gogreendiwa
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Lanky seedlings

Hi Folks,

I would like to get this situation addressed.

I had planted beetroot seeds last week and now they have emerged as saplings, though these saplings are very lanky and fall on the ground and does not stand straight. What might be the cause.

I am using coco-peat and vermicompost as the potting mix. Also, the lighting is adequate as I have kept it on my apartment roof top.

Please help.

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applestar
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Re: Lanky seedlings

Common cause for seedlings to fall over is a fungal disease called "damping off" this can happen if the potting mix is kept too damp.

If healthy, this can also happen if the seeds were not sown deep enough so that the hypocotyl (the stem between seed and first true leaves is too exposed. When rosette forming seedlings grow their true leaves, the hypocotyl is to thin to support the weight. This can happen if the potting mix had not been firmed down when the seeds were sown too.

You could try supporting the seedlings with mixture of sand and the potting mix. Sand will keep the soil mix in contact with the stem a little drier and is weighty enough. Most seedlings can be buried to just below the true leaves. Some like tomatoes can be buried deeper.

I would have used equal mixture (1:1:1) of coco-peat, vermicompost and sand or maybe (2:2:1).
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gogreendiwa
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Re: Lanky seedlings

Thanks a TON applestar. The best reply I have got so far.

So I see three causes outlined:

1. potting mix is kept too damp.
2. seeds were not sown deep enough.
3. potting mix had not been firmed down.

For point 1, I am watering them twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Though I use a plastic coke bottle with a hole on the cap to water the seedlings. I believe I should be watering them once after reading your post.
Actually I am not really aware of as to how much should I water the seedlings. Same is the case with japanese minowase radish https://www.google.co.in/search?q=japan ... qOCh1eqgR9 and my okra https://www.google.co.in/search?q=japan ... sch&q=okraseedlings.

For point 2, I now completely understand what you mean. Initially I had sown the seeds too deep which did not germinate at all, hence this time I sowed them just a 1.5cm deep. Not really sure if that was the correct sowing depth. Once again after your post I feel that it was too much on the surface exposing the hypocotyl (something I learned today :) ) such that the weight of the cotyledons took a toll on them. :cry:

For point 3, This could also be one reason as I have made use of the exact same composition you had mentioned. May be the coco-peat retains a lot of water at the bottom and just drying at the top layer, giving a feeling that it needs to be watered often.
Attachments
Beetroot saplings are lanky
Beetroot saplings are lanky
Beetroot saplings are lanky
Beetroot saplings are lanky
Last edited by gogreendiwa on Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Peter1142
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Re: Lanky seedlings

Beets tend to be floppy seedlings, IME.

Excessive heat also makes them grow too fast.
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gogreendiwa
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Re: Lanky seedlings

Just managed to add couple of attachment. Forgot to mention, I am using poly bags for growing my beets.

gogreendiwa
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Re: Lanky seedlings

couple of more pictures showing radish and okra seedlings
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Lanky Okra seedling
Lanky Okra seedling
Lanky Radish Seedlings
Lanky Radish Seedlings

gogreendiwa
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Re: Lanky seedlings

Remedial Measures.

I plan to reduce down on the watering every alternate day and that to once either in the morning or evenings. Please suggest. As I believe this is what I can do to try and recover my plantation.

Unfortunately I do not have much control now on the already sleeping seedlings and neither much I can do with pulling the seedlings and re-planting them as I have a fear of damaging them.

Things that I will definitely consider next time,

1. Proper and adequate depth while sowing seeds for plants with longer hypocotyl ( e.g. beetroot, radish and okra) as in my case.
2. Firming the soil enough before sowing seeds.
3. Adequate watering nor more nor less.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

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Re: Lanky seedlings

Looks like they are being shaded by the bag(?) they are in. Those seedlings are clearly stretching for light, and that is your issue, IMO.
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gogreendiwa
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Re: Lanky seedlings

Peter1142 wrote:Looks like they are being shaded by the bag(?) they are in. Those seedlings are clearly stretching for light, and that is your issue, IMO.
Sure Peter. I will try placing the bags in a place where there is direct sunlight. Actually, I have already kept them on my apartment roof top, just that its a bit windy. But I will surely try your suggestion. :)

Peter1142
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Re: Lanky seedlings

IMO part of the problem is the edges of the bags are much higher than the soil and no matter where you put them they are getting shaded a lot.....
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applestar
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Re: Lanky seedlings

I'm afraid Peter1142 is correct. Those seedlings are not getting enough light and sun. One telling indicator is how white the hypocotyls are. Can you fold down the side of the bags for now?

When you put them in more sun, you may need to do this gradually. They may get sunburnt.
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gogreendiwa
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Re: Lanky seedlings

applestar wrote:I'm afraid Peter1142 is correct. Those seedlings are not getting enough light and sun. One telling indicator is how white the hypocotyls are. Can you fold down the side of the bags for now?

When you put them in more sun, you may need to do this gradually. They may get sunburnt.
Sure applestar and Peter1142, I have moved them to a place where there is better lighting. I will keep you posted in the next couple of days.

Also, if you could guide me on the watering part after looking at the pictures. Do I need to water them on a daily basis of once in two days is enough?

Peter1142
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Re: Lanky seedlings

Those bags are really way too big to start seedlings. I suggest you research "potting up". But starting seedlings outdoors in containers in hot weather I imagine is very difficult due to rapid drying and not something I have experience with.

Where do you live that you are starting okra and radish and beet seedlings at the same time? It is probably past okra planting time in 90% of the country.

Here in NY it is too late to start just about anything. Maybe radish, IDK.
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gogreendiwa
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Re: Lanky seedlings

Peter1142 wrote:Those bags are really way too big to start seedlings. I suggest you research "potting up". But starting seedlings outdoors in containers in hot weather I imagine is very difficult due to rapid drying and not something I have experience with.

Where do you live that you are starting okra and radish and beet seedlings at the same time? It is probably past okra planting time in 90% of the country.

Here in NY it is too late to start just about anything. Maybe radish, IDK.
I am based out of India. Currently the weather here is moderately warm and raining at times. Being in the southern part of India the weather is anywhere between 80 to 95 degree Fahrenheit.

Sure I will study the "potting up" methods for these type of crops. :)

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Re: Lanky seedlings

it would be better to start in smaller containers like cups and bottom water, that way you would not knock down the seedlings or wash them away from watering above. The soil in the container is also very low in the container so you have a lot of shadows being cast by the higher sides. Starting in small cups you can bottom water and you can fill the cups more so they don't have shadows in the cups.

Beets are not a heat loving crop. They will survive with adequate water, but consider some of the more heat loving plants when the temps are above 75 and plant the cool season crops when the temperatures are below that.

Peppers, beans,eggplant, cucumber, squash, ice box watermelon, black eyed peas, butter beans, long beans, and tomatoes that have heat tolerance (cherry tomatoes do better in the heat than large ones)
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gogreendiwa
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Re: Lanky seedlings

Thanks a lot guys for all your valuable suggestions and tips.
I have taken all your inputs and will try my luck once again with a fresh produce.
Will keep you all posted.

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jal_ut
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Re: Lanky seedlings

Lanky plants are usually the result of insufficient light. Fill the pots up to near the top so the pot itself won't shade the plants. and place them where they will get full sunlight for most of the day.

That thing we call a beet seed is actually a seed capsule with several seeds in it. Beets almost always need thinning if you want roots of good size.
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Re: Lanky seedlings

The first thing that came to my mind when I looked at those pictures is that they are striving to get light by growing tall. Some of my sun loving plant shoots do that too. They get lanky trying to get enough sun because there are other plants around the throwing shade on them.
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