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Beet seedlings toppling over - what's wrong

Posted by sklett (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 24, 11 at 23:27


I've been observing some issues with a few of my seedlings I started 1/6/11. Some of them seem to just fall over, as if they can't support their own weight. I've read about damping off and I don't "think" that is the problem, my theory is that the seeds weren't sown deep enough or that the top seed mix wasn't pressed down firmly enough so the seeds aren't fully supported.

Either way, I plan to start several more in the coming weeks/months to transplant through the season and I want to correct my mistakes as soon as possible. I'd really appreciate if anyone here could take a look at the photo and maybe see if you know what I did wrong? Or at least make a suggestion?

Photo here on my blog:

Notes and photos of the sowing here:

I'm observing similar issues with my arugala and claytonia.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Beet seedlings toppling over - what's wrong

Leggy seedlings will always look like they were not planted deep enough, but that is not the problem. There is a great difference between the best indoor lighting system and the sunshine. If you decide to harden your seedlings from indoor to outdoor start with an hour or less. Your beets could not take the abrupt change. Al

RE: Beet seedlings toppling over - what's wrong

Your posting said they were in a breezy porch? They were just blown over then. They will straighten back out again and get stronger.

I also agree with Al, they are very leggy as well. Try to get them really close to your glow lights so they do not stretch for the light and I am not 100% positive on this but dont beets hate to be transplanted?

and be very careful hardening them off, I would do 1-2 hours in the shade outside at first and then 1-2 hours in am sun....then increase it by an hour or so a day until they can handle the bright sun.


RE: Beet seedlings toppling over - what's wrong

@calistoga: Good point on the hardening off, I agree that I did too much too fast. Thanks for the comment. I have another batch emerging right now so I will make changes and observe the effects.

@keriann: "Breezy" was an exaggeration, it was enough to make the seedlings move, but probably not enough to even blow out a candle.

Your comment about getting the light close is very interesting because I must admit it's about 10" away and I KNOW it should be closer, I've read it so many places but for some reason didn't follow the advice. ::

So here's my takeaway:
1. Drop the light much closer so they don't reach for it
2. Harden them off more gradually
3. Avoid windy conditions

As I mentioned above I have another batch in the pipeline so I will see how I do with them.

Thanks for the comments!

RE: Beet seedlings toppling over - what's wrong

Awesome! I think you have it down.

Best of luck and keep us posted!


RE: Beet seedlings toppling over - what's wrong

If possible try giving them a little bit of real sunlight each day in addition to the lights...

Here is a link that might be useful: A few words about beet growing

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