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11 messages
26/03/2014 at 21:22

so .. my first sowing attempts made on sunday 16th, all have germinated bar the parsley (which i was expecting to be slow). these were started off in a propogator on a west window, and once the seeds came up, i lifted the lids off (but probably a couple of days late).

since, the marigold varieties in particular have grown a lot, but they are all suffering from 'window lean' ... see picture:

im trying to rotate them, but im not sure if these are doing ok .. can someone give me a little nudge in the right direction of what i might need to do next?

this first 2 pics are calendula (the biggest ones), next to them lettuce (mixed), then tagetes, then dainty marietta.

the second pic is aubretia, then gardeners delight cherry tom, and red alert cherry tom.

thanks ...


26/03/2014 at 22:27

Well done.  From your pics.  Might I say.  They are looking good but advancing a wee bit too fast, also I suggest that you turn the trays around.  Or introduce some auxillary lighting. So as to straighten them up.  Due to the rapid growth.  You might need to plant them a wee bit deeper when pricking out.  In which case, go very easy with the watering, as the tiny stems will be subject to damping off.  Keep us informed.  We will all help as much as possible.

26/03/2014 at 22:41

Hello Mike. Thanks for your post. i was really worried about the leaning, i suspect also i didnt sow them deep enough. the calendula and lettuce also seem close together but is it best to be patient and wait til they have other leaves before thinning them out?

i have turned the trays as regularly as possible - morning and evening. im at work during the day so dont have access to them. auxiliary lighting, no idea where to start with that. sadly im quite limited in what i have available at my temporary location ... but rest assured ill do my best.

i gave them a little watering from the bottom tonight. drained before it reached the surface, so the soil isnt wet but moist. i decided to do this after i dipped my finger into the soil when i came back tonight half deep and it seemed slightly dry.

26/03/2014 at 22:54

Believe me, despite all that I am supposed to know.  I ghave had this sort of thing happen to me.  Lets be honest.  For you to prick all those seedlings out into pots.  You are going to need a lot of space.  Will you trust me?  Take your time over this.  Geta few more seed trays, or cell trays.  Either way.  Make sure the compost is well watered and drained.  Then gradully prick out and transplant to the new trays, planting just that little bit deeper, just so that you could slip the average plant label  between the underside of the tiny leaves and the compost.  Gently firm in. Preferably use a bottle sray or whatever to gently spray the whole tray.  You see.  At this stage, the seedling stems/stalks etc have not as it were toughened up enough to withstand too much water.  A fine mist-like spray will help to protect and at the same time provide enough moisture to sustain the tiny seedling.  See how it goes.  Keep in touch.

26/03/2014 at 23:02

You might try a board (carboard?) covered in aluminium foil behind the seedlings to reflect light onto their other side.  This should reduce the need to keep them turning.

Seems like good advice from Mike, too.  Modules (cell trays) are really useful; you can prick out into them (or even sow in them in the first place to reduce the fiddling about).

26/03/2014 at 23:04

Oh - and parsley can easily take three weeks to germinate, so don't worry about that, yet.  Just keep it moist - a lid will help.

26/03/2014 at 23:12

Steve.  Please don't misunderstand me.  A good suggestion but in reallity.  From a scientific point.  Reflected light although it might in some instances tend to solve or aid a problem. In this case, it would be no different from shining a torch onto the growing area.  To the majority of mankind.  Sunlight is a source of illumination and at times a giver of warnth.  Believe me, far to complex to deal with here and now.  Suffice to say.  Sunlight not only provides what we might call the basics.  It also carries with it multitudes of valuable other elements that help to sustain plant life and human life.


I do hope that I haven't offended you.  Kindest regards. Mike.

26/03/2014 at 23:29

  I'm not offended in the slightest, Mike - skin like a rhino, me.

But I do disagree about reflecting the light.  Any extra light on the 'dark' side will reduce the translocation of auxin and hence reduce cell elongation on that side but clearly, the brighter the better.   A sheet of white paper helps a little.  A mirror would be even better - and I've used both methods successfully in this situation.

Cheers.  Time for bed. 



30/03/2014 at 12:24

seedlings as of yesterday afternoon:


 aubretia and tomato:

(L to R) Calendula, Lettuce, Dainty Marietta, Tagetes

 Tagetes close up:

 Lettuce close up:

 Calendula close up:


how do they look? the tagetes are the first to come through with true leaves .. are these now ready to prick out?

lettuce look like they have 1 true leaf, the dainty are coming through just about and the calendula still havent produced theirs.

by the way - when pricking these out - i plan to put them 1 each per module cell in a new tray. i used John Innes 1, do i use the same again or it do they need some nutrients now they are growing on?

Thanks everyone ..

30/03/2014 at 13:13

Yeah - give each one its own space.  Plant them a little deeper to encourage more roots and give them a bit of support.  Tomatoes especially benefit from this.  Water them a hour or two before and take as much of the compost as poss that's sticking to their roots with them.  Actually the toms can go straight into 3" pots (or modules of a similar size) - and they'll've outgrown those before you know it!
  Handle them all by the leaves.  The stems are very delicate and irreplaceable; the leaves are neither.  Use a plant label to lift them out and a pencil (or a finger) to make the new planting holes.

Conventional wisdom would say you should move on to JI no. 2 at this stage, or a multi-porpoise compost as it has more nutrients.  Tomatoes yes.  Others, maybe not - keep them a bit hungry so they get a bit tougher, if you have some seed compost left.  Otherwise the other stuff will do.

Water the compost well before you put the babies in.

Even your parsley has come up inside a fortnight so you must be doing something right!

30/03/2014 at 13:25

thanks for the tips Steve. would you prick all these out now, even those without true leaves yet? it would be easier if i could do it all today, rather than do it in batches during the week ... but if i have to wait for the others to come through a bit stronger then ill wait. the aubretia and parsley in particular look like they are too small to handle now, so should i leave those and just prick out the tomatoes, marigolds and lettuce?

i have 2 trays of 3 inch pots (so about 100 in total. better to have more than not enough!) ready for the bigger plants, eg tomatoes to go into. 

planting them deeper - so i dunk them in with the seed leaves just above the compost surface?

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