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Starting tomato seeds

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by Shawn M on April 04, 2006 08:12 PM
Hello everyone. I started some "cupid" tomato plants about 4 weeks ago. They started out OK, but quickly went too long (4"-6") and spindly. I've never started from seed before and don't know if this is normal or not. I used a "bio-dome" to start them and followed all directions.

Someone suggested using a fan to "harden" them, haven't tried it yet 'cause I'm a bit worried about them breaking off.

Thanks in advance for any advice!!

Shawn
by johnCT on April 04, 2006 08:39 PM
They're getting "leggy" due to lack of adequate light. They are reaching for the light. The only way to avoid this is with artificial light. I use shoplights to start seed.

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John - Zone 6
by Shawn M on April 04, 2006 09:21 PM
I have light on them (window during the day and flourescent at night) atleast 14 hrs a day. I also have some different peppers starting in the same dome and they look absolutely fantastic.

I am at a complete loss. I'm shooting for transplanting the first week of May, so I am hoping they will be ready.

Thanks

Shawn
by ChristinaC on April 04, 2006 09:43 PM
You'd probably get better results using only the fluorescent light. Be sure to keep them within a couple inches from the bulb.
Transplanting will help. Be sure to plant them good and deep!

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by weezie13 on April 04, 2006 09:52 PM
Shawn, The stem of the tomato plant has the ability to root anywheres along it....
Either push up some dirt around the spindly stems,
or gennnnnnnnnntly squeeze it out of it's little container, and repot...
If the first set of leaves are there, and also a second set of leaves... snip off the first set of leaves, and bury almost up to the next set of leaves.. *how ever high up you're comfortable with*

How many plants do you have??
Experiment on one, push the dirt..
Next one, repot...

And see how it works for you.. and how either one is easier for you....

Tomatoes are veryyy hardy...

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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by johnCT on April 04, 2006 10:49 PM
If you're already using flourescent light, then they are probably not close enough to the seedlings. Like Cristina said, the lights should be no more than a couple inches from the seedlings. And like weezie said they should still be ok come transplant time, just bury the plants up to the top couple sets of leaves.

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John - Zone 6
by 'Sparagus on April 05, 2006 12:35 AM
How about tickling them? Sounds funny, but I just read this:

"To avoid that long leggy look (good for fashion models; bad for tomato starts) in your seedlings, try tickling young tomato plants. Brush tomato seedlings with your fingertips for 90 seconds twice a day and you'll get plants that are 25-35% shorter than unbrushed plants. According to studies at the University of Georgia, the resulting seedlings are sturdier and transplant better than spindly, leggy ones. Just dont brush your seedlings when they're wet because you can injure the leaves."

from Gardener to Gardener, a Rodale Organic Gardening Book

Im going to try it when my tomatoes are sprouted!

Karen [flower]
by Shawn M on April 05, 2006 04:37 PM
Thanks for the responses. I guess it must be the light. I have 9 seedlings, one is perfectly straight up, the other 8 are pretty much shooting out in every other direction.

I feel much better hearing you can plant them deeper when replanting.

Thanks again!

Shawn
by weezie13 on April 05, 2006 07:50 PM
Please [thumb] keep up posted Shawn, we [Cool] love [Love] to [gabby] hear updates [critic] ,
good [angel] or bad [devil] the outcome..
That's how we allllllllll learn [teacher] ....

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by njoynit on April 05, 2006 09:08 PM
my seedlings strech all day.I can turn the pot a few times a day and make them dance.

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I will age ungracefully until I become an old woman in a small garden..doing whatever the Hell I want!

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by weezie13 on April 25, 2006 12:43 AM
How's the tomato seedlings' comin' along, Shawn??

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by Wrennie on April 25, 2006 12:49 AM
njoynit
dancing tomatoes. Gives a funny mental picture!

Shawn
is a cupid a large variety? Bush type? cherry?
I would think a larger variety vining type may just get long quickly, whereas eggplant will grow slower in the same conditions.

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by Rosepetal on April 25, 2006 11:54 AM
I loved to "tickle" my tiny tim tomato seedlings for the smell. It was ohhhhhhhhhh, can't describe it, but I loved the smell.
Now that I've transplanted my bunch into separate containers I can't get the smell any more. Will wait until they're older and try again.

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For this "New Year" help me to be kinder and more loving to all around me, I pray.
by Shawn M on April 26, 2006 11:42 PM
Hello everyone. The cupid tomato variety are like grapes, they grow in bunches. Atleast the pics from the company I bought the seeds from say so.

My seedlings are still leggy, I've been putting them outside during the day for the past week to harden them off, so Sunday will be the day I transplant them. I've had it marked on my calendar, so I'm pretty excited about it.

I will definitely keep posting and will have pics once things get going.

Thanks for everyone who has been "giving me a hand".

Shawn
by johnCT on April 27, 2006 01:23 AM
Shawn, leggy tomato plants should be buried up to the second or third set of leaves from the top of the plant. If they're more than a foot tall, dig a trench rather then a deep hole to bury the stem in.

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John - Zone 6
by Shawn M on April 28, 2006 12:47 AM
Thanks John. I will plant them up to their leaves. They seem to have quit growing, but I figure they need to be outside in a bigger environment.

Shawn

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