enmit
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:58 pm
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Help! What's happening to my plants??

Please can someone tell me what's going on with my plants? I'm container gardening indoors with T5 flourescent lights for non flowering plants (basil, spearmint, head lettuce, leaf lettuce, kale), and with an LED grow light for kale, arugula, carrots, 3 types of tomatoes, cayenne peppers, bell peppers. All my seeds are heirloom/organic/non hybrid.

The first problem that I started getting was wilting in the swiss chard and cress I first started growing (and have since abandoned). My leaf lettuce (Black Seeded Simpson) are all laying on the soil and the stalk on one of them is turning brown:
[img]https://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/s495/BLRGP6/b50073d9.jpg[/img]
Does anyone know what's going on here?

Here's another picture with a different problem. One or two of the leaves on my head lettuce are starting to turn brown:
[img]https://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/s495/BLRGP6/a1a08b72.jpg[/img]
What is this and what causes it?

I also have noticed "stuff" start to appear on my soil (mostly around the edges of the pots)...I don't know how to describe it and I had a hard time trying to capture it on camera:
[img]https://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/s495/BLRGP6/6cdebc3c.jpg[/img]
(it's the brown stuff...but I think it starts out white)

Here's the last picture of my kale (Siberian Dwarf) that started out great, then I noticed the 3 original leaves start to yellow and they've now shriveled as you can see in this picture:
[img]https://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/s495/BLRGP6/4c4d7868.jpg[/img]
And now one of the other leaves looks like this:
[img]https://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/s495/BLRGP6/bbd13d94.jpg[/img]

What on earth is going on with my plants??? I started out with beautiful seeds, germinated them before planting in premium potting soil that was mixed with worm castings and Azomite.

My tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and two other kale plants (in the closet with the LED light) are doing great (so far) but I want to avoid having similar problems with them so any insight that someone can provide would be greatly appreciated.

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:43 am

The first problem that I started getting was wilting in the swiss chard and cress I first started growing (and have since abandoned). My leaf lettuce (Black Seeded Simpson) are all laying on the soil and the stalk on one of them is turning brown:
Maybe two things here.
1. Plants are a little leggy from not enough light. Your fluorescent lights need to be inches away from the top of the plants. Move them up as the plants grow.
2. Wet and cool conditions causing damping off. Most would say it's due to peat moss.
I also have noticed "stuff" start to appear on my soil (mostly around the edges of the pots)...I don't know how to describe it and I had a hard time trying to capture it on camera. it's the brown stuff...but I think it starts out white
Not sure, but you maybe talking about perlite. A non-issue.
Here's the last picture of my kale (Siberian Dwarf) that started out great, then I noticed the 3 original leaves start to yellow and they've now shriveled as you can see in this picture:
If we are talking about the seedling leaves (cotyledon) they are no longer needed and shed by the plant. You may try a little nitrogen to feed the rest of the leaves.

Just some thoughts. Rainbow should be by shortly.

Eric

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Other than the azomite and worm castings, what went into the containers in the way of growing medium/soil? Containers need special soil, not regular "dirt." They need a growing medium that drains more readily than normal soil so that the roots of the plants won't become water-logged.

The pictures show me plants which may be experiencing drainage difficulties as well as "stretching" for the light (aka "leggy").

I use azomite and I have hard-working worms working for me, so no argument there! But I wonder about the drainage in your containers....

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

User avatar
!potatoes!
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1899
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:13 pm
Location: wnc - zones 6/7 line

Re: Help! What's happening to my plants??

enmit wrote: I also have noticed "stuff" start to appear on my soil (mostly around the edges of the pots)...
are you watering with hard/tap water? that looks kind of like a build-up of minerals from hard water. probably not worth worrying about, if so.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I'm here! :) But late to the party it seems, since you've already gotten good answers.

When the seedlings fall over and are lying flat, they are victims of damping off, a fungal disease they are prone to in conditions of high moisture and low air circulation. By the time they are on the ground, they are done for, no way to revive them. The disease can be prevented, but not really cured.

Prevention has to do with not over watering and increasing air circulation. I find bottom watering is best for seedlings. Have your pots or flats in trays and just pour a LITTLE water in the tray, just enough so the bottom of the pot is touching the water. Then the potting soil can wick water up.

Having a small fan on a few hours a day helps with the air circulation.

I discovered that putting chamomile and/or cinnamon in the water I water with helps prevent fungal problems. I get a pitcher full of hot tap water, put a chamomile tea bag and/or a little pinch of cinnamon in the water and let it sit at least over night. This outgasses the chlorine and infuses the herbs.

The yellowing leaves (not the seed leaves, but like in the bottom picture) are most likely another sign of over watering. And yes the stuff on the soil is mineral buildup from hard water. For this to occur so rapidly since you haven't been using this soil for months, seems like yet another sign of over-watering. There's been lots of water evaporating up from this soil. And in fact the soil in that picture looks very wet.

Hang in there. There is a bit to learn getting started growing from seed, but once you get a few basics down, it is extremely rewarding. And you've done well so far, getting a lot of things growing!
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

enmit
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:58 pm
Location: Toronto, Ontario

rainbowgardener wrote:I'm here! :) But late to the party it seems, since you've already gotten good answers.

When the seedlings fall over and are lying flat, they are victims of damping off, a fungal disease they are prone to in conditions of high moisture and low air circulation. By the time they are on the ground, they are done for, no way to revive them. The disease can be prevented, but not really cured.

Prevention has to do with not over watering and increasing air circulation. I find bottom watering is best for seedlings. Have your pots or flats in trays and just pour a LITTLE water in the tray, just enough so the bottom of the pot is touching the water. Then the potting soil can wick water up.

Having a small fan on a few hours a day helps with the air circulation.

I discovered that putting chamomile and/or cinnamon in the water I water with helps prevent fungal problems. I get a pitcher full of hot tap water, put a chamomile tea bag and/or a little pinch of cinnamon in the water and let it sit at least over night. This outgasses the chlorine and infuses the herbs.

The yellowing leaves (not the seed leaves, but like in the bottom picture) are most likely another sign of over watering. And yes the stuff on the soil is mineral buildup from hard water. For this to occur so rapidly since you haven't been using this soil for months, seems like yet another sign of over-watering. There's been lots of water evaporating up from this soil. And in fact the soil in that picture looks very wet.

Hang in there. There is a bit to learn getting started growing from seed, but once you get a few basics down, it is extremely rewarding. And you've done well so far, getting a lot of things growing!
Thanks so much to everyone who replied!

It's funny (and tragic at the same time) that I've been over watering. Prior to starting these plants I kept reading that I have to be careful not to let the soil dry out and probably over compensated...I was watering again while the soil still felt a little damp. Air circulation I will definitely add. I had a fan on some days, but mostly not.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to water from the bottom since I added some rocks to the bottom of the pots to help with drainage. If I'm starting all over I suppose I could take them out and go with just the soil.

Thanks for the hint about chamomile and cinnamon. I love chamomile tea so I have extra incentive to pick up more! Regarding chlorine, I've been collecting the water that comes out of my shower filter and using that to water my plants. My shower filter takes out the chlorine (among other things).

How about the leaves on my head lettuce starting to brown on the edges? Are they essentially done with and I need to start over with them too?

I was really excited about the possibility of growing food indoors and my tomato/peppers/carrots seem to be doing quite well. I'm going to take your advice about over-watering starting NOW. Although, I'm a little worried that I might have too many plants in each pot. I have two 'Large Cherry Tomato' plants in one 5 gallon pot, three cayenne pepper plants in one 5 gal., two Roma tomato plants in a 5 gal., two bell pepper plants in one 5 gal, two Ukrainian Purple tomato plants in one 5 gal. Should I thin them to just one in each pot, or can I try and grow two in each at most? I must say, they're responding quite well to my LED grow light. Very pleased!

And I suppose I could use distilled water for my plants from now on to avoid the mineral buildup on the soil...

User avatar
GardenRN
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1102
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:01 pm
Location: Chesterfield, Va

If I may add my 2 cents about the black seeded simpson, mine always lean over and turn brown. But it's not damping off, they just do that, even when grown outdoors. Don't worry, they'll turn back up and the small section of stem laying on the ground will get kind of woody and shoot some more roots into the ground. They look just fine to me. Definitely keep the lights close and all that other stuff that was said....it was all great advice! But I don't think your lettuce is in trouble. I grow BSS every year...

that's just how it do.
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

enmit
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:58 pm
Location: Toronto, Ontario

GardenRN wrote:If I may add my 2 cents about the black seeded simpson, mine always lean over and turn brown. But it's not damping off, they just do that, even when grown outdoors. Don't worry, they'll turn back up and the small section of stem laying on the ground will get kind of woody and shoot some more roots into the ground. They look just fine to me. Definitely keep the lights close and all that other stuff that was said....it was all great advice! But I don't think your lettuce is in trouble. I grow BSS every year...

that's just how it do.
It sounded like great advice and I won't give up on the Simpsons whose stalks haven't browned yet, but what about the lettuce leaves that are turning brown (second picture)? Those are Butterhead Buttercrunch head lettuces and they've been doing great until the browning of the leaves started creeping in. What on earth is that??

User avatar
GardenRN
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1102
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:01 pm
Location: Chesterfield, Va

Personally, I wouldn't love it, but eh, sometimes that just happens. Overall the plant still looks strong and healthy. Make sure you're not over watering it. Get it outside when you can. Lettuce is delicate when it comes to hardening off. So be careful
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”