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Can leggy plants be saved?

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Can leggy plants be saved?

Post  rob.emenaker on 3/8/2010, 11:48 am

I am growing my second flat of seeds indoors and in the last couple of days, my seedlings have shot up and are inordinately tall. One even fell over and broke as a result Sad I know what my problem is. I constructed a grow light with a fluorescent grow bulb and I should probably add a full-spectrum daylight bulb to that as well. Also, I have the bulb way too high...I am guessing 9" or 10" and I need to move it down. So I know how to remedy the issue I think, but what do I do about my seedlings? Is there something I can do to help them now?

Thanks...
Rob Emenaker
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Re: Can leggy plants be saved?

Post  plb on 3/8/2010, 12:00 pm

I'm having the same problem, I'm looking forward to expert advice... From what I read, some plants I think can be salvaged, for others if you have time it might be better to restart and make sure you get healthy, strong plants. For instance there is advice to plant cabbages just below the bottom leaves, which makes me think you can salvage those by planting them deep when you move them to their final place. But I've seen the opposite advice for broccoli (i.e. do not plant it lower than it was originally) so probably those cannot be salvaged.

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Re: Can leggy plants be saved?

Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/8/2010, 1:44 pm

If they are small seedlings, I use toothpicks or bamboo skewers to help hold them erect. Most plants can be planted deeper than they grow in the flats, especially tomatoes and peppers. Don't know about the brassicas. Oops - be back with more reply -- thunderstorm rolling in and I need to cut off computer.

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Re: Can leggy plants be saved?

Post  rob.emenaker on 3/8/2010, 1:46 pm

Yeah the broccoli is the "leggiest" at about 2-3", but the rest are salvageable I think. I have the day off tomorrow and I am going to build a brand spanking new seed-starting shelf with plenty of adjustable light. I am learning as I go, but so far I am having a total blast with this.
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Re: Can leggy plants be saved?

Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/8/2010, 4:09 pm

I spoke to a professional greenhouse owner a couple of weeks ago and he said most plants will get leggy under most grow lights. He told me to put them outside anytime we have a sunny day above 40 degrees.

I do use lights, and I've had the best luck with the 23 - 27 watt compact twist fluorescent that are rated 6500K placed in brooder reflective light fixtures. They seem to put out more light than the flourescent tubes. I place the lights no more than 2" above the plants. I currently have 4 of these light fixtures almost touching each other above two flats in a south facing window, so some light gets in that way as well.

I was unable to find 6500K bulbs locally, so purchased on-line, but the larger stores probably have them.

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Cold Frames

Post  SirTravers on 3/10/2010, 3:17 pm

another thing that helps with seedlings is using a cold frame. Once your seedlings get their first or second set of leaves you can move them into a cold frame. This will allow them to get real sunlight and provide a moderate temperature so they don't freeze or overheat. That way your seedlings can harden off and you have more room to start new seedlings indoors.... Ooooh a Square Foot Cold Frame!!!! The gears are turning now.

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Travis

Post  boffer on 3/10/2010, 3:48 pm

I like your thinking...

I'm currently in the middle of an experiment:

Modified SFG vs. cold frame

I planted the same seeds on the same day in each one on 2/20

The differences are stark already. I promised myself I would wait 30 days from planting to post pics. I'm excited about my design and what I may be able to do with it.
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30 Days?!

Post  SirTravers on 3/10/2010, 4:02 pm

30 Days?!......1......um...1......stil 1......ACK!!!!!
Put a webcam on em! Grass growing might be boring but garden stuff growing is quality entertainment!

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Re: Can leggy plants be saved?

Post  boffer on 3/10/2010, 4:05 pm

LOL only 10 days to go!
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Re: Can leggy plants be saved?

Post  plb on 3/11/2010, 7:45 am

Here's what the Harrod Horticultural website in the UK has to make an SFG into a cold frame or almost a greenhouse:
http://www.harrodhorticultural.com/HarrodSite/search/product/Plant+Protection_Cloches/GCF-050.htm
http://www.harrodhorticultural.com/HarrodSite/search/product/New_Products/GNE-103.htm

Both are removable, I'm thinking I might buy the PVC cover one... I bought the raised beds from them, with removable hoops and insect mesh cover, and they seem very good.
They don't mention SFG in their website, but their measuments are perfect for SFG beds.
I thought it might give some ideas to the US guys...

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plb

Post  boffer on 3/11/2010, 11:32 am

plb,
you're right, those look perfect for a SFG. But if I had that kind of money, I'd go on a cruise!
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Re: Can leggy plants be saved?

Post  plb on 3/11/2010, 11:56 am

Boffer, if you're good at DIY you can take inspiration and build them yourself. Unfortunately, I'm hopeless at DIY and either I buy stuff or I do without!

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Re: Can leggy plants be saved?

Post  miinva on 3/15/2011, 1:31 pm

I know this is an old thread, but I'm wondering, did Boffer ever post the results of the experiment? If so, I'd love to know where Smile

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