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magical9

Seedlings - Can you tell me what im doing wrong

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Ive had these seedlings going for about 6 months now, maybe longer, i lost track. They seem to be pretty stunted for what ive seen other growers accomplish in the same time span. Can ya'll tell me what im doing wrong?

Using 3 brand new T5 lights with a bunch of LED light strips. its plenty of light for my vegetable plants (peppers and tomatoes, etc).

I leave the humidity dome off as seen in the pictures. Ive been doing this for at least 3 months. They all seem to be a darker color, reddish BUT in the last few weeks ive suddenly seen a lot of the tips turn nice and green as though they were maybe stunted and have just resumed growth?

I water them every day, generally twice a day. I keep the soil damp on them. It dries out fast.

Is my light not strong enough? Not close enough?

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First I would like to say that the seedlings do look healthy which is good!

I also see signs of slow growth and stretching (etiolation) which means usually:

1. light cycle is too short OR

2. light is not intense enough.

I know that everyone grows differently but from your photos I would say slowly work up to an 18 hour day cycle and start dropping the lights closer

(slowly so you don't burn them) i.e. 2" per week or so until you are about 12 inches or less away - Look for signs of reddening which is the seedlings way of

saying there is enough light - be sure to watch them closely and don't rush the process.

I would also (when starting new seedlings - at one month old or so) start fertilizing them with 1/10 strength of your favorite blend - good luck!

Here is a photo of mine at about 5 months

6Months.jpg

Edited by AZS
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Magical9, I think your seedlings look totally healthy to me. They are hard grown without adding fertilizer and that´s ok. If you increase the Heat (not over 30°C and increase the Lighting Periods, they will grow faster. If you add Fertilizer (very diluted), they will EXPLODE in regards to the size but you also increase your risk for fungal Infections. Just adjust the things we mentioned and you will be able to increase the Growth Speed of your seedlings.

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i have some seedling next to a window going on 8 months now that aren't much bigger than this,

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they get bigger quicker under fluoros than with sunlight, but in the long run the look more normal with sunlight.. all my sun growns get a way slower start but a year later they are much stubbier ... with flouros I don't think the saturation is all that balanced and so some might get alot bigger whereas with sun I get more uniform growths... of course everything can vary with intesity and the seedbatch

I like how AZS said it but just so you know you can and should start them way closer to fluoros and they'll adjust quicker that way,.. i also just start out with rich fertile soil about a 20-25% mix of compost and worm castings, about the same coir and half sand... everyone has their favorite mixes tho, whatever werx

Edited by Spine Collector
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magical, imho your pot size is perfect for a single plant 3-4" tall & way too small for anything more than 1 plant per. You're in for some serious culling or premature transplanting which you will soon realize when it comes time to separate the entangled roots from seedlings packed too close together. pot size being what it is AND under lights definitely means watering every day, or more.

as others have said, you're battling etiolation and transitioning from indoor lighting to outdoor sun which could really stunt their growth regardless of how close you have your lights.

at 3 months my mass sewn seedlings get transplanted, 4 each to a 4" pot, one in each corner, then later 1 each to a gallon pot. 100% grown outdoors with no artificial lighting. I use medium sized plastic tubs with sealable lids like AZS which make perfect humidity domes and transitioning to full sun is just a matter of moving the tub out of the shade & removing the lid.

A big mistake that many newbies make (not insinuating you're a newbie in the least) is pushing for fast growth.

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took me years to realise part of the secret is heat. they respond so well to it. which makes sense, they grow in the desert and as seedlings probably spend most of their time in the shade anyway.

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thanks guys. this is awesome info. so with the tubs, do i just cut a for holes in the lid and thats it?

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I drill 1/2" holes (4 or so) in the side of the tubs about 1" under the rim - that way if it rains and you have put your tubs outside they don't get flooded!

Also, as you are aware but perhaps not all members have used T5 bulbs yet - these are MUCH brighter - about twice as much light as a standard T12 bulb so adjust the grow area accordingly!

Edited by AZS

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AZS- according to your pic above your tubs would fill entirely with rain water, totally submerging your seedlings, right up to the drain holes in the sides. :wink:

I dont drill any holes in mine, just use the lid for humidity control and once they're acclimated <3 months they get transplanted into 4" pots & the tubs cleaned out for a new batch. The lid turned upside down & placed slightly askew allows for ample ventilation as well as maintaining a minimal humidity situation.

I fill the tub 1/4 - 1/3 full of straight out of the bag cactus mix potting soil, wet it nice & good, put the lid on & stick it in full sun on the hot sidewalk. A day in the sun plus sealed up pushes the interior temps well above 100F, semi-sterilizing whatever. Then I put the tub in a shady area or under cover in the gh & add 2 cm of damp washed plaster sand on top, isolating the seed bed from the organics in the potting soil. This eliminates mold, fungus, bacterial growth yada yada. The sand also helps prevent the potting soil base from drying out & theres no drain holes in the bottom.

I'll mix half strength 20-20-20 water soluble ferts & apply with a spray bottle to the seedlings, wetting the sand when it looks dry. They might get ferts after the first month. When the base soil dries out, I pour in water, refilling the aquifer so to speak.

My goal is to get them into 4" pots as quickly as possible & acclimated to full sun, where they can live or die on their own, survival of the fittest. When i put them in 4" pots, they're buried deeper than they existed as a seedling. This slows them down a little bit, but also allows much fatter growth when they begin growing again.

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AZS- according to your pic above your tubs would fill entirely with rain water, totally submerging your seedlings, right up to the drain holes in the sides. :wink:

That was a test to see who was actually reading and paying attention - these are still indoors under T5 lighting.

Please feel free to adapt my procedure to your actual environmental conditions :wink:

Edited by AZS

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I think you might have them to far from lights. I kept my seedlings about 10 - 20 cm from tubes and had good results

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Another suggestion would be to use a reflector behind your lights and get some panda film for the walls. This will give you much better lighting in your grow box.

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I can not understand why people grow cacti under artificial light. it is expensive, bad for the environment and brings bad results. I grow only with sunlight and my cacti are so big already after 1 month. but whatever. what kind of water you use?, if you use tap water, it may be that it is too hard. then you can have to much calk salts in your substrate and the cacti stops to grow. It may also be that you had a bad seed. Sorry for my Bad english. Greeting

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So i moved my existing outdoor seedlings to a nicer area in the backyard. I also rose the indoor seedlings up towards the light. Im stoked again about these seedlings. I was getting bummed at the lack of growth but ive been so busy with lots of other things that i just havnt had time to ask for help. thanks again!

zelly imma have to get a ton new seed from you soon so i can follow your process to a T. Hit me up when you get a chance and let me know what you recommend for seed tricho wise.

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