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2018 - The Farm


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#141 TrentL

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 01:05 PM

Oh wow. THIS I was not expecting at all.

 

I assumed that peat / coir would be equivalent across the board on sprouting; I mean, it's just "moist and warm", that seeds need, right?

 

Dead wrong.

 

This is "days of germination by tray"

 

fXfleYw.png

 

After 6 days on identical conditions;

 

coir has outperformed peat 1200% on # of sprouts (12 to 1)

 

70% coir + 15% vermiculite + 15% pearlite has outperformed the identical peat mixture by 200% (4 to 2)

 

70% coir + 15% vermiculite + 15% pearlite + 1 tblspn azomite has outperformed the identical peat mixture by 300% (6 to 2)

 

That is a substantial finding. 

 

Keep in mind trays 1-6 have 68 varieties (72 seeds) with 4 varieties duplicated - seeds from buckeye and pepperlover are tracked separately and there was some intentional overlap on my orders. Cell by cell they are identical. 

 


Edited by TrentL, 11 February 2018 - 01:08 PM.


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#142 Chilidude

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 01:50 PM

Coir will kick that peat behind in growing speed too, because it is like growing them in a more hydroponic way vs the peat.


Edited by Chilidude, 11 February 2018 - 01:51 PM.


#143 TrentL

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 02:13 PM

Coir will kick that peat behind in growing speed too, because it is like growing them in a more hydroponic way vs the peat.

 

The peat has done what peat has always done. Been hydrophilic to the extreme, when wet. I also think that the pH level of the store bought stuff was off. For the peat experiment, I picked up 3 of those burpee 72 cell sprouting tray kits. I figured they would have it pH balanced so I wouldn't have to mess around with lime adjustments. 

 

4 days in to both experiments I took the lids off and began lights for the sprouts that had appeared. Then at night I cover them back up with the lids to let them rest overnight. The peat has dried out faster, and is either totally wet or totally dry - doesn't seem to have any middle ground to it at all. Meanwhile the coir will dry a little on the top layer and remain moist throughout, but never really gets waterlogged.

 

All experiments are bottom watered - but the peat has managed to compress itself over time, despite this. I poked around in a cell that hadn't sprouted the other night, looking for a seed, to see what condition it was in, and the peat was clumpy and hard. 

 

 

Today I'll dig up one of the DOA's cells and test it for pH.

 

Same with the coir. 

 

pH should have a big (probably the largest) impact on everything regarding germination; so it could explain the massive differences I'm seeing between coir and peat.

 

But there's more going on than just pH. Drainage, aeration, and the hydrophobic when dry/ hydrophilic when wet attributes of peat suck.

 

Worth noting that during this grow I'm having good results overall - better than in any past years, even on the peat trays. Germination has been 4 full days faster than my last venture in to peppers back in 2015, and first true leaf development has been on average 5 days faster. I'm seeing plants getting their first true leaves only 24 hours after sprouting, which is mind boggling. (The average is closer to 5 days). This phenomenon I attribute to the T5 high output bulbs working their magic, and the addition of warming mats, which I didn't use in the past.

 


Edited by TrentL, 11 February 2018 - 02:14 PM.


#144 TrentL

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 02:23 PM

7Fhy6TD.png

 

A chart of varieties. This shows min / max days of germination as well as days to first true leaves.

 

It won't be "complete" data until late March. 

 

It does show a lot of varieties across species (chinense, annuums, etc) have very similar sprouting times.

 

I'm still missing any showings whatsoever on 15 different varieties. Whether those are just stupidly slow germinating or are packs of duds, time will tell. Some *should* have shown by now, like the cayennes. 

 

This makes me question whether those varieties are heat sensitive. I've been running the entire experiment on the warm side, average soil temp is 95F. It's possible I cooked some, if they are sensitive. 

 

Will probably need to revisit that in a later year as I'm not set up for a controlled experiment on temperature.

 

 



#145 TrentL

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 11:17 PM

Woot! Thanks SmokenFire this thread is now in the correct spot. (I opened it under growing on accident lol)

 

Today has been a very slow day. 5 new sprouts, total. Nothing from trays 1-3, I'm wondering if they are done. I'm going to leave them where they're at until Day 21, then transplant them up to 4" pots.

 

I ran some math. Each watering at the farm grow out will be 225 gallons, if I bottom water to 3/4" (!)

 

Should be building the walls and putting plastic down on the tables, and carefully leveling them, this week. That way I can dump 5 gallon buckets of water (or whatever) in to the tables themselves and bottom water the whole batch of 216x 4" pots on each table.

 



#146 TrentL

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 12:37 PM

Sometimes when you experiment you fail, and learn from it. It's painful but most good lessons are, somewhat painful.

 

In this case, my first four trays that I added a little kelp meal to, have developed a fungal issue. Only those four trays, and kelp meal was the only difference.

 

I've turned on the lights over it and removed all humidity domes (don't really need them anyway) from remaining trays to try to avoid the issue on the rest.

 

I also believe I pinned down the germination rate problem on the mixed test trays to the heat of the HO lights. I noticed on a tomato tray that I had zero germination on the innermost cells. This led to the question of "why?" I did some more detailed soil temp tests today and found the high output T5's were heating the inner most portion of the trays to 100-102F. Between 95F and 105F germination rates on just about every vegetable on earth drops to zero. This is an issue on all 6 of the initial mixed variety test trays, with the outermost tray (#1) on the edge of the light having the best germination. 

 

Unfortunately that kind of spoils the sprouting results, since the leftmost tray was staying 5 degrees cooler than the other two in each batch. Germination rates on the #1 trays of each batch were ~50% - not good. Germination rates on the other two trays were <25%, which is pretty horrible. The heat explains that, however. The tomato tray was the "canary" that clued me in on the issue. The pepper trays weren't showing the same pattern that the tomatoes were, but with 68 varieties and such widely staggered germination times on them, I wouldn't have picked out any discernible pattern.

 

Worth noting my tomato trays have now begun sprouting in the part that was "overheated" - so I doubt I've killed the pepper seeds; but rather whatever mechanism gets the seeds to start doing their thing wasn't happening at those higher temps.

 

I will cut lighting in half on new partially sprouted trays to avoid cooking them. 

 

I'd like to see 80%+ germination rates (ideally 90%+) for the farm in future years. At the rate I'm getting now the plant out will be substantially scaled back from the goal. 

 

I'll still be able to get some useful data, just not as much as I'd hoped. This wouldn't be an issue on same-variety trays (which is the bulk of the grow) - just those mixed trays where seedlings might emerge 2 weeks apart; I have to give the new seedlings light; but also have to keep the soil moist for those seeds still waiting to germinate... 

 

In hindsight I should have just done complete trays of same-variety for the experiments, which is what I'm doing on the remainder of this year's 64 tray experiment (4608 pepper seeds). 

 

If that fungus on trays 11-14 isn't gone by tonight after they've aired out some under 50% T5 light, I'm going to hit those four with a weak dose of H2O2 spray to kill it off.

 


Edited by TrentL, 12 February 2018 - 12:39 PM.


#147 TrentL

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 12:55 PM

The fungal thing from the kelp meal is worrying me; I have 20 trays on heat mats, that include it as a component. This tray showed it after 4 days; the others are on days 1-3...

 


Edited by TrentL, 12 February 2018 - 12:55 PM.


#148 Chilidude

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 01:35 PM

The fungal thing from the kelp meal is worrying me; I have 20 trays on heat mats, that include it as a component. This tray showed it after 4 days; the others are on days 1-3...

 

 

Dont worry, you can always try growing some champions.



#149 Chilidude

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 01:35 PM

The fungal thing from the kelp meal is worrying me; I have 20 trays on heat mats, that include it as a component. This tray showed it after 4 days; the others are on days 1-3...

 

 

Dont worry, you can always try growing some champion mushrooms.


Edited by Chilidude, 12 February 2018 - 01:36 PM.


#150 TrentL

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 02:21 PM

LOL I took the thermonuclear option and hit those trays with H202 spray.

 

Hoping it doesn't drop pH to the point it screws up the soil, but I can't have a fungal infection spreading. In 4.5 hours today it went form 4 trays to *seven* trays.

 

I wasn't planning on using myco on the seedlings here in the house... but I may dust the soil with the myco powder just as a preventative measure.  We'll see if the H2O2 gets it under control first.

 


Edited by TrentL, 12 February 2018 - 02:22 PM.


#151 TrentL

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 02:25 AM

Well the mold / fungus / whatever the hell it was is gone. The H2O2 did the trick.

 

Turning down the heat on the trays by lowering the light intensity from the T5 HO's also seems to have had a positive impact. I was kind of figuring there was a reason behind some of the plants being dwarfed, or the rather high percentage of seed heads (and subsequent deaths) I've been getting across the board. 

 

This chart shows deaths (all by seed head) per tray over the course of the now-18-day grow;

 

ur3jswH.png

 

What is interesting here is seed heads are more prevalent now in strait peat. 

 

When a seed germinates the hook sets and the plant tries to push it's way out. Under good circumstances the seed stays moist and has a wee bit of trouble breaking through the surface; and gets stripped as it goes. 

 

On loose / crumbly media it is not staying "hooked" long enough and is not getting stripped as it emerges. It can also happen if the seed isn't planted deep enough but I don't think that's an issue here as I went 3/8". On the trays with vermiculite and pearlite, the seedling has to struggle just a little to break through. Which means it stays under the soil a bit longer, the seed stays moist, and ends up getting shed as it tries to break through.

 

I was worried that I'd cooked seeds in the first three trays but they're starting to sprout more again, since turning the lights down a bit.

 

Temp is now 85 in the center of trays, 82 at the edges, instead of the 102 at the center and 95 at the edges before I turned down the lights. 

 

VCpsFuk.png

 

But enough of the data.

 

Some gratuitous seedling pictures are in order.

 

All of the empty cells after 18 days make me sad... but at least I learned a few things!

 

Teken Dolmasi, 18 days

iVeZYdp.jpg

 

Turkish Cayenne, 18 days

UONeWwt.jpg

 

Dulce Sol (top), Fresno (bottom), 18 days

MON954P.jpg

 

Yes, they need fertilized but it's not in the cards for the experimental grow. These stay natural until I transplant them at day 21. (Saturday is the big day for the peat tray babies). I'll keep the unsprouted cells around for a bit longer to see if anything pops up but it'll be time to move these seedlings on to a potting soil test this weekend. 

 

Group shot.

 

ieKycu9.jpg

 

Random sawdust.

 

I'll explain what this is about in a few days;

 

V2G0nvr.jpg

 

 



#152 Walchit

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 09:02 AM

A few days? Geez

#153 karoo

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 09:51 AM

A few days? Geez

 

 

 

A few days? Geez

My thoughts exactly!


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#154 TrentL

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 12:15 PM

Hey Gimme a couple days to get my next crazy idea going first. 

 

Construction things don't happen overnight! 

 

Unless you're using slave labor or work for the state road departments.

 

 



#155 TrentL

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 01:09 PM

OOH OOH! checked the grow room over lunch and I've got an entire 7-pot primo tray full of hooks.

 

That's a LOT of pain shooting up through the dirt. ;)

 



#156 Edmick

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 01:37 PM

Thats something that never gets old, seeing new sprouts. Gives you something to look forward to everyday. Sorry to hear about the fungal issue you had. I'm guessing thats the same thing that happened to a few of my first round of seedlings. I sterilized the soil and didn't over water and it still happened. I didn't lose a single seedling last year and this year I've lost close to 10 already. I'm also growing on a much larger scale this year so it's bound to happen I guess.

#157 juanitos

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 03:17 PM

sounds like you have too many changing variables. should test one thing at a time.


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#158 PtMD989

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 06:39 PM

Hey Gimme a couple days to get my next crazy idea going first. 
 
Construction things don't happen overnight! 
 
Unless you're using slave labor or work for the state road departments.
 
 

Try telling that to my wife. Haha


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#159 PtMD989

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 06:41 PM

This Glog is better than any tv show.


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#160 Devv

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 07:27 PM

Good to see you were able to get the glog moved over here. It should get a lot more traffic ;)

 

Sorry about the germ woes. I'll post some things I've learned through trial and error, and have worked for me, hopefully helpfull:

 

Coir for germing is so far the best IMHO. Last year I used Black Gold seed starter, 1" deep on top of MG potting soil in 3.5" pots. I bottom soaked them until they were saturated added the seeds and they germed 'OK'. I just set the trays inside the house on a table. This winter has been colder, so the room was 63-66°. It's on the North side of the house and away from the fireplace which keeps the rooms we're in nice and cozy.

 

So this year I made a mix of 5 parts coir, 1 part perlite, and 1 part potting soil. Did the same with the 1" on top of the potting soil in the 3.5" pots. I put these in a 24x8' insulated room in the shop 8"s below the lights and had a small heater running when it really got cold, keeping the area under the lights at 76-80°. Almost every seed popped and most in record time for me here based on past results.

 

One last thing. I've tried a heat mat. It ran way hot. Some use towels to insulate. I used a cheapo light dimmer, and it worked like a charm.

 

One thing you didn't mention, or I missed it, is what the temps are in the grow room? How large is it? I did notice my room wanted to go 'petri' as the moisture stayed in that room. I noticed that @ 55-60 days, so I cracked the door to the rest of the shop which is 32x24' and that helped. That part of the shop is insulated as well and rarely gets below 64° as per the thermometer in the hot rod.

 

Just food for thought ;)


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