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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Common Problems with Seedlings

Healthy seedlings growing along nicely - no problems with these! 

Damping-off – overwatering and too little air circulation – once plants have been hit by damping-off, they are toast. Avoid it by: good air circulation, don’t overwater, don’t overcrowd your seedlings. Some folks use sprays of chamomile or nettle tea on seedlings as a preventative measure

Discolored roots - often an excess of fertilizer or waterlogging (usually has a bad odor)

Failure to spout – other than being an indication that you have a bad karmic debt to erase, the following might well be wrong: temperature too high or too low, soil that was allowed to dry out, planted too deep, top watering that washed away the seeds, old or poorly stored seeds, insufficient contact between soil and the seeds, toxic soil, damping-off, lack of light for those that need light 

Leaf curl - leaves curling under is probably over-fertilization

Leaf discoloration – usually indicate nutrient deficiencies
      Pale – if they are getting enough light, nitrogen deficiency
      Reddish purple undersides – lack of phosphorous – if (somehow) the soil is too acidic, that can  interfere with the plant’s ability to uptake phosphorous
      Bronzed or brown leaf edges – lack of potassium or overwatered

Leggy plants – these are long weak stems – longer than normal internodes indicate one or more of the following: insufficient light excessively high temperatures, plant crowding

Mold – poor drainage, insufficient soil aeration possibly over-fertilizer and/or lack of air circulation

Skimpy root growth – poor drainage, low fertility of the soil, excess fertilizer, temperature too low or insufficient air space in the soil mixture

Yellowing of lower (older) leaves – also over-feeding – although might also indicate magnesium deficiency (but very unlikely if you are using a commercial potting soil)

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