Determining Seedling Problems

by GettingFreedom on March 26, 2009

So, you’ve started your seedlings and they are growing like nobody’s business. They already have their second set of leaves, and are ready to repotted.

The repotting process was a complete success, and your plants are growing even more. They are beginning to look more and more like the real thing. And then, you notice that your leaves are not the same shade green as when they started. Upon further investigation you notice that the leaves are actually somewhat purple, and maybe just a smidge yellow.

Or maybe they were growing fantastically, and all of a sudden they stopped.

What on Earth does this all mean?

It means that the plant is talking to you, and it’s got a lot to say!

  • First of all, make sure that you are not over watering your plants. Doing so could easily result in root-rot. You can check your dirt/roots by very carefully pushing up on the bottom of your pot, and pushing the dirt clod up enough that you can see the roots. Make sure that everything looks good, and that there isn’t a large amount of water. Or too little. (But really, too little is almost better than too much.)
  • Make sure that you have good drainage holes in your pots so the excess water has somewhere else to go.
  • Make sure that they are getting ample sunlight. I want to say that ideally your new seedling should be exposed to atleast 14 hours of sunlight. Someone correct me here if I am wrong.
  • Your seedling leaves are going to eventually turn yellow and fall off anyway, but there is proper time for that. Don’t worry too much if it is just your seedling leaves changing colors.
  • But, if your other leaves are also showing sign of yellowing, they are needing more nitrogen. The purpling effect is letting you know that your plant isn’t getting adequate amounts of phosphorus. How do you solve this problem? It’s simple: fertililzer.
  • We went with an organic fish emulsion. I had never heard of this before, until Hannah mentioned it. I just so happened to find some at Wal-Mart, so I picked some up over the weekend. Fair Warning: It is STINKY!
  • At first you will need to use about at 25% solution, since your seedlings are still young.
  • Give your plants a little bit of water first, and then apply the fertilizer to the dirt.
  • Fertilize about once a week, or once every 2.
  • Also, make sure that your seedlings are getting enough heat. The purpling color can also come from them being exposed to cooler temperatures. You really don’t want the temperatures to get below 60° and a maximum of about 90°. With that being said–I’ve violated that rule! The greenhouse has been known to get as high as 120° and with a low of about 40°. The cooler season plants thrive in the cold (cabbage, brocolli, cauliflower, onions, lettuce), but the warmer season plants (tomatoes) like it to be a bit warmer, but not too hot as that will slow the growth.
  • Be sure to keep exercising your plants. You can do so by placing a small fan by your seedlings, or by gently running your hands over the tops of your plants 2-3 times a day.
  • All of these effect your root growth. And your root growth plays a very important role in the upper plant growth..and later on, it’s production.
  • The good news is, though, that as long as it isn’t root rot–you can pretty much guarantee that they will make it. Just make sure that you do not over water, over fertilize, or freeze them. :)

I just fertilized my plants this week and I’ve already noticed a bit of a change. My Longkeeper tomato leaves are the only ones that shows lots of purple, but I really think that has a lot to do with the temperature more than anything else.

How’s your garden growing?

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