Seedlings' leaves have brown edges

The leaves on some of my seedlings have developed a brown edge. I suspect that I may have used a fertilizer, either to strong or to early. The all have there second set of true leaves, though barely noticible. I used Vigoro Root Stimulator, full strength (2 capfuls per gallon water) when I watered them about a week ago. Can someone confirm my wrong doing and/or offer advice?
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What kinds of seedlings? What kind of soil? What kind of light, how far from seedlings? What's the source of the water? How long did you age the water?
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Seedlings: Basil and cilantro Soil: Jiffy peat pots Lighting: Flourescent, about 4 inches from seedlings. Water Source: Tap Water Age: 5 minutes (from tap to planter)
Otherwise, the seedlings look healthy, and are growing.
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Lose the fertilizer or whatever that stuff is. Unless you have your own well and don't add chlorine, age the tap water in an open container for at least a couple of days, to allow chlorine to dissipate. If you have a water softener, consider using bottled water for the plants, or collecting rainwater.
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Doug: Everything I read stated to fertilize when the true leaves show. What is the reason you are telling me not to fertilize? Just curious so I learn many points of view.
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I'm suggesting it mainly because you have to eliminate all possible causes, and then add them back into the experiment again, one at a time. You may have chlorine in your water, and/or you may have hard water. You may have softened water (do you?) You can't isolate any of these problems if you add confusion.
And, for almost 30 years, I've been growing seedlings based on the advice I gave you. For things like lettuce & spinach, which go outdoors quickly, I use no fertilizer. For warmth-loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, etc., which spend another month indoors, I'll use a liquid fertilizer at about 1/10th the recommended dose. Remember that seeds contain their own food supply (the cotyledon), so unless they're growing way too long in their little pots, they're unlikely to drop dead. They may suffer a little, but if you're observant, you'll notice and do something about it.
Other thoughts:
For house plants, I don't spend extra money for potting soil which contains fertilizer. But, for the past 2 years, I've been using Miracle Gro potting soil just for starting seeds, and the results seem to be better than using regular soil. You might consider this.
And, there's a thing called "damping off disease", a fungus which kills tiny seedlings. Usually, it rots the stems - they look as if they'd been pinched, and the next day, the tops of the plants are dead. I don't know if it can also affect the leaves. It occurs most often when there's a combination of low temperatures (like some basements), no air circulation, and too much moisture. If you suspect this problem:
- Set up a fan with a timer, not so close that it blows the plants over, but enough to move a little air for a few hours a day. - Water minimally, and don't let the peat pots sit in water. Once they're saturated, dump the water that's drained out into the tray. - Raise the temperature if possible.
Finally, is there any source of natural gas near where you're sprouting seeds? Furnace? Stove? Even at levels you can't smell, it can be enough to kill small seedlings.
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Doug: I do have chlorine in my tap water. So I will use bottled or let it sit before using. My water is not overly hard, but I do get some crust of my shower heads. This is not "damping off disease" I've seen that before but never had a name for it till your post. The seedlings look healthy, they are standing and have nice green color. They just have a brown edge to some of the leaves. I did notice that one of my pepper seedlings has rust-specs throughout it's leaves.
Also, at what point do I transplant these to real pots? They are in those Jiffy Peat Pots now, I have seen 1 or 2 root tips out the bottom on most of the seedlings. I'll never use those peat pots again, I think they suck.
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No need for bottled water if your water's not hard. Just fill up a bucket and let it sit for a day or two. As far as transplanting, it depends on where you live, and when you're able to plant outdoors. However, if the plants have their 2nd set of true leaves, and you're already seeing roots coming out of the peat pots, it sounds like the pots were too small to start with. For plants which need to remain indoors longer, I use the larger 6-packs, each cell of which holds almost a cup of soil. The 6-packs work well because they're relatively slippery, so the root ball pops out easily.
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Now I know better about the 6-packs. No more Jiffy Peat Pots for me.
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They work OK for some people. Don't know why.
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higgledy wrote:

Yes, you should fertilize when true leaves show but it is a good idea to use half strength (or weaker) fertilizer for the first few weeks.
--
Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

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