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ClairDeWhimsy
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Location: North Carolina, Zone 7

Novice Gardener needs help: TAKE 2! (Pictures should work)

Pictures should work now!! Thanks for your help and patience!

Greetings! I'm a VERY new gardener and could use some advice! I've been to one other gardening forum (GardenWeb) and wasn't pleased with it. I'm happy to have found this site; it's so much more user friendly and accessible!

So here's my quandary: Below are pictures I took less than half an hour ago. I would be so appreciative if someone could look at them and tell me if I'm doing this right.

Overall Setup:
[url]https://img197.imageshack.us/i/picture136j.jpg/[/url]

My various seedlings:
[url]https://img853.imageshack.us/i/picture133b.jpg/[/url]

From left to right: zinnia seedlings in the first three rows; TWO spinach seedlings (top two) in the fourth row--the rest of that row is more zinnias; fifth row are tomato seedlings; and in the last row are bell pepper seedlings.

Morning Glory seedlings:
[url]https://img21.imageshack.us/i/picture135x.jpg/[/url]

Watermelon seedling:
[url]https://img844.imageshack.us/i/picture134s.jpg/[/url]

Just take a look and tell me if I'm doing this right. Are my plants leggy/spindly? Does my watermelon seedling look healthy? It hasn't done anything for a week! Has it stopped growing?

Many thanks,
Whimsy

BrianIllinois
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Location: Southern Illinois

No matter how much you water it, fertilize it, prune it and otherwise nurture it, you will not be able to grow more Xboxes from that one. :D

Just kidding. They look fine to me. Don't water them too much.

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ClairDeWhimsy
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Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:39 pm
Location: North Carolina, Zone 7

BrianIllinois wrote:No matter how much you water it, fertilize it, prune it and otherwise nurture it, you will not be able to grow more Xboxes from that one. :D
:lol: That's hilarious! I just wish it were that simple, lol.

But how long will they stay like that? When will they become more plant-like and not as seedling-like?

BrianIllinois
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Others can give better seed-starting advice than me. But my simple advice is to make sure they've got plenty of sunlight, and put a little fan nearby, just to give the slightest breeze. It will make the stems stronger.
They'll come along before you know it.

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SPierce
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Re: Novice Gardener needs help: TAKE 2! (Pictures should wor

ClairDeWhimsy wrote:Pictures should work now!! Thanks for your help and patience!

Greetings! I'm a VERY new gardener and could use some advice! I've been to one other gardening forum (GardenWeb) and wasn't pleased with it. I'm happy to have found this site; it's so much more user friendly and accessible!

So here's my quandary: Below are pictures I took less than half an hour ago. I would be so appreciative if someone could look at them and tell me if I'm doing this right.

Overall Setup:
[url]https://img197.imageshack.us/i/picture136j.jpg/[/url]

My various seedlings:
[url]https://img853.imageshack.us/i/picture133b.jpg/[/url]

From left to right: zinnia seedlings in the first three rows; TWO spinach seedlings (top two) in the fourth row--the rest of that row is more zinnias; fifth row are tomato seedlings; and in the last row are bell pepper seedlings.

Morning Glory seedlings:
[url]https://img21.imageshack.us/i/picture135x.jpg/[/url]

Watermelon seedling:
[url]https://img844.imageshack.us/i/picture134s.jpg/[/url]

Just take a look and tell me if I'm doing this right. Are my plants leggy/spindly? Does my watermelon seedling look healthy? It hasn't done anything for a week! Has it stopped growing?

Many thanks,
Whimsy
I've got seedlings starting in my front room, too. They're up by a window. Patience is the key for both of us, I think :D Make sure not to water them too much, give them plenty of light (I keep mine by a window, but you have a light to put above them so you're ahead of me!) and make sure they have compost or something similar in the soil. I've got one set of seedlings I pre-sprouted 3 weeks ago in a plastic baggie, then transplanted into the pots. It's been about 3 and a half weeks, and i see baby true leaves finally starting to come up between the seed leaves.

They will grow in their due time - what kind of pots do you have them in? I'm sure someone can come along with better advice, as well. This is only my 2nd year and i don't know a lot yet!

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ClairDeWhimsy
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Re: Novice Gardener needs help: TAKE 2! (Pictures should wor

They're in cardboard-like pots. The ones that you plant directly into the ground.

I planted a CRAP TON of seeds on March 30; three seeds per tiny pot, got three seedlings in each pot, read about thinning and the need for plants to have room for their roots, thinned them to death (which reduced the size from CRAP TON to TON), despaired, condensed to fewer seedlings. AND THEN I decided to start everything over and now you see the results of what I did about a week ago.

The reason I have a grow light on them is because after I condensed the first time I noticed that all the plants were...leggy....and that was because they don't have direct sunlight and were leaning towards the windows. I read that that's bad. Hence, the light.

It took FOREVER for the bell peppers to sprout. I planted them on March 30, dug them up two weeks later, soaked them for 24 hours, and a week after that here they are, all sprouted and making me happy.

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SPierce
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Re: Novice Gardener needs help: TAKE 2! (Pictures should wor

ClairDeWhimsy wrote:They're in cardboard-like pots. The ones that you plant directly into the ground.

I planted a CRAP TON of seeds on March 30; three seeds per tiny pot, got three seedlings in each pot, read about thinning and the need for plants to have room for their roots, thinned them to death (which reduced the size from CRAP TON to TON), despaired, condensed to fewer seedlings. AND THEN I decided to start everything over and now you see the results of what I did about a week ago.

The reason I have a grow light on them is because after I condensed the first time I noticed that all the plants were...leggy....and that was because they don't have direct sunlight and were leaning towards the windows. I read that that's bad. Hence, the light.

It took FOREVER for the bell peppers to sprout. I planted them on March 30, dug them up two weeks later, soaked them for 24 hours, and a week after that here they are, all sprouted and making me happy.
My bell peppers, I'm having trouble with. I'm leaving them be, though, and hoping that they sprout on their own! I'm down to my last two seeds of them, so all my hope is in these! I can buy seedlings from the local nursery, but i love the idea of starting from seed on my own!

I hope your little seedlings do well. I've got mine by a window and they're leaning towards the light some, but don't seem to be too crazy leggy quite yet.

Just have patience. All will work out in the end, as long as we do our best with the seedlings! As for the pots, though, I would recommend taking them out of the pots before planting them in the garden. I have learned that they don't really biodegrade once in the ground like they claim too, and will end up restraining the root system inside of his dissolving.

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ClairDeWhimsy
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Good to know about those pots. I was planning on carefully cutting the sides away when I plant them outdoors.

And about your bell pepper seeds: I learned that you need to soak them for 24 hours in warm water with a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide. It loosens up the seed casing. After I did that I gently rooted around in the dirt and noticed the beginnings of sprouts within three days. They're tough.

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applestar
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I've moved this thread to Seed Starting Forum.

I have to comment that they do look a bit leggy. The light is too far above the plants, and due to the small reflector, will not allow you to cover the amount of plants you have. if you provide more light immediately though, I think they might still make it -- I.e.they are not quite at the point of no return.

Look around this forum for seed starting light recommendations. Most of us use fluorescent light of some kind -- tubes in shop lights or CFL bulbs in clamp utility lights with large aluminum reflectors, which are cool enough to place a couple-few inches above the foliage. I'm also using old aquarium lights for emergency overflow.

Many here will tell you that those compressed peat/coir/fiber starter pots are no good. I believe it's way too small to start watermelon seeds as well. Watermelons, like many cucurbits, don't like their roots disturbed or cramped in small containers. I would use at least a pint size container.

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ClairDeWhimsy
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Sorry for posting in the wrong place, lol.

Thanks for your comments applestar. I was afraid they were leggy :? Ugh. How long do I have until they reach the point of no return? I can't really afford to get more lights, nor do I have the room for anything much bigger.

It looks like my first foray into gardening from seeds didn't go so well :roll:

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applestar
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You could try checking your local craigslist or free cycle. Older T-12 shop lights are pretty inexpensive, and that's all you need for starting seeds. many people are upgrading to the T-8's and T-5's so you can usually find used T-12's. They are the most cost-effective, but 4foot fixtures are unwieldy so I like the utility lights for their ease of handling in temporary situations.

The utility light I'm thinking of only costs $7-10 in Walmart auto supply dept. or other big box stores and hardware stores. I also have some chicken brooder lights which doesn't come with inline switch - plug in only but I don't need a switch because it's plugged into a timer. That was from a feed store.

I think the light bulbs might cost more -- I use 23W or 26W Daylight CFL bulbs which are 100W and 150W equiv. But you can find them on sale.
Last edited by applestar on Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ClairDeWhimsy
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I think today has been a sign that I started too gung-ho with seeds. I was very idealistic, lol. I think I'll just concentrate on my morning glories for now and when the weather is warmer I'll go to my local nursery and get some flowers for my front yard. As for the veggies...I'd really like to grow my own, but instead of this seed business I'll try to grow them from a nursery plantling. Perhaps I'll be more confident next year.

All in all, this has been a good learning experience for me.

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rainbowgardener
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Agree with applestar -- not nearly enough light! Seedlings looking pale and spindly because they aren't getting enough light.

You need lots of light, just a couple inches above the plants. Light diffuses by the inverse square law. That is, if I have light 2 inches above my seedlings and I move it twice as far away, to 4 inches, the seedlings are now getting one-quarter the light intensity. If I move it 4 times as far away, to 8 inches, the seedlings are now getting one-sixteenth the light intensity.

So even 4 inches away is a lot. I have four fluorescent tubes crossing my seedling trays just a couple inches above the plants and they are on 16 hours a day.

Browse around in this section and you will find lots of pictures of how people start seeds.

If you do it again, don't use the peat pots. Use plastic (even plastic drink cups with drainage holes added). The peat holds too much moisture.
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