Friday, July 27, 2012

Planting Seeds

I enjoy showing how we do things here at Chattanooga Daylilies. The way we do them may not always be correct, but they are the ways that have worked for us in the past.

If your would like to see a larger picture, just left click over the image. 

Planting seeds is always an exciting time of year. Each seed put into the potting mix generates visions of blooms which may (or probably may not) materialize.

I usually start my seeds in the greenhouse in mid July, but because of a trip this year to attend the Region 1 Meeting in Iowa, it has happened the last week in July. I have been asked about the heat in the greenhouse. Yes, it is hot. I have a 25% shade cloth covering the top and a single large exhaust fan to circulate the air. It can still get well over 100ยบ inside on a hot, sunny day. I have not found the heat to be a concern in the past.

I use a commercial seed starting mix composed of peat moss and vermiculite. Sorry, but I do not know the percentages. I use commercial 1020 (I believe that is the designation) trays with a 6-tray insert. The overall size is approximately 11" X 22". The inserts ar 5" w and 7" long.

The seed starting mix is dampened in a wheel borrow and then put into the trays. This image shows the six 5' X 7" trays scored to receive seeds. I score four rows in each tray to plant the seeds.

Here is one tray that has the seeds planted. I plant anywhere from 8 to 12 seeds per row depending on the number of seeds in the cross. I also mark each cross with it's own label . . . I do want to know the parents for hybridizing purposes.

With my index finger, I slightly push the seeds into the soil.

Seeds are then covered with the seed starting mix. Each 6 compartment tray is numbered and has the date the seeds were planted.

I believe you can make out the 11" X 22" tray with the 6 compartments.This tray will contain 240 +- seeds.

A set of 4 trays planted with seeds. These 4 trays hold 960 +- seeds in a small amount of space.

Here is the total 8 planted trays with approximately 1920 seeds. I will end up transplanting approximately 1200 of these seedlings at about 6 to 8 weeks old into trade 1-gallon pots to grow in the greenhouse over winter and hopefully bloom in April and May

The trays get watered each morning and after the germinate, a light mixture of water soluble fertilizer will be given each watering. If things go as normal, I should start seeing germination in 5 or 6 days.

This has been my most successful method for starting seeds. I have tried peat pots, wedge trays, etc., but my best germination rate has been using this method. I believe a lot of it is that I am able to keep the moisture more constant. Also, I don't believe you can see it, but even in all this heat, I use an electric blanket for bottom heat. I believe bottom heat is the key. The blanket is covered by a plastic sheet to keep it dry.

Thanks for looking, and if you have any comments you can make them below or directly to me at

Life is very, very good.



  1. 1920 seeds...That is amazing !
    When I think about only 100 seeds I can afford to grow each year because of the lack of space...

    I wish you courage and a lot of success :-)

    1. Since I used to do 5000 to 6000, that is quiet a reduction for me. Still keeps me busy.