Update on the Seed Experiment

Posted on May 19 2010 - 3:41am by Mike Lieberman

It’s been a little over a week since I started the experiment with planting the same set of seeds indoors and outdoors to see which would do better.

There were two sets of four different kinds of seeds that were planted in toilet paper roll seed starter pots. They were leaf lettuce, basil, sunflowers and calendula.

At this point, the seeds that were started indoors are performing a million times better. A million times in the sense that they’ve actually sprouted as opposed to the ones outdoors that have nothing to show.

The weather outside has been in the high 60s at night and 50s during the evening. It possibly could’ve dipped down into the 40s.

The carrot and mesclun seeds that were planted outdoors in the containers are starting to show sprouts as well. There are some green carrot tops poking their way through the soil and same for the mesclun.

Mesclun Seeds. May 16, 2010. Carrot Seeds. May 16, 2010.

Yes, the indoor seeds have begun to sprout, but they are leaning and stretching towards the sunlight since they are sitting in an east facing window that only gets the morning sun. I am pretty sure that this should be a concern because they are leaning and looking stretched out.

I’m going to start putting them outdoors for a few hours a day to get them more in the direct sunlight to hopefully straighten them out some. I really don’t want to have to buy grow lights. What do you think?


17 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. this_urban_homestead May 19, 2010 at 1:35 pm -

    They are going to be leggy (stretched out) because they are inside. I used a South facing window and still had the same issues. I began turning the trays, to make the seedlings grow in the opposite direction) twice a day or so. When they were strong enough, I potted them up and covered their stems up to the first leaves. So far this seems to have helped a lot. Good luck! Oh, and I have found the same thing with seed starting – indoors better than outdoors. I find veggie seeds, for the most part, seem to like heat to germinate. For things you can transplant once sprouted, try starting your seeds on coffee filters (damp) in plastic bags and putting the bags on a heating pad. Worked great for me!

  2. Mike Lieberman May 19, 2010 at 1:52 pm -

    Thanks for the advice. Have them turned as I type this. Still think I have a while until I transplant them though.

  3. Jamie May 19, 2010 at 3:24 pm -

    D'oh! I missed being the first to suggest turning the plate by an hour.

  4. MsChristy May 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm -

    I did a Little Finger Carrot and Easter Egg Radish mix outdoors and it's sprouting very well…at least until I caught a squirrel on the balcony wreaking havoc on everything 🙁 There are holes dug in almost every container and the radish seedlings seem to have taken the brunt of the damage. Have you had any trouble there or in NY with squirrels in your containers???

  5. Ali May 19, 2010 at 4:24 pm -

    I bought $3 agro-grow light bulbs, and it made all the difference in the world for my seedlings. As long as you keep it CLOSE to the plant, they really grow a lot faster. Another thing I found for sprouting is that if you make an artificial greenhouse, either with saran-wrap or a little plastic dome, it really helps them sprout faster.

  6. Jennifer G May 19, 2010 at 5:25 pm -

    I was getting really leggy seedlings like that inside by a window, but then I bought a cheap $10 clip-on desk lamp at Target and a compact fluorescent light bulb and put the light right above the seedlings, and it made a huge difference. My new seedlings were much more sturdy and low to the ground.

  7. Mike Lieberman May 20, 2010 at 2:29 am -

    You too slow. What good are you?

  8. Mike Lieberman May 20, 2010 at 2:29 am -

    You too slow. What good are you?

  9. Mike Lieberman May 20, 2010 at 2:30 am -

    I've never had squirrel problems, but have heard that sprinkling cayenne in the soil helps with that. It'll stop them from digging.

  10. Mike Lieberman May 20, 2010 at 2:40 am -

    I really, really don't wanna buy the light bulb. Have been greenhousing them during the nighttime.

  11. Mike Lieberman May 20, 2010 at 2:40 am -

    Gah. I already have the seeds on my kitchen table and not much space to throw a light on there as well. I've been turning the plate to help them go the other way.

  12. Jennifer G May 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm -

    I clipped the lamp onto a big computer science textbook and put it and the plants on top of my fridge. 🙂 I didn't really have that many seedlings, though.

  13. Mike Lieberman May 22, 2010 at 4:12 am -

    Nice. I need to figga out a better spot to put the seeds. Hmm…

  14. The Hun February 9, 2011 at 6:12 pm -

    Turning them will help a little but not a ton. What about building a reflector with some not-too-bright material, maybe a milk carton? The DIY greenhouse idea is smart too.

  15. Mike Lieberman February 9, 2011 at 8:40 pm -

    Good call. I need to figure out a better spot. Need the kitchen table to, well, you know eat. Can’t make it my mini-farm 😉

  16. Manure Tea Gardening May 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm -

    Wonderful share Mike glad to see you taking the time to try different methods of growing fresh food and sharing with others!

  17. Mike Lieberman May 31, 2011 at 7:25 am -

    Thanks Annie.

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