seedlings not growing

cranialgirlApril 10, 2009

I had started seeds for 3 or 4 years, always the same way and with the same equiptment.Then my life didn't allow me to do it for about three years. This winter I broke out all the old stuff and planted LOTS of seeds. I used the end of a 3+ year old bag of seed starter mix, and used the old light bulbs. I had no problem with germination. The new seedlings started to grow. Then they just have been hanging there, at varying heights, with almost no growth. For weeks.

The peppers stopped at first set of sprouting leaves, with the barest hint of a new set of true leaves. The black-eyed susans just barely got out of the dirt before stopping, the tomatoes put out one set of true leaves, etc etc.

The temperature is at about 60 degrees day time, and they have light for longer than it is light outside. I am watering correctly. The only thing I can think of is maybe the lights have lost some powere being old, or maybe the dirt was old. SO I bought new dirt and translanted a bunch to big containers in new seed starter.They did fine in transplanting, but have grown almost none again.

I have about 3 weeks to planting out, and I am extemely worried about why I'm not growing.

Should I change the light bulbs to new bulbs, extend the ampount of time the lights are one, fertilize them with a mild fertilizer? I figure the seed started has all that in it, it is Ferry Morse.

Yesterday I set them all out in the sun for about 2 hours, and will do the same each day it is nice and warm so they can get some real true sunlight.

Maybe I am forgetting something I used to do that is messing up the process. Does anyone have any ideas?

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You might need to use larger pots and fresh soil. The small plants will drain the nutrients quickly in the seedling trays. We use the Walmart Black shopping bags as pots. They are very cost effective. We fill each bag 1/2 full. We place our seedlings all the way in the soil up to the top leaves and add a little Miracle - Gro. As the plants shoot on up, we add more soil to the bag, always keeping the shoot below the dirt. When transplanting, if we want to grow upside down, we slip a second bag over the top, cut a hole in the bag, place a sponge over the stem, flip it over and remove the first bag. Make sure you monitor the watering, as too much water will cause the plants to stunt.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 9:10AM
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Oh my gosh! I am having the same problem. I started everything from seed 4 weeks ago. Everything sprouted within a week and then the bush beans, summer squash, and okra have taken off and will be ready to put in the garden but the tomatoes, bell peppers, basil, and flat leaf parsley have stopped growing. Some have one teeny tiny true leaf while the others don't have any true leaves yet. I have them under grow lights and in seed starter mix and I only water when they need it. What is up? This is my first year starting a vegetable garden and I am so disappointed!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 10:53AM
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Check the temperature in the room and the soil. I keep the room temp about 80. Some plants will not grow in colder temps, and some do well. If the soil temp is below 60, they might germinate, but growth will be slow.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 11:15AM
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Also remember that after a transplant (which sounds like it was the best thing to do in your situation), the plants will act like they're doing nothing for anywhere from a few days to a little over a week. In this time, they are actually re-rooting/getting attached to their new home, literally. Give them a bit of time (and maybe a little diluted 1/4 strength fertilizer) and they will start growing again.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 11:42AM
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I actually do have the ones who are ready, already transplanted into new bigger pots with new soil. Maybe they just need some time to sit yet. I was afraid to fertilize more since the seed starter is supposed to have it already in it. SHould I fertilize anyway?

Also, I always grew in a cool room. I didn't think about the possibility of them wanting to be warmer. Everything I grew before grew like the dickens in a cool room. I don't have a set-up to keep them warmer. I would have to put them outside. WHich is ok for most days except for rainy days like today.

Is it possible that my lights have lost their power. They don't look dimmer than a couple new ones I had. I can get new ones, but don't want to just waste money.
\ thanks for the helpful suggestions. Julie

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 11:58AM
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