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Started seeds slow growing

Posted by redneckiowa none (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 23:37

I have been unsuccessfuly starting seeds for about three years now. Normally i buy a jiffy start kit from walmart. I normally get germination and then things die. I thought this might be because they sit in a bay window that is a bit drafty and dont get sun all day.
This year I bought a clear tote with a lid some seed starting soil and some of those small fiber trays. I put the soil in there and planted the seeds. Then in the tote i put in about 2 inches of kitty litter then some of the small christmas lights and then about 2 more inches of kitty litter. I turned the lights on. I put water in the soil but I noticed that it would pool on top of the soil. I then put a thermometer in the tote and put the top on.
Then temp would hold in the 70s all the time. So i started to get germination pretty quickly and thought I was going to knock it out of the park.
Also as a funny joke I put some left over seeds in. The pots with my wifes house plants. They took a few days later to germinate but I giggled when she discovered them.
Well since then I have removed the top of the tote and the lights for heat are off. The plants in the tote just arent growing very fast and the ones in the same pots as my wifes house plants are growing like gang busters.
Tonight i set up a jumpstart T5 4ft grow light on my poor little seedlings.
What amnI doing wrong? How come in my set up things arent just going crazy and in my wifes pots where i basically threw seeds in walking by things are growing great.
All plants sit in thw same window.
Also the light i set up is about 2 ft above the little seedling. How high should it be?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Started seeds slow growing

Redneck, you are well on your way to become a gardener. They say you need to kill the same kind of plant 3 times. Congratulations! Kitty litter and Christmas lights is a great idea. Thanks for the tip.

I personally do not use fiber products as containers. They dry out too fast and grow mold. And I don't use clear domes over the trays, as air circulation helps prevent damping off. (IMO, the drafts are good.) I use plastic trays and I buy starting soil in a bag. I may even mix 2 different kinds of soil.

Sometimes it is very difficult to get starting soil or potting soil moist. It seems to be shipped very dry. I dump it in a bucket and mix in a significant amount of water with my hands to initially get it to hold water. Then when you water, it should get adsorbed quickly. Sometimes I water from the bottom by setting the seedling tray in a bigger tray.

Wild guess: Maybe there is some fertilizer in the house plant pots? Fresh seedlings shouldn't need it. But some starting mixes may not have much.

RE: Started seeds slow growing

So do you think throwing a little bit of fertallizer on them would help jump start them? I moved the light as close as I could this morning when I got up. So now it is approx 8 inches above the seedlings.

RE: Started seeds slow growing

Redneck, lower the lights to just an inch or two above the seedlings and move up as the plants grow. Only about 1/4 strength fertilizer is recommended after the seedlings get their first set of true leaves. Be careful with fertilizing seedlings too early as you can burn them very easily. Sounds like you are making much better progress this time around. Good luck!

RE: Started seeds slow growing

If you can't lower the light more (you can always use string or small chain) then raise the seedlings to it. 8" is still way to far away. Sit the trays on boxes or books or something.


RE: Started seeds slow growing

Young plants do not need fertilizer. Fertilizing seedlings will often set the back. I would say the ones in with your wifes plants probably have the right amount of moisture to grow better. Those fiber pots are useless. They dry out and mold. I tend to sprout seeds in a shallow communal pot and transplant into disposable drinking cups when they are ready. My favorite communal pot is mushroom flats with holes in the bottom.

Your lights should be an no more than an inch above your plants for optimal light exposure. The plants should not touch the bulbs though. Either lower your lights or raise your pots by putting something under them

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