stunted seedlings?

Elizabeth WhiteJune 11, 2013

I've been starting plants from seed in my basement under lights for many years now. This year all of the plants are smaller than I expect them to be--with the possible exception of petunias. I keep records of when I sow the seeds from year to year, so I know that it isn't later sowing. My annual vinca were super wimpy and yellowed. I've had spider mite issues before because I sometimes overwinter plants in the basement as well, but one soapy rinse took care of that in the past. My tuberous begonias are still tiny--like only 2-3 itty bitty leaves--and I would expect them to be near blooming by now.

I wondered if perhaps my fluorescent lights are getting old. I do replace tubes from time to time, but I've gotten lazy about putting dates on them. I just went out and bought enough to replace all of them (and note in my seed-starting records when I've done it).

I'm pondering doing some serious cleaning over the summer while the area is empty. What do y'all think? Do I need to bleach things? Could it be a disease? (That seems unlikely to me--since most of the plants were affected.)

Maybe the new lights will fix everything??

Thanks for any advice!

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susanzone5(z5NY)

Are you using a different potting mix? Some of them are awful.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 1:27PM
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art33(6)

Hmm, it's hard to tell. I think it's good that you're replacing the lights but kind of have my doubts about that being the real problem. Poor lighting would normally cause seedlings to be leggy and you didn't mention that being the case. I'm thinking along the same lines as susan; that it has something to do with the growing medium or lack of nutrients.

Art

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 9:43PM
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Elizabeth White

Unfortunately, I've been using the same growing medium for years as well. I agree that there are some truly awful ones!

And, no, I haven't noticed legginess in particular, just really small, super-slow growing plants and yellow-leaved vinca.

Except for the petunias, which grew normally. I still wonder about disease or insects.

I'm thinking about mixing up some sort of bleach mixture and washing down the whole area.

Do y'all think that would be a good idea?

Thanks for the responses!
Elizabeth

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 8:31AM
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Elizabeth White

Unfortunately, I've been using the same growing medium for years as well. I agree that there are some truly awful ones!

And, no, I haven't noticed legginess in particular, just really small, super-slow growing plants and yellow-leaved vinca.

Except for the petunias, which grew normally. I still wonder about disease or insects.

I'm thinking about mixing up some sort of bleach mixture and washing down the whole area.

Do y'all think that would be a good idea?

Thanks for the responses!
Elizabeth

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 8:32AM
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blyons

Hi Gang,
This is like my 6th year of doing the seed thing. I normally have 200 plants in my basement. This year and last has been really bad. I am beginning to think that the issue is the soil mixture I use. All of my plants are stunted, really immature looking. The culprit I believe is a product from Canada called Pro Mix. It comes in a bale of 3.8 cubic feet. It is real fine in texture. Anyone else have this experience. I have used miracle grow before and another product and have not had results like this.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 3:22PM
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blyons

The Pro Mix I am using is PGX and it "designed for plug and germination growing"

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 3:31PM
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mori1(5b/6a)

Its not a problem to keep using the same soil mix over and over but your going to have to add nutrients to the soil if you do. Every fall/winter, I clean my trays, containers and tools with soap and bleach. Come spring I use whatever cheap soil mix (that wasn't stored outside) I can get my hands on. I add perlite or vermiculite and worm castings to the mix. I've been doing that for a couple of years and its work for me.

I think there is a thread with different methods that might work for you.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 11:43AM
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