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mcubb
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When to fertilize seedlings? *** Now with pics ***

Alright so I have some Micro Tom tomatoes, sugar baby watermelon, and Minnesota Midget Melon seedlings that are about 2 weeks old. I'm not completely sure how old they are but here are the leaves:

toms have 1 set of true leaves and are workin on their second set.
watermelon has one big and one small true leaves and is workin on a third.
melon has 2 big true leaves and is workin on a third

so my questions are:

when should I start fertilizing them?
what should I fertilize with? (product and numbers also x-x-x)
should I dilute the fertilizer and by how much?
how often should I fertilize?

thanks for all the help
matt
Last edited by mcubb on Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
Tomatoes and Melons under my bed.
Pineapple, Avocado and Apple on my window sill.
All I can do as a student in an apartment.

CharlieBear
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I am puzzled are you gardening in a greenhouse because it should be getting too cold to garden outside in Colorado? Generally I wouldn't fertilize melons, cucumbers, squash, I would just set them out, but if you are gardening under glass then that is a different question.
As for the tomatoes, have you pricked them out (potted them up) and if so into what and did it contain fertilizer and what is the final destination of the tomato plant.
As for fertilizing tomatoes in general, OSU extension recommends that the middle number be much higher than the others something like 6-12-8 or there abouts. If the nitrogen is too high you will get a very large plant at the expense of production. The middle number incourages flowering and the latter better root development in tomatoes. Note that you should also have calcium and probably magnesium in the soil as well to help keep bloosom end rot away. Generally you could add a little gypsom or dolomite calcium (also sometimes called dolomite lime at some places).
If you are potting up in a pot for the tomato, I used as handful of fish meal for the potted one with a T of wood ashes. Some people just use 1/3 compost, both seem to work ok. Other use potting soil that contains fertilizer already, but that is rather high in nitrogen. Note, my fish meal is for farmers and isn't cut it came in at 6-21-8 when they had it analized, I have read that the stuff in the store can be quite different.
By the way Oregon State Extention site has some great articles on growing tomatoes under various condititons. If you go to the site select view for the articles you want to read rather than buying them.
Hope this long winded explaination helps a little

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mcubb
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Thanks for the info. As for your questions, yes it would be way too cold to start them outside right now. I'm actually in an apartment and they are growing under my bed. They're under a 4ft light and doing well. I've done this with tomatoes watermelons and cantalopes before but i have never fertilized them. just looking to see if I can get better production then last time.
Tomatoes and Melons under my bed.
Pineapple, Avocado and Apple on my window sill.
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soil
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well what soil are they in. if anything id just give them some wormcastings on top of the soil and water in. most seedlings have enough energy in them to grow for at least a few weeks.
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mcubb
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they're in normal potting soil with peat moss mixed in.
Tomatoes and Melons under my bed.
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All I can do as a student in an apartment.

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PunkRotten
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Maybe some hydrolyzed fish fertilizer would help. I got a pint of it and just started using it.

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soil
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id just go for some wormcastings, they do nothing but good things.
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mcubb
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where would you get your hands on work castings?
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soil
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well i make my own while recycling my own waste because its so easy. but if i was to buy it i would check out any of the local plant nurseries or garden centers.
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PunkRotten
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You can set up your own worm bin if you want as well. Just buy a plastic tote or little rubbermaid container. Add a bunch of newspaper as bedding and use a spray bottle to get it moist. I'd recommend buying atleast 1 lb of red wigglers. They sell them at sporting goods stores but only sell by the dozen and it would be too costly and too much hassle.

You can buy it online. And you just feed the worms kitchen scraps, pretty much whatever you compost. I use them to make worm castings and also occasionally I toss a few to my fish.

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Kisal
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Read the label on the package of potting soil you used, to see if it contains fertilizer. If it does and you give your plants more, you risk having nice big plants that don't bear fruit. JMO.
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rainbowgardener
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Kisal beat me to it, but I was going to say, most potting soil has Miracle Grow (or the equivalent) built in, unless you started with a special seed starting mix. In that case, I wouldn't fertilize at all for at least the first month if not more.

You must have a pretty tall bed if you can grow tomatoes under it! :)

You said you've done this before, in which case what you're doing must be working. In general it is difficult to get things like tomatoes and melons to set fruit with just ordinary fluorescent light. Light would be the limiting factor here, not fertilizer. In your under the bed set up (great use of the space, by the way!! :) ), do you have any special lighting (eg metal halide, or sodium lights) ?? Also the tomatoes are self-pollinating, but the melons need the flowers to be pollinated, are you hand pollinating? It would seem like even the midget variety melon plants would take up more space than under a bed... I'm picturing a king size bed on stilts with a ladder up to it to get in and a micro farm under neath... very cool :)
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mcubb
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Nope to most of your thoughts actually haha. My tomatoes get to a max height of 10in and both melons don't grow longer than 4ft so I just coil those back and forth beneath the bed. So it's a normal bed thats a normal height above the ground. Also, I'm just using normal 4ft shop lights with flourescent tubes and those work for me. I do hand pollinate them however
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Kisal
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I'd sure like to see some pics of your setup, with photo updates as they bloom and set fruit. The idea of growing tomatoes under one's bed fascinates me. :lol:
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PunkRotten
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I have the micro toms too. But it is my first time growing it. I have a sprout in a 6 inch pot and keep it indoors. It gets sun by the window sill. I also have seeds to both melons you are growing. I almost was not going to grow sugar babies next year because I thought they get too big. I read the vines reach a max of 6 foot.

So I was thinking of a spot to accommodate that. I found a spot, but now you say they get about 4 foot that even makes it better. For the Minnesota midget I plant to grow up a trellis. I would also like to see your set up under the bed. Sounds cool.

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soil
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you risk having nice big plants that don't bear fruit. JMO.
you do not run this risk with wormcastings.
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mcubb
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I'll definitely post up some pics within the next few days. My room is somewhat always moving around but under the bed is constant. I also have an avocado in the corner under a light and an apple and pineapple on the windowsill.
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Pineapple, Avocado and Apple on my window sill.
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jal_ut
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Yes, I would fertilize. Ever heard of Miracle Grow? It is great for use in your type of setup with potting soil or peat moss. Of course most potting soils are heavy with peat moss which has no nutritional value. Follow the directions on the package.

I am sorry to disagree with those who say fertilizer makes big plants and no fruit. It has been my pleasure to see that fertilizer makes large plants with more and larger fruit. This on all garden varieties I have grown.
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mcubb
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I've used iracle grow on my basil before and I guess it was too strong because it killed about 12 plants within 2 days after I applied it. So I assume I should dilute it? By how much?
Tomatoes and Melons under my bed.
Pineapple, Avocado and Apple on my window sill.
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rainbowgardener
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I'm not saying don't use Miracle Grow on your potted plants. I'm saying be sure to check because you most likely are already using it, it is built in to the potting soil. That's probably why you had trouble before, you added MG to soil that was already loaded with it. And seedlings need only a little. If you were fertilizing seedlings that were not in MG soil, you would want to make it no more than half the strength of the directions, probably a bit less. You can easily burn little seedlings or force them to grow faster than than they have resources to handle or set them up to be vulnerable to other problems.
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TheWaterbug
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Heh. Most times I read about students in apartments growing things under their beds with fluorescent lighting, they're not growing vegetables!
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mcubb
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Waterbug,

I've read tons of your posts (my fave was the bees). But yeah, I got a tone of weird looks and the cashier at the local hardware store assumed some things. I joked and tole her "oh yeah!" and then admitted I was growing veggies but I think she still thought I was growing pot. I'm here in Boulder CO and thats HUGE. Tons of people and places get shut down right and left and I'm just waiting for the police to see my apartment's energy usage and then raid and see tomatoes, melons and fruit trees. haha i'd love it
Tomatoes and Melons under my bed.
Pineapple, Avocado and Apple on my window sill.
All I can do as a student in an apartment.

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soil
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I'm just waiting for the police to see my apartment's energy usage and then raid and see tomatoes, melons and fruit trees. haha i'd love it
i knew a guy who grew tomatoes indoors, he had really good lights that would take lots of power, well one day ( actually night) the police came, pretty much knocked down his door, asking wheres the drugs, only to find some tomatoes and other veggies. they were pissed and felt like idiots.
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DoubleDogFarm
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soil wrote:
I'm just waiting for the police to see my apartment's energy usage and then raid and see tomatoes, melons and fruit trees. haha i'd love it
i knew a guy who grew tomatoes indoors, he had really good lights that would take lots of power, well one day ( actually night) the police came, pretty much knocked down his door, asking wheres the drugs, only to find some tomatoes and other veggies. they were pissed and felt like idiots.
Yeah, but the guy had the last laugh. The real produce is behind the false wall. :P 8)

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soil
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Yeah, but the guy had the last laugh. The real produce is behind the false wall. Razz Cool
lol shhhhhhh :lol:
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PunkRotten
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Did you get a chance to get some pics of your set up?

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mcubb
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ahh I'm sorry. Very busy here. I'm switching around the setup within the next few days (raising the light, potting up) so after i do that I'll be sure to upload some pics. def by this weekend
Tomatoes and Melons under my bed.
Pineapple, Avocado and Apple on my window sill.
All I can do as a student in an apartment.

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mcubb
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alright I just up-potted everything and set up the whole system. here it is under my bed. 5 micro tom tomatoes, 1 sugar baby watermelon and one minnesotta midget melon. also, my beautiful avocado tree that I started from a pit on June 7th, 2011


some images are better than other:


[img]https://i.imgur.com/ub5yP.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i.imgur.com/aCLaa.jpg[/img]

the glow...

[img]https://i.imgur.com/kY90k.jpg[/img]

and my fave plant in the room... avocado
[img]https://i.imgur.com/BlgtS.jpg[/img]
Tomatoes and Melons under my bed.
Pineapple, Avocado and Apple on my window sill.
All I can do as a student in an apartment.

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PunkRotten
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Nice pics man. Hey did you get those Micro toms just recently? I looked through an old thread of mine and you were asking for them, and I linked you to a site. Just wondering if you got them from there. My Micro tom is smaller than yours. But I had a few failed germinations prior. But now I have a pretty good sprout. Its got it first set of true leaves and another coming in.


That avocado is gonna take forever to grow. I started one once from a seed and it got about 2 foot before it died. Another I had just buried a seed in my back yard. And one day I was looking around and found a plant about 1 1/2 foot tall. I tried transplanting but it died.


I wanted to try it again but it takes years before they get any fruit. And from what I hear they need lots of cross pollination or grafts from other trees. But it still is nice to care for a tree/plant and grow it for fun, and down the line you can try to get it to become a fruit bearing tree.

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mcubb
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Yeah I got the micro tom seeds about a month ago.. I remember posting in your thread so I probably bought them from the site you gave me. Out of 6 cells each with 1 seed I had 5 cells sprout. so 5/6 germ not bad im thinking. those are not very old either. max of probably 3weeks. what was strange was that one of the plants came up and had 3 initial leaves. all the others had a normal 2 but one had a little mutation i guess and caused it to have 3 leaves. all the more photo. for him them lol
Tomatoes and Melons under my bed.
Pineapple, Avocado and Apple on my window sill.
All I can do as a student in an apartment.

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