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Seedlings in trouble!!!!! Stunted growth, tiny, yellow...

Posted by brh721 7 (My Page) on
Sat, May 8, 10 at 20:50

I have had a vegetable garden many years before, but all we really did was throw in some compost from our horses and stick the plants in the ground and we had more than enough to eat all season. This year I decided to be more adventurous and I've got a 45x25 plot all set up. This is also the first year I've started from seed (we used to purchase plants from a local greenhouse) and I've just been figuring this out as I go along. I'm sure I haven't done everything perfectly. I think my seedlings are in big trouble and I'm starting to doubt if I will even have a harvest from them. I started tomatoes (san marzano, brandywine & sweetie), eggplant, peppers and broccoli from seed in the beginning of March. Things seemed to be going really well at first. But now it's May and most of my seedlings are still very tiny, most only have 1 set of true leaves and are more yellow than green. I'm worried that I may have stunted their growth somehow. Is it too late for my little seedlings? Any help is much appreciated. I have put a lot of work and love into this and I'd hate to see them go. Also, I want to do everything organically.

This is basically how everything's been set up:
I started the seeds indoors in a glass fishtank with 2 lights to create a greenhouse. They were in egg cartons and transplanted into flats once they had their true leaves. They seemed to be doing very well in here for a while, but like I said they seemed to have stopped growing. While they were still in the flats, I put the fish tank on the porch starting in mid April. Once I realized that their containers were probably too small, I transplanted them all into about 2 gallon buckets. This was maybe 2 or 3 weeks ago and they seem to be only getting worse. I think my 3 big mistakes were the small containers, lack of fertilizer, and probably not enough water. I just fertilized them for the first time with 3-4-4 yesterday and I'm hoping that perks them up. I'm sure I've made mistakes since I'm new to this, but I'm still not sure why they are in such poor condition. At the greenhouse, they have such big plants in tiny containers, and mine didn't even seem root bound when I transplanted. Right now mine are outdoors 24/7 (although I may bring them in as we're expecting a cold front this weekend) and get direct sunlight. The soil I've been using is Miracle Grow Organic Garden Soil.

I've really been putting my heart and soul into the garden this year and I really don't want to have to break down and buy plants from the greenhouse. Any advice is sincerely appreciated!!!!!!! Thank you

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Seedlings in trouble!!!!! Stunted growth, tiny, yellow...

Do you have any pictures? What sort of soil are they in? How tiny is 'tiny' ? A 2 gallon container is gigantic, much too big for a tiny seedling. Are the edges of the leaves withered and dry? If your hardening off process involved sticking them outside in an aquarium, then I'm surprised they survived at all. It's really hard to say what exactly the problem is, as you've used several non-traditional methods that may have harmed the seedlings along the way. Try reading the FAQ on the front page of this forum for some general how-tos.

RE: Seedlings in trouble!!!!! Stunted growth, tiny, yellow...

Overwatering is the most common problem with seedlings that just don't want to grow. Try letting the soil dry out some between waterings.

RE: Seedlings in trouble!!!!! Stunted growth, tiny, yellow...

Well, I have put about 5 per container. The leaves are dry and yellow. They only have 1 pair of true leaves. They are probably about 3 or 4 inches tall but I buried them a bit when I transplanted. When I hardened them off, they were on a porch with a roof. First they were in shade for a few hours a day and I gradually increased their time outside and sunlight exposure. I was thinking they were underwatered but maybe they are being overwatered now. I poked drainage holes in their containers. The soil is Miracle Grow Organic Choice Garden soil and I fertilized them with Espoma 3-4-4 Garden-tone. I could maybe post pictures tomorrow. Some of them look pretty bad so I am very worried.
I have entered into this with my boyfriend who has done things pretty similarly to what I've been doing, but his plants are flourishing, so I'm kind of disheartened at this point. I have done a good amount of research but of course there is always more to learn.
Thanks so much!!!

RE: Seedlings in trouble!!!!! Stunted growth, tiny, yellow...

I would say overwatering is the problem. The aquarium may have retained too much water/humidity in addition to keeping too much heat inside. Egg cartons tend to be on the small side, as I found out this year, and transplanting them so many times may have contributed to it as well.

What type of light set up do you have? If you have been relying on the sun on the porch, it may not have been enough. Save yourself A LOT of time and energy and purchase a cheapo shop light.

I haven't bothered with fertilizing mine, but rely on the fertilizer in the seed starting mix. That's another thing - the soil you used may be too heavy. Seed starting mixes are much lighter and better for controling water. Hope this helps.


re: RE: Seedlings in trouble!!!!! Stunted growth, tiny, yellow...

I have 2 lights that they were under in the aquarium that the plants seemed to like. When they were inside in the aquarium they were very lush and healthy looking. I'm thinking my problems started when I put them out and transplanted them again. Would they have been better off left in the smaller containers? Anything I can improve on to keep in mind for next season.
Would it be a good idea to put the lights on them on the porch in addition to the sun? I will ease up on the watering and see if they improve. I hadn't thought about fertilizing either but during a visit to my local greenhouse, they told me adding fertilizer was extremely important. Since the weather is warming up, would it be a good idea to transplant some directly into the garden and see how they do?
It seems like everyone has their own sort of style to doing this. I was just taking from others while also just trying to feel things out and figure it out on my own.

RE: Seedlings in trouble!!!!! Stunted growth, tiny, yellow...

MG is too water retentive straight from the bag. I mix it 2/1 with perlite. Another problem with your setup is the humidity they received while in the aquarium. Greenhouses are vented. Adding fertilizer was probably not necessary at that stage either. I don't add fertilizer until they are 6-7" and have transplanted them into the second and last container (before transplanting to the garden) which is a 4-6" pot.

re: re: RE: Seedlings in trouble!!!!! Stunted growth, tiny, yello

You're probably right about the soil, I should have made a mix to lighten it up. While they were in the aquarium I only kept the lid on while they were germinating, and it was cracked. Once they had all sprouted I took off the lid, I even had a fan on them. Would it be a bad idea to try to improve the soil somehow or would that be too much of a shock for them? I'm thinking it's too late for most of them but I have a few that look a bit promising.
Thanks again!!

RE: Seedlings in trouble!!!!! Stunted growth, tiny, yellow...

It's time to plant them in the garden. Break all the loose soil from around the root ball off while leaving as much soil as you can between the roots. Put some granular fertilizer in the hole and mix it in then plant your plants and water them in. Before you water again either stick your finger in the soil or dig down to 6" to see if it is still moist. If it is then give them a couple more days. Once the roots start stretching out instead of rotting off they will take off. Good luck!

RE: taz6122

I think I will put them in the garden this week. This whole container thing is not working out! Hopefully some real earth and more sun will revitalize them. I'll give your method a try. It's a bit chilly today and tomorrow but the end of the week should be warm for transplanting. Thank you =)

RE: Seedlings in trouble!!!!! Stunted growth, tiny, yellow...

Hi, yellow leaves usually means a lack of acid in the soil. Tomatoes are an acid loving plant as are most vegetables. I fertilize my tomatoes with aluminum sulfate. Using a raised bed is a good idea because you can control the nutrients in the soil. A soil tester is useful, the one with the three prongs is capable of measuring PH and fertility. Epsom salt works well in rasiing the acidic ph of the soil. If the plants are truely growth stunted due to irratic temperature fluctuations then using a mixture of gillberic acid will do the trick. There are other plant hormones that you could use but, check with your local wild and plant life agency for authorized use information. Good luck!!

RE: Seedlings in trouble!!!!! Stunted growth, tiny, yellow...

The Real Problem is this:

The Proof On The Ground

In the forests of Northern California, bark is literally being scorched from trees. On many specimens, only a thin strip of bark remains on the shaded side of the tree. Foliage is being scorched with many trees having only a fraction of their normal leaf cover. Many native species of plants are not even sprouting any more. The organisms that do still manage to grow appear miniaturized in some cases.

What are just some of the results of excessive UV exposure to plants?

Can stop sprouting of seeds,
Stunts growth,
Limb die off,
Reduced foliage,
DNA damage,
Changes nutrient distribution,
Effects photosynthesis
Greatly increased mortality

SOME known effects of excessive UV exposure to aquatic life:

All aquatic life is particularly vulnerable to high UV levels.

Phytoplankton accounts for some 30% of the worlds' intake of animal protein. Phytoplankton and the microorganisms they consume are killed by excessive UV levels. (Global plankton populations have already been reduced by 40% to 50%. Much of the die off is likely due to increased UV radiation.)

Less plankton = less carbon-dioxide absorption.

Less plankton = less oxygen production. (Atmospheric oxygen content around the globe declining rapidly)

Less plankton = less fish. Period.


Also view the evidence videos:

and this one too:

Contact your local news channel and newspaper. Don't contact the government, they have the canned answers anyway.

Here is a link that might be useful: Global March Against Chemtrails and Geo-Engineering

RE: Seedlings in trouble!!!!! Stunted growth, tiny, yellow...


even if i cant help, would like to see pic's of your seedlings


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