Help!! What is wrong with these tomatoe seedlings

Higgsr1March 5, 2012

I put these seeds in soil on 2/17. They are not growing.

I have:

3- 4 ft shoplights(6 bulbs total) GE 'Sunshine or dalyight) 6500k @ 3050 Lumens each. New this year

Temps are 72 - 75 day 60 nights

Lights 16 on 6 off

Medium: Burpees eco seed staring mix(coco coir i think)

I have 4 seeds trays side by side. Do i need to add a 4th shoplight? Over watering? Temps?

I have been putting a fan on them for about 4 hours a day.

I picked up a couple pots and tips of roots were coming out of bottom on some of them. one had s inches of roots out of bottom. Yet they are only 1-1.5 inches tall.

Im using jiffy square peat pots. I think 2.5 inches. The ones just under the 3' rounds.

Any info would be great. Thanks

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Higgsr1

Seedlings

Here is a link that might be useful: Sown 2/17

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 5:33PM
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Higgsr1

Pics

Here is a link that might be useful: Seedlings

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 5:48PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Medium: Burpees eco seed staring mix(coco coir i think)

Good for germination but has no nutrients for growing on. Normally not an issue until after the first true leaves appear but in this case, given their age and lack of any growth I'd transplant them into a good grow mix and plant them deep up to right below the cotyledons. Plants that old should have a couple sets of true leaves by now.

Looks like plenty of light to me since they aren't leggy.

Plus one of the chronic problems often discussed about the peat pots - and one reason why many won't use them - is that they wick water out of the soil making it appear to be too dry when it really isn't. So the plants get over-watered and the roots rot. Ignore the surface appearance when watering and stick your finger down into the mix before adding water.

Dave

PS: can't access your first pic link but the second one works fine

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 6:21PM
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Higgsr1

Dave thanks for the info. I checked the burpees eco bag. It states it has fertilizer in it. Also checked the back.

N .06%
Phos .03%
K .03%
What should my plan of action be? I was thinking let them dry out until they are really light then only water with a turkey baster. I tried bottom watering but im not a fan of it.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 6:35PM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

I would replant them into a regular potting mix up to the seed leaves as Dave mentioned above. I would plant them into a plastic container and ditch the peat pots. It is WAY better to have a strong root system and a small plant then the other way around. They look pretty good.. just stunted.

Bottom watering will be so much easier once they are out of peat pots. Just peel them off, you will break a few roots but they will recover and speed back up again. Yes, letting them dry out and then watering is the best.

Keriann~

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 7:06PM
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Higgsr1

I thought that the cyto leaves provide all the notes the plant needs till about he second set of true leaves? I've repotted a couple into potting mix to see how het react.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 10:17PM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

...provided all the notes...

I think I lost you there :)

cool that you re-potted some. I love experiments! Keep us posted :)

Keriann~

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 12:02PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I thought that the cyto leaves provide all the notes the plant needs till about he second set of true leaves?

Assuming you mean nutrients then yes under ideal conditions that is mostly true. But it is the seed coat primarily rather than the cotyledons and if the potting mix is too wet it rots quickly.

You have far less than ideal conditions going there and I think you will see a marked improvement in those you transplanted - depending on what you transplanted them into?

If you used the same mix and peat pots the problems may well continue. I suggest some search reading here about 'problems with peat pots' for future reference.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 1:02PM
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zen_man

Higgsr,

"I thought that the cyto leaves provide all the nutes the plant needs till about he second set of true leaves?"

That may be true. The seed leaves do act as a nutrient reservoir. Although the tomato seeds are rather small, so there can't be a lot of nutes in there.

"Lights 16 on 6 off..."

Did you mean 16 on and 8 off? Usually that should add up to 24 hours. Actually, it might be better for your seedlings if you increased that to 18 on and 6 off or even 20 on and 4 off.

"Temps are 72 - 75 day 60 nights..."

That may be a little cool for tiny tomato seedlings. The speed of plant growth, and chemical reactions in general, is influenced by temperature. Large tomato plants certainly wouldn't mind 60 degrees, but even they would grow slower at 60 than at 90.

"I have 4 seed trays side by side. Do I need to add a 4th shoplight?" In this portion of your picture, it is evident that some of your seedlings are not under the light, so I think you should add another fixture over them. Also, you could lower your fixtures a little to get them closer to the seedlings, without touching them. That will help give them both warmth and more light. It appears that this is in an unheated utility room, possibly in a basement area, so this may be a situation where a heat mat would be helpful. Or, if you can adjust the heat in that room, you might want to turn up the thermostat some.

Also, you might want to consider adding some soluble nutrients to the water that you water them with. Since you have these in a sterile soilless mix, the soluble nutrients that you use should not contain urea. Plant leaves can absorb urea in a foliar feed and use it as a source of nitrogen. But apparently plant roots can't or don't absorb urea. Plant roots take up nitrogen as either nitrate ions or ammonium ions. Soil microbes normally break urea down into a usable form, but in their absence, urea is not helpful, and in prolonged use it could conceivably build up to a toxic level in the growing mix. I use Better-Gro brand nutrients that I get in the garden department of a local Lowe's Home Store. However, Better-Gro Orchid Plus and Better-Gro Bloom Booster are available from a mumber of online sources. I prefer to pick mine up at Lowe's to avoid shipping costs, and I am in there from time to time anyway. You dilute the stuff quite a lot, so a little of it goes a long way. And those Better-Gro products contain micro trace elements that aren't necessarily present in the Burpee's Eco mix.

ZM
(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 1:14PM
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Higgsr1

Thanks for all the great info. sorry for the typos. im typing from my phone and it likes to auto correct my words. I repotted into plastic containers with drainage holes using potting mix. I
n the pic i slid the tray out of the light for a better pic. but i guess a 4th light cant hurt.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 3:03PM
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lgteacher(SCal)

Maybe you have the lights on too long. I grew tomatoes from seed in peat pots and they got true leaves a little faster with 13- 14 hours of light. Be patient. Your plants aren't leggy and they have roots.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 11:26PM
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Sandylad(5)

Hi Higgsr1,
I read your post about your impatients. I've found them to be super easy to grow even in WI. It sounds like you're doing everything right. Perhaps the seeds are old, or they have somehow been frozen. It's hard to know. I'd suggest re-planting the seeds. Yea it's allot of work but it's worth it. Just put the seeds in the existing pots. Yea, you'll never know which onesare beginning to grow, the old or new. Better that then not haveing any impatients. Let me know how it turns out

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 9:50AM
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calistoga_al

I don't understand why so many gardeners make growing tomatoes from seed so complicated. Any regular growing or potting mix works fine for starting tomato seeds. I always use a bark based mix for everything. I have at least a hundred plastic sixpack containers I have saved over the years and use them over and over. It only takes three weeks at 70 to 75 degrees to grow enough with good light, to transplant into four inch plastic pots, and off the heat. From there to the garden a month later, well rooted. Al

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 10:07AM
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