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Seedlings have a long stem

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Seedlings have a long stem

Post  Zephyros on 3/15/2011, 4:20 am

Hi, I've got a question about my seedlings. I am growing radish and carrot, that is only they have sprouted yet. And these seedlings have very long stems (~7 cm) and 2 leaves in top. And I have the feeling that this is not normal. I can't recall that when my mom seeding radish, they had such a long stem. So what is happening to them and what to do about it? For now I am growing them indoors, because it is still a bit chilly over here. Do you think it might be possible that the room is too dark and to hot, or might it be something else?

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Re: Seedlings have a long stem

Post  LaFee on 3/15/2011, 5:19 am

that's what we mean when we talk in English about a plant getting "leggy" --


Here's a thread that talks about helping them along:

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t194-can-leggy-plants-be-saved

40 degrees F = 5 degrees C -- so especially radishes and carrots should be okay to put out now with a fleece.

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Re: Seedlings have a long stem

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/15/2011, 1:33 pm

I have had issues, too. But, here is what I've learned to double check. (That thread LaFee linked is solid gold by the way)

- How close are your lights?
- How long are they on? And, do your plants get a "night?"
- How old are your lights?
- How is the temperature in the starting area?
- If using a seed mat, or anything else, for heat....do you let it cool off at "night?"

I swear that last one is HUGE! I have had no issues since. All thanks to this article Staf74, I think, passed along to me in yet another thread about leggy seedlings....

http://www.hillgardens.com/seeds-whats-wrong.htm

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Re: Seedlings have a long stem

Post  Zephyros on 3/16/2011, 3:52 am

That was a very informative website, because I didn't get any wiser from the topic LaFee posted. They where only talking on what to do next. About this lamp and everything, I don't have these. I am only starting to grow vegetables, to see if I like it, so I will not spend money on those things for the moment. It might be possible that the ratio heat/ light is not very well. Since I am going to seed my next batch today, I will put them somewhere else, to see if it goes better. At least now I know where the long skinny growing depends on.

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Re: Seedlings have a long stem

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/16/2011, 9:41 am

Growing seeds indoors can be quite a committment, financially, when you look into it deeper.

Many recommend normal flourescent lights instead of official grow lights, but others swear by the full spectrum grow lights. I can only attest to having the regular shop lights, and I seem to be doing fine. But, like I said, you have to watch how old the lights are because they lose a little pop over time. Those lights can be fairly expensive...running from the $20 range and above apiece.

Building a stand to hold the light can be even more money on top of that. However, I've seen some pretty ingenius designs for those old VHS and BetaMax tapes....and that method is fully adjustable as your plants grow!

Then, you have a seed heating mat to buy...if you choose (totally optional). I bought one because my basement runs at about 59-61F and that won't get tomatoes or peppers started well. I don't use it for my lettuce, peas, etc. A mat will run another $20...minimum....more for bigger ones.

Of course, you don't just buy seeds, you now need cups or peat pellets or some other medium. Then, you need dirt most likely to transfer some of these guys into when they get a little bigger but are still too vulnerable to go outside....like tomatoes. Shoot, if you go my way and start your plants in vermiculite, you are going to shell out for another bag of the stuff because you won't be any smarter than me (pointing fake finger gun to head..lol) and will dump all the vermiculite you have into your garden before stopping yourself and saving some for seed starting. Duuuh. However, that's another one-time-expense if you get that far because you will be reusing vermiculite since it's such a precious commodity and has no organic property to it. Just dry it out and dump it back in a container when you are sure it's dry.

My rough guess is that you can spend from $50 to $100 on a seed starting station if you try and do it on the cheap. If you are really lucky, like I fell you-know-what-backwards into, you can inherit a crazy work station your dad built for your mom and she held onto for 25 years because she never throws anything away.....but somehow I think that's a pretty specific case. I only bought the seed starting mat, peat pellets, vermiculite, several lengths of chain to make my lights adjustable, and a bag of potting mix......that is minimal and ran me $40-$50.

Again, though, gardening is all about planning. If you want to start seeds indoors, you buy things now or work your way up to it by stuffing that mattress with quarters and nickels until you get there.

None of us are made of endless money. I have done a lot to set up the garden this year. But, it has come directly at the expense of landscaping I wanted to do last fall. I wanted some annual flowers, more hostas, some forsythia bushes, and landscaping bricks and mulch to dress things up around the house. Guess what? None of that got bought.

And, in preparation for this, I pilfered a ton of Black-eyed Susan and Coneflower stalks from around town when they turned brown. I put them in a trash bag, brought them home, and sprinkled them around the beds I hope to use for butterflies and wildflowers in the future. So, we'll see how that works out.

You do with what you have....and save for what you don't. It's really pretty simple. It's just all a process....hmmmm, like gardening.

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Re: Seedlings have a long stem

Post  Megan on 3/16/2011, 9:49 am

Hi Zephyros,

Neither radishes nor carrots like to be transplanted, and I can say for sure that radishes are not good with heat. Radish seed leaves should be just 1-1.5 cm above the soil...I missed my carrots' seed leaf stage last year, but most of my plants' first seed leaves were within about 3 cm of the soil surface.

Like BackyardBirdGardener says, seed starting indoors can be very expensive. I tried it on the cheap last year with a single incandescent grow-bulb and a Jiffy tray, and it did not go well (as you might imagine. Smile ) But I also started everything OUTSIDE, from seed, direct-planted. I figured the seed would germinate when exterior conditions met its growing requirements. This turned out to be dependable, but gave me a later harvest that people who started their transplants indoors. This had both pros and cons. The con, of course, was a later harvest on some things. The pros were that I seemed to miss the worst of the insect problems, for some plants, and I also got to harvest later into the fall than some neighbors I spoke to.

BBG: If you Google around, you may be able to find very inexpensive, or free, seed for plants to attract butterflies. There are a few links around here, I'll see what I can find.

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Re: Seedlings have a long stem

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/16/2011, 9:54 am

BBG: If you Google around, you may be able to find very inexpensive, or free, seed for plants to attract butterflies. There are a few links around here, I'll see what I can find.

Thanks. That would be great! Butterflies and bees are sort the last piece to the puzzle of the BackyardBirdGarden....lol.

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Re: Seedlings have a long stem

Post  Megan on 3/16/2011, 10:14 am

Bees and butterflies are easy... those are what I started with! Very Happy Birds soon follow. Sage is very dependable for bees, as is salvia and bee balm.

Here's one:
http://www.livemonarch.com/free-milkweed-seeds.htm

Also, this Google search turned up a number of possibilities:
http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=free+seeds+butterfly+bee

Sorry about the link hi-jack. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled long-stem seedling programming.... . Smile

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Re: Seedlings have a long stem

Post  Zephyros on 3/24/2011, 7:15 am

So I relocated my seedlings. First they where standing on a table near the window (at least I thought it was near). Now I've put them on the windowsill which is facing south (very sunny part over here). They are growing much better now. But we also had a few nice days here.

I understand that it might be hard to transplant radish and carrot. But I am trying a sowing method I read about in a book about propagating plants. It is called multiblock sowing and it is supposed to reduce the amount of root disturbance as much as possible. According to the book you can do it with small rooted vegetables. It was stated that you can do it with round rooted carrots (which I have, they are Paris Market), and although it is not stated you can do it with radish, I wanted to try it. Because if it works, it would mean that I can sow ~3-5 times more in a square feet. And I like that because I haven't a lot of space and I like radish a lot.

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Re: Seedlings have a long stem

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