Need advice...

thirsty_dirt_77(3a)April 28, 2014

My tomato plants are wilting and I'm not sure why...

- tomatoes were seeded on March 30 and were all up within a week
- they are under a grow light with a timer and get 16 hrs of light everyday
- I put a fan on them most days for at least an hr
- a week ago they were transplanted from about an 1.5" seed cell to a 4" pot
- they were always a little yellow and seemed to get better after the were transplanted
- immediately after transplanting they got a drink of diluted (30%) seaweed fertilizer
- they are in the basement were its been a little cooler than normal (60 ish) lately because its warmer outside and the furnace has run less

They seemed to be okay and then after I watered them on the weekend some of them started to wilt and have progressively gotten worse. The older leaves seem to be hit the worst and the newest growth in the middle seem to be hanging in.

is it too cold? delayed transplant injury? too much water or fertilizer? will they recover?

Any advice or input would be appreciated. Thank you!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Potting mix looks dry.
If the mix was bone dry when you transplanted, the mix is hydrophobic -- won't absorb water.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 11:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

It's not the temperature. Cool is good. What type of potting mix are you using? I would use a wooden skewer or dowel or something to test the moisture level in the pot. Just insert the skewer into the pot for a minute or two and remove it and see if it's damp. Damp is good dry is bad. I'd also back off on any fertilizer for now. They should recover, most of the plant still looks ok. If those bottom leaves don't recover soon, remove them.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 12:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Your mix looks like it is mostly peat; peat is infamous for its hydrophobic tendencies.

If you sit each pot in a saucer of water (or put water in the bottom of the tray, if you're using trays), after a while the peat will begin to take up the water. ("A while" might be 20-30 minutes?)

Keep adding water to the sauce (or tray) until the peat is thoroughly moist or the level of the water is no longer falling -- you don't want bone-dry spaces in the middle of the pot. Once all the mix is moist, drain the remaining water from the saucer/tray.

Some of the seedlings will recover; others may not.

Try not to allow the peat to dry out to this extent.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 12:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

The wilt looks like due to thirst. In that case they should perk up after a good drink of water within a day. Some of the lower leaves might not recover. But if watering did not cure then I would suspect some kind of root rotting problem.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 12:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Why does everyone post sideways pics?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 8:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Some say it's how you orient the camera when taking the photo. Others say it's not that. Sometimes different folks say they see the same photo oriented different ways.

There's probably a special Nobel prize awaiting the person who solves the problem....

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 8:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

moisten you mix before potting. Warm water works better.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 9:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"moisten you mix before potting. Warm water works better"

That's good advice Ellen!

I've been boiling my water and wondering if "warm" would work as well as "boiling". It is amazing how much faster the mix will soak up water when it is warmed up. The only downside (for me) is having to wait for it to cool down before planting my seedlings!


    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's odd to think the wilting is from being drying, especially considering it started AFTER being watered (and I always use room temperature water)

That being said, I did given them a heavy water and they aren't getting any worse, the new growth in the center is okay so hopefully they will recover. ** fingers crossed **

When they were transplanted the soil i used was moist and warm and then they were also watered after as well. They were fine after transplanting and showed no signs of shock or root damage.... tomatoes can have a mind of their own sometimes... hopefully these ones decide to stay alive!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yardenman(z7 MD)

Peat is not good seedling soil. You practically have to soak it in boiled water to get it wet. I've been using standard potting soil for years now with great success. Across all the flowers and veggies I started this year (somewhere up to 600), I got 98% growth to transplant size this year.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 2:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

>> Your mix looks like it is mostly peat; peat is infamous for its hydrophobic tendencies

>> Peat is not good seedling soil.

Peat is an excellent germination (seeding) medium, even straight up. Am I right in reading that these seedlings were then transplanted into peat and not something that they could grow in without fertilizer (like dirt?)?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 3:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Peat is an excellent germination (seeding) medium, even straight up.

Peat as one component of a good, balanced, soil-less, seed starting mix is ok for seed starting IF it is properly wetted first. Peat straight up is not as it has all the issues detailed above.

Peat, as one component of a good balanced growing mix is also fine. Transplanting young seedlings into containers of dirt is not a wise move because of damp-off and water retention issues.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 11:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They look like some of mine that got a bit of 'food shock'.
I re-potted in maybe 6 stages due to time and took some quick notes.
The first tray of mine had that slightly crooked stem. I just called it a confused 'core'.
Unbalanced potting up in a light potting mix...And fed at that moment. I think i over-fed.

(i have no idea what i'm talking about)

I stuck a note on that tray, "don't feed". (for a while, at least a week)

Second tray i potted dry plants into warm wet potting mix and bottom fed water till saturated.
I waited to feed the very dilute fish/seaweed a few days.
My best and healthiest tray so far.

My fan, across the room, runs almost all day. Set so they dance and jig a bit.

All looks good now and the early tray has recovered.

-i did lighten my potting mix that felt light at first, then compacted rock hard within a week.
I started about three weeks too soon, and now have an extra 'insurance' tray to pot up.
About half the size of the first run. Will be interesting to see it they catch up with the elders.
-I do not put in ground till June 1st or week of. Aprox have room for 60. The rest go to good adoption homes.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 11:12AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Southern Belle Tomato
I am searching for history on the Southerne Belle tomato....
AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
Newbie at grafting tomatoes
I'm completely new to the procedure (also new to Tomatoes...
You people are a bad influence
I went and bought seeds for mortgage lifter, big beef...
Supermarket Tomato Plants
I planted a few seeds from Supermarket tomatoes because...
topping off tomato plants?
My heirloom tomato plants are usually tall and robust...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™