HELP WITH SEEDLINGS PLEASE!!!

by Alec Gioseffi
(New Brunswick, NJ)





Click on each photo to enlarge

So I'm writing my thesis at Rutgers University right now in Visual Arts. Long story short I'm commenting on the food industry and I have built a few growing structures out of wooden pallets, milk crates, etc. And have built the light fixtures out of found wood, cut soda cans and stuff. However, My problem is that my seedlings don't seem to be surviving long enough to even transfer them into their final home.

the design of what they will be in is wine bottles cut in half where the top is turned up side down in the bottom. The top portion will be filled with perlite clay pebbles.

I'm germinating my seeds with the wet paper towel method then transferring them into grodan rockwool. I have them growing on a shelf in my pantry that i covered the whole surface with foil. the rockwool is in these plastic containers that I got from walmart that are like large Tupperware. I have three clamp lights that are pointing into the shelf area containing two cfl 120v and 160w grow light from home depot.

some of my seedlings have not sprouted yet, (there are like 60) and about 10 have and are about 1in tall. the ones that grew i transferred into the wine bottle grow structure and placed on shelf where they have been since birth three days ago and they have been doing great and growing up until some time today. Now a few of them are droopy, and the bottom of their stem seems almost flat and they cant hold themselves up. i felt the moisture of the rockwool and and their not dry nor too wet. so i'm lost!!

I have to get these plants going asap as my gallery exhibition is in three months. the plants that are having trouble are cucumbers.. but im also growing peas, sweet peas, cantaloup, corn & strawberries.

SO ANY HELP OR ADVICE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASSSSEE HELP!!!

thanks!

-Alec
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Answer from Stella/Simon:

Hi Alec, geez, this could be one of several problems, my guess is it is a moisture problem. If the seedlings stay too moist, they pretty much rot. Or it could be "damping off", a fungus disease which is nurtured in wet environment. This disease usually affects your newly planted seedlings, and is caused by too-moist planting media. You must keep those grow-cubes drained off, not just sitting in water. Damping off first appears as a wet-looking dark stem. The seedling then collapses at the "soil line", and falls over dead. There is no cure, once damping-off strikes. So how do you prevent it?

Use only sterile, fast draining media for your seedling nursery.
Consider routine application of all-purpose fungicides.
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Is it too hot in there? Make sure to keep it cool, below 90 degrees and below 80 degrees is better.

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Are the lamps close enough to the seedlings? They do best with fluoro lights just inches above the plants during the seedling phase.

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For more possibilites, try this page: Seeds & Seedlings

Hope this helps!

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