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Seedlings always stall...suggestions please

Posted by pjgooch51 NY (My Page) on
Wed, May 22, 13 at 14:36

I'm finishing my third and now least successful spring starting vegetable seeds indoors and I need suggestions on what to fix for next year and beyond.

Basically my eggplant and pepper seedlings barely get beyond one set of true leaves, certainly never more than two. The first year I was a newbie and didn't know any better, and with some beginner's luck every tiny seedling I transplanted into the garden turned into a productive plant.

Year 2 I planted more seeds, had the same amount of initial success, but lost a few seedlings in the garden -- some to pests, some (in retrospect) to weakness.

Now year 3 I have a bunch of stalled seedlings, some of which shriveled up and died a few hours into the hardening-off process. For the most part they look the same today as they did a month ago. I planned on putting them outside this weekend but I'm pretty much prepared to write this batch off as a failure.

In short, I sow the seeds in late March, and once they've germinated (rarely a problem), I move the seedlings into Jiffy pots with Miracle Gro potting mix and keep them in a sunny, south-facing bay window throughout the day and away from the window at night. Room temp is 65-70. Typically they grow quickly until the first true leaves begin to emerge. At that point, growth slows to a crawl.

I realize I should probably be doing better in the light and heat department but the overall success I had in the first two years kept me from changing up the routine.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Seedlings always stall...suggestions please

Have you fertilized them weekly? Peat pots are not good. Use plastic pots. Cold will delay growth. Each year you learn more. Conditions change. Seeds change consistency from year to year. Read more about seed starting. Have fun with it.


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RE: Seedlings always stall...suggestions please

Have you fertilized them weekly? Peat pots are not good. Use plastic pots. Cold will delay growth. Each year you learn more. Conditions change. Seeds change consistency from year to year. Read more about seed starting. Have fun with it.


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RE: Seedlings always stall...suggestions please

I always have fun with it but this is the first time that I feel like I'm depriving something and paying the price with weak, undersized seedlings. I have not fertilized -- the potting mix has slow-release fertilizer so I never considered adding more.


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RE: Seedlings always stall...suggestions please

I think it's the cold weather here in NY, even though we did have some hot days. Peppers and eggplants like it hot. My cukes are still tiny. I put everything in the ground already. I know the next week will be cold again, but as soon as it heats up they will take off. I feel they are better off in their outdoor place (now that frost threat is over) and I don't have to worry about them.

Like I said before, each year brings new and different challenges. You adapt and change what you're doing and in a few more years you will have the right routine. People have varying success with windowsill gardening, pre-fertilized potting mix and with peat pots.


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RE: Seedlings always stall...suggestions please

I had similar problems with tomatoes and pepper seedlings this year (and they weren't in peat pots). (Acually I'm running a tomato test where half my tomaoes were in paper drink cups (removed at planting) and half were in peat pots (top rim torn off at planting)).

I found by using a very dilute* miracle gro-like fertilizer started them growing again. I've heard negative things about the slow-release fertilizer in potting soil (don't have an opinion myself). One thought is; is it releasing the fertilizer as fast as the plant needs it?

* when I say dilute - I'm mixing 1/2 TBSP to 1 gallon as a base solution and then when I mix it to use it I dilute it 4 to 1.

Hope this helps.


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