The Q&A Archives: Leggy Seedlings

Question: My indoor seedlings of cabbage, broccoli, and lettuce are too leggy. I can't belive they will develop heads some day. What can I do?

Answer: If your seedlings are spindly, they're not getting enough light. Try putting them under a source of artificial light for 14-16 hours each day, keeping the lights about 4" above the tops of the plants. An inexpensive way to provide light to seedlings is by using fluorescent shoplights. These are hooded fixtures with chains attached to the tops, making them easy to suspend over a tray or flat of plants. Use 40-watt bulbs; one cool-white and one warm-white in each fixture. Then hang them over your seedlings, adjusting the height of the fixture so the bulbs remain 4"-6" above the foliage. Providing adequate light now will help your seedlings grow into sturdy plants.

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