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Rookie mistake quickly corrected but...

Posted by Chris_CL 5b Illinois (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 13, 11 at 1:03

Hi, This is my second attempt in as many years trying to grow my own starters from seed. Last year I started my seed in only a sunny window, and I started them the last week of April.

After that massive failure, This year I purchased a 4' Fluorescent fixture and 2 40W gro-lux bulbs. My broccoli made it up quickly, as did my lettuce and cauliflower, but they got tall and spindly very quickly. I recognized this as too little light, and I bought a second set of 40 Watts, and lined both fixtures with aluminum foil to reflect more light. I used toothpicks to stake some of them, but I am wondering if the tallest are salvageable?

I think all but one of my lettuce starters are toast, they are growing upwards, but the stem takes a 90 degree bend to get the leaves pointing up. I have stared more broccoli and cauli and lettuce seed, and after 3 days a couple of the broccoli is up. Should I scratch the spindly ones and restart the seed?

Seedlings 2011

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Rookie mistake quickly corrected but...

HI! They are not too bad and for sure can be saved. I would replant those tall ones up to their first set of true leaves, so you will bury that spindly stem. Lettuce can not be deeply transplanted like that but I think if you get the light 1" away from the top of their leaves and get a fan gently blowing on them they will get stockier.

Next time... I have always had good luck with a 50/50 mix of warm and cool bulbs, I have never spent the extra money on Gro-Lux ones.

Yor seedlings should look a lot better once transplanted and brought closer to the light

Let us know how they are doing!


RE: Rookie mistake quickly corrected but...

Well I bought the fixtures at menards, and the T-12 bulbs were $5 a peice. If I take care of them, I figure it's a good investment. they do put out a little heat, at their current distance they keep the soil at about 75, without the lights on the temps fall to the low 60's.. is that typical?

RE: Rookie mistake quickly corrected but...

I can't state anything about the soil temps, but try to keep your lights just above the plants - effectively the tighter the better works for me.

Some of my plants end up touching the bulbs before I get back down there to raise them, but I've never had a problem with them burning or wilting, etc.

RE: Rookie mistake quickly corrected but...

Yes, it is typical.. just like mother nature, it is warmer during the day and cooler at night.

No need to worrk, I keep my seedlings around 50-55*... if anything I would set up a fan, put your lights closer and re-pot up to their first set of leaves.


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