seedling S.O.S.

8 04 2008

Just LOOK at this beautiful picture! Doesn’t it just make you want to grow everything from seed? These seedlings looked so full of hope and promise when I photographed them on Sunday. Yes, past tense: looked. They were the first of my Roma tomato seeds. But when I got home on Monday night, several of them had started to droop, and by this morning half of them were shriveled up. The two hot pepper seedlings are also looking questionable at this point. I don’t know what happened. Was it something I said?

It’s bringing back flashbacks – I think this has happened to me before but that I’ve tried to suppress it. No, no, no!! Little seedlings, what is it you want from me?

At least the magic pots are holding their own.

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8 responses

8 04 2008
merlotmudpies

oh dear! wilting seedlings is no fun…i have no idea what could be causing it. the list is so UNhelpful — over watering, under watering, too much light, not enough light. how’s that for vague…? is the soil moist? dry on top? etc?

9 04 2008
Kathy

I was going to suggest damping off, however, your pic shows a dry soil surface which usually inhibits growth of fungus.

I would suggest bottom-watering your seedlings by soaking your pots in water until you see dampness in the soil surface. Also, pre-dampening the seedling mix helps keep an even moisture level in your pots before you sow your seeds. Once you’ve sown your seed you can water from the top until the seed germinates and then start bottom-watering once you see the soil get dry, about once every 3 – 4 days. This way the foliage stays dry, the seedlings don’t flatten down from top-watering (which further encourages fungus), and you know they are evenly watered.

Good luck!

9 04 2008
gillian

Thanks for the sympathy MerlotMudpies – love the name btw! After reading Kathy’s comments, I think I might have been overwatering. I was only giving them a small spray from the spray bottle but I was doing it at least once a day after they sprouted. I’m going to be a little more water conservative and also go with the bottom-watering. Thanks so much Kathy!!

9 04 2008
Kathy

No problem! Actually, I think you were over-watering the soil surface if you were only spraying the top. Your little seedlings have at least an inch of root below the surface in that picture so I don’t think they were getting any water down there.

9 04 2008
sammyqc

I’d agree with Kathy, they’d probably been underwatered.
If you soak them, they may still come back.
If you were watering just the top, the water would probably evaporate before it got a chance to get down to the roots. They grow incredibly fast, and long.
Also, water till the water runs out the bottom, that way you know they have gotten water all the way down. If the potting mix is really peaty, then that sometimes causes a problem, if the peat wasn’t wet before hand. It takes a lot to get peat to accept the moisture.

10 04 2008
Eugenia

I can’t add anything else on seedling advice, other than good luck, but I *love* those little pots! What a cool device.

10 04 2008
gillian

I have QUIT the spraying and am now a dedicated bottom-waterer. So far nothing, but I’m hoping Eugenia’s good vibes are going to be the tipping point.
GROW SEEDS GROW!

15 04 2008
a bad taste in my mouth « hit pay dirt

[…] When I think that I must be the only one who can possibly care this much about a local meal, or  the only one who feels the weight of the world on her shoulders when her tomato seedlings die… well, this blog and others prove me wrong. Blogs make me feel connected and a part of […]

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