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starts that don't look fully healthy--should I plant?

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starts that don't look fully healthy--should I plant?

Post  Lollypop9 on 4/13/2011, 5:23 pm

I have a lot of starts in little pots and because it has been snowing here they have stayed indoors longer than it probably good for them (not much windowseal for sunlight)- my 3 little tomato plants already flowered and look pretty good though they wilt and perk up often since they are in tiny amounts of dirt in their black carry case..I have another tomato plant that has some brown crumbly leaves--but it doesn't necessarily look like root rot or a disease--my cilantros are both VERY yellow leaves.

as for watering--do I water VERY often when I have little starts inside with little amount of water? I already threw some herbs away because the roots turned brown so now I'm trying to keep them not watered as often..but can't seem to figure it out! is wilting at a certain amount of day okay or should they be crisp all the time? that would be watering my tomatoes a couple times a day.

also the starts are not in mel's mix so maybe that has to do with it? (like the cilantro's little amount of soil is out of nutrients so the leaves are yellow?!) I need to get them outside but it's going to snow again today--ah!!! dumb weather! help..

oh and should I try and shake off all the nursery's dirt that is around the starts and THEN put in MM after cutting the bottom of the roots that are container shaped now?!

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Re: starts that don't look fully healthy--should I plant?

Post  dizzygardener on 4/13/2011, 5:37 pm

I'd be willing to bet that the only thing wrong with your starts is that they are stressed out.

How long before you can move them outside? If it is going to be another couple weeks you should pot them up into larger pots filled with MM or similar. This will provide them with a nutrient source and will encourage growth.

Regarding watering, you want to keep the soil moist but let the top dry out a little between waterings. The easiest way to make sure you aren't over watering is to water from the bottom. Just set your trays down in about a half inch of water and let them sit there until the top of the soil is moist. The growing medium will only suck up as much water as it can hold then it will stop. Watering from the bottom encourages strong root structures.

When you pot up or transplant your seedlings take a look at the root ball. If the roots are dense and wrapping about the dirt they are root bound. You'll need to loosen the roots a bit before replanting them otherwise the plant will strangle itself. Mel actually recommends trimming the roots before you transplant. See page 125 of the All New SFG book.
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Re: starts that don't look fully healthy--should I plant?

Post  Lollypop9 on 4/13/2011, 8:14 pm

thanks for answering! do I need to worry about putting the dirt from the nursery in my sq ft garden?

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Re: starts that don't look fully healthy--should I plant?

Post  dizzygardener on 4/13/2011, 8:53 pm

That depends on whether or not your plants are diseased or infested with insects. IF they are diseased or infested, transplanting them soil and all will spread that through out your MM.

IF you believe your plants to be healthy but stressed, I don't see a problem with you transplanting them soil and all.
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Re: starts that don't look fully healthy--should I plant?

Post  Lollypop9 on 4/13/2011, 10:54 pm

does it put more stress on the plants to shake our the existing dirt?! I mean to be safe could I do it with all of them or would it be better to just put the soil in? what if it has weed seeds, etc?!

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Re: starts that don't look fully healthy--should I plant?

Post  middlemamma on 4/13/2011, 11:20 pm

With my starts this year, I noticed as soon as they were at the point to need to be potted up they would start to turn yellow.

As soon as I potted them up and they had more room to stretch their roots they greened right back up.

I bet dizzy is right and they either need potting up or just to be put in the garden. Smile
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Re: starts that don't look fully healthy--should I plant?

Post  dizzygardener on 4/14/2011, 12:34 am

@Lollypop9 wrote:does it put more stress on the plants to shake our the existing dirt?! I mean to be safe could I do it with all of them or would it be better to just put the soil in? what if it has weed seeds, etc?!

Anytime you disturb the roots of a plant you put stress on them. So, you'd only want to do to the roots what was necessary. It is not necessary to rinse the soil out unless there is disease or insect infestation and you are trying to save the plant instead of throw it away. I doubt very seriously you'll need to worry about weeds...
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Re: starts that don't look fully healthy--should I plant?

Post  SFG in Chicago on 4/14/2011, 12:51 am

If you're still getting snow it's too early to plant out tomatoes, they don't tolerate frost at all. It sounds like you need to pot them up though, and if possible get an inexpensive fluorescent shop light for them.

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Re: starts that don't look fully healthy--should I plant?

Post  Lollypop9 on 4/14/2011, 12:55 am

I was going to put the waterwalls around the tomatoes (and plant some more later) to see what happens. when you say plant up---do I get how much larger of pots to have? also--what's the easiest set up of lights for plants?! I do have room in my garage -where I could lay them out?! where would I get a cheap light and how do I hang it? set it up?

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Re: starts that don't look fully healthy--should I plant?

Post  dizzygardener on 4/14/2011, 1:08 am

Generally, you go up one maybe two inches in diameter.

As far as light do, well that depends on the space you have are things you might already have at your disposal.

Basically you need an inexpensive shoplight with chains. Two full spectrum lights.
something to hang the chains from.

Google "grow light set up" for some ideas on how to set it up.

I used used 3/4" PVC pipe to create a stand for my 4' lights.
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Re: starts that don't look fully healthy--should I plant?

Post  SFG in Chicago on 4/14/2011, 1:09 am

I haven't tried the Wall of Water, so I can't attest to those. They may help with a light frost but not with a hard freeze I wouldn't think.

As for potting up, it's hard to say what size you need without seeing the plants, also depends on how long before you're going to plant out. Anything bigger would help though.

I got shop lights from Home Depot last year for I want to say around $10, not including the bulbs. They are the kind that hang from chains. I rigged them up on one of those wire shelving units hanging them by the chains (Used S hooks to attach to the wire shelving) so I could adjust the height as the plants grew.

You may also want to consider pinching off the flowers so they aren't spending energy on trying to produce fruit while they're stressed.

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Re: starts that don't look fully healthy--should I plant?

Post  Lollypop9 on 4/14/2011, 11:36 am

i think you are right about stress---the cilantro that I was almost goingto toss because it is all yellow--the roots at the bottom of the conatiner are out of control!!!

do seedlings need light or can I atleast do those without a shop light?

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Re: starts that don't look fully healthy--should I plant?

Post  SFG in Chicago on 4/14/2011, 11:27 pm

Yes, they need light as soon as they sprout.

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