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JDelage
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Super spiny seedling - cull or save?

All - this is my first time planting seeds. I'm trying 6 varieties of tomatoes and 2 each of peppers and cucs. I probably waited way too long before turning on the growing lights. As a consequence my seedlings are super skinny and are crawling over the grow tray towards the window. The lights are now on.

My set up is as follow: The seeds are planted in 1" rockwool cubes, set in a tray, inside a propagator. There's still plenty of moisture inside the propagator. All the seeds have germinated except the peppers (it's possible they germinated and then died). The seedlings are several inches long, with just a couple tiny leaves at the top. The cucumber seedlings are 10"+ and crawling over several cubes.

I have some planting mix ready and I have some pots. I have bamboo skewers I could use to prop the seedlings up.

So my question is what should I do? Attempt the above? Or just scratch the experiment and buy potted plants in a few weeks? I'm behind schedule as it is.

Thanks!

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applestar
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Re: Super spiny seedling - cull or save?

It would help to see the seedlings -- photo? -- but it's possible you may be able to save the tomato seedlings by burying up to just below the seed leaves and they will grow more roots along the hypocotyl stem. Don't know how you would do that growing them in rock wool, however.

But if 3-5 days delay won't make a difference, you might as well re-sow the tomatoes. Peppers -- I really have to see what they look like -- they are not as forgiving but can be buried and will root with high humidity and very well draining moisture retentive medium.

Cucumbers? WAY Too early to start them if you are just starting toms and peps. I would pre-germinate (they will germinate in about 3 days using seed sprouter) and sow directly where they are to grow about a week or two after last average frost.
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JDelage
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Re: Super spiny seedling - cull or save?

I'm in Seattle, so I'm not sure I'd have toms I can plant on time if I re sow now... Let me see if there's a way for me to post some pics.

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JDelage
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Re: Super spiny seedling - cull or save?

(Edit - not sure why those are upside down... I apologize for this. But you get the idea.)

Those are the cucumbers:
IMG_5756.JPG
And those are the toms:
IMG_5757.JPG
Last edited by JDelage on Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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applestar
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Re: Super spiny seedling - cull or save?

OK.

Here's how I started cukes last year -- worked great and will be using this method again this year --

Subject: 2016 -- starting seeds and cuttings for the new season
applestar wrote:All these cukes (and more that I DIDNT PHOTO) had germinated today
Image

Also seedzipped more Luffa and Long Pie Pumpkin.
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JDelage
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Re: Super spiny seedling - cull or save?

So, what should I do?

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applestar
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Re: Super spiny seedling - cull or save?

Ah.... I don't like to give bad news, but those are questionable. Cukes are definitely too weak. Tomatoes... I would give them a try if they were 1/2 as elongated and looked a little bit sturdier, but these look not only light starved but malnourished.
You really need to provide good light as soon as you notice the first knuckle/loop sprouting out of the growing medium.

Good viable tomato seeds can sometimes germinate as quickly as in 3-5 days if you soak for 4-8 hours in chamomile tea (some people recommend very weak strength chemical fertilizer crystals -- a pinch in 2 cups of water... I don't use that but sometimes add willowleaf and twig tea) and then sow them. Keep in 80-85°F temperature. I use the spoon seedzip technique shown above when in doubt. The medium is sand-size diatomaceous earth sold for oil absorber.

If you have 6 weeks until planting out (3rd week of May), you should be OK. What varieties are you growing? You would have better chance with earlier maturing varieties and growing them in conditions that provide warmer root-zone temperatures.

BTW-- starting in rock wool ... are you planning to grow hydroponically?
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applestar
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Re: Super spiny seedling - cull or save?

Peppers typically take longer, and at this point, I would feel safer saying you might want to just buy started plants this year. I have great results with hot peppers and non-bell-type sweet peppers by overwintering them, so I don't worry about the first year plants not growing fast enough and producing enough or maturing the fruits to full color during the growing season.

Many of my overwintered peppers are blooming and fruiting already and will take off once planted out for the season -- mid to late May.... though I admit I went overboard and started more from seeds.
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JDelage
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Re: Super spiny seedling - cull or save?

That's more or less what I expected... Thank you very much for your advice.

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