Help diagnosing problem

mikeysabApril 13, 2014

Good Morning all. I'm having a problem with some plants I started from seed awhile back. Firstly, I"d like to thank Ottawapepper for sending me a bunch of seeds. My grow list is pretty long (for me) and wouldn't have been possible without his help.

A little background. I started the seeds on Feb 17th in coconut coir under a 2 foot jump start light. After a week of seeing nothing, I realized it was too cold where I was germinating. I moved them somewhere warmer and they took off after a couple days. They were doing fine in the cc, so I moved them to solo cups in seed starting soil. They seemed to be doing fine, but the last couple days I've noticed browning of the leaves and some leaves falling off. Some plants are really tall, and some are staying short, but they all look equally unhealthy. In the pic, you can see one really tall plant, and the rest are short.Any help diagnosing the problem I'm having would be greatly appreciated. I'm new to seed starting and don't know what my next move should be. Thank you.

Mike

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don555(3a)

That leaf discoloration is pretty odd. They look sunburnt, did you put them out in bright sun? Or could it be spider mites?... any webs or barely visible red mites on the underside of the leaves? Then there are the usual culprits to consider, like overwatering drowning the roots, too little light, or lack of fertilizer (which would make the leaves pale, but generally not make them drop like that).

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 2:09PM
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mikeysab

I have been taking them outside for some natural sunlight, but not for very long (4/5 hours). Other than that they've been under the jump start. I've been waiting till they get pretty dry to water. Besides the little amount of food in the seed starting soil, they haven't been fed. I put two plants in a pot outside in a planter with some compost. I'll see if that helps. Other than that, I don't know what to do.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 2:20PM
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mikeysab

I have been taking them outside for some natural sunlight, but not for very long (4/5 hours). Other than that they've been under the jump start. I've been waiting till they get pretty dry to water. Besides the little amount of food in the seed starting soil, they haven't been fed. I put two plants in a pot outside in a planter with some compost. I'll see if that helps. Other than that, I don't know what to do.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 2:22PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I think Don nailed it, and you confirmed it. Sunburn or sunstress. I planted my seeds on February 17th, as well, and I am just now getting the seedlings outdoors. Start with shade. This is how I had mine on the first day out - only filtered sun. I had them in the plastic container to prevent wind from drying out the tender leaves.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 2:59PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Sure, 4 to 5 hours bright continuous sun, is way too much. I keep mine fro a few days in indirect light or leave then in the open in an overcast day ... then introduce them to direct sun light.

But I think the worst is maybe over, Mikey.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 9:12PM
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TechnoChimp(8)

You may want to try a soil that is a little better draining. I had some seed starting mix that retained water pretty bad. I'm now using some pro-earth #4 which is working very well for me.

I got some seeds from ottawapepper as well, and as for the height differences, that's due to each type growing differently. The bhuts, scorpions, and bonnets are going to stay low and wide. The 5 colors, twilights, and takanotsume are tall and thin. I noticed the takanotsume also became very bushy the entire length of the stem.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 9:28PM
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stoneys_fatali(9b Duarte,Ca.)

I did the same thing Josh did my first day out. You slowly introduce them to the sun/wind/elements etc.

I use the E.B. Stone potting soil with very good results.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 9:34PM
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mikeysab

Thanks for the help, everybody. I guess I jumped the gun on getting them sun. I thought i'd be helping them out. Well hopefully I didn't do irreperable damage. I'll continue taking them outside but i'll leave them in the shade till they get a little bigger.

As for the soil, it doean't really hold moisture. The soil gets dry after a day or two. I removed one plant from the cup today and there wasn't much moisture in the bottom of the cup. The roots looked healthy, as far as I could tell. I could definitely use advice on what to use when i get them into their final homes. I read a lot about 5-1-1 and soil mixes but I don't see any of that stuff where I live. Thanks for the help. Hoping for a decent growing season.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 10:57PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

The puny ones also seem to be in need of nutrients. Time to feed them with 1/2 strength fertilizer. What did you intend to use?

Dennis

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 1:48PM
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mikeysab

For last season, I used miracle gro tomato food and side dressed composted manure about every six weeks. I wanted to go organic this year but don't even know how. I'm still learning.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 8:20PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

You could always use fish emulsion, diluted at half-strength....although it's not as efficient (quick acting) as synthetic fertilizer. There are many other organic fertilizers, too.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 1:57AM
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jutsFL(9b (Orlando))

The hardening off phase was a lengthy one for me. I had no idea it would be so time consuming. With the FL sun it took me over a month to acclimate my babies to their current outside position. At their young stage even 30 min in direct light would wither/wilt them to nearly death! Josh's filtered light suggestion is the way to go. I let mine filter through a screened patio for 2 weeks before they were ready to see even a couple of hours of direct sun. In the yard I would place them in spots that received increasingly more sunlight (in conjunction with shade) until they were ready to move to a well sunned area.

On a side note, I am not an organic gardener. I haven't used any harsh pesticides or anything - but I have now qualms with MG! The MG tomato food gets some quick results for sure, and I use it frequently. If you aren't trying to stay with the organic route, I highly suggest it. 1/4 strength is how I used it for my 'solo' plants... And gradually to full strength as they hit the 5 gal buckets.

Give'em time, they'll make it:

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 2:39AM
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judo_and_peppers(Tampa FL)

I used MG tomato last year. I'm getting better results/healthier looking plants this year with MG all purpose. granted I'm doing 511 this year so my test isn't terribly scientific.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 3:11AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Yeah, I use MG water soluble that comes in plastic bags in the box, aimed mostly for spray type feede. One TB spoon per gallon is rec. I use half of that but more often. It has 3-1-2 ratio.

With the 5-1-1 I have mixed in some SRF( MG Shake n Feed). It is reasonably priced @ about $3/lbs.

Back to Topic:
hardening off down south is different than here up north. We harden them of for cold mostly, as out weather won't warm up til July.:) Our normal lows in second half of April til 15th May will be mostly 42 to 44F. Though out LFD was April 5th. If someone wants to plant peppers when lows climb to 50F, has to wait til June. (Not me. hehe). So my mission is to teach my plant to toughen up and cope with the cool. And they have to.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 5:44AM
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mikeysab

Thanks for all the good info here. I'll feed them 1/4 strength mg tomato and see how they fare. How offten would you guys suggest I feed them at this point?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 8:37AM
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TechnoChimp(8)

If I recall correctly, the MG all purpose instructs to feed them once every two weeks.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:39AM
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jutsFL(9b (Orlando))

With mine now I use the full MG (or now I just switched to the cheaper equivalent 'expert gardener' - a Wally World brand w a higher p ratio) every week. I do use enough water to flush through my drain holes though as a precaution for salt buildup. When I was watering w the highly diluted version on the small plants I used it w every watering - those little guys never took much water anyhow.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 1:24PM
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