Vegetable seeds indoors

John_JJ(5)March 26, 2013

I started cucumbers,tomatoes,cherry tomatoes, watermelon,and bell peppers as seeds and now there about 2 inches tall with 2 little leaves at the top.I want to know is it good to wait till they get completely dry then pour like 1oz of water in the pot? and when do i start to fertilize them and what kind of fertilizer?
and any tips to keep them alive and strong
thanks

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gjcore

Hi John JJ

N.E. I assume is New England? If so it's early to be starting cucumbers and watermelons. The outside soil needs to be warmed up before putting those out which isn't going to happen until mid to late May. Way too long to be growing those in containers until then.

Don't wait until completely dry to water, a bit dry is okay. I usually bottom water seedlings with water from glass jugs that has been allowed to sit for a day or so. At that time the chlorine byproducts have dissipated and it's to room temperature.

Use any fertilizer of your choice that's very diluted sometime after the first true set of leaves.

Greg

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 4:23PM
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dowlinggram

It is good to let the pots dry out if you water them well afterward. An oz of water is not very much especially if they are big pots. You are probably just keeping them alive and not giving them enough moisture to let them grow. Set your pots in water and don't take them out until the soil shows dark on the top. Then let the excess moisture drain out of the holes and set under your lights and let them dry again.

When your plants are double the size they are now start giving them 1/4 strength water soluable fertilizer about every 2 to 3 weeks. As they grow increase the strength until they are getting full strength. By that time they should be big enough to put outside.

Don't forget to harden them off for a couple of weeks before you plant them

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 4:27PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

If they are 2 inches tall with small leaves at the top it sounds as if they are getting etiolated and need more light.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 6:55AM
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John_JJ(5)

i got some miracle gro tomato plant food for all vegetables water soluble and my plants are starting to grow there true leaves it says mix 1 tablespoon for every gallon so how would i make the strength 1/4?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 4:09PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

1/2 T per gallon would be 1/2 strength and 1/4 T per gallon would be 1/4 strength. But do not feed any until after the true leaves develop. You will only cause them more stress.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: FAQ - How to fertilize seedlings

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 5:09PM
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susanzone5(z5NY)

I have to add to this discussion that if you let tiny seedlings' soil dry out you run the risk of them wilting. At this stage of development, they might not spring back and you'll lose them. Let the top of the soil dry out and then water from the bottom, in a tray. Never let the whole thing dry out.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 4:40PM
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John_JJ(5)

the plants 2 true leaves have developed but there small there not there full size yet so is it time to fertilize or should i wait a week
and when i do put 1/4 of a tablespoon of fertilizer in the gallon water does it matter how much of the fertilized water i feed the plants or just do it like im watering them
and i have just put them in a different pot

This post was edited by John_JJ on Mon, Apr 1, 13 at 22:59

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 10:54PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'm surprised to read that so many people water from the bottom, a practice that I never subscribe to. It's such a benefit to flush fresh, highly oxygenated water through the potting medium.

It's especially important when you begin to fertilize, which should be done pretty early on in the plants' life.

John, I think that we would like to hear more about your choice of potting medium and what kind of containers you're using. What about the lighting?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 4:11AM
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John_JJ(5)

right now im using 5 inch pots i put them in direct sunlight in the window, but when i dont get enough sunlight i use my shop lights.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 9:31AM
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susanzone5(z5NY)

Rhizo, the reason for bottom watering is that when watering from the top, you run a few risks with small seedlings, like flooding them out, displacing soil from the tiny plant, having the leaves and stem stick to the soil, not watering deeply enough and thus having the roots grow at the top.

When plants are big, and are going to stay in a pot for a long time, then top watering and flushing out the fertilizer salts is called for. For seed starting, bottom watering is better.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 11:58AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

In addition to the points Susan made, top watering encourages the development of shallow rooted plants. Roots migrate up to the surface rather than down.

flush fresh, highly oxygenated water through the potting medium.

On adult well established plants, sure. On young seedlings with very fragile root systems you can do a lot of damage.

__________

John don't be in such a hurry to feed them. Wait a few more days.

does it matter how much of the fertilized water i feed the plants

Of course it does. You use it no more often than once every 7-10 days. Other days use plain water if they need watering. And you give them no more than you normally would when watering them.

Too much fertilizer, just like too much water, is much worse for young plants than too little is.

Dave

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 12:48PM
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John_JJ(5)

here is one of my plants and its a cucumber
is this the stage when i fertilizer my plants
or should i wait a little longer
the other plants i have are tomatoes and peppers

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 8:52PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yeah you can feed it. At that size it needs to get out to the garden soon too. How long before you can transplant it to the garden?

Dave

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 9:37PM
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John_JJ(5)

well i started it about 2 weeks ago and i want to put it outside in may

This post was edited by John_JJ on Fri, Apr 5, 13 at 19:09

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 9:53PM
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John_JJ(5)

how much times do i feed my plant till i put them in the garden

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 7:10PM
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