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Seed Germination: growing under grow lights

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carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

September 8, 2009
4:46 PM

Post #7040553

I posted this question in another forum but thought I might posted in here as well to see if I can get some answers.

Hello I am a fairly new gardener so this question might sound silly to some of you.

I have been trying so grow veggies from seed for about a month now and I do have a small set up of grow lights that are set up in my bedroom.

I have tried to grow lettuce from seed but even though they were under grow lights the stems were too long and spindly, therefore the plant always wanted to bend.

I've read in other forums throought the internet that I am supposed to place the lights very close to my new seedlings expecially lettuce so they don't become spindly and long.

My question is, I always place my seeds on top of the frindge until they start poking out and then place them on the grow lights but different seeds and vegetables or herbs come out at different rates so how can I adjust my lights accordingly if some of my seedlings came out before some others and therefore have had time to grow.

Example is parsley or cilantro, according to the package it takes a good 2-3 weeks for the seedlings to emerge or even pepper takes a little longer than say tomatoes or cucumbers or basil which for me took just 48 hours to emerge.

Will investing in a heat mat solve this problem or is there any other way to do this?
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

September 9, 2009
6:20 PM

Post #7044720

I don't think you will need a heat mat since the lights generate quite a bit of heat. You could pick up a cheap digital thermometer with a little wire sensor and put the remote under or in the tray. That will give you a good guide of temperatures and day/night fluctuations
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

September 9, 2009
7:16 PM

Post #7044846

Thank you Joanabanana.

I have been doing a lot of research and some people use their electric blankets instead of the heat mat.

I think right now I will just keep my seeds on top of the fridge and see if that works. This heat mats are just so expensive, and to tell you the thruth I much rather spend the $ on a rain barrel, which I think I would use more.
Francis_Eric
Aurora, IL

September 17, 2009
5:20 PM

Post #7074358

your plants are getting leggy, because you have no wind on them, plants grow during the night,
what I do is keep a fan blowing on them, once leaves start forming after a while you could probaly take the fan off.
(I haven't cultivated too many different kinds of plants Indoors,
but I have noticed after the second set of leaves they seem to grow smaller, and not leggy I think this is the most Important time to keep a fan on them.
like I said I haven't grown that many types of seeds indoors though)

I have also hung a papper clip On a plant before It didn't grow as leggy as the rest did.
They will be even smaller if the fan is on 24 hours a day
(at least for my plants when I was first starting them off.).

have you considered germinating In a terrarium it holds In the humidity
I have left some Of My Ginkgo seeds IN a grocery bag
(outside In the shade, and it's not even summer)
right now the soil is as warm as baby bath water (or small kids bath water)
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

September 18, 2009
5:58 PM

Post #7077980

Thank you Francis_Eric for the tip.

Yes I have heard that before from other folks that it is good to place a small fan and have the wind make the stemps stronger. I have not yet placed a fan in my seedlings but I was finnaly able to purchase a timer so the lights go on and off automatically and also place my grow lights a lot closer to the seedlings, they really seem to be doing a lot better now and are not as leggy as before.

I wish I could start all my seeds outdoors but we've been getting really bad rains every day and I am afraid that the poor seeds would not survive.

So far I've only planted some lettuce outside in containers from seed and they seem to be sprouting great and also mesclum salad but have not tried anything else.

I will definetely place a fan close to my lights and see if this helps with the problem.

The terrarium idea sounds like a really good one, are they prety expensive?
Francis_Eric
Aurora, IL

September 18, 2009
10:01 PM

Post #7078796

A (closed ) terraium can be anything thats closed and lets light through
a storage container with ceram wrap over it if your really Ona tight budget (or glass)
, those things that cover a cake (I jkust asked some one A cake keeper)

it just need to be enclosed let light in , and hold in humidity.

have you heard of

http://www.freecycle.org

you could ask on that site or also give stuff away.
we gave our working washing machine to some people when we upgraded.

very useful if your looking for things people wouldn't have any use for no a days
(records 8 tracks or like a mentioned cake keepers)

I was searching, the other day, And I found this On terrariums (So I saved it)
he shows how to make one out of a light bulb.
(I just saw a light fixture thrown out The same day I found his web site Now I wish I would of grabbed it.)

http://www.stormthecastle.com/terrarium/
Francis_Eric
Aurora, IL

September 18, 2009
10:10 PM

Post #7078825

this is just for starting seeds
I put ceram wrap directly over a pot I thin k iT killed my tree,
it was a paw paw tree so maybe it's just the species because of too much heat.
I think it needed more air though. (since roots need oxygen.)
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

September 18, 2009
10:15 PM

Post #7078838

Be careful with terrariums, plastic wrap, etc...if you aren't careful they can hold in too much humidity and increase your chances of damping off and other fungal problems. I have a set of domes that fit over my seed starting flats, and I leave the domes on until the seedlings germinate, but once they've sprouted I generally take the domes off in order to avoid fungal problems like that.
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

September 18, 2009
10:56 PM

Post #7078944

Ecrane3: Yes that's what I have domes or I just use a zip log bag and as soon as I see a little sprout, even if all the seeds are not out I take the plastic off and place them under my grow lights right away, I read this on a herb book and that's how I've been doing it.

Francis_Eric, did you poke some holes in the ceram wrap, if not that might have cause the problem, I alway poke a few holes so the seedlings can breathe.

Francis_Eric: Yes I've heard of the freecycle I have not used it for quite some time now but that is certainly a good idea.

Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

September 19, 2009
2:38 PM

Post #7080898

To my experience, some vegetables just need more light than a grow lights can give them, or even a sunny room. I had been successfully sprouting all sortsa things - salvia, red hibiscus, petunias, etc. under lights but the broccoli I started just could not get enough light, even 24/7. They had to be moved outside.

I have also had the problem of different seeds having different needs in the same trays - it just doesn't work too good, does it?
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

September 19, 2009
2:58 PM

Post #7080953

What I usually do is buy the little six-cell containers to fill my flats with. Each 6-pack gets all the same kind of seed, and that way if some things sprout sooner than others or are ready to be moved outdoors sooner I don't have to worry about having all sorts of different things mixed together, I can just shuffle the 6-packs around so that all the un-germinated stuff is on heat mats with a dome, recently sprouted things have no dome/heat mat but good lighting, things bigger than that getting acclimated to outdoors, etc.
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

September 19, 2009
3:51 PM

Post #7081057

Smart!
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

November 12, 2009
1:02 AM

Post #7265373

O.K my new grow light system is almost completed. Now what type of fluorecent lights should I buy? I've heard that you can buy regular warm fluorencent lights instead of the plant lights, is this right?

Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

November 12, 2009
1:09 AM

Post #7265389

I just got whatever fit my fixture, two 40 watts.
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

November 12, 2009
9:05 PM

Post #7267986

Yes but don't some fluorecent lights generate too much heat for plants to handle?
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

November 12, 2009
11:21 PM

Post #7268312

O.K here's my new system. I am using my old grow lights on the first shelve but I am planning to add a lot more to the others.

Thumbnail by carminator1
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

November 13, 2009
12:03 AM

Post #7268479

Actually, I think it's just the opposite - the incandescent lights create heat whereas aren't the fluorescent cool lights?

Oh, and I just saw on another thread, you should be using T8s (some kind of rating, I don't know what) instead of T12s. Here's the thread:
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1055418/
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

November 13, 2009
12:08 AM

Post #7268503

Thank you pagancat, I think you might be right. I'll check that thread.
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

November 13, 2009
1:07 AM

Post #7268720

Carminator1,
You can also use one cool florescent & one warm florescent to achieve a wider light spectrum.

Something I tried last year was using one of those emergency blankets for reflection off the wall. I have my seed starting shelves in the basement, so it worked great to staple it to the wall. Looks like yours is located in a nice area, so you could attach the blanket to the stand on the sides & back.

Joanne

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carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

November 13, 2009
1:14 AM

Post #7268740

Wow Joanne you have a great system there. Mine is in the dining room, unfortunately we don't have basements here in mobile.
I did place some foil paper underneath where the bulbs go to try to get a better spectrum. By the way where did you get a light fixture with 4 fluorecent lights attached to it, mine only has 2 attached to it.

Carmen
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

November 13, 2009
1:52 AM

Post #7268814

Santa went to Lee Valley Tools a couple of years ago
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

November 13, 2009
2:21 AM

Post #7268896

That really looks nice I'll have to check my local stores for something similar.
DenverJude
Denver, CO
(Zone 5b)

November 14, 2009
7:09 PM

Post #7273792

It's my understanding that the lights need to be only 3 - 4 inches above the top of the foliage or else the plants will stretch to try to reach the light. I don't know how you set up yours, but hanging the fixtures so that they can be adjusted as the plants grow should help.
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

November 14, 2009
7:38 PM

Post #7273852

That's important - sometimes even closer. You can buy lengths of inexpensive, lightweight chain at any big box/ ACE, etc...
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

November 14, 2009
8:59 PM

Post #7274054

Yes I have them in chains so I can adjust the height of the lights as the plant grows, I have a few seedlings right now and so far so good, the leaves are almost touching the lights, so I have them pretty low.
Now I just have to find a nice house for my seedlings when they get big enough.
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

November 14, 2009
10:30 PM

Post #7274313

One of the very best resources out there is from Garden Gate Magazine. They sell a book, DVD and fish fertilizer combo pack for seed starting. I have played the DVD for a garden group every year in January. Well worth the money. Google Garden Gate magazine & go to stores for the books & dvds. I would highly recommend the combo pack.
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

November 15, 2009
2:15 PM

Post #7275911

I might have to do that - my only 'local' bookstore has stopped carrying it. I hate subscribing to magazines 'cause I often don't read every issue, but in this case...
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

November 16, 2009
3:08 PM

Post #7278844

Joannabanana, thank you for the info, I know my library carries organic magazine so I was going to check some out, I'll have to ask about garden gate, it does look interesting.
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

November 16, 2009
3:47 PM

Post #7278993

You can only get the DVD from Garden Gate. It is made by them and is a MUST HAVE for seed starting advice. The book can be found anywhere books are sold or possibly your library.
The New Seed-Starters Handbook by Nancy Bubel.

Edit the type-o and also to say, the book is truly a reference book. There are no color pictures, so the DVD for me is where I gained the most info from. The book is great, but not the type to actually read cover to cover.

Thanks ;)

This message was edited Nov 16, 2009 9:28 AM
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

November 16, 2009
3:55 PM

Post #7279024

Or even the New Seed-Starters, same author... [giggle]...
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

November 18, 2009
3:17 PM

Post #7286116

Joannabanana, thank you, I am a very visual person also and love to watch gardening videos. By the way there is a video that helped me a lot it is called organic gardening made easy by Lee Ohara, he explains how to start your organic garden using raise beds in a limited space, irrigation system, how to enrich the soil etc... very informative. So far my veggies are all doing good thanks to his system.

I am also looking into the garden girl series, she has a 2 DVD set on how to start your organic garden as well, she is all over youtube and I love watching her short videos, I think the DVD is an extended vertion but I am not sure, the whole thing is 4 hours long and only $20 which I don't think is much but I still have so many projects to do, like build more raise beds, buy fruit trees etc... and I only get so much $ per month to do it all, so I have to be careful on how I spend my $.

mjsponies

mjsponies
DeLand/Deleon Spring, FL
(Zone 8b)

January 4, 2010
1:00 PM

Post #7426053

ecrane3 - where do you find the 6 cell containers from?
trc65
Galesburg, IL

January 4, 2010
4:50 PM

Post #7426801

mjsponies,

Here are two different suppliers of flats, inserts, domes and just about everything you would need for seed starting. The first is my favorite.
http://www.greenhousemegastore.com/Nursery-Flats-and-Inserts/products/1108/

http://homeharvest.com/propagationflatsdomesinserts.htm

blomma

blomma
Casper, WY
(Zone 4a)

January 5, 2010
7:08 AM

Post #7429598

I bought my 6-packs from Walmart when they are available, usually spring. They come in a seeding pack with a dome plastic cover. Park seed co. also carries them.

Plants get leggy from insufficient light, combined with too high temperature. Low temperature (60F) will produce a stockier plant if grown under sufficient light . Veggie plants require 16 hours/day minimum. Keep light source 2" from the top leaf.

Below is my plant stand I bought during the 80's. I haven't used it for a few years for lack of space. Now have space for it since I took down my 20 gal aquarium. The stand will be full of seedlings soon---flowers, not veggies. Chains hold the lights to allow adjustments. The lights are Grow Lux bulbs.

Thumbnail by blomma
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carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

January 5, 2010
2:44 PM

Post #7430143

Blomma that looks like a very nice setup, yes I think I have seen the 6-packs in Walmart as well, I will have to buy some when they come this year.
Frank1965
Shreveport, LA

January 23, 2010
3:01 AM

Post #7487239

carminator1 is your stand the one with shelves 24 x 48? I have one just like yours from HD that I've been using for 10 yrs now- it's the 24 x 48 one. I managed to squeeze 3 sets of lights on each shelf- PLENTY of light! Get as much light as you can- with fluorescent you can't have enough and nothing will stretch. It's too hard to move the lights up and down so I just turn extra flats upside down raise the plants toward the light. I tried the thermal blankets but kept ripping them so I lined the wall with white styrofoam sheets from the insulation dept and it really blinds you. With six tubes per shelf it hurts your eyes to look at the plants.
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

January 23, 2010
2:42 PM

Post #7488206

Frank I think it is, so far I only have 2 shelves with lights but I am going to have to put lights on a third one as well since I just started a lot of tomato and pepper seedlings. I also was thinking of buying a small fan so I can conect it for a few minutes a day, I've heard that the air from the fan will make the seedlings get stronger stems as well and also will help with the legginess. I have my lights in the dining room so I really can't put any reflector sheets on the walls right now. I could probably add more lights into a single shelve, right now I only have a regular 2 fluorecent lights per shelving, but could probably fit 4 if I needed to grow more.
slopesower
Running Springs, CA
(Zone 7a)

January 23, 2010
6:40 PM

Post #7488899

I started my seeds inside for several years and just put the trays in the window. Last winter, after joining DG (Hooray!), I decided to try growing my plants under lights. What an improvement. And of course, I went crazy and grew more and more seedlings. I also wintersowed and that is another story. Yippee.

I bought inexpensive shelves and shop lights and everything worked great. The whole setup was in my living room which was a little weird, but was a great conversation piece and very convenient.

I'm getting ready to set it all up again. Can't wait!

I want to thank all of the members here who have posted such great information that led me to this place.

Thumbnail by slopesower
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carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

January 23, 2010
7:25 PM

Post #7489026

wow slopesower what a great system you have! very organized too. Your system is very similar to mine except I only have lights in 2 of the shelves right now I have to expand though, I just started tons of seedlings and need a place to put them. I have all my potting mixes and organic stuff in my other 2 shelves I really need a storage container to place it all it is just taking too much room in my shelving unit.
kobwebz
columbia, TN
(Zone 7a)

January 25, 2010
11:06 PM

Post #7496450

I have been starting seeds and growing seedlings very successfully using regular cheap 4 foot shop light fixtures and bulbs sold in the 10 pack at home depot for 10 years and they work just fine. Have shop shelves set up with coated thin wire to hang the lights and knots in the wire so they can be moved easily.
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

January 26, 2010
1:10 AM

Post #7496819

Kobwebz my lights have been working good too but I am not having too much luck with the soiless medium that I am starting my seeds in, the thing just dries out very quick and even though I watet practially every day the thing just turns into a hard sponge sometimes and just kills my little seedlings, I am using the miracle grow soiless potting mix, and I am dissapointed, besides it is expensive I have to add. Any ideas on better mixes to start off seeds?
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

January 26, 2010
1:13 AM

Post #7496830

I use a Premier PRO-Mix for seed starting and also new for me this year, Cocoa brick. Both are much better than the MG mix, which I haven't used for a few years now. I know what you mean. either sopping wet or parched. These other mixes are much better.
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

January 26, 2010
1:18 AM

Post #7496846

Are you covering the trays with anything? When I first started I used Park's 'bio dome' starter set - the cells are a good size, the trays keep the water in and the dome keeps the humidity in. http://www.parkseed.com/gardening/PD/6529/

Seed starting media is pretty light so it's not going to keep moist for long.

Edited to say - Ooops, put my post in while Joanna was answering too - I agree with her comments too.

This message was edited Jan 25, 2010 7:19 PM
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

January 26, 2010
1:36 AM

Post #7496902

Great point PCat

I normally put the clear plastic domes on until they germinate. Although I tried fibrous begonias from seed for the 1st time and they seemed to be taking they sweet time in germinating, so I took the domes off & put saran wrap on the trays and moved the lights really close to the trays. Major heat generation from the lights...might be type of bulb ( +30C or +86F) soil surface temp. Most germinated now, so I put the domes back on. Once the tray looks like everything has germinated, then I will vent the domes with a clothes pin and then once they are obvious plants I will remove the domes completely and at that point start start running a fan. These begonia seedlings germinate really tiny & a magnifying glass may be required...not kidding. And by the looks of it the bronze leaf ones do germinate the same color as the soil just for extra fun I think. If you are up for an adventure, I say try seeding the fibrous begonias.

This message was edited Jan 25, 2010 6:40 PM
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

January 26, 2010
1:39 AM

Post #7496912

Joanna where can you get the cocoa brik mix, and do you have to mix it with other things as well such as perlite or vermiculite, sand etc...

Pagancat, I do have one of those domes you are talking about expecifically the one from Parks but as soon as the seedlings emerge I take the dome out since it would just get too hot for the seedlings to be under my lights and covered as well. I also tend to reuse a buch of yogurt containers to plant seeds or any other type of container.

A friend from here Daves told me that she uses regular potting soil for her seedling but makes sure that she waters them with a mix of water and peroxide to kill all the germs and avoid the damping off. have any of you tried this as well.
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

January 26, 2010
2:02 AM

Post #7496958

I bought the brick from a local garden center. Here's a web site with some info about it. It feels weird sorta grainy, but seems to work great.

http://www.ghorganics.com/Cocopeat.html

The other mixes I buy have a great proportion of perilite & vermiculite so I do not ad anything

Yes hydrogen peroxide will help control algae & fungus
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

January 26, 2010
3:09 AM

Post #7497160

And a number of other maladies - many people swear by it.
Weedwhacker
Bark River (UP), MI
(Zone 4b)

January 26, 2010
5:29 PM

Post #7498939

Carminator -- I have the exact same shelves set up for my lights; now if I could just figure out a better way to raise and lower the lights I'd be a very happy person. I have them hung from chains and the 2 top shelves aren't too bad, but the bottom one is a killer to try to adjust because my shelf is in a closet and I only have access to the front. Any suggestions, anyone?

Sandy
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

January 26, 2010
10:54 PM

Post #7500027

Boy I can see how that can be difficult, the only thing I can really think of is maybe trying to bring the plants up and not the lights down to them, maybe placing either school books you don't much care about or just some wood planks to prop the plants up towards the light, then as the plants grow just take some books away or wood for that matter.
kobwebz
columbia, TN
(Zone 7a)

January 26, 2010
11:10 PM

Post #7500081

I place all of my pots that I start seeds in, in holeless flats, also as they get bigger and planted into 6 packs and small pots and bottom water everything. When i'm waiting for the seeds to sprout the pots the seeds are in are covered with plastic wrap and I put rubberband around them, they then rain on themselves, from the heat on the prop. mats. Weedwhacker. try some coated wire or heavy string that you can adjust with knots that will help move the lights. I use jiffy mix seed starter sold in 30 quart bags and it's worked for me for years, you can probably get it in smaller sizes.
Chocolatemoose
North Pole, AK
(Zone 1)

January 27, 2010
2:15 AM

Post #7500634

Weedwhacker...I just today set up one of my shelves to start some"take forever to germinate/bloom" seeds in the house.
I took a pic of the "s" hook system my DH made for all the shelving I'll use in the garage starting next month.
While I have the steel shelves from Lowes, I'd think if you could attach a screw to your set-up, you could use the same system to adjust your lights.
My shop lights have holes in the top so he fed an "s" hood through and clamped one end closed with pliers. The top "s" just hooks over the shelving. That's the one you may need to add a screw to your system to so the "s" hook has something to loop over.
Cheap chain cut as long as you could ever need it and you're good to go...Super easy and adjustable from the top or bottom of the chain.

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Chocolatemoose
North Pole, AK
(Zone 1)

January 27, 2010
2:16 AM

Post #7500637

Top...

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Chocolatemoose
North Pole, AK
(Zone 1)

January 27, 2010
2:19 AM

Post #7500653

Same system on the A-frames I use for dahlias and lilies...Starting with this...

Thumbnail by Chocolatemoose
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Chocolatemoose
North Pole, AK
(Zone 1)

January 27, 2010
2:21 AM

Post #7500661

Adjustable to this as they grow to different heights...

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onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

January 27, 2010
2:30 AM

Post #7500686

wow that A-frame set up is impressive .. wish I had that kind of room
Chocolatemoose
North Pole, AK
(Zone 1)

January 27, 2010
2:35 AM

Post #7500700

That's what happens to the garage once I make the decision the 2 vehicle garage has to be converted to what DH calls the Green-Garage...and the vehicles stay outside till October first once the commitment is made. Not bad as of May, but March/April are yuck because we still have snow...Only way I can have the flowers we want all summer though...
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

January 27, 2010
3:15 AM

Post #7500810

That is a cool set-up. No way DH would let me do that. I have one little area from my garden stuff in the garage. Maybe DH seen me eyeballing the garage & that's why he bought me a greenhouse.
Weedwhacker
Bark River (UP), MI
(Zone 4b)

January 27, 2010
12:42 PM

Post #7501457

[quote="kobwebz"] Weedwhacker. try some coated wire or heavy string that you can adjust with knots that will help move the lights.[/quote]

Kobwebz -- that's kind of what I've been thinking about -- just haven't worked out the details yet! I have pretty much the same system as Chocolatemoose (with the chains and hooks), the problem is trying to reach the back light on the bottom, since I can only get to it from the front. Except - holy, moly, CM - you have an entire garden in your garage! (I am very jealous!)

Actually, what I've taken to doing regarding the lights is leaving that back one up pretty high and rotating the plants to there as they get taller. Probably the simplest solution for me in the long run, they don't stay under the lights all that long anyway before getting moved out to the greenhouse in early to mid April.

Sandy
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

January 27, 2010
2:03 PM

Post #7501698

CM you have a wonderful setup in your garage, I wish I could use my garage the same way, and I have to say that no I don't have my cars in the garage, my DH has proclaimed that the garage from now on will be called the man cave and only boys are allowed LOL. He even has a bathroom sign posted that has a picture of just men. By the way he keeps all his tools and junk in the gasrage right now is not very organized but hopefuly soon it will be and I wont have to jump to go from one place to another. Also I envy all of you that have green houses I would love to get one but since we might be here just for 4 years I just can't afford to set one up, I have learned that Harbor freight has wonderful greenhouses for not a lot of money.

Weedwaker I think what you are doing is good for growing your plants I have done the same many times because they just grow at diff intervals.
kobwebz
columbia, TN
(Zone 7a)

January 27, 2010
11:11 PM

Post #7503276

Chocolate moose , we all want your garage. You are truly blessed. I work out of my basement, it's big, with 80 4 foot shop lights set up on shop shelves, it works, but your set up is so much beter I sell my baby perennials in the spring off my driveway yard sale like and it helps pay the taxes.
Chocolatemoose
North Pole, AK
(Zone 1)

January 27, 2010
11:58 PM

Post #7503422

Thanks all! DH spoils me all year so I'll stay through the AK winters...LOL
What's funny is when he came up with the idea for the A frames, I had one 4 feet tall. The next year he made was all proud and made me a second one. I outgrew those in short time...The third year he got the 8-footers and said "THAT'S IT!". You can't go any higher or you won't be able to reach. (I'm 5'2") Because they are angled, they are about 61/2-7 feet...He's a Keeper!
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

January 28, 2010
12:26 AM

Post #7503497

What a sweetie!
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

January 28, 2010
12:31 AM

Post #7503510

That's awesome!
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

January 28, 2010
2:23 AM

Post #7503854

I can understand that, AK winters must be extremely hard, boy and we tend to complain about our few weeks of cold weather here.
1scottU1
O Fallon, IL

February 19, 2010
9:19 PM

Post #7572413

I just started my seedlings under grow lights 5 days ago, I already have about a 90% germination rate (in domes) and many of the plants have already reached 1-2 inches. Should I immediately remove the domes? I noticed that a few of the plants have water on their leaves and a couple have fallen over, I want to be sure to avoid the leggy and fungus things everyone has been talking about, thanks.
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

February 19, 2010
9:54 PM

Post #7572500

1scottU1, I usually tend to cover the seeds with plastic baggies just the same as your domes, but I always remove it as soon as I see that the seeds have sprouted, they need the air and sometimes it just gets too hot under the domes as well, some people let the domes intact but open the vents to let some air circulation in. Since you have grow lights they should be warm and cozy without the domes once they have emerged. hope this helps.
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 19, 2010
10:19 PM

Post #7572540

Yes, everything carminator1 said
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

February 19, 2010
11:10 PM

Post #7572642

And actually adding a small fan helps make them stronger, as well - but you have to watch that they don't dry out.
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

February 20, 2010
12:04 AM

Post #7572754

Pagancat, I've been meaning to buy a small fan for my seedlings just because of what you mention, but have not done it just yet, instead I have been trying to pass my hand and shake them a litle bit to kind of emulate the fan idea, so far the tomatoes at least have robust and not spindly stems at all.

One question though, I had planted some basil as well and they were growing wonderfully, but as soon as they get too close to the light source the tips of the leaves just start turning brown and then it spreads to the whole leaf, i am wondering if maybe I should just not place the basil under grow lights at all, would this solve the problem? Anybody has grown basil under the grow lights?
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 20, 2010
12:54 AM

Post #7572827

I think the light is scorching the leaves, so I would either raise the light a few inches or move them. I start under lights, but move everything to the greenhouse so they are still small when they get into the GH.
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

February 20, 2010
4:48 PM

Post #7574396

I agree with Joanna - I'd move them to a windowsill ASAP if you can't get them outside.

Shaking is good, even blowing on them (and good for your lungs, lol) would help. Hey, even a little C02 there.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 20, 2010
5:11 PM

Post #7574448

no baby shaking... LOL
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

February 20, 2010
11:03 PM

Post #7575130

Hey it works! Blowing them works too, Actually I heard that even giving them a couple of shakes outside when already planted in the dirt makes them stronger as well.
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

February 20, 2010
11:27 PM

Post #7575179

Right - no HUMAN baby shaking, lol! Plantlets, 'nother story.

blomma

blomma
Casper, WY
(Zone 4a)

February 21, 2010
5:34 AM

Post #7576059

Aside from light regarding growing veggies in the house, is the temp. lettuce and quite a few others are cool weather crops. If grown too warm, they become leggy. Outside they often bolt to seed.

They same plants also germinate best at cooler temps.

Just my 2 cents worth
1scottU1
O Fallon, IL

February 22, 2010
5:20 PM

Post #7579112


how can you tell if a young plant (one week old and between 2-3 inches tall) is leggy?
1scottU1
O Fallon, IL

February 22, 2010
5:59 PM

Post #7579191

I want to thank you all for your advice, I've removed my domes, two of which had vents and the other 3 flats that just had the clear tops. I've also added the small fan but am wondering how long do you let it blow on them at one time? Also, does anyone know if these same rules apply to flowers? I've planted 160 "Vinca Cora Punch Hybrid" most of which have germinated and look really good however I'm worried their to wet even though I followed the directions of the seed starting kit, I've removed the cover, poured out the excess water and have added the fan.

Thanks.
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 22, 2010
6:02 PM

Post #7579196

I guess if they are stretched out, tall and skinny stemmed that looks like it will flop over if you blow on it, I would say that it is leggy.
dividedsky
Indianapolis, IN
(Zone 5b)

February 22, 2010
6:32 PM

Post #7579275

I had a problem with basil too. It kept growing up against the lights. So I kept moving the lights up. And by the time I got home, it would be up to the light again. After several rounds of this, I finally decided that I should move it much farther from the light (and heat?).

It was too late, though, and the poor thing was freakishly tall and exhausted. I have plenty of seeds to keep trying, though. I don't know why I didn't think to snap the top off, but I have a feeling that wouldn't have fully solved the problem. Maybe I should let it get its true leaves and then move it to the window, which gets a fair amount of winter light, but has a tree in front of it that will leaf out in the spring. I'd rather it grow slowly and full than the way it did.

The rest of my herbs, though, are doing fine under lights.

I'm curious about what causes basil to bolt so quickly like that. The amount of time it has light (11 hours)? The strength of the light (regular fluorescents)? Or the heat (house is in upper 70s, not sure how hot it is right next to the lights, window nearby is cool)?
1scottU1
O Fallon, IL

February 22, 2010
6:42 PM

Post #7579294

joannabanana - thanks, I'll go and check those out. I've also attached a few pictures here of my tomatos and the smaller ones are the flowers, all planted 8 days ago, do you think those tomatos look leggy?

Thumbnail by 1scottU1
Click the image for an enlarged view.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 22, 2010
6:46 PM

Post #7579303

looks like a bit of a struggle there... yes a bit leggy... do you have lights over them?.. might want to try potting them up deeper.. it helps ... I usually TRY to pot them deeper 3 times before they go out
1scottU1
O Fallon, IL

February 22, 2010
6:56 PM

Post #7579328

onewish1 - I do have grow lights right on top of them, you can see it that picture. I wasn't sure if I could pot up just yet as their only 8 days old but I can try some ans see what happens, thanks. I've attached another side angle as well.

Thumbnail by 1scottU1
Click the image for an enlarged view.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 22, 2010
6:58 PM

Post #7579334

you might want to move the lights closer then.. 2 or 3 inches from the tops.. they might have been reaching for it if you had it set at that height all along

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 22, 2010
7:00 PM

Post #7579339

if you pot them deeper they develop roots along the stem.. always makes for better plants later on.. and it will slow the top growth down a bit to hopefully have a stockier plant
1scottU1
O Fallon, IL

February 22, 2010
7:03 PM

Post #7579352

I wonder if having the lights on them from seed instead of waiting for them to break the surface would have anything to do with it? In the long run what does this legginess do to them or problems does it cause? While I had the domes on them the light was probably 6 inches away but as of today (in those pictures) even thought it don't look like it I have move the light down to around 2-3 inches. Will potting up and keeping the lights close now resolve the legginess or is the damage already done?
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 22, 2010
7:20 PM

Post #7579396

I would start by running an oscillating fan for several hours during the day when the lights are on for about a week. Once they form their 2nd set of leaves, then transplant them deep, up to 1st set of leaves. Fertilize with a diluted fish emulsion fertilizer. Since they are quite tall, I would put them in a plastic drinking glass. Don't forget the drain holes. Provide cool nights

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 22, 2010
7:21 PM

Post #7579401

forgot about the fan... good teamwork!!
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

February 22, 2010
7:22 PM

Post #7579405

1scottU1, don't worry too much about your plants beign leggy now, what I would do is as soon as you see a couple of the true leaves forming go ahead and transplant them to a bigger cup size , bury as much of the leggy stem as you can this will form roots as well, so the more you bury the more roots the plant will have. I usually transplant mine in one of those disposable water cups the tall ones and then you can label them right away, then once they have practically outgrown those pots, transplant them again in a bigger pot and then into the ground when it is time.

Dividensky you have described my problem exactly in growing the basil, I started a new batch that I have under the lights but will not let them be there too much longer, I will probably move them to a sunny window instead and see if this will be better, my last resort is to plant the seeds outside when the weather warms out if this does not work either.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 22, 2010
7:24 PM

Post #7579411

that's a great thread!!!.. good job!!
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

February 22, 2010
8:01 PM

Post #7579504

Joanna what a great thread! Love your maters and the finnal results are very nice too. I wish I had a greenhouse, but I just don't have the space plus we might be here just temporarily, are the maters you grow OP or are they Hybrids?
1scottU1
O Fallon, IL

February 22, 2010
8:14 PM

Post #7579535

Just wanted to say thanks to all, Joanna, I just got back, I'll go check out those pictures now, thanks.
1scottU1
O Fallon, IL

February 22, 2010
8:35 PM

Post #7579589

I have a bunch of those round 3 inch peat pots that I had planned to transplant them into, will that work versus the water cups? Also, I've heard a lot of bad things about the root not penetrating through the peat pots so I plan to remove the plant from the pots before planting outside?
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

February 22, 2010
10:36 PM

Post #7579979

I personally don't like teh peat pots for tomatoes, expecially because you have to transplant them so much before placing in the garden, plus just like you mentioned they don't break in the ground as easily, I like to use those peat pots for seed or plants that don't need transplanting to other pots, and therefore can go direactly in the ground like maybe cucumbers and such.
I tend to reuse a lot of yogurt cups as well for my tomatoes so maybe you can use them instead of the water cups.
1scottU1
O Fallon, IL

February 22, 2010
11:09 PM

Post #7580070

I'm new to all this so I'm sorry for all the questions but I have another question regarding what you said, "because you have to transplant them so much before placing in the garden", what does that mean? I was thinking I now have them as they are in the pictures, those pre-packaged soil pods and about 3 inches tall, I thought I could transplant them to the peat pots and from there they would be ready to go into the ground, is that not so, do you again transplant them to something bigger prior to the ground(I plan to take them out of the peat pots when I put them into the ground)?
carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

February 23, 2010
2:13 AM

Post #7580523

I guess you can do that just make sure the peat pots are big enough to hold the whole plant, it is recommended to plant them outside when they are 6 to 8 inches minimum, some of mine are already 9 and 10 inches tall, but those I started a little earlier than recommended.

See, I start my small seedlings in small yougurt cups, then I transplanted them in the water cups and then about a week ago I saw that the plants were too big for the cups so I transplanted them again into even bigger yogurt containers or even potting containers. I guess the 3rd transplanting is not necessary but remmember that the stem will grow roots therefore making stronger and healthier plants with stockier stems that is why I decided to transplant a third time, but like mentioned before it is not necesary as long as you provide a good enough container for the plants to grow.

Hope this helps, I am definetely not an expert either but read a lot of books in the subject since my past attempts of growing tomatoes were not very good ones, maybe someone with more knowlege can tell you better info than me.
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 23, 2010
2:22 AM

Post #7580542

One of the best books on Tomatoes is: Lois Hole's Tomato Favorites, printed by Lone Pine. It has great instructions and tips on how to sow and grow tomatoes.
kobwebz
columbia, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 12, 2010
3:02 PM

Post #7624421

re-reading the posts, I also keep a radio on in the room where my babies are growing, heard somewhere the sound vibrations are good for them.
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 17, 2010
10:49 AM

Post #7636209

Huh... well, sure can't hurt!
nini1953
Gloucester County, VA
(Zone 7b)

March 23, 2010
8:15 PM

Post #7651682

Has anyone tried to use newspaper pots to pot up their tomatoes? I started tomatoes in the 55 slot Styrofoam (as have many others) on a heating mat with lights. I have one of the newspaper pot-makers ( about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) and potted them up into those from the styrofoam tray. I had read where folks were having problems with the pots breaking up so I experimented and cut my newspaper about an inch taller than they recommended and used the full length of the newspaper. This made the pot have two full layers of paper on it. The roots were coming right on through the paper without a problem. I am still about 3 weeks from being able to plant them so I made an even larger paper pot (about 3 1/2 inches in diameter and 5 inches tall with a glass Prego spaghetti bottle. I put a small piece of tape on the side and bottom seam). I still made the pot with two full layers of newspaper before I potted them up and placed them into a tray. I have learned not to move these pots once they are full of planting medium and get damp until I am ready to put them in the garden. So far this system has served me well. Have posted a photo of the tomatoes I planted this year. They will stay in these pots for another two or three weeks until the weather settles. Hope this helps folks looking for a larger yet cheap container to plant in.

Thumbnail by nini1953
Click the image for an enlarged view.

carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

March 23, 2010
8:42 PM

Post #7651754

nini, what a great idea, I personally have never used the paper pots but I really think it would not hurt to use it. I am thinking I might try in the future with thinks like peppers and cucumbers and squash since they don't have to be transplanted and moved so much from one container to the next. But please let us know how the tomatoes do in your paper containers once you transplant them.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 24, 2010
3:06 AM

Post #7651997

I used tons of paper pots ... all is good unless you get heavy rains when hardening off... had to slide a trowel under them and carefully pick them up ... or the whole thing fell apart... and the reason I switched to cow pots... I actually like them for starting my begonias

and I added collars of newspaper around the top of the cow pots if the tomatoes got too leggy... called them my cow pot turtle necks

Thumbnail by onewish1
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 24, 2010
3:15 PM

Post #7653250

LOL!

I gotta get one of those paper pot makers. Do you find that you have to water a lot more with those?

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 24, 2010
5:13 PM

Post #7653578

nah... I don't think so.. but I am OCD about watering.. usually check everything a few times a day anyway
nini1953
Gloucester County, VA
(Zone 7b)

March 24, 2010
6:49 PM

Post #7653833

It does seem that I have to water very regularly. I don't let my pots dry out and like the other poster, I check them once or twice a day. I don't let them stand in water, but when I water, I do give them and hour or so to absorb all the water I have put in the tray. The little wooden pot maker is nice, but it takes a little practice to make them so they will hold up. I think I said this before, but I use more newspaper than the pot-maker recommends. I make my strips about 3/4 inch wider than the directions so I have more overlap on the bottom and I use a full length strip of Newspaper so there are a little more than two wraps around the wooden part. When I made the large pots I use a Prego bottle and put a piece of tape on the side and bottom. Hope that helps.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 24, 2010
7:07 PM

Post #7653876

oh yes I forgot about that.. I too made them longer & wider... when made to the size they suggest they didn't hold together well

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