JodiInVA-USA
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Location: Northern Virginia - Zone 7a

Seedlings looked good until taken outside...

I'm in 2nd year of attempting to grow tomatoes - had some success last year. Again started from seeds this year, and I thought my seedlings were looking really good - Cherokee Purple. A few days ago I put them into larger pots (from 3" or 4" to about 6" I think) and put them outside. They will go into a new raised bed which I hope to get built this weekend.

The nice, healthy green leaves have started developing splotches. It kind of looks pinkish/tannish/whitish. I'm not sure if it's just the absence of green pigment or it's actually turning a different color. I'm going to try to attach a photo.

Any idea what's up and whether/how I can help these guys? I'd hate to lose them now!

Thanks!
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NJ Bob
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:08 am
Location: Central NJ, Zone 7A

Re: Seedlings looked good until taken outside...

Looks to me like your leaves got sunburn. You have to get them used to the sun gradually. The process is called 'hardening'. There's plenty of reading around here on it. Do a search.

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Seedlings looked good until taken outside...

Yup, definitely sunburned. Coming from inside they need to be exposed to sun gradually. The burned leaves will never recover, but any new leaves that emerge will be adapted to sun and be fine. Your plants will be OK, although so much of their leaf surface is burned that it will slow them down for awhile. The burned spots have no chlorophyll, so do not help the plant collect energy.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

PaulF
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Re: Seedlings looked good until taken outside...

Agreed, that is sunburn. Another hardening off problem is windburn which is vey similar to sunburn and just as devastating to tender seedlings. Limiting exposure to sun and wind for a few days is key. Dappled sunlight and out of the wind will get them ready for the cold cruel world of the garden.
Paul F

rockey_f_squirrell
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Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:37 pm
Location: southern Illinois H-zone 6

Re: Seedlings looked good until taken outside...

If they need to get used to sun, I think I have that covered. I just planted in biodegradable cups, and set them outside on a table. I also made a greenhouse box out of 2x4 and industrial shrink wrap.

70% of them sprouted, I just put them in the ground today, and have a concrete reinforced cage, well one big cage for each type, then I put the shrink wrap around the cage. Seen my neighbor do it and they take off real quickly.

So hopefully I will have good luck with these.

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Seedlings looked good until taken outside...

So when you put them in the ground, they were still in the "biodegradable cups"? I don't know what those are exactly, but most things advertised as biodegradable do not break down in time to do your little plants any good. I tried the "biodegradable" bags advertised for being able to collect stuff in and throw in the compost pile. A long time later, they were still sitting in my compost pile. Same with the peat pots you are supposed to be able to just put in the ground. Plants die in them. If your cups don't break down and disappear very fast, your plant roots will be trapped in there, unable to grow, reach other nutrients and will smother.

And I worry about the saran wrap around your tomato cage. I wouldn't leave it very long. Number one hazard to tomato plants is fungal diseases and they thrive in conditions of high humidity and low air circulation, which is what you are creating.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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