PROBLEM WITH STARTING SEEDS INDOORSgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
HELP! This is the first year of starting seed indoors. I have them on my kitchen table with a shop light over them. (no greenhouse yet) They are growing really fast and getting leggy, plus the soil looks white on top. I used a seed starting soil and everything I have read said I could use the florescent lights on them instead of growing lights, so I can't understand what is happening. I still have 6 more weeks before I can put them in the garden. Can anyone tell me what is wrong and what I need to do to save them? Cabinfever
-- Andy (cabinfever @sisna.com), April 06, 2001
Too much light overhead. Can you arange for the plants to be by a window? Can you defuse the light directly overhead and have it come from a diagonal direction(s), such as placing shiny foil or a mirrors at angles. Rotating the plants help, moving the plants outside, weather premitting during the daylight hours might save your plants.
-- mitch hearn (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 06, 2001.
How far above the seedlings are your lights? A foot above is much too far away. Anytime I use gro-lights I keep them just a few inches above the tops of the seedlings, resetting as necessary. I've never had a problem with legginess EXCEPT when the seedlings get too large, and the light isn't as close to the bottom part of the plant. I'm speaking here of a plant around 6-8" tall, so the difference of just a few inches in how far away the light is is the difference between leggy and normal.
-- Leslie A. (email@example.com), April 06, 2001.
I use a mild chamomile solution to water my plants to prevent "damping off" disease and the white mold on the top of the soil. I think maybe your lights are too far away from the plants. I put mine right on top of the plants and move them as they grow. What kind of plants are these, by the way? I hope that I've helped you a little. God bless!
-- Ardie from WI (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 06, 2001.
Hey Andy, don't panic, it is not too late to lower the lights and use the camomille tea. I have had it happen, like the first couple of times I tryed. Get those lights down there so they almost touch but not quite. How long a day are you giving them?? I usually give mine an 8 hour night. Take your finger and kind of till that soil a little around the plants and spray with the tea. How old are the plants, how tall, what kind?? You might have to repot in some little pots depending on what you are growing. Have fun!!!
-- diane (email@example.com), April 06, 2001.
If you don't have a greenhouse, how about a coldframe. I seen them made with as little as some bales of old hay and a storm window. Put a regular light bulb in at night and it will keep them from freezing. I've done it here in New Hampshire.
-- David in NH (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 06, 2001.
If your seedlings are leggy the light is too far away. Drop it down to where it is nearly touching them. The white on the surface of the soil is either mineral deposits from your water ( most likely), or ? You don't really describe it so it could be a fungus? More likely just mineral deposits. Are you bottom watering them? (Putting water in container underneath them so they can just soak it up) Not much else you can do. These will be leggy.....you might want to start some more....but with the light down real close. Did the starter medium have fertilizer mixed in it? You don't want fertilizer in your starter mix. Make sure to take extra time hardening these off before you plant them in your garden and don't get discouraged....Congratulations on your start...Enjoy your life.
-- Deborah (bearwaoman@Yahoo.com), April 07, 2001.
Leginess isn't always that bad a thing depending on what you're trying to grow. If you've got tomato, peppers, eggplants, etc., just dig a deeper hole and plant them deeper. All that stem area underground will develop roots and the plants won't suffer at all. Do lower the lights, though, or even better, start moving the plants outside during the day to a sheltered, sunny space.
-- ray s (email@example.com), April 07, 2001.
Either having a fan on the plants or stroking them daily with a pencil will strengthen them, more like what the wind does outside. There was a lot about this a couple of years ago, and it seems to help, IMO. However I don't hear as much last year and this. Maybe tests showed it didn't help????
-- Cora-Vee Caswell (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 07, 2001.
When did you start them? Sounds like they need new containers and less light and water. I'll tell you how I did it last year - had great results, but it was my first time, so I am NO expert -
I started everything in homemade flats, with a soil-less mix which was very moist but not wet. Had the lights fixed at about two inches above the soil, covered the whole mess with clear plastic to keep humidity up. Used a spray bottle to mist whenever the top looked dry.
As the plants grew, I moved the light so that it stayed about six inches above the top of the tallest leaves (mixed trays of all kinds of veggies and herbs), but kept the plastic on.
Once the first 'true' leaves were developed and open, I moved each plant into a dixie cup, and let them grow, moving the lights up as needed. Still with the plastic covering (it was hung lengthwise over the light fixture, providing a tent).
When they had three sets of leaves, I put them in a South window, and gradually began to harden them off, moving them in and out every day.
Didn't lose a single plant. But, I never 'watered' them. I only used the spray bottle, and never let them get drenched. Also, I did add a little Miracle Gro in the regular spraying... Once when first transplanted, and again about two weeks later, about a week before they went into the garden.
Hope this helps.... like I said - I'm no expert.
-- Sue Diederich (email@example.com), April 09, 2001.