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Has anyone else run into issues with starting lettuces (in general) from seed? My water temp is around 60-66, 6.8 pH, growing in a flood/drain system with hydroton/shale mix as media... 

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Are you using seed starters or just seeding the media because just putting the seeds in the media will cause them to fall to the bottom.  You should put your seed in the little seed starting blocks to give them a place to root and germinate first.

 would advise pre-soaking and or pre-germinating lettuce seed prior to broadcast seeding lwhen temperatures are cold.  I think lettuce does grow well at 60 deg. f. water temp but it could use a bit of help germinating in that range.

a 12-24 hour soaking using 1.5 inches of clean untreated water in  room temp. area should help them on their way. Then gentle handling while planting  in hydroton should help further. Water or air turbulence and equipment vibration/shaking might cause seeds to wonder too deep to reach the surface if they don't find normal germination in time.

We've had good luck with broadcasting lettuce on top of our grow media, then running our hand over the top to get them down just a little bit.  Then the key is to mist them a couple times a day until the tap root gets into the moist part of the media.  Not all the seeds will germinate, but most of them will and lettuce seeds are cheap enough that we don't worry about it too much. 

The lettuce and spinach I was doing much the same, broadcast seeding, then a slight agitation to get the seeds under a tiny bit of media. Although, in retrospect, I may have caused my own problems by not 'misting' the area, and instead pouring a small amount of system water over the area... (live and learn, I s'pose)

I have some small flats of lettuce in starter media (coir/worm castings) to start, and will be transplanting in a week or so... fingers crossed!

I work small pieces (one inch long, one inch dia) of PVC pipe down into the media bit and drop a few seeds down into the pipe.  With this method, you know exactly where you put the seeds and you can space them.  Direct seeding can work very well.

I will have to try this! Thanks!

George said:

I work small pieces (one inch long, one inch dia) of PVC pipe down into the media bit and drop a few seeds down into the pipe.  With this method, you know exactly where you put the seeds and you can space them.  Direct seeding can work very well.

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