Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Planting seeds 1 . . .

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A left click on your mouse will give you a larger picture. 

It is seed planting time right here in the Scenic City! I am estimating that I made about 6000 - 7000 seeds this year, but I won't plant all of them. Don't have the energy or the space.

My normal method of planting seeds is using 1020 trays with a 601 plastic insert. The 601 insert has 6 trays to each flat, approximately 5" X 7" each and about 2"+ in depth. I like this method best because I can control the moisture more evenly in each tray. Here are some images of what I am doing.

 Left is a 1020 flat with a No. 601 insert. There are six 5" X 7" trays to each insert. The trays are filled with seed starting mix which is a very finely ground mix. Four rows are scored in each tray as a guide for planting seeds.

If you will enlarge this image, you will be able to see the seeds planted in the rows. I plant anywhere from 8 to 15 seeds per row, depending on the cross length. I estimate that there are 300+- seeds per tray. The seeds are then covered with more seed starting mix. This is my most successful method for planting seeds. I will get approximately 95% germination using this method.

Here are the first trays that I have put in the greenhouse. If you enlarge the image, you will be able to see that I mark each cross and I date each tray when it is planted so I can see how long it takes for the seeds to start germinating. The tray number and date label is white. You can see the first four trays were planted on July 29, and the other three were planted on August 1. When germinated, these seedlings will be transplanted into #38 seed trays for growing in the greenhouse over winter to plant in the field next spring.

If you will enlarge this image, you will be able to see the seedlings are starting to germinate. These seeds were planted on July 29 and this image was taken on August 3, five days after planting.

I am always trying something new even though I have found that starting seeds works the best for me in the 1020 flats above. But you know us guys, we always have to try something new. This year, I am trying 2" X 2" X 3" peat pots for some of the seeds. I tried three trays earlier and only got about 50% germination, but I mark that up to the seeds not being in the refrigerator long enough. I plan to plant these peat pots, when and if they germinate, into trade gallon pots and grow them over the winter in the greenhouse. I believe that I can get most of them to bloom next spring . . . we shall see.

In addition to the above seeds, I have approximately 2000 more to plant. Planting is always an exciting time, trying to visualize what might come from a cross. I have gotten smart this year. I carry the trays filled with seed starting mix to the patio and sit in the shade to palnt the seeds. Sure beats the heat of the greenhouse.

Let's hear how others of you out there plant your seeds.

Exciting things happen to those who hybridize daylilies!

Life is very, very good. Remember, when the bloom is gone, you still have your friends!



  1. Hi Lee, Love the blog. I plant my seeds in 6 inch sections of 1.5 inch PVC pipe. One seed per pipe. I keep these in a bed of 1" deep water. I get good germination and roots are 6" long in about 6-8 weeks and ready to plant out. As long as I didn't pack the soil too tight in the tube the seedlings slide right out. I label each tube with a grease pen as to the cross made. The tubes are reusable after a bleach bath, and should last longer than I do. An added bonus, I have some seedlings that didn't get planted yet still in the tubes for 6 months that are doing as well and the ones I planted out.

    Take care
    Mike McDonald

  2. Mike,
    Your method sounds interesting, also. Daylily roots love depth, which you give them with the 6" long PVC pipe. Thanks for looking at my blog and making a comment. Sometimes it seems that I am doing this for myself.

  3. "Sometimes it seems that I am doing this for myself." I know what you mean. I just started a blog at http://mrfancyplantsnursery.com/blog1/ I really am doing it for myself. I'm using it to take notes of what's happening around the garden so I can remember next year. I wish I'd started it in the spring. If anyone else finds it interesting so much the better... I really enjoy your blog, I'm sure others do too.

    I grow daylilies on a much smaller scale than you, and this is my first year trying hybridizing. I don't think my method would work on such a large scale as yours. It takes too much time to pack the tubes with soil and they like to fall over when you put them in the trays - you really need three hands. I only planted around 1000, and haven't even gotten all of them in the ground yet.

    Take care and keep blogging.

    Mike McDonald