Yellow Tomato Seedlings - Knowledgebase Question

Flemington, NJ
Question by AprazlLady
March 20, 1999
Last year, my tomato seedlings grew to about 4 inches high and all died overnight. This year, my seedlings are about 6 inches tall and very study....but I've noticed over the past few days, the leaves are turning yellowish-green. I am growing all Burpee seeds (Early Girl, Sugar Snack, Beefstake and a pink heirloom). The plants are under a flourescent light and get plenty of warmth. What is wrong?


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Answer from NGA
March 20, 1999

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It's hard to make a diagnosis long distance, so I'll make a few suggestions about stocky healthy transplants including some of the common problem spots. Seedlings will do best with plenty of light (most gardeners use about 16 hours of supplemental fluorescent light with the bulbs kept just a few inches above the plants) and average to cool household temperatures. They do well with decent air circulation and should not be too crowded. They need enough space -- they should be thinned promptly and repotted into larger containers as needed. By the time they are reaching some size, they may possibly need some nutrients in addition to whatever was supplied in the potting soil so you might think about using a water soluble fertilizer such as MiracleGro at a very dilute strength (some gardeners will use a compost tea). Generally, too, tomatoes only need to be started about 6 weeks before you transplant them to the garden; the reasoning behind this is that they are sunlovers and really just do better for the most part when planted in the ground than in containers indoors under artificial conditions. Finally, you might check them very carefully both tops and bottoms of the leaves as well as the stems, for signs of insect activity.

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