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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old March 29, 2017   #1
Ice Cream
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Join Date: Dec 2016
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Default Leggy Plants- What did I do wrong?

This was my first year of growing tomatoes from seed (I wanted heirlooms that I couldn't buy as plants), and I am trying to figure out why they are so leggy. It seems I did everything "right" from what I have read on the internet, so I am having a hard time trying to pinpoint what I did wrong.
  • I used the soil block technique and planted them in 2 inch blocks using Fort Vee from Vermont Compost Company.
  • I planted a total of 36, and had to replant 4 due to not germinating. The varieties were all heirlooms: Louisiana Red, Louisiana Dixie, Jeff Davis, General Lee, and Rebel Yell.
  • Once they germinated I had them under a single glow light (2ft T5 24watt fluorescent grow light). I kept the grow light 2-3" from the plants and the light was turned on for 12-14 hours a day. The room had a temperature of approximately 65* at night and 75* during the day.
  • I repotted into 4 inch Jiffy pots one month after planting (used Fort Vee in the pots).
  • Now, two months after planting I have one foot tall plants with skinny stems and 2-3 branches. I have had to stake them up to keep them from falling over.
Any ideas on why my plants are so leggy? Any ideas on what I did wrong?

I'm going to plant them this week weather permitting with just the top 3" above ground.
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Old June 24, 2017   #2
Landisil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice Cream View Post
This was my first year of growing tomatoes from seed (I wanted heirlooms that I couldn't buy as plants), and I am trying to figure out why they are so leggy. It seems I did everything "right" from what I have read on the internet, so I am having a hard time trying to pinpoint what I did wrong.
  • I used the soil block technique and planted them in 2 inch blocks using Fort Vee from Vermont Compost Company.
  • I planted a total of 36, and had to replant 4 due to not germinating. The varieties were all heirlooms: Louisiana Red, Louisiana Dixie, Jeff Davis, General Lee, and Rebel Yell.
  • Once they germinated I had them under a single glow light (2ft T5 24watt fluorescent grow light). I kept the grow light 2-3" from the plants and the light was turned on for 12-14 hours a day. The room had a temperature of approximately 65* at night and 75* during the day.
  • I repotted into 4 inch Jiffy pots one month after planting (used Fort Vee in the pots).
  • Now, two months after planting I have one foot tall plants with skinny stems and 2-3 branches. I have had to stake them up to keep them from falling over.
Any ideas on why my plants are so leggy? Any ideas on what I did wrong?

I'm going to plant them this week weather permitting with just the top 3" above ground.

I am by NO means an expert. However I started Tomatoes from seed this year as well...my first time. I made two attempts. The first time I started Tomatoes and Bell Peppers together. The Tomatoes grew but were VERY Leggy and were useless. The peppers did okay. My original setup used 3 CFL Bulbs at 23 Watts and 1600 Lumens each. On my second attempt I tripled my light source and made certain the color spectrum duplicated natural sunlight. The modified setup used 3 CFL lamps at 65 Watts and 4000 Lumens each, the light spectrum is 6500K.( I suspect I could have gotten away with using two of the 65 Watt 4000 Lumen CFLs.)The results were great. The second set of Tomatoes had thick stems and were very hardy. Additionally they were easy to harden off....almost no sun shock Using my experience as a guide...I would say your light source was too weak.

My 2 cents.

Frank
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Old June 24, 2017   #3
Father'sDaughter
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If you had 36 plants and only one 2ft light, then lack of light was definitely the issue. There needs to be light directly over every seedling, or the ones that aren't under the light will be stretching towards that single bulb. Everything else sounds perfect, so if you can resolve the lighting issue for next year, you should have much better results.
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