Help, tomato seedlings not looking healthy

l1a1rocker(8)February 22, 2013

They are yellowish and failing to thrive. I've got a 600wt MI light 2.5 feet above the table. Other plants seem to be doing well but the poor tomatoes, not so much. My grow media is the same as my raised bed mix. Basically a mixed compost. I was thinking about raising the light or turning it down to 75%. I've also tried watering with SuperThrive and Seaweed but that has not helped.

Here's a picture:

Any advice would sure be appreciated.


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Off hand, I would say the height of your light is fine. Unless you think the plants are getting too hot, I wouldn't raise it. It is possible that the tomato seedlings need to be more under the center of the light however. Actually, they don't look too bad to me.

I'm sure you know, Superthrive is a health supplement not a fertilizer. Are you using any fertilizer and is so, how much and what kind? Not keeping the media too wet?


    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 6:39PM
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It may be that I've got them too wet. I'm watering every other day and the "soil" damp when I water.

The compost is a blend of 2 parts Miracle grow potting mix, one part wood base compost, one part humus, and one part unknown compost, and one part of another unknown compost. If it's real important I'll go dig out my receipt to see exactly what the unknown composts are.

The only "fertilizer" I've used has been the seaweed. I've read to be cautious about fertilizer on seedlings and was figuring that the rich compost media would be sufficient. I was considering some Actinovate but have not made the trek into town as yet. (I try to limit my trips to town to once a month) I'll try and rotate the tomato seedlings into a more centered position on the table.

Thank you for your response. Any input is much appreciated.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 1:22AM
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Yeah, you're probably keeping them too wet. By far, more plants are killed by over watering than under watering. It's amazing how dry the grow media can look to us and still be fine for the plants. The roots of the plants need oxygen and too much water prevents that.

Regarding the fertilizer ... once the plants start getting their true leaves (which your's seem to have) low dosages of fertilizer (about 100 to 150 ppm nitrogen) is usually very helpful. If you use "Miracle-Gro Tomato Plant Food" for example, that would mean using about 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon to a gallon of water. As the plants grow, you'll want to increase that of course. Seaweed fertilizers, by the way, contain really tiny amounts of soil nutrients.

Also, I do think moving the plants more in the center will help. I see you're using a fan, that's great!


    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 2:27AM
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Thank you for the help!!!! I could only find a chemical fertilizer to dilute in water (all the organic stuff was solid sprinkle on). Anyhow, I cut it down to 1/3 rd strength and applied it every third day twice. BIG improvement!!




Something else of note. I'm growing slips for sweet potatoes. I did an experiment. When I pulled the slips from the sweet potato I dipped some in a root hormone powder and left some without. The results are remarkable to me:


Again, THANK YOU for your help in saving my tomato seedlings.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Too much water

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:33AM
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Why are you mixing anything with the MiracleGrow, I use the MG with Moisture Control (which you could add to regular MG) and don't have the problem. Yes I think you are keeping them too wet. Tomatoes likes to wilt alittle between watering, it's actually better for them, since it gives them a survival skill to help during times of dryness.

Take the dry, sprinkle on fertilizer and just mix with water the day before you want to water. I always mix to 1/2 strength, but deeply water with it every week to 2 weeks (about everyother watering).

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Does this advice about letting them wilt a little also apply to pepper seedlings/plants as well?

Besides tomatoes, I have a couple Jalapeno seedlings and anahiem peppers too...

They look great, but a few of the tomatoes look as if they're probably getting a little too much water...

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 10:58AM
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