My indoor vege garden

milocrabJune 6, 2012

Hello, a couple weeks ago I posted how my collard seedlings are all dying; which turned out I might be over-watering and potted them in pots that are too large. I just wanted to follow up on how my new seedlings are doing, as well as showing some pictures of my indoor vegetable garden :-D

This is where most of my plants are sitting; on a bay window of my bedroom. My apartment is north-facing, and my bedroom window is wide enough to allow some morning and evening sun. I also have 4 metal halides on a 12 hour schedule to supplement the window light. With a fan and air-conditioning during summer, the room is stable at around 78-80F. However, the area that receives sunlight could be a little higher at 85F.

Since the previous batch of collards all died but one (but that one isn't growing); this time I started many seeds in various conditions and see which ones will work out. I planted twelve in 3" cups - 6 of which are top watered, and 6 are bottom watered with a wicking strip thing. I only water them when they look dry and feels lighter, which had been approximately every 4-5 days. So far, their progress is about the same.

I also started some Tatsoi in 6" pots, looks OK so far, but the new leaves are not very green. I started feeding all the seedlings with 0.5ml/L of Foliage Pro after I see the first true leaf.

Some Bok Choi in a shallow container; this one is bottom watered and is doing fine. This is located on the hottest corner of the room with the most sunshine.

And then I have a shelf installed with two 35W T5HO in the living room. It is much warmer here, sometimes up to 93-94F. Most of these are dandelions; of course I had to start some collards here to see if they'll grow well at high temps.

They seem to do OK so far.

I also started another two in transparent jelly cups - these cups are shorter with a larger opening. I can see the roots already reached the bottom.

Shall I wait till there are more roots before transplanting them into a larger container? Is it more beneficial to up size gradually, as in 3" to 6" to 10" or will they be fine to go from 3" directly to 10"? Thanks for looking.


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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Hello Bonnie, I presume you were able to make drainage holes in your plastic cups? If so I would let them grow more roots before transplanting. I like the roots to be well enough into the soil to hold it together during the pot up, so the established roots remain and the shock of transplanting is reduced. This will cause less of a check in growth. Al

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 12:00PM
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This is so frustrating, its been 10 days since I posted and most of my seedlings died; top or bottom watered. They never really got pass the first true leaf stage. I'm certain I didn't overwatered; one of the seedling even started to wilt before I watered. The first true leaf will grow a bit, then the tip will get whitish and soft, then the whole leaf will slowly shrivel up. The seedlings aren't very green either, but I've already added Foliage Pro to the tap water that I have let stand for 24+ hours to out-gas. I also added PH-down to lower the PH to 6.2.

Out of close to 20 collard seedlings, I think I still have 4-5 standing, but I know they're heading the same direction. The only thing that is looking slightly OK is the bok choi; but it has leaves that have discolored patches as well. I'm completely lost, if it has nothing to do with light, water and temperature, then it might be my soiless mix. So, I went out and bought a small bag of potting soil and some paper cups yesterday, and started (again!) a few in those. If those don't make it as well, then I don't know what else I can try. Arghhhh!!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 8:48PM
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Here are the couple ones that are still standing:

I pulled out the dead ones, the roots were white and much longer than the previous ones that were in 10" pots. If the roots aren't rotting, I don't understand why the true leaves always shrivel up and die. D:

Bok Choi and Choi Sum are just OK, some of the leaves aren't very green...and some leaves have whitish patches:

What is causing the uneven green color on the leaves? Not enough nitrogen?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 2:43AM
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Hi, I'd say lack of nutrients. I think you are on the right track using more potting soil. Keep trying and don't give up - once you figure out what works best for you an indoor garden will be successful.

Peggy from Canada

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 4:16AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I think it is your mix that is not appropriate for what you are growing. When you buy a bag of potting soil look at the list of ingredients. For what you are growing you do not really need a seed starting mix, just a well made potting soil,preferable based on bark as your organic ingredient. Starting in the smaller cups is also a good idea. Don't worry about fertilizer until you have grown a few roots and two or three sets of true leaves. Make sure the sun from your windows is not too much for the cool season crops you are growing. Al

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Hello, its been a while and I have some updates with my third trials. Firstly, one of the Tatsoi that were started in the 6" pot from the first batch pulled through! And is now starting to grow a bit. This is the only one that made it through, all the other ones died.

I started many more in the third trial; I have used plastic and paper cups, potting soil and soiless mix. Since the previous ones didn't work, I don't know if its because the cups were too deep; so I cut down on the amount of medium this time.

These are the ones in my bedroom. Temperature is around 80F. On a nice day, they receive approximately 5 hours of sun; supplementing with metal halides as the window is actually north facing.

Another batch are growing under T5HO in my living room shelf. Temperature is 89F, and they get 13 hours of light per day.

So far, the ones in the bedroom aren't doing well, they are starting to look like the previous batches that failed. On the other hand, the ones grown under the T5HO at a much higher temperature seem OK so far. As you can see in the last picture, a couple of them is growing big enough that I think I can transplant them into 10" pots soon (in fact, I'm thinking of transplanting them tomorrow). I'm still getting the inconsistent green color on the leaves, I have increased the FP to 2 times the specified amount; maybe that is still not enough?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 9:22PM
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