Grow light for seedling problems

rburdittMarch 30, 2013

I setup a simple indoor grow area a couple of months ago and am having problems. I bought some shelving and hung 48" sylvania T8s that are daylight 6500K bulbs. I hung them about 3 inches above the seed trays and planted 2 trays containing peppers, cauliflower, and tomatoes. All of them germinated and quickly grew to about 1" tall. That's where the problems came in. They never did anything after that. It has probably been 8 weeks or possibly longer. They all looked healthy but never grew or added anymore leaves. I feel pretty confident that I didn't under or over water. I used an organic soil that was supposed to be for starting seeds. My house is between 65-72 degrees depending on time of day. From what I have read, the bulbs should be fine but I suspect it is a lighting problem. Can anyone help? I can upload pics if that will help.

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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

Curiously, have you fertilized?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 5:38PM
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We need more specific information so we can help you. What kind of organic soil? Brand name?

How many bulbs does your lighting fixture have? Can you possibly upload pictures of the plants?

Any sign of the plants first set of leaves?

I don't think it's a lighting problem. If your plants are looking healthy and just arent growing then the seed starting medium could be to dense and is retricting the roots from developing.

Give us some more information so we can futher diagnose the problem and assist you.

GrowBig Inc.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 2:02PM
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Thanks for the help. Let me see if I can answer these questions. The soil is Burpee organic seed starting mix. It does say to add a fertilizer after 4 weeks but I did not. Partly b/c I wasn't sure what to use.

I have 2 fixtures of 2 bulbs each.

The plants did come up quickly and have first set of leaves. They first leaves looked healthy for quite some time but never grew any more afterwards. They started to produce a 2nd set of leaves but just barely. The soil isn't dense at all. I did pull out one of the plants and there are roots about 1.5" long or so. In my pics, I know the plants look bad but keep in mind that 4 weeks ago they looked healthy..just didn't grow. I wish I could remember when I planted but probably was around 2nd week of Jan.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 7:00PM
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I couldn't figure out how to post more than one is the setup without plants.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 7:01PM
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Here are plants.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 7:02PM
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livelydirt(Zn 4, Lively, ON)

I've read plants need about 14 hrs of uninterrupted light. In the last pic the plants look yellowed. I think they're asking for nitrogen - just a little at first. I put blood meal in my starting mix. Are you familiar with Eliot Coleman's material? His books are worth the money for organic growers.

Here is a link that might be useful: LIvely Dirt - The Garden Blog

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 8:42AM
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i use osmo-cote slow release fertilizer in my seed starting mix. my seedling are two weeks old and look FAR better than what you've got there. also, i use HIGH intensity fluorescent - means i take out the original ballast and wire the fixture in "overdrive" mode. - plants love it - pm.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 9:12AM
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Hello, I don't think it is a lighting problem. even with low light, you will still see some form of growth. In your case, I have had similar experience with this. And I can say it is the type of mix you use. It is also evident on the leaves that have sort of curled upwards. Basically they need food :)

I used to wonder and started to get answers when I did 2 tests side by side. 1 w/ mix, 1 with garden soil (this is not recommended, for test purposes only).

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 9:02AM
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livelydirt(Zn 4, Lively, ON)

I agree about the need for food. I am following Eliot Coleman's guide for his potting/soil block mix and the plants are doing wonderful... for the first time ever. These toms are almost four weeks old. They were started in 3/4" soil blocks on March 29 (on heating pad), potted on to 2" blocks on April 2 and then into 4" pots on April 15.

Here is a link that might be useful: LIvely Dirt - The Garden Blog

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 9:26AM
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