Are these tomato seedlings too leggy?

Jayinjay2424April 5, 2012

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u516/jayinjay24/80307834.jpg

Planted on 3-29-12

Grown in standard 72cell mini greenhouse

Used miracle grow seed starting mix

Used heat mats until germination then

3" under 4 t5HO lights

Just started putting a light fan on them a few hours a day

This is my first time growing from seed. The tallest seedlings are 2" tall but none have true leaves yet. I've read on here the purple stems at this point is normal.

Questions:

When can I expect true leaves to appear?

Do these look "too leggy"? ... It's not too late for me to re-seed.

When should I pot up? And to what size pots?

When do I start using fertilizer? What kind?

When I do pot up, should I bury them deep like I normally do when transplanting into the garden?

If any other info would help, I'm happy to provide it.

Or if better pics are required. There is no reference for size in these pics. I just measured though. The tallest of them are exactly 2" tall.

Thanks in advance.

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Jayinjay2424

Hmm having trouble posting pics. This is my first time. I'll keep workin on it.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 6:34AM
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Jayinjay2424

Week one photo #2

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 6:39AM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

How far is the light from the seedlings? You want to keep it an inch or two above. Any higher and they are going to stretch to reach it. You might also want to start using a (gentle) fan on them.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:24AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

How to post from Photobucket:
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/hosta/msg0513322013993.html?14
This will enable you to put multiple photos in one post.

I've seen worse. All is not lost. Just bury them very deep when you pot up.

Yes, the lights should be lower. To avoid having to raise them all the time, I stack styrofoam blocks under the flats; as the seedlings grow, I remove some of the styrofoam. That way I only have to change the height of the lights a few times. If you're not a person who saves styrofoam, you can use lumber, cardboard, whatever.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 10:45AM
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keski(6)

missing the obvious,
I use shirt boxes from Christmas.
Keski

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 11:04AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

keski: creative people of the world, unite!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 12:10PM
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Jayinjay2424

@ Susan ... Please see original post.

"...3" under 4 t5HO lights
Just started putting a light fan on them a few hours a day..."

@ missingtheobvious ... Thanks for the link to the photo instructions. Very helpful. Also, great tip on adjusting the height of the plants rather than the lights. I've already realized how difficult it is to adjust the light height and the plants are only a week old!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 3:23PM
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Jayinjay2424

Any suggestions on when to pot up, when to start fertilizer, when to expect true leaves etc. ? Thanks

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 9:51AM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

Hi Jay,

To answer your questions:

When can I expect true leaves to appear? Your first ones should be appearing any time now, probably in the next three or four days. (You might be able to see them starting if you look in the angle where the two cotyledon leaves meet.)

Do these look "too leggy"? ... It's not too late for me to re-seed. and When should I pot up? They do look like they could be a bit leggy, but I wouldn't be too concerned about that at this time, since you will pot up when they have their second set of true leaves. Just plant them deep when you pot up.

And to what size pots? I use 3" "Cowpots î" and they carry through just fine to 6 - 8 weeks when I put them in the garden (actually, they last until 10 or more weeks if I'm late getting them out because of cold weather like last year or other issues.)

When do I start using fertilizer? What kind? Don't. They should be fine with just what is in a quality soilless seed starting medium and then a good soilless growing medium. (Don't get one that says soil, it is not for use in pots and says so on the bag. It's too heavy and does not drain well enough for pots.)

When I do pot up, should I bury them deep like I normally do when transplanting into the garden? Yes. Some people pot up several times. I prefer to do it a single time, partly because of the number of plants I grow, and partly because I want a plant at 6-8 weeks that is 8-12" tall. Plants that are younger seem to adapt to hardening off much better than larger older ones. I have tried both and the smaller ones usually catch up and even pass the larger plants in short order.

I hope that helps.

Betsy

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

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 9:57AM
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Jayinjay2424

Betsy- thank you for your detailed insight. Very helpful. I'll let ya know how they turn out. And yes, I can see tiny leaves beginning in the crevice of the cotyledon leaves. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 11:23AM
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