Brassicas: Spindly Seedlings Under Lights - Knowledgebase Question

Erie, PA
Question by joebee
January 23, 1999
Why do my cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli seedlings grow so spindly? I don't seem to have any luck in growing
lush, strong, healthy plants. The temperature in my basement is practically a constant 68 degrees.

Answer from NGA
January 23, 1999


That should be plenty warm for brassicas as they are extremely cold tolerant. Usually spindly seedlings are caused by lack of light; you may need to add more fluorescent bulbs, replace your bulbs if they are old, or perhaps move them closer to the plants. The bulbs are supposed to be within just a few inches from the plants and need to be raised as the plants grow in order to keep that spacing. Another possible reason is that your plants are spaced too close together; be sure to thin them early before they begin to stress for light. One more reason could be that they are kept under lights for too long -- thses can be conditioned and set out quite early. Be sure, too, that they are receiving adequate nutrients as they grow on. Finally, these seedlings tend to look a bit stringy anyway. The test is what they do in the garden! Bood luck with your plants!

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