Aiwendil
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Seedlings wilting indoors

My girlfriend and I are working on a large vegetable garden but suddenly over the past 3 days some of our indoor seedlings have begun wilting.

The lettuce (Tom Thumb & Butter Crunch), some Onion and Parsley are the ones that are wilting.

I've attached some photos below to give you guys a better idea of how they all look.

ImageImage
ImageImage

imafan26
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Re: Seedlings wilting indoors

Your media might be too wet. and the seedligs are dampening off. What medium are you using?
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applestar
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Re: Seedlings wilting indoors

They are starving for more light. Lettuce in particular won't be able to handle it -- they really need to be no more than 1/2 inch tall at seed leaf and 1inch tall at true leaf stages. You are probably better off sowing more seeds and trying again.

This time provide stronger light. It's best to use fluorescent lights 2-4 inches above the top of the seedlings depending on the kind of tubes.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Seedlings wilting indoors

You have gotten the answers already, but I will just elaborate a little.

Yes, some of your seedlings have "damped off." That is a fungal disease that little seedlings are vulnerable to, especially in conditions of too much moisture and too little air circulation. The very bottom picture, the little seedling that is so leaned over, second up from the bottom of the cells, second over from the left, is a classic picture of damping off. You can even see where the stem has thinned a little where it goes in to the soil. Here's a picture:

Image
https://hort.uwex.edu/articles/damping/

There is no cure for this and seedlings that look like this will die. It can't be treated, but it can be prevented. Prevention is about the right kind of potting mix that isn't too heavy and moisture holding and not over-watering. Watering little seedlings is tricky, because they have very small root systems, so they can't be allowed to dry out, but they are sensitive to over watering. Watering from the bottom helps - put your little cells in a tray and just put water in the tray. Only put enough water to just touch the bottom of the cells. Then the soil can wick up water as it needs it. Good air circulation helps and it helps to put just a pinch of cinnamon in a pitcher of water to water with. Cinnamon is a natural anti-fungal.

AND applestar is right that your seedlings are way too spindly. The spindliness, being very tall and skinny, with a lot of stem space without leaves, is a sign of being as she said starved for light. Lighting for indoor seedlings needs to be fluorescent tubes, just a couple inches above the seedlings (hung so they can be raised as the plants grow) and on 16 hours a day.

This was the seed starting operation I had for years (until my recent move):

Image

Notice how close the lights are.

Healthy lettuce seedlings should not have any visible stem:

Image.

Honestly, your seedlings are not very far along and they are going to be difficult to save. I would start over, with a better set up and maybe better seed starting mix. Clean every thing in a dilute bleach solution first to get rid of any fungus.

Read the seed starting basics thread here: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 48&t=44183

With experience, seed starting isn't really hard, but there's some basic equipment (lighting!) needed and some things you need to know.

Best wishes for a lot more success the next time.
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Aiwendil
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Re: Seedlings wilting indoors

Thank you everyone for your help! We have a lot of seeds and we realized when we were starting that there would likely be a lot of trial and error. With your feedback we'll try again with hopefully better results :)

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applestar
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Re: Seedlings wilting indoors

FWIW --onions and possibly some of the more stocky zinnias too may be able to recover if you put them in better light. ...hmmm I guess no one asked your location yet... Depending on where you are, the onion seedlings can be put outside as long as it's not freezing or too windy (but put in shade at first then gradually increase hours of exposure to direct sun or they will get sunburned).
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jal_ut
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Re: Seedlings wilting indoors

Do you have a garden plot outdoors in the bright sunlight? Is so, that is where you plant these things you mention. You start tomatoes and peppers indoors. :)
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Peter1142
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Re: Seedlings wilting indoors

Not enough light is definitely your main problem. You need supplemental lighting, close to the seedlings, to be successful starting seeds indoors. A window just doesn't cut it.

I just wrote a post on my blog linked below with seed starting dates and notes for my location. Things like lettuce do not really benefit from being started indoors.
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