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Help! First Time Grower and Plants Look Weird! (6 days since germ)

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  • Help! First Time Grower and Plants Look Weird! (6 days since germ)

    Hi everyone! This is first time as a member on the forum/posting, and first time growing. I have a computer case grow box with about 46w of CFL light on 2 seedlings. I plan to upgrade the wattage to 90 for the full grow. I know I need more lights but this is my first grow and I don't have a lot of money to spend. I believe I planted my first 3 germinated bag seeds with taproots about 1cm long on the 18th. They had come out of the ground by the 20th and now it is 6 days since germination and this is what the 2!! that survived my man handling look like. One is just a stem coming from the soil. A story i would rather not tell, but I am hoping it will live, no biggie if she doesn't make it though. They are currently on a 20-4 light cycle. I read so many things about my plants needing darkness and some people said do 24/7 light so i compromised and gave them some dark but still more light than the usual 18-6 schedule. The case has an intake and exhaust fan and the temperature seems to stay anywhere from low 70s to very low 80s. I think the temps are going into the low 70s when the lights are off. I originally started my seeds in a cheap soil from a dollar store that contained aged bark and sand. I found out that isn't the best mixture. It didn't drain well at all and seemed to be very dense. I found some organic violet potting soil at my local garden shop. The name os soil Is Espoma Organic African Violet Potting Mix. It has limestone in it and lots of peat moss and some perlite. Seems like a much better soil. So i ended up using this to kind of transplant my seedlings yesterday into their final pots because the drainage issue was a big deal. I decided to go ahead and go into their final pots so i wouldn't need to stress them any more. They both have purple stems and I think one is very yellow and leaves seem to be crispish and a little dark at the points. The other's cotyledons are turning a dark dark purple and the leaves kinda are as well. I am not sure if they are healthy of if it is just because of all of the stress. I have kind of watered them with some tap water, some bottled water, and some tap that was left out for 48hrs. So ph may be a real issue and also the chlorine from, the tap water. I might have damaged the yellowish one's roots when transplanting, it didn't really have much more than a strand going to the bottom of a solo cup. I think I was over watering them at first but i think i have that under control now so they might just bounce back if they are sick. I want to remind everyone that as far as I know these seedlings haven't gotten any nutes so far so i don't think they are burnt. Maybe its over watering or stress or they need some nutrients? Anyways I wanted to just give everyone the details on the grow and some pictures of the plants at 6 days since germination and get some feedback on how they look and any ideas on why they look like they do.
    Last edited by NewbieGrowMan; 10-25-2016, 08:38 AM.

  • #2
    I have to say that your plants don't look the healthiest. Not sure about African violet soil. you should do a simple google research and see it that is suitable. Nutrients may not be compatable. If you can get to a garden supply store, there are far better soils out there. Your lights look really close. Are they putting out too much heat? Check you pH - should be between 6-7. Do those pots have drainage holes?. If not, that really is not suitable as their final pot.

    I seem to be the only one on tonight and I am far from an expert. You'll probably get more help tomorrow.


    • #3
      When watering seedlings...only water around the plant a few inches....way too much water...drowning them
      Test grower for Seedsman Seeds & Fast Buds American Autoflowers...current grows...


      • #4
        Really does look like a combo of overwatering, inappropriate soil, and maybe PH. Keep reading the GWE site for many suggestions on how to approach the grow. Good's definitely worth it when you have a successful harvest!! 🌱🌻
        Current grows...
        Recent grows...


        • #5
          Thank you for all of the replies guys. It is organic soil with no extra nutrients. The white pieces is limestone. The soil is 50-60% sphagnum peat moss, peat humus, perlite and dolomitic limestone to adjust pH. The soil is supposed to be very airy which is good for seedlings. I did mix in a little of the heavier soil from the original pots. I do believe i was over watering them, so I will try and let the soil dry out a bit before i water. The pots do have a ton of drainage holes and they drain well. I always read the closer the better with CFLs as they put out very little heat. I will move the plants away an inch or so and see if that helps. I have no way of checking pH. Any suggestion on cheap ways to do it or a cheap product or method to control the pH would be much appreciated.
          Last edited by NewbieGrowMan; 10-25-2016, 07:45 PM.


          • #6
            Something as simple as this is better than nothing. Inexpensive and really does work. We have one similar. Won't work for testing water runoff (I don't think) but work when inserted into your soil. Prongs are about 7 inches long.


            • #7
              Can I use that to test my water before I water them? Will it only test the soils pH? I have read some about fish tank pH test that use chemicals to turn the water different colors depending on the pH level. Should I give these a try to make sure the water going in is a good pH? can I use these to test the run off?


              • Green75
                Green75 commented
                Editing a comment
                Just get General hydroponics ph up and down kit. Cheap

            • #8
              Adjusting pH will make a huge difference in how fast and healthy your plant grows! The most common ways to test ph is using a pH test kit which changes the water color to determine pH. They come with a bottle of PH UP and PH DOWN which can be used to make the pH higher or lower. In soil you want to keep the pH between 6-7 to prevent deficiencies.

              You can also choose to get a pH pen down the road, which costs a little more for a good one, but can be helpful if you want to see a number instead of comparing colors


              • rockman
                rockman commented
                Editing a comment
                Great product, and easy to use!

              • Wattze
                Wattze commented
                Editing a comment
                Also what I use! I'm looking into pens, but thy can be expensive and high maintence.. but worth it for beautiful plants, right? 😉

              • ndsmansyj
                ndsmansyj commented
                Editing a comment
                In the absence of buy ph regulating solution, I use vinegar to adjust the water ph. . A drop of vinegar can make 1000ml ph8 down to ph5.2 ....

            • #9
              I don't think that your seedlings look that bad. I do agree with what everyone else has said above me. My seedlings looked very similar, and I kinda freaked out about them too. Def. move them away from the light maybe an inch or a little more. I transplanted my three week old plants last week because of similar symptoms and now they are growing healthy again. I don't know how big the pots are that you transplanted into, but when i had my seedlings in a solo cup i used a 20 fluid oz coke bottle with holes cut in the cap to water and i watered them every three days and used about 10-15 of the fluid ounces among all three of my seedlings. After moving two plants to a 2 gallon pot and the third into a 1 gallon pot (due to space constraints) I use a 1 gallon watering container and water every 3-4 days and use about 1 quart (1/4 gallon) among all three plants now. As for nutrients, I wouldn't use nutrients just yet until they adapt to their new pots and you are still seeing problems. I hope this helps!


              • #10
                Thanks guys for the help. I am planning to just go to walmart and get one of the pH test kits for aquariums. Can i use baking soda and vinegar to adjust the pH if it is low or high? Trying to spend the least amount of money here. Very tight at the moment, but i don't want my plants to die. I think once they get used to their new pots and i start watering them properly they will bounce back if i can get the pH right.


                • #11
                  Thanks for the watering advice pago5165! It is the bottom of a 2.5l bottle. So its probably a little over a liter. I know this is large for a seedling but it was an emergency transplant and didn't want to stress them anymore and have to transplant again in a few weeks. I really appreciate the links insomniaczzz and NubelaHaze!
                  Last edited by NewbieGrowMan; 10-26-2016, 04:54 AM.


                  • #12
                    From what you shared about the soil sounds like a good medium. Dolomite limestone should help the ph from dropping as peat based mediums have a tendency to go acidic as it breaks down. The medium should buffer slight ph drifts but not knowing what your input ph is makes it difficult to diagnose.

                    I don't know about baking soda and vinegar for adjusting ph. I'm sure they will do a fine job of giving you the right ph but I don't know how the plant will respond to the extras in those products. I'd like to think everyone would use such cheap and readily available products if they worked well.

                    Overwatering may be a big part of your problem too. Let the medium dry out really well. I think the "lift" test works great. Also, I would stick to one water source as it adds too many variables when trying to diagnose problems.

                    Good luck and welcome to the forum.
                    Last edited by Royal Nugs; 10-27-2016, 02:56 AM.


                    • #13
                      Are those clear pots ? You don't want you roots exposed to light.


                      • #14
                        Yes they were in another medium that didn't have anything to buffer the pH until a day or so ago. So they are just now probably getting water with a bit better pH, I'm sure it will take a bit for them to show signs of improvement. I will watch the new growth for improvement right? I haven't watered them in like 3 days. They are still moist so I am letting them dry for probably another 2 days. These pots are a bit larger than the seedling needs. Yes they are clear pots, kingfish. I had slight concerns about light getting to the roots because I knew it would be a while before they would reach out that far, and if I saw any i can just wrap the pots in a few layers of reflective tape. I am going to stick with the tap water that has been sitting out for at least 48 hours. Does it need to be spread out in a sheet pan or can it be just sitting in a large glass or open mason jar? Will it still evaporate the chlorine? I am hoping to get a pH test kit soon and that should solve some of my problems. Here are some pics from today. I moved them away from the lights a bit .


                        • #15
                          I'm assuming you have city water. They use a form of chlorine I think now in most cities which doesn't evaporate. Get a water test analysis at your local city hall or whatever. Sometimes they're available on the internet too.

                          My tap water comes out at 300 ppm and when I let it sit in an uncapped milk jug it settles at 230-250. I'm not sure what's evaporating off exactly but I continue to jug my plant's water. Probably unnecessary but it makes me feel better. I've used water straight from the tap with no ill effects.


                          • NewbieGrowMan
                            NewbieGrowMan commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Yes it is city water. Is ppm similar to pH? What does the particle count affect? What makes up those particles? Sorry for all the questions.

                          • Royal Nugs
                            Royal Nugs commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Ppm is parts per million. It's also referred to as tds (total dissolved solids) or ec (electrical conductivity). Those particles can consist of anything. It's used as a baseline for water quality, the lower the better.

                            When adding nutrients it's used to determine the strength of the solution. Too high ppm and your plants burn. Too low and they're malnourished.

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