mtgarden gal
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my seedlings aren't growing

Hi all,

I have three trays of seedlings, started from Jiffy Seed Starter Kits, and they all sprouted great. I put them by my sunniest window and..... nothing. some haven't grown at all in more than two weeks. some more are even starting to die.
The dirt has stayed moist, not even drying out.
All I can guess is that my sunniest window isn't sunny enough? Also, at what point do you thin them out to only one plant per little pot? As soon as they have sprouted?
I'm getting alittle discouraged here. :cry:
oh my seedlings are:
onions
tomatoes
brocolli
cauliflour
zuchnni
yellow squash
marigolds

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rainbowgardener
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Re: my seedlings aren't growing

mtgarden gal wrote:Hi all,

I have three trays of seedlings, started from Jiffy Seed Starter Kits, and they all sprouted great. I put them by my sunniest window and..... nothing. some haven't grown at all in more than two weeks. some more are even starting to die.
The dirt has stayed moist, not even drying out.
All I can guess is that my sunniest window isn't sunny enough? Also, at what point do you thin them out to only one plant per little pot? As soon as they have sprouted?
I'm getting alittle discouraged here. :cry:
oh my seedlings are:
onions
tomatoes
brocolli
cauliflour
zuchnni
yellow squash
marigolds
Could be any of several things. Definitely light is an issue. It is difficult to grow seedlings without supplemental light. We usually say fluorescent tubes 2 or 3 inches above the plants, on for 16 hrs a day.

But those Jiffy peat pots are also seedling killers. When you say "The dirt has stayed moist, not even drying out" it sounds like they are probably staying too wet too much of the time. The peat pots hold moisture in. Excess moisture kills way more seedlings than too little (because we all tend to want to love our seedlings to death :) )

And you didn't say what temperatures you are having in front of your window. That's a mixed bag of seeds. The broccoli and cauliflower are cool weather crops and won't like it if it gets too hot. But the zucchini, tomatoes, squash are warm weather crops, that need soil temps around 75 degrees or so to do well.
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mtgarden gal
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Location: Southern Montana

rainbow gardener, wow, you've given me a lot to consider! So do you think these seedlings are saveable, or should I start over without using the jiffy seed starter kits?

I think the temperature would be about 68-72 in front of the window.

johnny123
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Try using a heating mat made for seed starter kits.
Soil could be a little cool.
The onions won't care much and they do grow slow.

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rainbowgardener
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If your seeds still haven't sprouted, it is time to start over.

At this point I would not start the broccoli and cauliflower over from seed, but buy plants. Those are cold weather crops that should have been in the ground awhile ago and don't do well once it gets hot. For the onions, buy sets (which are baby onions). Onions are extremely slow from seed and the onion seeds you plant now will give you onions next year. Warm weather stuff like the zucchini and squash you can still start from seed now.

Browse around this section for lots of information about how people start seeds.
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mtgarden gal
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Location: Southern Montana

thanks for the advice, everyone.
My seedlings, which sprouted fine, have all died. I kept them under lights, so I don't know what happened. I will just buy my seedlings this year to plant. oh well, maybe I just don't have the "seedling thumb".
Happy Easter!

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rainbowgardener
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It's not any kind of "thumb," it's just knowledge, experience, and practice. If you tell us a little bit more about how they died, what they looked like, we can help you figure out what happened so you can avoid it next time.

For example if they just kind of got spindly and keeled over, lying flat on the ground, that's probably damping off, a fungal condition. In that case, if you looked closely at them, you would likely find a pinched in area right about ground level.

But there's other possibilities, so tell us what happened.
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mtgarden gal
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yes, that's exactly what happened. They were really tall and spindly and eventually they just fell over flat and dried up. they were in those jiffy seed starter peat pots that kept the soil wet for a long time. I also probably did not have the lights close enough to them in the beginning but for the last week I have had lights 6 inches above them and on for at least 16 hours a day.

The thing I don't understand is though, is that I also planted marigolds in the same pots at the same time and just put those by a sunny window and they are doing great. They are all starting to get their "real leaves" and are growing faily good. are they just easier to grow, less picky?

also, with the veggie seedlings, maybe I didn't thin them soon enough? I thought I should wait until they got bigger, but should I have thinned them as soon as they sprouted? how soon should you thin them?
Thanks!

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Kisal
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mtgarden gal wrote:yes, that's exactly what happened. They were really tall and spindly and eventually they just fell over flat and dried up. they were in those jiffy seed starter peat pots that kept the soil wet for a long time. I also probably did not have the lights close enough to them in the beginning but for the last week I have had lights 6 inches above them and on for at least 16 hours a day.
See how much you have learned already? :clap:
mtgarden gal wrote:The thing I don't understand is though, is that I also planted marigolds in the same pots at the same time and just put those by a sunny window and they are doing great. They are all starting to get their "real leaves" and are growing faily good. are they just easier to grow, less picky?
It's possible that those pots were able to dry out a little more between waterings, because of the warmth of the sun coming through the window glass.

In addition, marigolds produce substances that have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, so it's possible that they were able to resist the damping off fungus.
mtgarden gal wrote:also, with the veggie seedlings, maybe I didn't thin them soon enough? I thought I should wait until they got bigger, but should I have thinned them as soon as they sprouted? how soon should you thin them?
Thanks!
I thin them at about the time they get their first set of true leaves. By that point, I can pretty well tell which seedling is going to develop into the strongest plant.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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rainbowgardener
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The tall and spindly at first was not enough light. But then when they fell over, that was probably damping off. Damping off is a fungal condition that baby seedlings are prone to. Conditions that promote it are too much moisture (i.e. the peat pots holding too much water in) and not enough air circulation (made worse by being very crowded). So it helps to use plastic pots and to have a small fan (even one of those little personal ones) on part of the time. Once they get to good sized little plants they are not so vulnerable to it any more. In the meantime putting a tiny pinch of cinnamon (and/or some chamomile) in the water you water with can help prevent it.
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mtgarden gal
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Kisal & rainbowgardener,
wow, such great info from you both! I really appreciate it; I'm learning alot!

Ok, so here's a question. I plan on buying my cauliflower and broccoli plants for this spring. However, I was hoping to be able to do a late summer/fall crop of them as well. Tell me if this is a realistic plan: (I live in zone 4)

start some seedlings in July to be planted out in garden september?

I have been saving those large plastic tubs that you buy mixed salad in. I thought they'd make a good mini green house for seedlings? should I poke holes in them for air circulation? what else can I do that would be helpful? I really want to do an organic garden and already that will be compromised by buying my seedlings at the store.

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rainbowgardener
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Yeah, that whole fall crop thing is a little tricky and I'm still not very good at it myself. At a guess, early July would be a good time to start the broccoli again for fall. I always say I'm going to do that, and then there is so much else going on in the garden and it is so hot in July, it's hard to think about broccoli then (being in zone 6, I could actually wait a little longer)... anyway definitely give it a try. It's all a learning experience.

Re the salad containers. If it were me, I would put the soil mix and seeds in there with the lid on and no holes. As soon as the first seeds sprouted, I would just remove the lid entirely. The stores have us sold on this whole humidity dome thing. The extra humidity is (I guess) helpful for germinating seeds, though certainly not necessary. But remember what I said about air circulation and excess moisture above. The atmosphere inside a humidity dome is perfect for damping off and other fungal conditions. And be sure you have plenty of drainage holes in the bottom.
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mtgarden gal
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thanks, rainbowgarder! I have reseeded my zuchhini, squash, and tomatoes with my new knowledge in hopes of succeeding this time! Wish me luch! :shock:

mtgarden gal
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just wanted to update the couple of nice people who commented with helpful information on this post that........

as stated in my last post, I reseeded some tomatoes, squash and zuchhini seeds and applied my new knowledge and viola!! I have some very beautiful and healthy seedlings now.

Today I thinned my seedlings out and repotted them in bigger pots. I was very suprised at how much root growth there was with the squash and zuchs in such a short time!

I look forward to starting my WHOLE garden from organic seeds next year!!
Thanks so much!!!!!

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rainbowgardener
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YAY!!! thanks for the update; always nice to hear!
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