The Q&A Archives: Spindly Seedlings

Question: Whenever I start seeds on my own they are very "spindly" and usually die when I transplant them. I use seed starting mix and follow directions but they never work.

Answer: If your seedlings are spindly, they're not getting enough light. Try placing the source of your artificial light about 6 inches above the tops of the plants. Leave the lights on 14-16 hours each day. If you're not fertilizing, try using a dilutedsolution of a liquid plant food in place of regular watering every two weeeks, after the second set of leaves develop. The goal is to have stout, hearty seedlings to plant in your garden. About one week before you want to plant them outdoors, harden yourseedlings off by placing them outdoors in a protected spot for a few hours each day. Leave them out for longer periods of time each day, but bring them in at night. At the end of the week let them "camp out" overnight and then plant them late in the day so they have a few hours to adjust to their new homes in the garden before the sun comes up.

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