Tomato Stems Breaking

TomAndJerryGardenerMarch 19, 2013

Recently I planted 25 Big Daddy Tomato Hybrids this is my first year planting tomatoes. Now a week later they have mostly all sprouted. But now as they are growing some of them are dying. Their stems get all twisted and it looks like there is a kink preventing further nutrition from reaching the plant. Some of the stem is so thin that it can't support the weight and that's why the plant droops, and today one of the snapped in half. Just yesterday I gave them Finley crushed tums mixed with water,and also for the past two days it has been cloudy. Is there any way to save the plant once it snaps? no true leaves have shown there is only the cotyledons. I also tend to water irregularly and water to much. Please help!!!

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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

It sounds like damping off. Follow the link below for good, specific advice on how to grow tomatoes from seed. Scroll down to the section on damping off if you don't know what that is. You should not be giving seedlings that haven't even grown true leaves any kind of supplements.

Here is a link that might be useful: How do I start tomatoes from seed?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 1:31AM
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Thank-you Ohiofem and when the stem breaks can I still save it and if it currently has it what can I do to save it.

This post was edited by TomAndJerryGardener on Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 1:47

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 1:42AM
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Thank-you Ohiofem and when the stem breaks can I still save it and if it currently has it what can I do to save it.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 1:46AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I don't think you can save it when the stem breaks at such an early stage. Damping off usually is a sign that your potting mix is not sterile. Seriously consider starting over using better soil and supplemental lighting.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 1:56AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

One of the primary contributing factors to the development of damp-off is too much water, keeping the soil too wet. So when you start over the right way - and no, the plants cannot be saved once infected - you will need to reduce your watering substantially.

And yeah skip the TUMS. They have no role to play in growing tomatoes.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:42AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

TomAndJerryGardener, with the next batch of seedlings (because the ones you have now will not survive to give you fruit):

Throw out the infected seed-starting mix. Either discard the pots/containers or scrub them with a weak bleach solution to kill the damping-off organisms.

If the pots/containers you're using don't have drain-holes, add some. That will allow excess water to drain out of the mix.

Keep the pots or cups in a shallow dish, tray, foam or plastic take-out container, houseplant saucer, etc. (so water from the drain-holes doesn't get on the windowsill or furniture). To water, pour half an inch of water into the tray ("watering from the bottom"). After 10-20 minutes, pour off the water (your seedlings shouldn't be standing in water as that encourages fungal diseases). Mist the top of the soil occasionally if seeds are still sprouting.

[If your seed-starting mix is mostly peat moss: When peat dries out, it shrinks away from the sides of the pots and actually repels water. If you water from the top, the water will just run down between the peat and the side of the the pot -- but the peat will stay dry. To get it wet again and save your seedlings, you'll need to let the pots stand in water longer than 20 minutes (the exact amount of time depends just how dry the peat has become). When the peat is thoroughly damp, be sure to empty the remaining water from the tray.]

Tomato seedlings will go to great lengths to get closer to the Sun -- literally, they will stretch till they're 3-4" or taller while they have only their original dicotyledons (the seed leaves). That stretching is detrimental to the health of the plant.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 1:03PM
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Thanks I bought some new seeds at a Burpee seed stand. This time I'm using miracle grow seed starter. Hopefully this time it will be disease free and can I keep the non-infected plants. Only three or four plants got the disease out of the original 25.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 9:43PM
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