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watering tomato seedlings

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watering tomato seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 3/28/2013, 3:17 pm

So I was wondering how often you should water tomato seedlings. I've been watering them from the bottom and also spraying the topsoil with a spray bottle, trying to be careful not to get the leaves wet. I let them sit in the water for 5-10 minutes before removing them. Is that long enough to get them good and watered? (They definitely feel heavier.) Then I don't water for the next day or two. (I'm afraid of overwatering, as I read that kills more seedlings than anything.)

I noticed a couple of the plants have some slight yellowing on the leaves, and a couple of other ones have some yellow spotting. I *think* this may be due to those leaves (with spots) being squeezed against a neighboring cup, but I can't be sure. I tried to take pictures, but they aren't coming out well enough to see what I'm talking about. I've examined the leaves and underneath the leaves with a magnifying glass, and I don't see any bugs. I have seen sand gnats flying around though, on occasion.

Any suggestions? They have only been outside once or twice about 10 days ago. Could it be insufficient light, or too much light? Or too little water? Or some deficiency in something?

I have them under grow lights, but I have to keep moving them around because I don't have enough for all the plants to get equal light directly underneath the lights. I think they still have pretty good exposure though.

When I transplanted them, I used Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil, and I sprayed the roots with a root activator I got at the hydroponics store. They look healthy otherwise, and are growing like crazy.

Thanks bunches!

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  HillbillyBob on 3/28/2013, 4:15 pm

what size are they??what size pots are you using? Shocked

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 3/28/2013, 7:02 pm

They are in the large red, plastic dixie cups. The plants are about 4" tall from the soil line. (When I repotted, I buried as much of the stem as I could, as close to the new leaves.) I think they all have two nice sets of true leaves, with more sprouting in some plants. Maybe I should try uploading some pictures. I'll go try again to get some good shots of the leaves.

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 3/28/2013, 7:32 pm

So how the heck do I upload a picture. I followed the whole "host it" instructions, but nothing is happening.

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  camprn on 3/28/2013, 7:35 pm

A few photos sure would help to try to figure out what is going on. Looking forward to them. Very Happy
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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/28/2013, 7:44 pm

You can also use an image hosting site like PhotoBucket or Image Shack. The accounts are free and a fantastic way to keep progress of your garden adventures. Especially when you're a poor note keeper like me.

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 3/28/2013, 7:52 pm

See how much lighter the leaves are on this plant than the ones around it? I have a few like that.)

Brown spots on leaf


This one has a funky soft brown spot on the leaf. There was another one like this also, and I plucked the leaf off because I wasn't sure what it was.


Here is another one with light colored leaves. I thought maybe it was the type of tomato, but they are all different varieties.


There are a couple more, but I don't want to overload you. Smile

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  camprn on 3/28/2013, 8:03 pm

The paler tomato plant, there is a possibility it is a different variety, however if the leaf continues to yellow and the veins remain a darker color, this is a condition called chlorosis and is an indication of a nutrient deficiency. Google it and click images. It will appear a bit different for different nutrients that the plant in not taking up.

The brown spot and leaf curl, that almost looks like water damage and not really a disease process. Remove and throw away (not compost)the effected leaves and watch for any similar symptoms.

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 3/28/2013, 8:09 pm

Thanks camprn! I thought I had read about nutrient deficiencies causing leaves to yellow, but I planted them all in the same potting mix. So I thought it might not be getting enough light or water or something. Anyway. Off to google some pics.

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  camprn on 3/28/2013, 8:10 pm

Keep in mind, it may really be a different type of tomato plant.

Also, keep in mind that the nutrients may be in the soil, but if the pH is off the plant may not be able to take it up. Also, do not over water.

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 3/28/2013, 10:22 pm

I thought it might be the plant, but when I looked at the labels on the cups, they are different (the leaves do appear very similar however). Soooo, unless maybe I made a mistake and labeled them wrong (which is totally possible), I think it's something else.

I read that you can make a foliar spray to direct feed the leaves/plant, but I'm confused about what to use. Any suggestions there?

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  camprn on 3/28/2013, 10:49 pm

Yes, I would wait to see if the symptoms develop any further, if not, there is likely no problem.

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  quiltbea on 3/29/2013, 12:33 am

I, too, bottom water my seedlings. I put about a half inch of water in the waterproof tray and let the seedlings drink it up. When the tray is dry, I add another half inch and continue this way. They seem to do great for me.
I make air-pruning cups which is actually just a slit cut up about 2" from the 4 holes I make around my soda cup or bottle bottoms.

The weight of the soil will open the slit slightly. It keeps the roots from girdling because roots stop growing when they hit the air. Makes transplanting easy, no damage to roots.

I find that some plants just get a bit lighter than their sisters for awhile so I wouldn't worry unless they are getting weak and spindly or get strange spots. If one leaf looks strange, remove it and toss in the trash in case its the start of something you don't want to spread.

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 3/29/2013, 6:04 pm

quiltbea, in bottom watering, is it possible to overwater? I usually water every 3 days or so, and I allow the plants to dry out a little before watering again. I watered them today, but I was forced to leave for about 2 hours before I could get all the water out of all of the trays, and some of the plants were left in water for that time. As soon as I got home I went out and emptied the water. The soil is very wet, but not soggy. Do you think they'll be OK or do I need to do some damage control with paper towels?

Also, I thought I would show you guys my plants, since I've learned how to add pictures. What a Face

This is the whole bunch.



These were grown in peat pellets. I transplanted them 12 days after sprouting, and they all had one set of true leaves and were pretty big.



More started in peat pellets...



Ditto peat pellets...



These were started in coconut coir. They were transplanted about two weeks after sprouting. They all had one set of true leaves and were a good size.



More coconut coir transplants...



These were started in small peat pots with Jiffy Seed Starting Mix. This bunch was transplanted before anything else, about about 10 days after sprouting. I'm concerned about these, because they were very slow growing in the beginning. They didn't have any true leaves yet but I repotted them anyway to give them more room. Once I repotted them they took off. I need to redo this tray because there are still two plants in each cell. Might do that tonight.



These are more of the small peat pots transplanted two days after the previous ones (12 days after sprouting). Again, once transplanted, they started to take off. These have one plant per cell.



Ditto...



These are the last ones to be transplanted, and the ones I'm most concerned about whether they will grow into good tomato plants, because they weren't transplanted as soon as the other ones. The roots were very good, but there wasn't much growth up top. They are beginning to get true leaves though, so I'm hoping they'll be OK. They were transplanted about 16 or 17 days after sprouting.





I know that is a LOT of tomato plants! I'm growing them for myself and someone else though, and I'm going to be giving a lot of them to my fiance' who lives in North Carolina. So, they aren't all mine. I also didn't expect all of them to come up. Everyone said to plant twice as many I wanted. Anyway. You can never have too many tomatoes, especially if they are GOOD tomatoes! What a Face

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  quiltbea on 3/29/2013, 6:42 pm

jazzycat.....I can't say whether they can be overwatered or not. I imagine if you fill the bottom tray too much, they could.
I never put in so much water that I had to empty any out. I just put about a half inch in the bottom tray and leave it. When its sucked up and the bottom tray is dry, I add another half inch of water. If they have enuf water, they don't suck up all the water. I've never emptied any out.
Sorry I can't be more helpful.

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/29/2013, 6:47 pm

Your plants look nice from where I sit Wink I usually wait till the cups feel pretty light when I pick them up and then water. I'm sure they'll be fine, just let your plants dry out a bit. I followed quiltbea's suggestion of slitting the cups and they work fantastic. But yes, I hope my plants look as good as yours this year.

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 3/29/2013, 7:35 pm

Thanks Rooster! carrot

I feel pretty good because I've never grown anything from seed before. What a Face

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  johnsonjlj on 3/30/2013, 6:39 am

Great looking start, jazzycat! I started everything from seed this year, too! Be glad you planted twice as many as you needed. I didn't and one of the tomato varieties I really wanted to try was upended and trampled by black lab enthusiasm (otherwise known as my son's 2 year old lab, Belle).

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/30/2013, 8:09 am

@jazzycat wrote:Thanks Rooster! carrot

I feel pretty good because I've never grown anything from seed before. What a Face

You should feel. Your plants look great! It's am amazing process what transforms from such tiny seeds isn't it?

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 3/30/2013, 10:39 pm

So I think I may actually know what the problem is. We have sand gnats here. I have seen gnats flying around the plants. I had no idea they could do damage, but just now I happened upon a product that is for fungal gnat control. I googled it (the gnat and damage) to see what it looked like, and the pictures look almost exactly like the leaves on my plants that I'm worried about. And the pictures of the gnats themselves look exactly like the gnats I've seen/killed flying around the plants. Soooo, I'm going to be buying some organic gnat killing solution. Since I know there are gnats, that seems the most likely thing.

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treating fungal gnats with hydrogen peroxide/water solution

Post  jazzycat on 3/31/2013, 12:10 am

So in doing a little research, I found out that if I put slices of potatoes in the containers, the larvae will come up within a few hours, and then I will know for sure if that's what it is. I also discovered that I can treat it with a simple solution of one part hydrogen peroxide and three parts water. Has anyone else heard of this before? It sounds harmless enough.

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  HillbillyBob on 4/1/2013, 10:51 am

well did you try the hydrogen peroxide treatment??did it work ? thinking

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 4/7/2013, 11:57 pm

I did try the hydrogen peroxide, and it appears to have helped. I also got some beneficial nematodes that I treated them with tonight. I have been mad crazy building self-watering containers the last two days and hopefully tomorrow/Tuesday I will have the raised bed/s finished and everything planted, and I will have photos for you. Very Happy My fiance' is in town helping me. He's awesome. And brilliant. Very Happy As I write, he's designing a self-watering, raised bed for me. What a Face

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 4/8/2013, 12:04 am

@johnsonjlj wrote:Great looking start, jazzycat! I started everything from seed this year, too! Be glad you planted twice as many as you needed. I didn't and one of the tomato varieties I really wanted to try was upended and trampled by black lab enthusiasm (otherwise known as my son's 2 year old lab, Belle).

My fiance's puppy got into two of the small flats today and smashed a few of the plants. I'm hoping most of them recover. I did have to pull a couple of them out though.

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Re: watering tomato seedlings

Post  HillbillyBob on 4/8/2013, 12:11 pm

I would like to see your self watering designs for both the containers and the raised beds, yep them seedlings recover most of the time, I've dropped a few here and there, I've only got one hand and it doesn't always work right so lots of things hit the floor around my place Twisted Evil Rolling Eyes
thanks

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