Leggy inside/short outside


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Hello All! :geek:

I'm having some odd issues with my plants. I live in Southern California and I'm growing as many plants as I can with limited space. Outside, I am growing greens, herbs, and tomatoes. Inside, I'm growing all sorts of things.

With the outdoor plants, I attached photos, as I've made a different thread about the indoor plants. The first 4 photos show white yarrow, lemon balm, lemon bergamot, and probably a few other random seedlings that blew over or got mixed in. Although I planted them about 2 months ago, they don't seem to want to grow. They sprout, but stay very low to the ground, unlike the tomato seedlings which were planted just over 2 weeks ago and seem to be growing quickly. This is a north facing area, but there's an awning so I didn't think it got much sunlight.

My guess is that I am over crowding the herbs, or that the giant plants that are sharing the pot with the seedlings are stealing all the nutrients from the seedlings?

In the black vertical hanging planter, I have leafy greens and herbs (romaine, spinach, calendula, sage, coriander, basil, chamomile) that are doing just okay. I planted the same herbs indoors at the same time and they are growing much taller (some are leggy, but not all) and healthier with the use of LED grow lights. With the vertical planter, I realize that, when watering, seeds can shift down to a lower pocket, so each section is sort of a mixture of things. Oddly enough, I did the same with the tomatoes, and the indoor seedlings are still very small while the outdoor seedlings look healthy. The indoor tomatoes are farther away from the LED light, though.

I kind of feel like the indoor plants are getting too much water (gnats, gnats, everywhere) and not enough sunlight but still doing relatively okay. The outdoor plants are getting direct sunlight, but not as many hours of light as the indoor plants, and I may not be watering them enough.

If anyone has advice, I'd sincerely appreciate it. I may just need to exercise a little patience, but I thought the plants, both indoors and outdoors, would be doing better. I realize I'm working with a lot of variables, here, and may have explained this in a way that's not super easy to follow, but I'm just a little stumped.

Thanks for reading my scatter-brained post!
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Tell me about the compost in your soil mix. Did you make it?

Hello DirtMechanic,

No, I didn't make the compost mix. Actually, the pots with the rubber plant and travelers tree are just old soil. The other pots are filed with "big roots" potting soil and compost.
 
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So you are using compost in the potting soil which has compost already typically. Do you feel like the root systems look healthy and are voluptuous with enough room to breathe? No knots on the roots from some old soil pathogen for example? Also, since we have experienced a cold spring that has extended planting dates in the southeast, would you say that the temps over the prior month or two were cooler than what you normally would expect in your area?
 
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So you are using compost in the potting soil which has compost already typically. Do you feel like the root systems look healthy and are voluptuous with enough room to breathe? No knots on the roots from some old soil pathogen for example? Also, since we have experienced a cold spring that has extended planting dates in the southeast, would you say that the temps over the prior month or two were cooler than what you normally would expect in your area?

Yes! It's definitely been much colder here than usual. By this time in the southwest, its usually hot enough for some to turn on the AC, but instead it's been so cold at night, it sometimes gets down to the 40s. So the plants that are sprouted but staying low to the soil are bergamot, lemon balm, and yarrow. The tomatoes, peppers, echinacea, , borage, Wildflowers...all of those are growing normally, and I planted them a few weeks after the other 3. The other 3 also share a pot with the rubber plant (which leaks a sticky white sap) and a traveler tree (which has fluid in it sort of like celery). The pots that are doing well are new soil. The pots that have plants laying low are just seeds I threw into an existing pot with giant plants in it. The roots of the yarrow, balm, and bergamot are tiny but healthy. The large plants they share a pot with are growing as well though.

I barely have to water the plants, which is really strange with how dry it is here. They retain moisture. Everything looks healthy, its just that those 3 herbs are taking their time to grow tall. I sort of have a feeling that once it warms up, those herbs are going to shoot right up.

What do you think?
 
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I think in the mix of things, temperature is a dramatic player in how the chemistry works. But so too is moisture. Transpiration will not occur as fast in cool humidity as hot and dry conditions and that impacts what comes in from the roots. That old soil may need some kelp nutrients or some rejuvenation help.
 
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Definitely a lot to digest here and to be honest not sure what you're trying to convey, the pics look good? Sounds like you're wondering why your indoor plants aren't doing as good as the outdoor ones? I don't see any pics of the indoor ones though. I mean if you're trying to compare why your outdoor plants are doing better then your indoor plants then we would need more info on the indoor grow lights. Light cycles, light distance, light type, etc.

My short answer is that it's really hard to beat mother nature with a simple LED, that's not to say an LED can't out preform mother nature, it definitely can if certain variables are met. Plants also consume less water with lower lighting and it sounds like that could be an issue too leading to gnats. but really comes down to photosynthesis in the end.
 

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