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Leggy seedlings

Posted by bingster (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 13, 08 at 9:13

Help folks,

I planted my tomato seeds six weeks back and they are very healthy...but very leggy also...about 14" high. I planted in Jiffy pellets and then transplanted into 4" jiffy pots after my first true leaves appeared. I transplanted deeply into the 4" pots, right up to the leaves. I am growing under grow lights and keep the light within an inch or two of the leaves. I want much stockier and shorter transplants than I am currently getting. Any suggestions or tricks???

thanks

Bing


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Leggy seedlings

There is nothing wrong with what you are doing, you just did it way too soon. To cause a check in the growth of your seedlings is not a good idea. Al


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RE: Leggy seedlings

Warm air temperatures cause seedling elongation, too. Do you think that that might be part of the problem?


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RE: Leggy seedlings

Are your lights strong enough and are you keeping them on for a minimum of 14 hrs a day? Insufficient light is the only reason that I've ever had leggy seedlings.
Karyn


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RE: Leggy seedlings

Repot them again in taller containers. Put the root ball you have right in the bottom of the new container, then fill with potting mix. Orange juice cartons with just the tops cut off so that they're real tall would work good for this. The tomatoes will grow roots down the stems where they're buried.
Another option is to cut them off and reroot them in a glass of water. Then replant them. The cut stubs are likely to grow back too, and give you twice as many plants!


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RE: Leggy seedlings

Leggy seedlings come from stretching for the light. So more light, some more light once you transplant them, you can't have too much light. Oh, did I mention, more light? ;)

Dave


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RE: Leggy seedlings

I've seen leggy plants if you cram too many into a confined space and the canopy becomes crowded, shading some plants. remember to give them plenty of space but if i had to bet i'd say digdirt and the others are spot on; give them more light. The first time I used Mylar I learned that it is a very cost effective way to provide more light. Don't under estimate what escapes. This also more evenly distributes light to the bottom and middle branches. One bit of advice to take or leave is to place the reflective material as close to the sides of the plants as possible because light diminishes by the Inverse Square Law and reflective distance has to be doubled. In other words, if your Mylar is one foot from the edge of the plants it equals two feet of distance the light traveled(there and back again and still diminishing by In. Sq. Law.)


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RE: Leggy seedlings

What about pinching them back? That would cause them to bush out more. For future reference, I don't think you need to start tomato plants until 3-4 weeks before last frost date because they're fast growers.

Deanna


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RE: Leggy seedlings

you can "prune" them to make them thicker. i have a neighbor who has tomato plants with stalks like tree trunks, and he trims an inch off the top every few weeks. this allows them to grow wider, and develop more foliage.


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RE: Leggy seedlings

Also - how old are your bulbs? - after 2 years the lumen output drops off dramatically. I change mine every two years and use the 40W- 4 foot shop light cool white, 16 hours/day


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