Early canteloupe seedlings (first true leaves) leaning over to one side


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As shown in the attached pics, I've noticed that right after the first true leaves of my melon seedlings became established, about half of my seedlings have started to bend over, leaning to one side.

It doesn't look like they're necessarily wilting and the stems appear to be about as thick as the plants that are completely upright. They're all getting about the same amount of light (16 hrs under LED grow light) but some are further from the "optimal" center zone, so maybe they're just stretching for light?

I'm wondering if the leaning tendency is the plant trying to tell me something (i.e. too much water etc.) or if this is pretty standard given how the plant naturally grows...I know melons can be sensitive with water levels / prone to damping off so I'm hoping it's not the start of that. I amended the soil with diatomaceous earth and worm castings which significantly improved water retention over time, to the point where I'm a little nervous that it's creating conditions for root rot.

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The main thing I see is the yellow color and a little leggy. Otherwise normal growth. Diatomaceous Earth has no NPK value and very small amounts of some micro-nutrients. It is useless as a pesticide when damp. Worm casting are a great soil amendment with a NPK value of about 5-5-3 but npk values are a percentage of weight so it will take a lot of worm castings to give you the nutrients your plants require to stop the yellowing. Vining plants are a little different than plants like peppers and tomatoes. You can give them a much higher rate of nutrients when young. So, I guess what I am saying is to feed them a good liquid organic fertilizer until you set them out. It appears that your watering schedule is good as I see no signs of too much water I.E. browning of leaf margins, blackened stems or wilting leaves.
 
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Joined
May 11, 2020
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Location
Falmouth, MA
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7a
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United States
The main thing I see is the yellow color and a little leggy. Otherwise normal growth. Diatomaceous Earth has no NPK value and very small amounts of some micro-nutrients. It is useless as a pesticide when damp. Worm casting are a great soil amendment with a NPK value of about 5-5-3 but npk values are a percentage of weight so it will take a lot of worm castings to give you the nutrients your plants require to stop the yellowing. Vining plants are a little different than plants like peppers and tomatoes. You can give them a much higher rate of nutrients when young. So, I guess what I am saying is to feed them a good liquid organic fertilizer until you set them out. It appears that your watering schedule is good as I see no signs of too much water I.E. browning of leaf margins, blackened stems or wilting leaves.

The slight legginess surprised me given I've set the LED lights to be about as close as safely possible which as about 12" per some online research. I think legginess in this case might be due to very rapid growth as I left the heat mat on for about two weeks following germination - looking back I'd probably have taken them off of heat sooner.

Great to know that plants in this family can receive more nutrients - I've started on a routine of regularly feeding diluted fish emulsion (2-3-1). I was light on the worm castings, it's definitely just a minor supplement as I think the coast of maine potting soil I'm using is pretty nutrient dense.
 

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