Starting seeds indoors and using a fan?

CapnKateMay 1, 2012

Hi! I'm kind of a newbie gardener, and new to this site. I'm starting seeds indoors for the first time ever, and I think I'm making some mistakes.

Someone told me that I should have a fan running to circulate air around the plants, and that this would make the plant stems stronger. Well, it seems like it's just causing the flat that is directly in front of the fan to dry out, and the plants are wilting. Also, while some of the plants do have strong, short stems, the zinnias I planted got really leggy. I'm using grow lights, but I'm growing in a basement that is a little cool, and I did not use any heating mats.

I finally just turned the fan off yesterday--I don't think it's doing anything. But, am I wrong?

And, why are some of my plants leggy--is it too cold? Does using a fan really help seedlings from being leggy because it doesn't seem to be working for me--or is that bad advice?

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kaptainkr(4a)

I use a little fan that I clip onto the shelf. I don't have it blow directly on the seedlings, but just enough to keep that air moving. Helps with making them stronger and also with damping off. Are you keeping the seedlings close to the lights? I always keep them about an inch or so away, using 40 watt fluorescent shop bulbs. I have never started flowers indoors but this is what I use for my veggies and works great. I don't use heating mats either. With the warm weather here, I've been taking my plants out periodically to harden them off. Hopefully the warmth continues and we can plant a bit early. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 10:38PM
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KittyWitty(4b)

Fan or any air cir is good to prevent mold and fungi (damping off). Direct fan is not recommended.

May need to rotate the plants to get even distribution of light from window/light and/or heat source.

Remember to thin seedlings/overcrowding. Medium maybe too rich - can also cause legginess.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 1:14AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

I do not use a fan occasionally brushing my hand against the tomato plants to help toughen up the stems. The one year I tried a clip on fan (because I was told that I should) I had the same problem with soil drying out quickly. Since the plants grew well and didn't have dampening off problems without using the fan I took it down. Found that old truism is accurate, "if it ain't broke, don' fix it."

Like kaptainkr, I use shop lights with plain 40 watt bulbs, keeping the seedlings close to the light.

Hey, is that kaptain kirk? (Wink)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 2:38AM
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kaptainkr(4a)

Beam me up.

I've always had good success with seed starting with the advice from Mike McGrath, who has a show called "You Bet Your Garden." I listen to his podcast all the time. He also has a book called "You Bet Your Tomatoes" that is a good resource.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seed Starting

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 1:27PM
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