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Country Discussion Topics
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Problem Growing from seeds
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Neal Stringer    Posted 02-06-2004 at 05:50:14       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I love tomatoes and even though I live in Florida and can buy tomatoes on any street corner I still prefer to raise my own.
I'm sure you smart people can help me with my problem. When I grow tomatoes from seeds they sprout nicely and grow so fast that the stalks are too thin and spindly. They come up very quickly to about 3-4 inches and the stalk cannot support the plant. Can any of you give me any tips on preventing this?
Thanks for your help,


SusanMo    Posted 02-06-2004 at 09:53:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
wow you guys helped me out also...i love trying to grow my own plants from seed but always had the same problem as neal...i usually just gave up and went out and bought the plants already started but to me it just isnt the same as starting them from its a whole lot cheaper

Paula    Posted 02-06-2004 at 08:07:22       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Leggy seedlings are caused by either insufficient light
or the light being too far from the seedling. I use low
tech grow bulbs on a clamp attached to my towel rack
(my half bath becomes my growing room) and put the
grow bulbs RIGHT above the soil and keep the grow
bulb very close to the shoot as it emerges. I give my
seeds about 16hrs of light a day.

That will solve the problem. Besides, when you take
your starts out to the garden (don't forget to harden
them off) you can bury tomato stems - they'll root right


Neal    Posted 02-06-2004 at 08:36:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thanks, I remember days back in the early 80's where I put a lot of attention to some other seeds I used to sprout. But then again weeds are easy to grow.
Got some great ideas here, I'll get busy on them.


hay    Posted 02-06-2004 at 07:34:03       [Reply]  [No Email]
dampening off disease will cause the young sprouts to grow very rapidly and spindly and then fall over and die. the stems will look slightly waterlogged before they fall over. it is a soil borne organism and it is best to steralize the soil before planting seeds or use a commercial potting mix. once the dampening off affects the plants there is no cure. just start over will new seed and sterile soil. also make sure that your grow lights are in close range of the newly sprouted plants (no more than 6 inches above them) and the temperature is fairly constant warm.

Greg Vt    Posted 02-06-2004 at 07:11:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
They will gow nicely under a four foot florescent fixture. Don't bother with the higher priced "grow bulbs" just use regular 40w tubes and lower the fixture to a couple inches above the plants. Don't waste your time with incandescent.

The fan idea will promote root growth and heavier stocks also.

Alias    Posted 02-06-2004 at 07:42:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
Greg, thank you for correcting me about those light. I feel like a fool, but I made a mistake. Instead of Incandecant, what I really meant was floursent. I got to tell you, this thing of getting old and not being able to remember, (mind block), sucks out loud. Thanks again.....gfp

Greg VT    Posted 02-06-2004 at 12:20:28       [Reply]  [No Email]
I did not mean to make you sound like a fool. I had not seen your post referring to incandescence when I posted my thoughts. If I had I would have chosen my words a little more carefully.

I apologize if I sounded like I was belittling your thoughts.

I work for a company that sells gardening supplies and seed starting equipment and we sell just about any kind of bulb that someone thought they could market as a grow bulb. The wife and I have tested most of em through the years and have yet to find any that do a signifcantly better job then a standard florescent for vegetative growth.

I envy you folks who are starting their plants already. We have at least a month, month and a half before the tomatoes are started around here.

Neal    Posted 02-06-2004 at 07:14:27       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Once again, thanks for all the help. I'll employ these ideas and see how it works out.
You people are nice to be so helpful.


Alias    Posted 02-06-2004 at 07:04:48       [Reply]  [No Email]
Too much heat will cause plants, not just tomatoes, to grow fast. When they get too much heat, and are compelled to stretch for light, they become spindly.

the best thing I've found to combat this problem is to use grow lights. These are incandecent tube lights that produce less heat than the standard tubes. You can learn all about them from seed supplier catalogs. Do a search for "Seeds" and you'll be suprised at what you'll find.

Another suggestion is to set the plant near a window for light. But, rotate them two or three times a day to counteract the stretching. Also, be sure they do not receive more than 10 hours light per day. They need the dark to rest and grow strong. So, if you're growing them in an area that remains lighted during the evening, cover them with two or more layers of black plastic or anything that will block out the light.
Hope this helps..........gfp

Neal    Posted 02-06-2004 at 06:37:57       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Ok, I think you guys are right. They are stretching for the light. Not only did they grow tall but were leaning to the window areas about 10 feet away. I did start them in the house. I needed to because they had to have the warm temperature to germinate.
I have the info I need to make them better now.
thanks to all,


No problem....    Posted 02-06-2004 at 07:03:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
just send fresh maters to us anytime.... :^)

CAH    Posted 02-06-2004 at 06:33:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
Do you start them indoors or outdoors? That is a typical problem when started indoors when the light source is too far away from the seedlings. The light source needs to be within an inch or two at the most. What is happening is the seedlings are trying to "reach up" to the light source and basicaly stretch themselfs out too far. They will not be healthy plants. If you are starting them outdoors I would suggest instead to get them going indoors until they are stout, healthy plants and then transplant outdoors. Good luck.

deadcarp    Posted 02-06-2004 at 06:11:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
that can be caused by mold (like tobacco mold from handling) getting on the stems but more likely they're getting too much water. just give them what they want. think about it, thin stems are stretching for sunlight.

Have ya.....    Posted 02-06-2004 at 06:00:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
tried putting stakes in with plants and tie-wrap em to the stakes?

Neal    Posted 02-06-2004 at 06:05:11       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Wow, I guess I could do that but it would be very tedious since the plants are so small. Is that what people do? I stake my plants when they are big and even cage them. I never thought to stake them at such a tender age.
I have in the past kept a fan blowing on small plants to strengthen the stems. I may try that also.

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