Vegetables and Fruit forum: Seedlings dying early?

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xxauroraxx
May 17, 2018 3:09 PM CST
I'm not sure what I did wrong with these guys. San Marzano tomatoes. First time growing them.

As you can see, the ones that look healthy are doing just fine.

Thumb of 2018-05-17/xxauroraxx/788bfa


But others that started to look like that all wilted to the other pictures.

Thumb of 2018-05-17/xxauroraxx/f0cb29


Thumb of 2018-05-17/xxauroraxx/ae6f20

Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
May 17, 2018 4:17 PM CST
Those others look dead. Are you maybe giving them too much water?

xxauroraxx
May 17, 2018 4:31 PM CST
I have no idea. First time gardener.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Newyorkrita
May 17, 2018 4:38 PM CST
If you don't let the soil get mostly dry (not totally dry) and keep overdoing the water there is something called "dampening off" which means the seedlings die from being waterlogged.
Name: Paul Fish
Brownville, Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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PaulF
May 18, 2018 9:16 AM CST
It looks like they are in peat pots. My only experience with peat pots is the same as yours...death. I like better a good soilless mix in a neutral pot with good drain holes. For me that is plastic pots and I have used miracle-gro or schultz mix with plant food (but not moisture control)

They do look like too much water has caused damping off. Peat pots also are not neutral and may have contributed to the plant's demise because of its acidity, around 4 to 5 pH.
[Last edited by PaulF - May 18, 2018 9:16 AM (+)]
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xxauroraxx
May 18, 2018 3:30 PM CST
Here's a pic of one of the dead seedlings (or soon to be)
Thumb of 2018-05-18/xxauroraxx/2e2bbc

Used this soil/mix for planting.
Thumb of 2018-05-18/xxauroraxx/00f801

Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
Image
Intheswamp
May 19, 2018 9:14 AM CST
I'm using ProMix (vegetable) potting soil to start my seeds...not a soiless mix (thanks for the recommendation, Dillard!). I start my seeds in either paper or styrofoam cups (raid the McDonalds or Burger King garbage cans if you're brave.<grin> Or, maybe at "the office". Anyhow, I put 2-3 seeds in each cup of ProMix, wet it good, put the cups in a shallow plastic box and cover with plastic. When I see several of the seedlings breaking the ground I remove the top and make sure the plants are a couple of inches beneath a grow-light. I let the potting soil dry out a good bit, judging by weight, before I water. But, I water good when I water. Under my lights (two twin-tube 48" long florescent fixtures) and in the environment that they're in I water every 2-3 days. My seed-starting shelf is at my workplace so I have to be careful about weekends and insure they're watered well before leaving work on Friday.

Your tiny seedlings should only have required a slightly moist soil...any saturated soil I would imagine would have drowned the tiny roots. Also, I don't think little seedlings like those can handle direct, hot sunlight. Were the dead seedlings "crispy" or "limpy" to the touch?

And yeah, those peat cups...toss'em. Smiling Plastic pots are reusable...I always save the ones that come with annual flowers...they're really good for starting seeds in. Thumbs up But, mostly I use the paper (coffee cups) or styrofoam cups...usually around the 16oz size. For the number of tomatoes that I am planting (usually 12-14, it seems) the cups I use work well. I don't like to "pot up" to a larger pot (I'm lazy) so the 16oz cups will hold the seedlings pretty well until it's time to move them to the garden.

I'm no garden expert, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express many years ago.... nodding

Best wishes,
Ed
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
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sroller
May 19, 2018 9:39 AM CST
I echo the damping off condition, too much humidity/water. Need to use a seed starting mix. Intheswamp has good ideas too. Over watering a rookie mistake by many. Thumbs up

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