Seedlings dying, need help


Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Country
Germany
Hi there,

I am somewhat new to gardening, trying it on a larger scale this year than ever before and I am repeatedly running into problems. I am struggling with leggy seedling since always, I have them in my living room, where its quite warm of course and this time of year there is not much light. I added a grow light and a fan and it seems like the situation is starting to improve. At least here I believe to know the cause of my troubles.
My current problem is that I cannot seem to get the watering right. I used to just use compost for the seedlings and they all died after a while, because the compost was just always wet. After some reddit advice, I got some seed compost that is based on coconut. Way better.
Now, if I follow the instructions of ANY youtuber(Charles Dowding, Huw Richards, the Epic Gardening guy) on how to water the seed compost when putting the seeds in, my plants die soon after germinating because the soil is just always wet.
The sweet spot between the seedling rotting because the compost is too wet and them not having enough water seems to be so incredibly narrow that it is very hard to control. Nothing like the instructions in the videos. I just really dont get what is going wrong here.
I just want to make clear, that my compost is NEVER close to being saturated with water. Otherwise the seedlings die.
01.jpg

01: This shows my lettuce. When I watered it some time ago, the new leaves started dying suddenly. Then, after the compost came closer to being dry, a knew leaf grew which seems to be very happy with this aloms bone dry compost.
02.jpg

02: My spinach is probably the best example of the problem. When the compost is moist, the leaves start to curl up and at some point the seedling dies. The tips of the leaves even become yellowish-wilted which I believe is a sign of overwatering. You can see two dead plants in the images. After they died, I did not water for two weeks maybe and the other plants recovered. Now that I added some water, they curl up again. And I repeat again, the amount of water these plants get, rediculously low.
03.jpg

03: Dead radishes. They might actually be dead because of lack of water. I missed the sweet spot between moist and dry...
04.jpg

04: These are lettuces I planted mid January in seed compost I made myself from compost, top soil and sand. I dont remember when I pricked them out and planted them into their own modules. It was at the end of January. I have not watered them a single time since then!!!!!!! At least three weeks. When I check underneath I can see that the mix is still moist. And the seedlings seem to be the happiest I have.(Which is a low bar considering the legginess etc :))

Soooo, I am really sorry this has been so extensive but this is the complexity that I perceive on my end. I really hope that someone here can give me some good advice, I would definately appreciate it.
Thank you very much in advance.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
8,897
Reaction score
4,132
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
IMO your main problem is that all of your seedlings are not getting enough light. They are all very leggy and legginess is not caused by water. The color of the seedlings is not what they should be either. They are supposed to be green, not a light yellowish green, another sign of poor lighting. Give them a lot more light and I think you will see a vast improvement.
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
1,814
Reaction score
1,644
Location
Kent
Country
United Kingdom
Welcome to the forum @GreenGuy :) Do you have an outside area you can use - like a potting shed ? I usually start seeds mid February, but have delayed sowing them for a couple of weeks this year as it has been so cold and dull.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Country
Germany
Nah mate, this is really the only option I have at this time of year. I guess I will have to invest in more lights...
 
Joined
Mar 26, 2013
Messages
2,881
Reaction score
1,219
Location
Port William
Showcase(s):
1
Country
United Kingdom
For lettuce, it may be that it is cheaper, easier and more rewarding, to abandon sowing at this time of year, in favour of autumn-sown winter hardy varieties, such as, "Winter Gem", or "Winter Density" which are Cos/romaine type.
Spinach is delicious in a salad, & some varieties, although dormant in the winter, will stand quite a hard frost, and I believe there are some winter hardy varieties of rocket.
Remember also that the weediness of your seedlings is caused by an incorrect BALANCE of heat and light, so removing heat would also be a help (Lettuces will germinate and grow, more slowly it's true at a wide range of temperature outside the optimum: 2C 36f - 32C 90f).

Radishes grow so quickly, that the best thing there will always be to hold back 4-6 weeks and sow them directly.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Country
Germany
You know, I am really thankful that people are trying to help, but as I said, I am just starting out. I am not sure what I can do with the info that I should have sown frost hardy things months ago. And also, it is winter and I have a kid running around here. I cant keep temperatures at uncomfortable levels. Its really all up there in the text. Really the only thing I can change is the way I water and the lights
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Messages
4,551
Reaction score
3,834
Location
Birmingham Alabama
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
Try a mist. And after 3 weeks include a diluted feeding, like a 1 to 4 dilution. Babies cannot eat adult food, get it? The seeds carry their own lunch enough for about two or three weeks, but seed soil is sterile and barren. This is after the light and heat issues are adjusted of course. Those folks posting so far have forgotten more about plants than I have learned. Ask them questions.

What you are learning is that plant roots have to breathe. Literally if you can breathe through it then they are ok too, coir or no coir. The airspace in potting soil is quite large. Get a light meter. It sounds like you have a harsh environment and are willing to grow indoors. They are cheap and very educational for new growers. Measure existing plants, then yours.
 

Logan

Logan
Joined
Mar 21, 2017
Messages
8,177
Reaction score
5,707
Location
redditch west Midlands UK
Hardiness Zone
1a
Country
United Kingdom
Hello and welcome to the GF
As well of the other problems, do you prick out too soon ? It's best to wait until the first 2 proper leaves, that way you'll know that they'll have enough root.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Mar 26, 2013
Messages
2,881
Reaction score
1,219
Location
Port William
Showcase(s):
1
Country
United Kingdom
You know, I am really thankful that people are trying to help, but as I said, I am just starting out. I am not sure what I can do with the info that I should have sown frost hardy things months ago. And also, it is winter and I have a kid running around here. I cant keep temperatures at uncomfortable levels. Its really all up there in the text. Really the only thing I can change is the way I water and the lights
Use the advice for the future.
Remember, seed dates on packets are for the whole of the UK; if you live in Kent or Cornwall, you can sow earlier than in Dingwall, and many are for people with indoor facilities such as heated greenhouses for sowing.
Frankly, I'd abandon these seedlings and start again next month.
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top