Some growing trouble

Please advise our fellow grower:

I am having growing issues and was hoping you might offer some insight?

problem is that, while my plants are germinating within two to three
days using the seed immersed in water method, and are sprouting when
placed in a peat pellet, or soil (I’ve used both), they aren’t doing so
with any vigor. Their stalks are flimsy, and of the six seeds I’ve
planted (3WWAF and 3WW), only two (1WWAF and 1WW) have survived. Those
that didn’t make it sort of withered away, at the stalks’ base and/or at
the top where those first two little leaves appear, and then they
toppled and died.

The two plants that have made it are stunted
and growing very, very slowly. The surviving WWAF sprouted from a peat
pellet. The pellet was placed in soil, April 15, over a month ago now,
and the plant is only a couple of inches tall and has but it’s second
set of leaves, and those are quite small. The surviving WW, when it
germinated, was placed straight into it’s potting medium. It sprouted
April 20 and is about 5 inches high; but that’s mostly a long, frail
appearing stalk, and it, also, has only it’s second set of leaves, and
they, like the WWAF, are very small.

As to other conditions which
might be germane: I am growing outdoors, in a potting medium/mixture
of soil that is formulated for rose bushes (50%), and soil that is
formulated for potted vegetables (50%). I’m growing in pots, in a
garden that also has corn and tomatoes, planted directly in the ground.
The garden gets direct sunlight, and also mottled sunlight. All the
plants in the garden currently get at least 6 hours of sun per day when
the sun is shining, and that amount lengthens as the summer season
lengthens. The sun has not shone as much as is seasonally regular, for
we have had an unusually overcast and rainy May; however, the corn and
tomatoes were planted simultaneously with the seed from you, and both
are doing extremley well, making me doubt that the rain or cloudy days
we’ve experienced can, alone, account for the stunted, slow growing

I was wondering… could the seeds have been x-rayed?
Might that account for their lack of vigor? If you have any insight or
opinion which could help, it would be most welcome. I have four seeds
left, need to get them going soon, and am hoping for better success.

I think you are over thinking it.

No, I don’t think x-rays has anything to do with it.

Most likely it is from possibly the soil/root being too wet, as the symptoms sound a lot like damping off – “sort of withered away, at the stalks’ base and/or at the top where those first two little leaves appear” – or this might be from the soil mixture being too nutrient “hot” or too rich. Seedlings do not need any nutrients until many of the true leaves have appeared, at least 3 sets of alternating nodes and accompanying full sets of leaves.

Also the tall flimsy stalks are probably due to the too short of a light period, and even more so from the overcast. If a seedling does not get enough intense light, it will stretch and stretch trying to get more light and will not be able to support its own weight.

P.S. It being overcast kind of also would explain the soil maybe being too wet and confirming, or at least contributing to the idea of a damping off type situation.

I concur. Damping off is the withering at the base thing. Ensure that you have constant air movement around your girls. And Mac is right about the light, as well. They need at least T-5 light to start. Ordinary florescents will do in a pinch, but a T-5 rig is olny 45 bucks, less than the price of an eight, where weed is still not legal. So, seems like a cheap investment. Hope this helps!



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I had the same problem with two of my plants that were in the ground. They were long and kind of flimsy. I watched them for a few days and realized they weren’t getting enough sun. I had to transplant them into pots and put them where they would get at least 6 hours of full sunlight a day. I had to stake them up so they wouldn’t topple over. They seem to be doing fine now.

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Great solution, staking. You are on the right path. Most importantly, look and listen to your girls. They are taking to you 24/7. Telling you what they need. Best of luck!


Thanks to all for the replies. I have to say there remains one possibility that isn’t spoken, but which, in view of my experience as per my original post, as well as what has happened since, I have to favor: there’s something amiss with the seed. I discount the soil being too hot, not only because I have used this mixture in the past without difficulty, but also, as stated, some seed were started in peat pellets… not a hot medium. Too much rain? Not enough sun; too cloudy? My vegetables, planted at the same time and undergoing the same, outdoor conditions, are thriving. In fact my tomatoes are the best I’ve ever grown.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say my “girls” aren’ t corn or tomatoes & so don’t favor as much rain as has fallen. Enter my recent efforts: rain’s gone, the Texas sun is beating down, the girls are started in peat and, upon sprouting (if sprouting… one germinated but didn’t sprout) are where they can soak up the rays. The results: no spindly, withering away plants, but still, very small, stunted, unvigorous, plants. This isn’t my first rodeo; I know how plants are supposed to look, how big, how vigorous they should be, and these plants aren’t close to that. So… my unwelcome deduction, without over thinking it: the seed is at fault, either from ILGM, or through something that happened to them in transit.

I doubt it, as most others are not having those types of problems for no other reason, we usually identify the problem and usually one of the aforementioned reasons is the reason.

“The exception proves the rule,” as the adadge goes. Although I’m sure I’ll not change your opinion; anymore than you can change mine. For your part, you have no reason to credit what I’ve said as accurate, or true. For my part, well… I’m looking at the scrawny, miniature plants & know that they, all two of 'em that have made it, are suffering from more than the whims of nature or nurture. Short of growing plants of the same strain, from seed from another supplier, parallel with one another, under identical conditions & comparing results, then there’s really no way for me to make a convincing case; insufficient evidence. And as I’m not going to do all that in pursuit of presenting a case that’s going to be disbelieved, no matter what, I write this experience off with another trite, but true, adadge, “It is what it is,” and bid you a courteous, adios.

You don’t have to convince me.

However, if you are convinced something happened and you got a bad batch of seeds, ILGM does have a seed guarantee you can look into. I believe it can be found from the main page or in the shop, and links may have been included in your e-mail order details.

Make sure when you send a e-mail to Robert, Claire, or Orders, in the subject you put something like “Attention: Seed Guarantee” or some such so as to get their attention and to have it stand out from the large numbers of e-mails they get every day.

They are very understanding and very generous in their seed guarantee, I’ve seen them be more than generous numerous times, and after all, I’m sure they want your return business and want you to see the quality of their product so as you’d be sure to purchase many more in the future.

Good luck in all your future grows.