive, we learn just as much from what does not work as we do from what does work. Plus, what might work in one environment may not work as well in another. As I said, there is no pass or fail. I have been gardening for a very long time. I personally like to push the limit, I like to try growing plants that don't normally grow in my area. And still, after all this time I have my share of fail . But, I don't let that stop me, as there is always a next season where I can try a different way.
The pictures below show my own set up. Nothing fancy, I bought the lights at Lowes some years ago for $10 each and the natural sunlight bulbs for $7 a two pack. I think the 4' lights are up to like $13 or $14 dollars now. But they are much cheaper in price then a 'grow light'. In short you don't need to spend tons of money on 'grow lights'. These shop lights work just as well.
The one thing to notice with these lights is that they hang from chains and can be moved close to your seedlings or farther away.
You want your lights to be about 4" above your seedling pot. If they are up to high your seedlings will keep growing just to reach enough light and will be thin and spindly. Most likely they will not survive. If they are to close to the plant the light will burn it. This 'rule of thumb' goes for any plant you start from seed.
As you can see in this picture I have one light down low and other up higher. I usually use the front light to start the seeds and when the seedlings outgrow the small pot I will move them to the back lights and bring it down again about 4" above the plants and keep moving the light higher up as my plants get larger.
In my set up, I used a couple of old shed doors for a table top and some old metal sawhorses to hold them up.( I love to re-purpose old things.) But any sturdy table top will do.
Here is another angle of my grow space~
This is my plant room~(if you participated in any of my other grow outs, yes this is a much different room as we had a new home put on our land and my plant room is filled with east and south facing windows )
But as you can see, even tho I have many windows, the winter sun is still not quite strong enough here in the north to start seeds. I still need the shop lights~
I put the lights on when I get up in the morning and then just turn them off at night. I try to minic the normal hours of spring daylight and nighttime.
So that's about it for this first post. I have seeds going out tomorrow to some participants, so in about 5 days from now I will go ahead and start my seeds and take more pictures to show you how I do it. After that, we can all start.
Again, Welcome and Happy planting!!!
Great to see you here~Good question!! If any of the other members have another answer then chime in.
Well I looked up your question and I found various things~here is the link
But I would say if you only have one bulb, it might be enough to grow one or two plants but that would be it. You will be getting enough seed to grow many plants.
Plus you need to have the ability to bring the bulb close enough to the top of the plant at it's various stages of growth to keep it from getting spindly.
Your best bet would be to read thru those various articles and go to Lowes and pick up one of the cheap 4ft shop lights and the natural sunlight bulbs. Or bulbs that emit both red and blue light.
If you can't do that tho, then I say try growing just one or two plants under your light and see what happens.
Usually in grow outs people try all kinds of different things to see if they will work. If they do, great, then we all found something else that works, it if does not work, then we all know not to try that method.
Great grow space fearadyn, love your shed door table! Here's where I'll be starting my petunias, just a metal shelf I set up last month in a spare bedroom with some lights. It's usually pretty bright in this room during the day, it's just very overcast when I took this pic. I have a few other seeds I've already started.
All the red plant markers you see in the pots are just strips from solo cups - I get 12 strips from each cup and they are a pretty inexpensive way to keep track of what's what, at least until the plants mature. If they make it that far, then I usually replace them with sturdier markers.
Also, I wanted to put up a pic from my set up from when we did the morning glory growout. It was just an old bookshelf that I put a couple lights into. It worked great! I think the newspaper pots are a good way to go too if you don't have many pots for starting seeds indoors, then you just put the plant, pot and all, out into the ground in the spring.
"Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes."
Last edited by Sherie0001; 01-10-2017 at 10:35 AM..
Whoot Sherri is here!!
Awesome set up! Thank you for posting pictures. And as everyone can see she has her lights down close to her pots at this point.
As for your old set up, it worked very well if I remember. Are you going to use newspaper pots again this year or did you ditch that idea?
For everyone, Sherri is in central Fla and will most likely be one of the first to put her plants outside. Which is wonderful because she can show everyone how to harden off your plants.
My bookcase grow shelf worked great and I used it quite a bit even after the morning glory growout. The lights can't be lowered but I just prop up the seed trays with shoeboxes or whatever I can find to raise them up closer to the lights while they are young.
I don't use the newspaper pots as much lately because I invested in some seed trays and pots, but I still do use them if I have plants that don't like to be transplanted. Since you can plant your seedlings right into the ground without removing them from the pots, the roots don't get disturbed at all, so they work great.
When I was setting up my new grow shelf last month, I watched a lot of YouTube videos on growing indoors. I found this idea for a seed-starting setup, which is so easy and inexpensive, I think it's genius. Just thought I'd share since I know not everyone will want to set up a whole grow shelf or area....
I checked online and clamp lights at Walmart are $6. The milk jug is just filled partway with sand to keep it stable. The pole in the jug is pvc, but you could use a dowel or maybe some other type of rod or stick you may have lying around. Then you just move the light up the pole as your seedlings grow. I just thought it was a great idea.
"Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes."
All seeds have been sent out to those who contacted me~Pretty much everyone should have them by now.
So I am setting a planting date of Jan 21-the 22nd, this is the weekend so we should (hopefully) be home to plant.
I will be posting pictures of how I do it and what I will be using.
I would like everyone to do the same!
Good luck and if you have any questions or advice just speak up!
Here is an idea I read about awhile ago and will be trying this season. Starting your seeds in Vermiculite. Here are a few videos to show you what I am talking about.
Other hints to make things easier~
No matter what you are using to start your seeds, make sure it is damp before planting.
The way I do this is to pour my planting mix into a bucket or large container and add water to it until it is good and damp. You don't want it soaking with water, just damp all the way thru.
Your normal seed starting mix needs to be thoroughly wet before planting. It takes awhile for this mix to soak up all the water and if you plant dry your water after planting will just tend to pool or find a way thru to the bottom and most of it is still dry on the inside.
The same goes for planting in vermiculite, get it nice and damp before planting.