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Vorguen
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Indoor herbs wont sprout True leaves... Help!

So, I have been attempting an indoor garden for several months now..

I bought organic potting soil, seeds, and made some containers. I used old pots and washed them out carefully and poked holes in the bottom.


First attempt at herbs failed. I grew Basil, Oregano, Parsley and also attempted Raddish and Garlic Chives.


They all sprouted, however... after what must have been 1-2 months NONE of the sprouts grew true leaves, and they all seemed to get stuck on their size, some got long and thin and weak looking.

So i plucked all those out, got new soil, and got a lamp (it was a gift, i was going to get a flourescent lamp). It was supposed to "recreate" sunlight, im guessing it gives off light with all the spectrum of sunlight. It was given as a gift for "improving your mood" although I never believed that but decided to keep it as a light for the plants.

its brand is Verilux. don't know if you all know it.


Now im on my second batch of herbs, growing only basil, parsely, and oregano now. Needless to say, nothing is growing true leaves again. I'm keeping the watering regular at 1-2 times a week, touching the soil to make sure it needs it (my wife has more experience than I with gardening). Its next to a windowsill that unfortunately doesn't get much light but we have the added light we turn on for about 8 hours a day at least.


any ideas? what could be going on?


also, how long does basil, parsley, and oregano take to get true leaves usually? i have found nothing trying to research this yet

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rainbowgardener
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Well the earlier plants that got "long and thin and weak looking," the problem was not nearly enough light for them. Your mood light is a good step in the right direction, but it depends on how close the light is too the seedlings.

Check out this thread:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=32222&highlight=


for pictures of the setups people use for starting seeds indoors. You will note the common factor is lots of lights just a 2-3 inches above the seedlings. I have 4 fluorescent tubes running across my trays, a couple inches above the plants and they are on for 16 hrs a day. The reason so close is that light diffuses by the inverse square law. If my lights are 2 inches away and then I move them twice as far away, to 4 inches, the plants are now getting one quarter the light they were before. If I move them 4 times as far away, to 8 inches, the plants are now getting one sixteenth the light they were! So you can see if your light is 8 inches away from the plants, it is doing very little.

From when the seedlings have fully developed seed leaves to when they have their first true leaves should be a week or so depending on plant and conditions, no more than 2 wks.
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GardenRN
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Rainbow gave you a great place to start.

On a side note, don't doubt the affect sunlight has on mood/mood disorders! It's not fictional or theory, it's scientific fact.

Exposure to sunlight increases vitamin D levels. (ask anyone that had a jaundice baby) Vitamin D levels affect the brain's rate of production of serotonin. And of course a lack or serotonin can cause depression, not to mention a whole host of other mood disorders.

Anyways...sorry I got off track.

I had the same problem once with basil. It just sat in that stage with the cotyledon. I transplanted outside anyways and they continued to not move. Then I got mad and bought a basil plant from walmart and planted it next to the sprouts and the sprouts took off like gangbusters! Never did figure tha one out.

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Vorguen
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Thanks for the tips everyone, I told my wife and she came up with an excellent idea, our plants look healthier already. :)

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!potatoes!
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in the interest of shared knowledge, what was the great idea?

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Vorguen
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Lol she somehow managed to prop the mood light over the pots and used coasters to make the shorter pots higher

vermontkingdom
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Seedlings need lots of light (intensity, proper wavelength, and adequate photoperiod). To maximize light absorption for my seedlings, I took the sides of cardboard boxes and covered them with aluminum foil. I put these reflective pieces on the sides of the lights to prevent too much light from escaping. The system seems to work quite well. However, the flourescent light fixtures have several holes in their tops which prevents too much heat from building up.
"Good gardeners do not have green thumbs. They have brown knees, soiled hands and big hearts."

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Vorguen
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Thanks for all the tips :)

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quiltbea
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Are they getting any bottom heat?

I know when I start seedlings indoors I have to use a heat mat to get them to germinate.

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Vorguen
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okay, my plants finally sprouted true leaves! but... they seem to be growing very slow, and their second set of true leaves is just starting to pop out but they seem to be stuck where they are at even though they got more true leaves the second set appears tiny

the stems look very healthy and sturdy and the top true leaves too but the new set just seems to be growing so slow or not at all, i still have about 3 basils in the same pot in a bit of distance but i figured i would just transplant them as soon as they got a little bigger.

any suggestions? does this mean they might need more light? water is definitely fine...

are they going to die? is there a phase they get stuck on? very confused new gardener... lol


is there anything i can do to make my plants healthier or grow faster / better?

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rainbowgardener
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There is not a phase they get stuck on. Once they are well sprouted and have good roots, they should take off.

If the stems are sturdy and the plants are short (not a lot of stem distance between the pairs of leaves), then you probably have the lighting okay now.

So tell us more about the temperature where they are, the soil they are in, how you are watering, etc. If the potting soil or whatever they are growing in does not have any fertilizer in it, now would be about the time to add some (diluted, weak solution).

I would lift one up out of the soil (put a spoon or plant label stick or something under it and lift it from the bottom) and take a look at the roots (gently shake/brush the soil off so you can see the roots). It will tell you a lot about what is going on. Your little plants should have more roots under ground than they have plant above. When I have seedlings just sitting there doing nothing, and I have looked often they have hardly any root. That would likely be too much moisture and/or fungus gnats or something in the soil (the two go together). So take a look and tell us what you find ... how much roots, how do they look (color, etc). If the roots are happy and healthy, you can re-plant it and it won't have been harmed.
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Vorguen
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unfortunately i found out too late the soil im using isn't that great, i chose organic soil because i did not want my plants mixed with chemicals (thats why i don't know what to use as a fertilizer)..

well i used miracle grow organic potting soil, i have a light on them thats pretty bright and is supposed to mimic sunlight (don't know what else to add to it)

they are being grown indoors, the temperature is around room temperature and the plants do get a little warmer because of the light (i can tell heat there is a bit more)

temperature in the apartment probably ranges between 60-80 degrees farenheit.


im afraid to look at the roots, im a new gardener and i think i will kill the plants


i give them water about once or twice a week (i used to be a bit bad about watering and i used to water about 3-4 times a week but i slowed it down considerably and its been a month since i did too.)

they are being grown in fairly large containers, i give them tap water but i let it sit out for a night to make sure the chlorine evaporates from the cup before i do

every once in a blue moon ill put them outside for an afternoon (havent really done this much though) so they can get some real sunlight unfortunately i only have shaded spots i can offer so i don't do it much

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rainbowgardener
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im afraid to look at the roots, im a new gardener and i think i will kill the plants


It won't kill the plant. But you only need to look at one plant... if they are all having the same problem, then whatever is going on with one, is likely the same problem with all the rest. So even if you do manage to mess up that one plant, it is a sacrifice to get the info you need.

Otherwise, I don't know what to tell you. If your soil is MG, it probably does have fertilizer in it. It sounds like you probably were over watering before, which can lead to root rot. But it's hard to tell, because there's watering and there's watering, how you water and how much makes a difference too. Best for seedlings is to bottom water - have them in a tray and just put water in the tray so they can soak it up.

Also does your potting soil say Moisture Control on it? I sent my honey out to get a big bag of potting soil and what came back is MG (not organic) Moisture Control. I am not liking it. It is very peaty. Stays too wet too long and then suddenly dries out and is difficult to re-wet. So if you have Moisture Control potting mix AND you were over-watering earlier, you well could have rotted out the roots.

A couple pictures would help at this point too.
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Vorguen
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okay ill try to get pictures...


something really weird happened, i opened my potting soil bag and it had TONS of mold in it... i didnt know potting soil could grow mold? and it was a LOT


it was only on the surface and sides though...



ill get pictures asap

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applestar
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If it was white and all over, it was probably fungal mycelium growing in the organic matter. It's actually a good sign that the soil contains living microbes.. The mycelium will break down the organic matter and enrich the soil.

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Vorguen
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it was actually mostly orange looking



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