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Anyone else having this problem?

Posted by momstar 5 (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 25, 12 at 12:42

I was so anxious for spring that I started peppers, lupine, larkspur, pansies, etc.. inside weeks ago. It isn't time to put them out yet (we are still below freezing at night and got snow 3 days ago).

What is the problem? I've overdone it. I've got too many plants that are too tall for my light set up. I'm seriously thinking I messed up. Every time I go in the plant room it seems like they've grown a foot (slight exaggeration, but only slight).

What am I supposed to do now? I can't afford to get more lights. Is there a "seed starters anonymous" that I can join and get some help with my obsession?

Seriously though, can I rotate the plants under the lights? 12 hours under the lights / 12 hours out in the dark room?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Anyone else having this problem?

Happen to others? Yes, it is a common mistake for those new to seed starting - rushing the season. So you likely have lots of company.

You can try rotating under the lights but it will only make them more leggy. If the node length is already quite long - which accounts for the quick shoot-up in height - they likely haven't been getting enough light all along so you'll want to keep that in mind for next year.

The flowers can be pruned back some. Best to do it in stages as they grow but they will recover from a haircut now. The pepper plants, no, about all you can do is keep transplanting them deeper each time.

Bout all you can do now is make good notes to yourself so that next year you remember to start them much later.

Good luck.

Dave


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RE: Anyone else having this problem?

Maybe you could start hardening off the pansies, larkspur, lupins and any other hardy annuals or perennials? They can all take cool temps and even some frost but they must be hardened. If they had been winter sown they'd be outside anyway and coming to no harm.


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RE: Anyone else having this problem?

I've got some like that right now. I have them in a coolest room and a fan blowing at them to try to strengthen their stem. All I can say is cool to slow their growth. Or find a green house.


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RE: Anyone else having this problem?

Yes, pansies do well in pretty cool weather. I'd start hardening those off first. It will give you a bit more room.

We've probably all been through this. I've learned to figure out the maximum number of plants I can fit under my lights in their potted up size and work backwards to decide how much to plant. It's sometimes hard to restrain myself since there is still room when they are in their original flats.


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RE: Anyone else having this problem?

how big are your peppers? for me in zone 4, I have peppers started way back in early February. you want to start those peppers early, and pot them up. most of ours are now in 3.5-4" pots and about 5-6" high. so unless you started your peppers back in Dec., then you are right on schedule with them.

cooler temps. will also keep the plants in check. 60-65 is great.


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RE: Anyone else having this problem?

I had this issue last year, and learned my lesson. My peppers are just pushing up out of the soil now. Even with our incredibly warm spring, I know its not safe to put them out until at least mid-may.

Mitch - do you have a more professional lighting set up? Or a green house? I cant imagine keeping plants healthy and happy in pots under lights for 4 months. Do you have fruit growing before you plant them outside, or do you pinch off the flowers?


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RE: Anyone else having this problem?

I had that problem last year too. I had some really unhappy hyacinth bean vines for a while. Vines are not a good thing to start inside too early! This year, it has gotten warm very early, so when I ran out of space I started putting seedlings that had been potted up to 4" pots out on our deck. At first I brought them in at night, but as they got bigger, I started leaving them out. Pansies have been outside full time for at least a month (now starting to bloom). Dianthus, penstemon, baby's breath, dusty miller and balloon flowers have been out for a couple of weeks. I don't know if they could handle a freeze every night, but they've definitely handled a number of freezes, with no covering, and seem completely fine.


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RE: Anyone else having this problem?

Indoors under regular shop lites.

We typically put up the portable greenhouse we have....but the peppers and tomatoes won't chance it out there until mid to late april....with a small heater if need be. Try earlier on your peppers, you won't be disappointed! We set out pepper plants about 10-12" tall, totally critical for so many of the varities we grow. This year we are trying about 23 varities:)

With the peppers experiencing some cool nites(45-50 degrees) before being set out permanently, it stimulates bud set, and we always have buds ready to go when they get in the ground. If we get a flower or two...off they come.

good luck!


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RE: Anyone else having this problem?

Status update:

I put the pansies on the patio under the awning just after I posted. It was warm for a few days (early morning sun) but then we had snow. They did great. But I know they are cool weather plants anyway so I figured they would be okay.

I will start to move the other hardy perennials out in the next few days. Again, on the patio under the awning. We are expected to stay above 40 until next week so I'll keep an eye and if it is getting too cold, pull them back in for a night or two.

The tender ones (plus peppers and tomatoes) will have to stay inside for another couple weeks. I have hoop houses on my raised beds but I've had disasterous results putting things out there too fast. I think the patio is going to be the best. And it is somewhat sheltered from the wind.

Most of the veggies I will direct sow in another 2-4 weeks in the hoop houses. That has worked extremely well other years.

I tried winter sowing last year with limited success. I can assure you it was operator error though.


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