Tomato Starts

(Zone 5a)

In past years, I've just purchased tomato starts, but this year I am trying to do some heirloom seeds. I thought to give them a good start by using those Jiffy tomato greenhouse things that came with pellets you soak in water. Most of the seeds germinated. YAY! But what happened is they shot up with thin stems and most have fallen over. A few are now getting the 2nd set of leaves. I have no idea what is going on with the roots. Would it be wise to try and repot these and get most of the stem under the soil? If so what would be the best method?

If variety matters for your responses, we have Amish Paste, Nebraska wedding and Sweet Pea Currant (Cherry type).

I really want these things to make it.
Thank you for any help.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Leggy tomatoes are caused by not enough light. Yes transplant them with them buried all the way to their leaves. I'd also handle them by their leaves and not the stem. If you damage a leaf it will grow more. If you damage a stem them the plant is a goner.

Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

It's more than likely a LIGHT issue. I'll bet the lights are far from the seedlings. You need to keep the lights a few inches away from the top of the seedlings.

(Zone 5a)

Thank you for your replies. We had set them at a window. They are repotted now as you suggested Doug, with only a couple casualties. I tried... We just started some new ones. And now we have a growing light on them.

We've never used a growing light before. Should it remain on all day and night?

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

16-18 hours on is probably better.

Mine never wrote a letter of complaint when I just turned the light off when I went to bed, and on when I got up.

If it's flourescent, it's worthwhile doing a faiur amount of fiddling to keep the tubes as close to the plants as possible - and refelctors around them are good, too.

If incandescent bulbs - don't get close or they'll burn!

(Zone 5a)

I am finally getting back to this. The bulbs are fluorescent and the light was moved down. And we've been turning it off over night and they look well. So does all the other things the children are planting. We've got maple trees going in the house! :)

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I've got squash and cukes blooming in the house....

Thumbnail by Gymgirl Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I turned off my lights yesterday - everything, including non-edibles are now in the garden.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Ok, Bee,

I'm right behind yah...

My PVC seed starter trays actually work outside, so, come mid-June I'll start sowing seeds for the cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflowers. This'll be my first attempt at starting seeds outdoors.

And, I found five more drawers, so, if I can fit 25 tubes into each drawer, that'll be more than enough seedlings to get me through the fall/winter, yah think?

Hmmmmmmmmmmm...with my track record, all the seeds germinate...that's 125 seedlings...which equates to 125 sq. ft. of growing space...

I'm gonna need a bigger box!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

GG, just a word of advice. You can try starting your cool weather veggies outside but many of them germinate better under cooler temps. June would be the time I'd start my warm weather seedlings for Fall, those could probably be started outside. My cool weather Market Plants don't get started until August and I'm 2 regions North of you so I would think you could start yours later because you get cold later. BUT if it ain't broke don't fix it.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks for the advice. This'll be my first time, so I need all the advice I can get!

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Gymgirl - something I've learned about starting seeds outside in containers - don't let them get rained on. Heavy rain will wash out your potting mix along with the seeds.

If you have a place with an overhang that gets enough sunlight you'll be fine, especially if the rain doesn't get in.

I started broccoli seeds in ground on Sept 8th last year. They were transplanted Oct 16th. Cut the first head Nov 16th. You can adjust your dates accordingly.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

THANKS, Bee!!!

I discovered something about herbs and rain. I have some herbs growing in the PVC tray. Only the Chamomile and one Rosemary seedling have come up. Basil is doing absolutely NOTHING!

The tray sits under an overhang, but last week they got misted (at least) by some of the heavy rainstorm we had. My Chamomile that was just a 1" sprig jumped up to a 4" plant in 2 days!!! I'm thinking NITROGEN???!!!

All I could say was "WOW!" Same for that Rosemary seedling. It was about 1/2", and after the rain it jumped up to ~2".


Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

GG-I'm wondering about your Basil, I have 8 varieties this year 3 started indoors and planted out as a clump. I started them in aluminum cup cake pans, divided them into 1/4s and stuck them in the ground. Basil likes heat and needs temps above 65* to germinate in a reasonable amount of time. What type are you growing?

Chileybean-sounds like you did fine. A couple casualties is just the way it goes. I would also recommend that you put a fan near your seedlings or run your hand over the tops of your tomato plants a few times a day. This encourages thicker stems the fan keeps the air circulating too. Have you grown NW before? I've grown it before but never got more then a couple tomatoes per plant and they took forever. I hope you have a better experience.

When do you plan on moving the MapleTree outside? Good Luck!

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