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stevehaigh

Tomato Seedlings Dying, Pls Help

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this is my second attempt to start seedlings and just as they are forming their first set of real leaves, they shrivel up and die. the seeds are solar fire which are specially formulated in florida for hot tropical climates. i grew some about 6 months ago and had no problems so i have no idea what i'm doing wrong now.

i start them in pots in composted coconut based potting soil (its all we have here). they are under green plastic netting and in full sun. i water lightly morning and evening. i tried some with fertilizer and some without. in both cases, nothing.

does anyone have any ideas. clearly i don't have a very green thumb.

thx steve

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this is my second attempt to start seedlings and just as they are forming their first set of real leaves, they shrivel up and die. the seeds are solar fire which are specially formulated in florida for hot tropical climates. i grew some about 6 months ago and had no problems so i have no idea what i'm doing wrong now.

i start them in pots in composted coconut based potting soil (its all we have here). they are under green plastic netting and in full sun. i water lightly morning and evening. i tried some with fertilizer and some without. in both cases, nothing.

does anyone have any ideas. clearly i don't have a very green thumb.

thx steve

At this time of the year, over watering and fungus are the main suspects.

If they were mine; first thing to do is change the environment.

Very very gently remove the seedlings from existing soil.

Repot them in plain soil ( too much organic matter develops funguses )

Keep the newly potted seedlings in full shade ; do not water twice a day.

Water sparingly, just enough for the soil to feel moist to the touch.

If they recover and start developing new leaves , move them to partial sun , never under the midday sun.

Once vigorous add minute amount of fertilizer, find a suitable place to plant.

If there is no improvement, it’s either too late or something in your soil.

Without a complete history it’s hard to diagnose.

Good luck !

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At this time of the year, over watering and fungus are the main suspects.

If they were mine; first thing to do is change the environment.

Very very gently remove the seedlings from existing soil.

Repot them in plain soil ( too much organic matter develops funguses )

Keep the newly potted seedlings in full shade ; do not water twice a day.

Water sparingly, just enough for the soil to feel moist to the touch.

If they recover and start developing new leaves , move them to partial sun , never under the midday sun.

Once vigorous add minute amount of fertilizer, find a suitable place to plant.

If there is no improvement, it’s either too late or something in your soil.

Without a complete history it’s hard to diagnose.

Good luck !

ok, i'll more them into shade and ease up on the watering. its hard to put in plain soil because we really don't have it here, just sand and clay.

anyhow, if they die, i'll start some more and take your advice.

i'm not sure what other history there is to add. i started them indoors in the pots they are in now.

steve

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At this time of the year, over watering and fungus are the main suspects.

If they were mine; first thing to do is change the environment.

Very very gently remove the seedlings from existing soil.

Repot them in plain soil ( too much organic matter develops funguses )

Keep the newly potted seedlings in full shade ; do not water twice a day.

Water sparingly, just enough for the soil to feel moist to the touch.

If they recover and start developing new leaves , move them to partial sun , never under the midday sun.

Once vigorous add minute amount of fertilizer, find a suitable place to plant.

If there is no improvement, it’s either too late or something in your soil.

Without a complete history it’s hard to diagnose.

Good luck !

ok, i'll more them into shade and ease up on the watering. its hard to put in plain soil because we really don't have it here, just sand and clay.

anyhow, if they die, i'll start some more and take your advice.

i'm not sure what other history there is to add. i started them indoors in the pots they are in now.

steve

I am not familiar with your location, the composted coconut, is it yours or did you buy it ?

If the soil it's too salty ; they definitely will not grow !

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I am not familiar with your location, the composted coconut, is it yours or did you buy it ?

If the soil it's too salty ; they definitely will not grow !

its in bags, i think it comes from the mainland. its pretty standard stuff in the south.

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Is it that stuff that is mostly the outer fibre from the coconut.

I've found that pretty useless in the past, doesn't seem to retain moisture very well.

Mix it with the clay and it may be ok.

Are you sure that the sand you refer to is sand? Or is it sandy soil.

Do a few different mixes and experiment.

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Hi Steve

From your photo it appears that your seedlings have become "leggy," the stems being elongated and limp, and the foliage sparse. Leggy seedlings usually occur due to insufficient lighting, too much heat, or too much fertilizer. I guess that it's not a heat issue with the variety that you are growing and as you say some are fertilised and some are not but have the same symptoms it would seem to be a light issue.

Try giving them some morning and evening sun although as SD2 says do not put them out in the midday sun. If you can transplant them without breaking them repot deep in the potting mix (right up to the first tue leaves, tomatos have the ability to grow roots along their entire stem) as this will give them a chance to develop a stronger stem. Finally as SD2 has already noted do not over water. There does not appear to be any signs of damping off at the moment but that type of soil mix and overwatering can lead to fungal infections. 

Good luck J

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thanks for the great info

those plants just died so i started some new ones. i found a better potting soil that looks more like soil and leaf mulch. i cut back on the watering and kept in the sun but used the green netting to keep them a bit cooler.

anyhow, they look great now, the first set of real leaves are coming through after only 10 days and i think they will be fine now.

i'll use the same soil when i repot for growing.

the seeds are quite expensive ($7 for only 20 seeds inc. postage) so i planted one per pot. all but one have come up so that works out well too.

thanks all

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does anyone have any ideas. clearly i don't have a very green thumb.

me neither, but I read something along these lines a while ago, so the following is for what its worth (caveat emptor, no warranty implied)!

A disease called "bacterial wilt" is very common in Thailand. Seems the native plants (those small rubber ball things they sell) are resistant, but imported varieties not. Solutions (as I recall) are hydroponoics or grafting.

here is a bit on bacterial wilt, it may or may not be useful. And, as said i know bugger all about growing tomatoes, so it may or may not be pertinent.

good luck.

http://www.avrdc.org/pdf/tomato/bacterial_wilt.pdf

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I don't have a lot of experience growing tomatoes, but I did bring seeds of my favorite US varieties and all failed until I bought locally sold varieties.

I think the other posters are on the right track with the observations, but there are so many possibilities for problems with tomato seedlings.

I happen to have a nice little book on tomato growing from the UK on my shelf, so scanned the following. It goes on and on about wilt diseases, botritis, stem rot, and tomato mosaic virus; also potato eelworm (nematodes) and other pests, disorders of the fruit and foliage. It's kind of discouraging to see all the problems that can affect tomatoes.

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