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2 questions about seedlings under flourescents

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by 'Sparagus on April 09, 2006 12:19 AM
Hi all! This is about my lit'l baby sprouts under my flourescent shop lights, a nice 2-3" under the bulbs [thumb]

1: Have you heard that the middle of the tubes have the strongest light and the plants should be rotated to all get time in the middle, or else you risk leggyness?

2: My lights came with the house (40 watt cool) and we have been here over 6 years.....would newer bulbs be better?

Random bonus question! Do you help seedlings that have a seed coat stuck on them?! Im SOOOOO tempted but dont want to risk hurting the plants. Moonflowers and okra, a few are having a hard time shaking that seed!


[flower] Karen
by peppereater on April 09, 2006 02:35 AM
Karen...I'd leave them alone. They'll kick their coats on their own.
As for the lights, I only rotate my plants as needed, but it's not a bad idea...the very ends of the lights are definitely dimmer. I keep my lights right on top of my plants...the closer the better, and if they touch before the lights are raised, it doesn't hurt a thing. If the lights seem pretty bright, I wouldn't worry about changing the bulbs. [thumb]

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Even my growlights are getting restless!
by comfrey on April 11, 2006 11:45 AM
Karen...Yes the ends of the tubes have less light, but should not make your plants leggy..It is a good idea to rotate them anyway.

Remeber that you need to keep the plants no lower then 2 inches below the lights to keep them from becoming leggy.

Yes I would replace the light tubes if they are 6 years old, you will have better light output with new tubes, but the old ones will work.

On the stuck seed coats there are a couple of things you can do: Mist the stuck seed coat to soften it and then you should be able to gentley pull it off...or I sometimes just squeeze it gentley between my fingers and it will crack and usually drop off. Also if the seed starting soil is very fine, you can add a small amount of sand to help pull the seed hull off as it emerges, just sprinkle alittle on the top of the fine seed soil when you start your seeds.

I have never grown either of the plants you mentioned inside...I always sow my okra directly into the ground...It needs warm soil and warm weather to sprout and grow good.

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by 'Sparagus on April 11, 2006 08:07 PM
I think I could spring the $2.99 for some new bulbs! but so far my little sproutlings are doing awesome under the old ones. [clappy]

Wow, direct seeding okra....there's no way that would work here (the northeast). Im hoping mine will do ok, starting indoors and being planted in a raised bed on the super hot south side of the house. We'll see!

[flower] K
by johnCT on April 11, 2006 09:39 PM
I wouldn't worry about the lights. Flourescent bulbs either work or they don't. With my shoplights I buy two different temp bulbs for them to widen the light spectrum. One 3000K warm bulb and one 5000K cool bulb. Helps mimic the full spectrum plant bulbs with less cost. Who knows if it helps. [dunno]

With stuck seed coats, keep moistening it with a drop or two of water and they should come off easily. If not, let them be a few more days.

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John - Zone 6
by Sorellina on April 12, 2006 10:54 PM
Ciao all,

Gross as it may sound, I put spit on my fingers and rub it on the seed coat, wait a minute and usually it softens enough to pull off gently. I've only beheaded one in close to 150 seedlings so far.


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by 'Sparagus on April 13, 2006 07:09 AM
OOOOOOK......thanks for the idea! I was thinking the more the seed coat dried out, the easier it would be to pop off. I tried misting one of the moonflower seeds and it came off on its own a little while later. Who woulda thunk!

[flower] karen

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