T5 fluorescent tomato and california wonder pepper, need help
Hello everyone. This is my first post on the forum, please forgive any mistakes in posting this thread. Anyhow I have been attempting to garden indoors under lights for about a year now. My success has been limited to say the least. I have a veg room measuring about 4x3 with a 4 foot 4 bulb Hydrofarm t5 fluorescent, puts out about 20,000 lumes. 250 cfm Dayton fan for ventilation and a large oscillating for circulation. The circulation fan is not pointed directly at seedlings. For a flowering space I use a 6.5x 3.5 space with 2 400 watt MH Sunmaster Warm Deluxe lamps housed in Hydrofarm Daystar Aircooled reflectors. 250 cfm Dayton exhausting this room and 449 vortex fan for the lights, along with 10" oscillating fan for circulation. However, lately I have not even gotten to the point of needing a flowering space as my tomatoes have been dead before getting there. I NEED HELP BAD.
I have tried germinating seeds in two different batches in the last two months. Both attempts ended with dead tomatoes within 3 weeks after germination. The plants would almost instantly take on a yellowish color from germination, purple leaf undersides, eventually leaves would turn yellow and dry, other symptoms included red leaf veins and exhibiting what looked like iron or manganese deficiency. Just completely disheartening.
Currently 6 tomato plants have just broken ground and two peppers are still attempting to germinate. My tomatoes are the determinate variety, as I am not ready for the labor intensity of an indeterminate variety. The tomatoes I have now are Ace 55 VF and red cherry from Lake Valley Seeds. My emerging tomatoes seem to have the same look to them as the past failed ones, I can post pictures should it be necessary. I have switched to reverse osmosis water because the water out of the tap tests consistently between 730-770 ppm. I tried my tap water with the last two batches, needless to say it did not work. My procedure has been to add cal mag plus at 5ml/Gallon, then General Hydroponics 3 part as per germianation/seedling dose (which I believe is 1/3 teaspoon of grow, micro, bloom per gallon) micro first as per directions. After letting the water/fertilizer mix stabilize for 24 hours I ph test with a Hannah pH grocheck (relatively accurate within .1 of a point, evidenced by the fact it measures the calibration solutions of 4.01 and 7.01 almost exactly), and I calibrate before every use. I test TDS with an Oakton Ultrabasic meter which seems to be relatively accurate. 2 of my tomatoes are in Fox Forest Light Warrior, and the other 4 are in Sunshine Mix #4. Seeds are planted in 2" and 4" square pots. Seedlings are about 12-14 inches below fluorescent fixture. Temperature is generally steady at 73-75 and humidity at 35-40%. I have two buckets filled with tap water with towels draped into the water and hanging over the side to wick water and increase humidity, otherwise the humidity can get quite low.
The peppers have yet to break ground so we will see about those, should only be a couple of days. I really need some expert advice as it is completely crushing to see my plants break ground only to die within weeks. especially with those experienced with reverse osmosis water. I am an experienced and realtively successful outdoor Organic container gardener using kiddie pools, but my indoor experience has been vastly different in a bad way. The fertilizers I have available to use are GH 3 part, cal mag plus, Pure Blend Pro Grow and Bloom, Liquid Karma (Botanicare), Sweet (Botanicare), and Silica Blast (Botanicare), and have the pH up and down adjusters.
Sorry about the book, but I figure the more info the better. So far to get the seeds to germinate( about 6-7 days) I have watered with Cal Mag Plus (230 ppm) and GH 3 part (375-400 ppm) once. Then Cal Mag plus to 200-240 ppm 3 times. Each of these waterings were just enough to keep the medium wet enough to get the seeds to germinate, not really any runoff to speak of because I did not want the seeds to rot. So now the seeds have popped their heads up for about 2 days now, but some are a little yellow. Please help me to understand where I may be going wrong, or any advice about RO water.