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by Bob Axmear
6-29-2009 update
I had too many seed to start them inside so decided to plant them in flats and place them outside. It has been going well, transplanting them now to about 8 to a quart pot, the streaked ones. The really only problem is squirrels. I have to keep a close eye on them or they get to digging in the flats.

If you don't want to use growlights or want to start a lot of seed this is an easy way to do it. Just make sure they are kept moist(easy to do with a sprinkler attachment on a hose) and don't let them stay in too bright of sun. It will bleach them too much.

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8-3-2009 update
This is the size at the first part of August. The other year I grew a lot outside they were larger before it got cold and I am figuring these will grow quite a bit yet.

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Hello everyone

I am going to try to grow hosta seed under high shade outdoors this spring. I am going to build a simple hoop type structure to do it. I will take periodic photos as the spring progresses to see how this works compared to growing inside under lights. I liked doing it with lights but electricity is just getting to be too expensive.

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I saved many seed I grew from last year and purchased a large amount of seed during the winter and will be starting most of it within a few days so it starts to germinate inside in pots. It will be warm that way and germinate much faster. A great many of these are from OP named streaked plants and some are from open pollinated seedlings I have grown.

I am just now getting it built (5-2-2006), was doing it before and it got really cold out again. Will have it going within days. Measures 14' by 5'. The seed I will be starting are from DB, Ice Age Trail, Revolution, Sea Prize, Outrageous, and many more streaked ones plus some blue streaked seed I bought from Rainbow's End and Let's Streak from Bill Nash.

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This is how I secured the pvc pipe, I used two of these at each end of the pipe.
You have to be careful that you have too much direct sun on the plastic, it will heat up fast. I use it mostly to keep rain and cats out. Evenutally I will leave the plastic off at night as well as the day.


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Today is 5-28-2006. Finally seeing some seed sprouting. Some of the pots show a few and some the seed is coming up like crazy. I was worried for awhile since it took about 3 weeks plus for the seed to come up. It was due I am sure to the really cold spell we had right after I started them. I was afraid I had lost all the seed, I started with the best first.

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Today is 5-31-2006.
I put the seed starting mix in flats with holes in the bottoms and almost filled them with moist mix. Then I sowed the seed and covered it lightly with mix and watered the top in with water containing low doses of captan anti-fungicide to kept the dampening off from killing the seed.

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Today is 6-9-2006.
I am finding out I wish I would have germinated them indoors under controlled heat. They seem to be germinating pretty spotty or not at all. Also the cats are trying to turn it into a potty. Seriously cats can be a problem, they try to use flats of soil as litter boxes.

Today is 6-14-2006.
Checking the seed and take a few photos. They are starting to look good and should grow fast now with a little light fertilizing.

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Today is 6-23-2006.
One thing I found you have to watch for is fungus gnats. I kept the place pretty tight so the seed wouldn't dry out but noticed the seedlings didn't look right. On closer inspection I saw I had a roaring case of fungus gnats. Luckily outside I can spray much easier than I could inside where I also raise tropical fish. The seed at this stage should be sort of shiny on top but aren't. I bet they will come out of it soon now that I have treated them.

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Today is 6-26-2006.
I checked today and the fungus gnats are going crazy. I sprayed with a stronger bug killer, don't want to injure the little seedlings. The gnats did a number on them though, the first ones aren't looking so hot.

Today is 7-5-2006.
I started transplanting a few today, want to get them into a soil with some nutrients in it. Here are some Revolution seedlings, doubt if many make it very long. The rest of the seed are starting to grow pretty well now.

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Today is 7-7-2006.
Looked at the seed today, really improving now that I sprayed for gnats. Shiny leaves like they should be.

Today is 7-16-2006.
Have been transplanting seedlings. Have close to 500 little streaked ones so far. They sure love the compost and cow manure potting soil, growing by leaps and bounds once I transplant them into it.

Today is 7-22-2006.
Getting a little over half done transplanting them. Am sure they would have been 3 times larger if it wasn't for the fungus gnats. A few big weeds but easier to leave them than yank them out, seedlings and all.

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Today is 7-22-2006.
Here are the transplanted seedlings, they are almost all streaked. Very few of these were colored hosta seed. I put about a half a dozen in a quart pot of compost and peat moss. They really perk up fast with the new soil mix. I figure with 2+ more months of growing they will get A pretty decent size yet before fall.

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Today is 8-7-2006.
I am almost done transplanting seedlings.

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Today is 8-27-2006.
The year is about done, leaves are starting to fall on the seedlings.

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Today is 9-14-2006.
The seedlings have grown more but the weather is turning cooler now. After the first killing frost I will cover them with straw and mouse poison and plastic and that will be it. Next year when they are transplanted into individual pots they will really start to grow. This year's seedlings weren't too much larger when I transplanted them and they fill a gallon pot now.

I wish I would have germinated them inside this spring for an earlier start. Plus next year I am going to put a little granulated diazanon in each pot to keep down the gnats. Also I need to reduce the amount of limbs they are growing under, it was pretty deep shade there. I know I will grow a few inside this winter but the majority of them I will probably do the very same way.

Another thing to mention might be buying seed. Some of the best seed I have ever got I bought. This is really helpful getting a selection of cheap plants to use for breeding. But the majority of the seed is somewhat disappointing. Probably close to half of the seed I bought last year had little or no streaked seedlings in it which is why I bought it, had to just throw the trays away. Green seedlings with no substance aren't much good for anything. Be careful who you deal with and ask around before you buy.

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Today is 10-24-2006.
Looks like it is the end of the year. Got the flats of this year's seedlings as well as the pots of seedlings from last year and the breeder hostas all stored away. Could barely get another pot in there. Come on spring. I am starting seed already inside for next year.

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