Bradley
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Dying seedlings

My squash and cucumber seedlings are (1) month old. One after another goes from looking fine, with a nice green stem to the stem turning white and dying. Help please.

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rainbowgardener
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Need more information. Are these planted in the ground, outdoors? What have your temperatures been like (high and low)? What is your soil like? What have you been doing to help maintain them (e.g. how much watering, fertilizing, etc)? How big are these one month old seedlings?

Do you notice any symptoms besides stem going white? Any holes, spots, wilting? How are the leaves? Have you checked for any bugs?
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Bradley
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More info

The seedlings were started indoors with potting soil/seed starting mix.
I take them outside in the mornings, around 45 degrees. They get sun all day with temps up to 65 degrees. I water to keep soil moist. The second leaves have formed and the plants are around 3-4 inches. No fertilizer. The edges of the first leaves are turning white. My feelings are too much water?

sepeters
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Could be any number of things, really. I can give you a few options and then you just test each one out and see what helps. But make sure you only change one variable at a time, or you might not be able to pin point what made the difference.

My first thought is that it is still a little bit too cold for cucumbers and summer squash, especially if they spend nights inside and have been growing under warm artificial lighting. You only want to put them out for sun when it is warm, until they're pretty well hardened off and at that point they stay outside.

How big are the pots the squash are in? Squash and cukes get very big and need lots of room to sprawl and grow their main and secondary roots. If they do not have adequate root space they will become stunted and usually die. That kind of sounds like what you described. Vining plants like squash don't really like to be transplanted. It is best to direct seed them where ever you plan to grow them permanently. In CA you could probably start the cukes outside in a few weeks, but may need to wait a bit on your squash, depending on the variety.

Hope that helps. Let us know!

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rainbowgardener
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Agree.... too cold! Squash are the warmest of warm weather crops. If they are a month old and just getting second set of true leaves, they've been kind of stunted. A month in good conditions, they would be a lot further along.

I agree with sepeters. Just wait until your soil has warmed up over 70 degrees (soil temp is more important than air temp as long as not near freezing) and direct seed them in the ground. Squash are so fast growing that you don't gain a lot by starting them indoors anyway. If you plant them in the ground, when they sprout, they will automatically be adapted to the conditions.

Also you said potting soil/seed starting mix. They are different. Potting soil usually has fertilizer in it. Seed starting mix doesn't, has no nutrients. Once the seedlings have true leaves, they will start to fail in seed starting mix unless you are fertilizing. Leaves going white can be sunburn. If plants have been indoors, they are very tender and not used to direct sun, which is way more intense than indoor light. They need to be hardened off gradually.
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sepeters
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*OR* a better idea than I suggested before (trying one thing) is to try it all :lol:

Bradley
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Thank you all very much for your help and suggestions.

Bobberman
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Too much water will also hurt them! I had trouble one year with wood chips causing problems with only vine crops!
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GreenThumbsUp
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I'd let them go. And start new seeds.
One month and only now getting their second set of leaves? If the are eventually going in the ground why not start them there directly- when the night time temps are about 50degrees...
--I have found that starting squash seeds indoors isn't all that helpful...

sepeters
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Bobberman, I am intrigued about the wood chips causing problems with your vines! :o What happened? :?:

Oh! BTW, Bradley, what did you end up doing with the cukes and squash? If you plan to restart, my cukes are coming up in the garden already, you could probably direct seed at this point. :D

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