newbie to starting from seed

genniebMarch 8, 2009

I have some heirloom tomatos I am starting (or trying to start) from seed. They sproudted in their little nests and looked good. Trouble is now, they don't seem to be getting any larger or growing anymore at all and are starting to look a tad wilty. They are pretty damp - I started them in one of those pre-packaged seed starters with the little round discs that expand when wet. Everything looked good but they they just have stopped growing. What am I doing wrong?

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It sounds like your seedlings might have been struck by a common phenomenon known as damping off, see: Damping Off Diseases.

There's not much that you can do to save seedlings once they've been hit by damping off, but in the future you can try some tricks to help prevent it from happening in the first place. See: How to Prevent Damping Off in Seedlings.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 1:54PM
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sweetmelon(7b Atl GA)

Sometimes if a plant is not growing up it's because it's growing down, meaning growing the root mass. Once it thinks it's got enough roots it will take off.

Do check out winter sowing, or rather spring sowing since tomato is a tender annual. With our long growing season it works great for tomatoes, and it is ridiculously easy. Last year I gave away dozens of plants I started from seed that way, I just had far too many of them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Winter sowing

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 9:34AM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

i use the same seed starter trays, but i usually buy sterile seed starter mix. last year, i did the little pellets and they didn't work out so well for me.

i can tell you that most if my seeds germinate in 6-10 days given a nice round temperature of 70-80 degrees, and once they sprout up, after 3-4 days of sprouting, they seriously seem to be stuck in this state of "no growth" for what seems like an eternity. i'm actually going through it right now; i started my tomato seeds about 18 days ago. got initial sprouts on the 6th evening (with first pair of initial 'leaves') and cracked the clear lid. in 2-3 days, i pulled the lid off entirely. for the last 10 days or so, they don't seem to be doing much, but friday morning i noticed several are starting to show the first true leaves (itty bitty), and i expect they will grow more in the coming week with the warmer temps.

all i can say is - hang in there and don't overwater. if you can poke the pellet and water comes gushing out, it's too much. i prevent 'damping off' or overwatering in this way: add water to the actual tray until the starter mix (or pellet) is ~1/8" immersed in water. let it sit for 1 hour. dump the excess water out (i water my indoor plants with it). this has always worked well for me to prevent overwatering.

hope this helps, good luck!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 9:22PM
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