Janewb Soil Stomper

Janewb

Help starting plants

I have tried unsuccessfully for 5 years in a row to start seeds in the house in early spring. I have planted mostly zinna and marigold seeds. I purchase the seed starting trays you sell with the water mat in the bottom.  My seeds will sprout and shoot staight up with a pair of leaves at the top of the stem. The grow to about  3-4 inches then just keel over becaue their stems are too skinny and can't support itself. They never develop any other leaves (just the 2 at the top) I am following the instructions and water the mat as needed and controlling light. But every year the same thing,  after several weeks they just keel over. What am I doing wrong?

Any help that anybody has I would appreciate!

thanks

Janewb

Views: 535 Replies: 4 Date: 2014-01-27T16:06:01.000Z
Result Count: 4
 
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  Garden Guru

burpee

Re: Help starting plants

With the information you've provided, we suspect dampening off-  it is the most common problem that occurs when you are starting plants from seed. The seed germinates and appears healthy then suddenly wilts and die for no obvious reason. This sudden death is caused by fungi, soil and air temperatures above 68 degrees, and/or wet soil with high amounts of nitrogen fertilizer. Seeds do not need any fertilizer to sprout.  They need fertilizer after their true leaves emerge and their false first leaves die off. 

To avoid dampening off: keep the seedlings moist, but do not overwater; avoid overfertilizing your seedlings; thin out seedlings to avoid overcrowding; make sure the plants are getting good air circulation; use a sterile soiless growing medium with good drainage; and thoroughly wash all seed flats in soapy water & rinse in a bleach solution before reusing.  Good luck!

2014-01-27T17:06:44.000Z

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  Janewb Soil Stomper

Janewb

Re: Help starting plants

So I should not be using the trays where you pour the water in the tray to keep them damp? The issue is they shoot up so tall and the stems are so spindley, they can't support themselves so they keel over. How do  you get the sturdy stems that will support itself?

2014-01-27T19:19:38.000Z

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  Garden Guru

burpee

Re: Help starting plants

If your plants are elongated and weak, try setting a full spectrum grow light just 4" from the top most leaf just after germination.  Average post germination growing temperatures should be between 62 and 68 degrees F. Consider diluting your fertilizer to half strength until plants appear healthy again.

2014-01-27T21:50:06.000Z

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  JoeKsr

JoeKsr

Re: Help starting plants

It sounds like like you may have several problems.. 1, Sanitation: sterilze all your planting containers using one part of clorox to 9 parts of water. Dip and let dry. 2. Use a sterile starting mix such as ProMix... no ferilzer. 3. In zone 5 I start marigolds about March 17-30 and Zinnia about April 20-30. 4. Use the mix damp not wet and place the container in a zip-lock bag until the seeds sprout and then remove the container from the bag. 3. Place the container 2 to 3 inches from florescent light about for 15-16 hours per day. Grolights are not necessary. Shop lights will do. If you put them in a window use a southern window. In either case rotate the containers every day and water carefully perferably from the bottom. No fertilzer until they get their second set of true leaves and then ferilize at 1/3 strenght about once  a week. When they get their second set of leaves transplant them to six packs or individual pots. Also try not to plant the seeds too thickly in the starter mix - close plants invite trouble.

2014-01-30T13:08:20.000Z

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