What would cause my seedlings to look like this?

ekgrowsMarch 15, 2010


These are pictures of some artichoke and tomatoes I started. The artichokes germinated with curled, yellowish cotyledons. When new leaves appear, they quickly turn yellow, and some of them brown. Same with tomatoes - the cotyledons yellow before even forming true leaves. My parsley is showing symptoms too - with the cotyledons turning down. They seem to get worse when the sun is out - like the leaves "burn", or curl up.

There are no pests on these plants - and there is supposed to be no fertilizer in this seed starting mix - just peat, limestone, and perlite. I had similar symptoms last year that we thought was the fertilizer- but now the mix has none in it. Our water seems to be fine - with nothing out of the ordinary in our test results. Our soil PH is 6-7 - with our water about 7.5. I normally fertilize lightly with kelp / fish when first true leaves appear - but not sure if these will get to that point - or if feeding them will damage these guys more.

Last thing - we have them in greenhouses - that do not get above 80°, as we have the exhaust fans set to go on at 75°, with a night time low of 55-57°. We keep fans going all the time, to circulate air, and make sure the plants do not stay wet. I have never had damping off issues, and with the exception of the "bad" soil last year, have never had problems like this.

Any ideas? Disease? Contaminated peat moss? I am at a total loss - if anyone has experienced something similar - please share. We will be sending off soil to be sampled, but need to find out what is going on NOW!


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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

Without seeing them in person, I would say too much water and they are in need of potassium.

They look really wet from the pictures. You said you used peat in your 'soil', peat retaines a lot of moisture and is slow it drain.

I would repot a few in regular sterile soil and get them dried out and see it if helps.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 1:25PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Got to agree with the above. That was my first reaction too since it is across the board - it is the classic look of way too much water/too wet soil.

My only other thoughts as "possibles" is halide light burn or wind burn. But if in the greenhouse and unless your fans are set way too high speed ;) I'd doubt wind burn is the problem.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 1:46PM
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