I have a small question to ask. This year when I started my seedlings from
seeds, I ended up with a lot of them not doing much. All new seed, but I
used miracle grow potting soil and I wonder if the fertilizer in this mix
was too strong for starting seeds? Any comments?
I don't know about fertilizer *harming* seedlings, but I've always
started mine in a soil-less starter mix with no ammendments. Seeds
have enough 'food' to sustain sprouting and early growth (those first
1-2 pairs of true leaves). I use *very* dilute fertilizer only after
transplanting to individual pots.
Seeds don't require fertilizer as mentioned below so I doubt that would be
your problem. As you know you can sprout seeds in cotton wool. No fertilizer
However, light, water, seeds age and soil temp are fairly important. You say
these were 'new' seeds. Check the used by date.. you may have purchased them
last week, but what does the used by DATE say.
You mention that they have a warming matt underneath them. (is it possible
the soil temp was too high ?) What temperature was the soil ? Did you test
it ? And if so , what 'seeds' were you growing. Different seeds germinate at
different temp levels. i.e. celery won't germinate over 21C (No I can not do
the American conversion on this) Tomato/chill/eggplant like temps above 18
preferably 21. Lettuce will germinate at 10/12 etc etc. Also it is advisable
to sterilise containers used when trying to germinate seeds, to remove any
disease that may already be in existence. Personally I never bother with
this, but its always an option.
Also can you see any fine white crawly things in the soil. They are barely
visible to the naked eye, but they will thrive in warm soil such as
To be honest I would put my money on the seeds themselves, as it does sound
like you have everything in order to germinate them, but I would like to
know the soil temp that the matt is generating.
If the soil was 'poor' it would start to affect the seeds after germination
and the first shoots, but not before. Did this occur ?
Also how were the containers you planted these seedlings in, did you keep
them watered, and how large did the seedlings get before the 'didn't do
Could you see any signs that they may have been attacked by pests of some
kind ? Or was there a mouldy like substance on the seeds themselves.
Also, you should really take the seedlings off the warming matt once they
have sprouted, and put them in a sunny/warm place (greenhouse maybe or
kitchen windowsill) as growing on a warming matt with a light does encourage
'weakness' in the plants.I have always found it makes them more susceptible
to diseases. They need to toughen up a bit in the greenhouse before being
transplanted to the garden beds in early spring otherwise they die of shock,
poor little hot house plants.
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