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Leggy seedlings


by Pippa Greenwood

... I'm fighting long, leggy seedlings, which have become etiolated as a result of the low light levels...


SeedlingsI spent a lovely few hours in the greenhouse last Sunday. There's something so relaxing about being surrounded by propagators and seedlings.

Light levels have been lower than normal and, because I'm convinced that a limb will soon be blown from my neighbour's tree, I keep shutting the wooden slatted roof blind, making it even gloomier in the greenhouse. The result is that I'm fighting long, leggy seedlings, which are etiolated because of low light levels. To combat the problem, I've laid out some aluminium foil sheets around the plants, in the hope that they will help to reflect light back on the seedlings and improve their chances of growing into healthy plants.

I can never find a decent, slimline dibber, so use a blunt pencil instead. I find this the easiest way of levering each root system out of the soil, with as little damage as possible. Hopefully, with my high-tech tools of aluminium foil and pencil, my seedlings will do well. And how could they not? I nestled each seed into pre-warmed compost and then watered them with greenhouse-temperature water. I just wonder whether the seedlings are aware of the 5-Star accommodation I've provided for them. Will they reward me with 5-Star performance?



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Gardeners' World Web User 09/02/2011 at 18:33

I've always read that leggy seedlings are a result of cold temps - if yours are getting real sunlight, even shaded, that should be more than enough... I grow all my seedlings under florescent strip lights (that according to my light sensor is less intensity than Caladium need - so way less than real sunlight) and keep the garage heated, and I never get leggy seedlings...

Gardeners' World Web User 09/02/2011 at 18:34

Oh - and chopsticks make an excellent dibber...

Gardeners' World Web User 09/02/2011 at 19:15

I use a small baby- size dinner fork to dig out seedlings.

Gardeners' World Web User 10/02/2011 at 09:57

Coffe stirers from varous branded shops make excellent dibbers for more delicate things.they also can be quickly soaked ina varnish and make top quality seed lables that dont scream out from your boarders. Tried without the varnish and they just disintergrated. the best dibber is the thin metal spatulay you used to get in scinece class, but pencils are much handier if gods own dibber (your finger)is too clumsy. Toby buckland recomended plastic byros so you could use the static to guide roots into their new home. Must addmit that an old silver teaspoon i inherited from my mum does the job perfectly, scooping out the roots with pleanty of soil.

Gardeners' World Web User 10/02/2011 at 13:26

Thanks, might try the tin foil myself http://archers-at-the-larches.blogspot.com/

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