Plants getting too tall

dapperApril 12, 2008

I have a bunch of tomatoe, and pepper plants, and also some flowers I started from seed. I started around the 1st of March. They all seem to be doing fine. I did have some that were leggy, but I transplanted deeper into larger pots and they are doing fine. I am using a large plastic shelf to hang my lights from and set the plants on. At this time some of the plants are touching the lights. I have all the lights up as high as they will go. The ones that are not touching the lights are still very close. I have been setting them out on nice days but this whole next week is only supposed to be in the 50's during the day. What would ya'll recommend for me to do?

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georgez5il(z5 IL)

The streaching is most likely due to poor light. sounds like you cannot do more in this area. The tomatoes van be planted deep or laying in side when finally planted in ground. Peppers I do not recommend doing this.... planting can be done when NIGHT temp is 55F or more....._

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 3:42PM
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These plants are not leggy at all. I have transplanted the tomatoes 3 times. This last time I pinched off the first set of leaves I believe called "cotyleon" or something like that. They have just grown that much. I have kept the lights within 3 to 4 inches of the plants. Sometimes the lights were within 2 inches of the plants. I have most of the tomatoe plants in 6 inch pots. I went away for about 5 days and I think everything grew another 2 to 3 inches. I can't believe it, (being my first year gardening, let alone growing from seed).

I don't know if I should remove the lights from each level of the shelf and just go with the basements flouresent lights. Not sure if that is enough light though.

Another problem is I need to start planting my watermelons, cantalopes, and other stuff. They will need to go under the lights as soon as they germinate.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 4:52PM
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I have this same problem every year no matter what I do it seems. The only solution I have found is to move them to a bright sunny window until it gets warm enough to harden them off outside. If you have a screened in porch like I do and it doesn't get too cold at night put them there.

Our weather here in Arkansas seems to go to you next so all the rain this year and now this 3 days of freezing nights is really setting my planting dates back. *sigh* So I have 2 trays of 12" tomato plants sitting on the kitchen counter waiting. Maybe next week you and I can finally do some planting.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 8:53PM
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macheske(6/7 NorthernVA)

Can you build a different rack for the plants? This is the one that I built. I move the lights up on chains as needed.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 7:15PM
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macheske: That is a great looking rack. I will keep pic of it and try to mimic it next year. I just don't have the time to build something else. I am trying to build a chicken coop and I still have 3 more raised beds to build. I have be under the weather and bad weather is hendering me.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 8:23AM
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macheske(6/7 NorthernVA)

Here is one with a few plants

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 9:18PM
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amna(6 (MA))

Hi Dave,

I love that setup you have. I was wondering if you would be willing to share some specifics (e.g. dimensions, kind of wood, how the lights are attached to the wood frame). I am having a crisis - got the bright idea to start seeds and since I had a little growbox setup in the basement where my jasmines live, I germinated the seeds in there (high temps, light, humidity). Unfortunately, the first batches (cosmos and nasturtium) are breaking my heart. The cosmos shot up and I think maybe because the temps were too high they grew too fast i.e. the length of the stalks between the surface of the soil and where the cotyledons emerge is too long (2"-4"). The result was that the stalks are too spindly to support the top of the seedling so now they are all growing lying down :-(
I read somewhere that you could bury them in soil, stalk and all, upto a point close to where the cotyledons attach but I don't know if that will help these guys. Maybe it's worth a shot? I have now decided to remove the seedlings from the growbox as soon as the seeds germinate and put them on a windowsill (lower temps so perhaps they won't shoot up in this abnormal fashion). Basically don't know what's going on - I know it's not daamping off because even though they are lying down, the seedlings look healthy and are happily sprouting their true leaves - so sad, they probably will not make it into the ground ever.
Anyway, sorry about the long sad story. I guess getting your kind of set up might help prevent this happening to all the 500 (slight exaggeration)other seeds I'm starting. I really appreciate any advice you could provide.
This was supposed to be a zen activity and it was thrilling to see the little green shoots coming up but now I've probably ended up dooming them all.

Best regards,

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 12:42PM
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