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Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

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Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  NHGardener on 4/17/2011, 12:41 pm

I'm going to throw this out to the whole forum instead of just my region.

I made some mistakes and ended up with 4" tall spindly broccoli, eggplant and tomato seedlings (the peppers were slower to grow so I think I can avoid spindling on those).

The question is, can I mound up the dirt around the seedlings that are fallen over, or should I just pull them and start from scratch?

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  camprn on 4/17/2011, 12:51 pm

It's still early enough and chilly enough to start over. Go for it! Recycle the blocks and just do it!!! I know it takes courage, but it will be worth it! Wink

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/17/2011, 1:15 pm

I, too, had some spindly broccoli. Now, I "staked" them with toothpicks....lol. And, I transplanted them a tad deeper. They started slow, but they are really going now. Two of them are almost 8-10" tall and about to fill their square!

But, I would also start over with some new ones, too.....just in case.

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  quiltbea on 4/17/2011, 1:24 pm

I think its late to restart cool-season crops in your area now. This week and next cool seedlings should be going outdoors.

I'd prop them one way or another. All of them should be buried deeper when they go out in the garden, so do it now and try to save what you can.

Good luck.

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  GlassHen on 4/17/2011, 3:00 pm

I had some very leggy tomatoes and broccoli a week ago. I transplanted them to bigger pots and buried most of the stems (about 75-85% of the stems) on both. I knew that was common with tomatoes. I wasn't sure about the broccoli but I did it anyway. They are both doing great today and look very strong. It doesn't hurt to try to save them.

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  NHGardener on 4/17/2011, 6:51 pm

Thank you all - you are so encouraging!

The biggest spindlers are the broccoli, eggplant and tomatoes. I think I may try moving them to bigger containers (plastic cups) and bury them more. The peppers, actually, were slower to germinate so I have the light on them now and I think they can be saved. I think I'll start new tomatoes also, because I really want to make sure they are productive this summer. (I carefully chose the 5 types I wanted from tomatofest.com and can't bear not to see them produce.)

Wow. Who knew indoor seeding was so tough? I didn't put nearly enough thought into my indoor grow set-up, especially the lighting. Makes you really appreciate all the work the sun does.

The outdoor seeding ought to be a cinch compared to this. (I HOPE.)

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  quiltbea on 4/17/2011, 7:26 pm

When I started SFG in 2009 there was no way I would tackle indoor seed starting after getting my boxes ready. I thought it would be too much and I'd get discouraged right out of the gate.
I just bought store-bought seedlings that first year and started all those that I could outdoors with seeds.

I was very happy with the outcome so got adventurous in 2010 and started my own seeds. Its tricky sometimes but if you start lots, there's bound to be some that make it just fine.
I applaud you for tackling the whole shezam!

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  NHGardener on 4/17/2011, 7:45 pm

quiltbea, once again that is excellent advice. Next time, I will start many more than this, leaving more room for error.

In our part of the country, with the shorter growing season, it just makes sense to either grow your own seeds or buy starter plants for the long growing season plants.

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  Miss Mousie on 4/17/2011, 7:50 pm

Quiltbea, that's where I am. I was so overwhelmed by the whole idea of planting seedlings indoors that I've procrastinated until I'm nearly out of time. My husband took a couple of tomato seeds from an heirloom tomato that we bought at the grocery store planted them in those little peat moss things and sticks them in the window each morning and takes them out at night and they are 3 or 4 inches tall now. We even took them on vacation with us to visit relatives. We named them Bob and Not Bob. Here I was thinking that I have to have a grow light and a warming mat and he just sticks some seeds in dirt and viola!

Do the seedlings get spindly from not using a grow light and just using a sunny window?

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  Old Hippie on 4/17/2011, 7:59 pm

You took them on vacation?!?!! That is hysterical. That even beats naming them. Who was it slept with hers beside the bed?

I love how crazy people get once they start growing things. Are you sure all you are growing is veggies?

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  quiltbea on 4/17/2011, 9:04 pm

Miss Mousie,
Getting spindly depends. If they don't get enough light, either by sunlight or track lighting, they will get spindly. The window doesn't always work but some have great luck with it if they have a south facing window. Also atop the refrigerator where heat rises and stays is a good place to germinate, but after that they need a good light source. Some have a porch with lots of windows.
There are several factors that help or impede growing seeds indoors.
Good luck with 'the kids' that went on vacation with you.
That's hilarious.

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spindly

Post  westie42 on 4/17/2011, 9:49 pm

Over the years I have had many things go spindly and have salvaged nearly all of them. They seem to usually do just as well by harvest time. I do repot much of what I start and set it all deeper or just heap more soil in the same starting container. Yes some even get a toothpick for support or a bamboo skewer is a more excellent treatment for taller growers. Things that I do a good job of managing under gro lights have far less problems getting spindly, light seems to be a key factor in getting strong plants. I hate the work and the disappointment in myself by starting over. But my stubbornness also makes me eat everything I cook no matter how bad I screw it up. Self punishment is the best teacher in my case. Probably if they were mine and this year some of mine are spindly I would either force as much soil around them as possible for support or repot setting them deeper fully expecting strengthened stalks and a better root system.

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  NHGardener on 4/17/2011, 10:33 pm

westie - I will certainly try and I'll report back on whether they survive or not.

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spindly

Post  westie42 on 4/18/2011, 12:26 am

Guess I should have added that there is a reasonable limit to just how spindly they can get and still make revival worth while and that is a matter of eyeball and experience. If some get to be all tangled and seem to easily break off at the thinnest spots then tossing is a strong possibility. In every box or flat a couple of plants mite be eliminated due to thinness or really poor color on the stems and leaves. Experience will teach you all the right things to do from seed planting thru transplanting and harvest. These forums are so great because each persons observations are so worth thinking thru.

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  NHGardener on 4/18/2011, 6:42 am

Got it! Thanks!

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  Miss Mousie on 4/18/2011, 12:58 pm

Yeah, I thought it was a little silly taking "Bob and Not Bob" on vacation with us but when we got to my uncles house, he told us several stories of friends that had taken their seedlings on vacation with them too. One even took them in their motorhome. After that I didn't feel so silly. Everyone got a kick out of it.

Thanks for the info on light and spindly seedlings, that's something to think about for when I finally get brave or finally figure out how, what, where and when to grow seedlings.

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  NHGardener on 4/18/2011, 8:26 pm

Well, I can't say I've ever known anyone to take their plants on vacation with them, or if they did they never admitted it, but I did have an avocado seed sprouting roots in water that I named Fred when I was younger.

Of course, next time you want to take someone with you on vacation, you could always invite me. HAHA.

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Re: Is it possible to save spindly seedlings that are bent over

Post  shannon1 on 4/19/2011, 2:51 am

I was thinking of a cold frame to start seedlings and you made up my mind for me. I am going to have one before the summer is out. I know some construction guys and hope to get an old window frame ( glass intact ) and scrap wood from them wish me luck. Wink

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