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Starts crimp over and die????

I am trying to start veggies indoors but seem to be doing something worng. The seeds, most of which are Watermelon, Cantaloupe and tomatoes. The sprout and grow rapidly but then all of a sudden, they sort of develope a crimp in the stem and bend over and die. I am using a heating pad set on low to provide a little more warmth than my house generally has and have tried to not over water or under water. Please help, if not for this season as it is getting late but for next and the future. Thanks for any advice from those who recognize the problem specifically and can help, please don't respond if you don't know the problem specifically.

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Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 11:08 pm
Location: Utah Hardiness Zone: 6b

It might be the lack of direct sunlight. Especially tose seeds need lots of sun. I remember when I used to do pumpkin seeds indoor in a window and they would do that. It could also be from the heat from the sun that isn't giving it nutrients, only heat, and that can burn the plant.
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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:43 am

Sounds like Damping Off

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Yup, damping off. It is a fungal condition that baby seedlings are very vulnerable to. It occurs especially in conditions of too much moisture and not enough air circulation.

Let me take a guess here ... you are trying to start your seedlings in peat pots that they sell for the purpose? I wish they would just take the things off the market, they are seedling killers! Hold too much moisture keep the seedlings too wet, but then if they finally do dry out, they suck moisture away from the seedling.

Use the Search the Forum feature to do some browsing around here about seed starting, but next time you do it, use plastic pots (could be plastic drink cups with holes in the bottom for drainage, or whatever). Put the pots/cups in some kind of tray and put (a little!) water in the bottom of the tray. Let your soil just soak up the water it needs (called bottom watering).
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I'm still planting watermelon and melon seeds directly in the ground. At this point, it's too late for 100 day variety of watermelons. But there are earlier maturing watermelons and melons. You didn't say where you are gardening, but there's a chance you'll still be harvesting some before the end of this season. :wink:

Tomatoes are typically started much much earlier -- January~March depending on where you live, so you're better off getting a transplant from a garden center or a nursery this year.

Enjoy your garden and good luck :D

Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:40 pm
Location: ohio

Oh yeah, that's damping off alright. It's due to too much moisture and a lack of air-circulation. It's actually a fungal condition.

The two obvious ways to abate it are to reduce the moisture and increase air circulation. Another little-know method is to take a chamomile tea bag, soak it water, then water your plants with the chamomile-water. This, too, helps to prevent damping off.

Good luck with round 2. :)
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