A busy day

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Eric Williams
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Re: A busy day

Post by Eric Williams » Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:17 pm

Thanks for that Mike, will give it a try. Tony was right I have been retired twenty years and have no time for any thing! exept my plants lol. Cheers
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Paul in Essex
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Re: A busy day

Post by Paul in Essex » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:43 pm

It would have taken me a day just to write all those labels...
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Mike
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Re: A busy day

Post by Mike » Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:29 pm

I think the best bit is checking them every day (or more often) to see what's newly germinated!
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ralphrmartin
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Re: A busy day

Post by ralphrmartin » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:48 pm

Finished filling the 2nd propagator with more seeds today. Phew. I need a rest!

To reply to some of the comments:

The propagators are heated to 20C with soil warming cables / sensors buried in sand. The sand was damped down before I put the pots in, as I want to keep the humidity up.

All the labels were pre-printed using a brother label printer, and stuck on to the plastic labels (on a dreary winter day some weeks ago).
Seeds and labels were also pre-sorted into batches, of 20-30, so I didn't have to hunt too long for the label to go with each packet of seed.

I usually use a purely mineral compost:
1 part sand
1 part fine vermiculite
1 part fine grit
1 part perlag (or cat litter etc)
1 part fine perlite
This time I couldn't get suitably fine grit, so instead of grit + sand, I used 2 parts grit sand.
All were well premixed (with a bit of water to damp it down) in my concrete, er, compost mixer. :grin:

I've got down to a fine art scooping up just the right amount of compost into a pot and quickly tipping it back level.

Pots are dunked almost to their rims (until you see the colour change) in a bucket of water to which I have added 1/2 teaspoon of my usual cactus fertiliser, and 1/2 a chinosol tablet (disinfectant). I do batches of 12-15 pots at a time.

I then empty each seed packet onto a sheet of A5 paper which a light crease in across the middle, which then lets me sprinkle the seed carefully and evenly over the damped pot, then the label is added.
I dont cover the seed except for a few succulents with really big seeds.

Pots are then put into the proagator, and given a final spray with the same mix used for dunking (tip - fill up the sprayer before you start dunking, as the dunking bucket slowly gathers bits from the compost ).

The idea is then to go out each morning, and spray the plants. Most will stay in the propagator until ready to pot on, apart from some succulents (e.g. mesems, pelargoniums) which I find do better in a less humid atmosphere.

By using mineral soil AND chinosol, I hope to avoid damping off problems. It seems to work pretty well, although I still get algae.

The key to successful seed raising is to keep the plants permanently moist. Seedlings have very different requirements to adult cacti. The baggy method works well for many people, but when you have a lot, the whole propagator replaces the bag. It has the advantage too of being able to see better what is going on.

Good luck with the retirement Mike! I've been at it for just under a year, and am enjoying it!
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BryanW
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Re: A busy day

Post by BryanW » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:47 pm

Now how see where I'm going wrong, I do my printed labels just before I start the potting up and stick them on the pots :roll:
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ralphrmartin
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Re: A busy day

Post by ralphrmartin » Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:54 am

I guess that doesn't work out when the plants need potting on, either! :wink:
Ralph Martin
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Members visiting the Llyn Peninsula are welcome to come and see my collection.

My Field Number Database is now hosted by the BCSS: see
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Re: A busy day

Post by Cidermanrolls » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:40 am

My seedlings. A similar method to Ralph's, if maybe a little less clean and tidy :cry:
The seeds are from three sources and sown at different times;
back right tray, BCSS seed pool, sown late December 2017
front right, Piltz, sown early Jan
left, BCSS seed list, sown late Jan.
My propagator (about 25 years old and still using the same warming cables) sits on the floor of my main greenhouse, is set to ca 20C and illuminated with red:blue LED strips on a timer (the lights are a new experiment this year).
The slightly "etiolated" looking seedlings in the Piltz tray are all Lobivia - not sure if it is a growth habit or a different reaction to the light spectrum. All other seedlings appear very happy with this lighting.
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gerald
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Re: A busy day

Post by gerald » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:15 am

An excellent setup!

Have you considered using artificial lighting too?

In February the sun is very low in the sky and energy levels are low, even on 'sunny' days there isn't a lot of daylight time
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Re: A busy day

Post by Terry S. » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:21 am

You are running your propagators at a constant temperature Ralph. Have you ever considered that a diurnal variation might help germination by more closely mimicking natural conditions?
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MikeT
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Re: A busy day

Post by MikeT » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:26 am

Cidermanrolls wrote:The slightly "etiolated" looking seedlings in the Piltz tray are all Lobivia - not sure if it is a growth habit or a different reaction to the light spectrum. All other seedlings appear very happy with this lighting.
I find Rebutias and Lobivias tend to elongate when under the fluorescent tube in my propagator, but once given natural light growth becomes normal, there's just a small neck which is covered by gravel when transplanting. Rebutias and Lobivias are high altitude plants, so that may explain why they're more affected by low artificial light levels.

Anybody aware of whether Rebutia or Lobivia seedlings need more UV light than fluorescent tubes or LEDs provide?
Mike T

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