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Tee Jay

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since May 03, 2016
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Recent posts by Tee Jay

Hey Logan, my input may not be what you're looking for but I will offer it up anyway, just in case. My experience with watering stakes is limited to trees and shrubs. I use the term "watering stakes" very loosely as my "stakes" were actually just 30" of 4" PVC pipe, buried vertically about a foot away from each of the new blue spruce trees and shrubs that we planted one summer many years ago. I used them because at that time the top 12-24" of earth in my property (below the top 4 inches of topsoil) was a horribly impenetrable clay and rain water would sit there for days - more likely to evaporate than to soak into the ground any deeper than the topsoil - leaving the ground soaked and unusable. Some years the lawn would actually drown from heavy rainfall. It is some terrible stuff. So when planting these trees and shrubs, we dug a large hole for each down below the 1 or 2 feet of earthen death - lol - and into some far softer soil. We placed a small amount of organic material at the bottom of the hole along with some pea gravel and the vertical pipe. Once the clay settled back down around the young plants, the surface water would not soak down past the crust and the ground would stay wet around the plant but not soak in. But because of the "stakes" I was able to fill the PVC pipe up to the top and it would slowly drain down over the course of about an hour. The plants we did this to are still thriving today, whereas the shrubs and trees that we did not try this on, the previous summer, are long since gone. So, in my experience, my homebrew water stakes were the gamechanger. These days, I only plant in raised beds for the most part anyway so I have no need for them. I know this probably doesn't help your situation but I thought I would throw it out there just in case. Let us know how you make out on yours though and best of luck with it.
Thanks Charli - I was planning on just using a bag of quick mix in a 5 gallon bucket. I wonder how much it might help if I leave the quickcrete in the bucket to reduce the amount of surface area of concrete that contacts the water. Another thought is that since the plants will be in a soil mix that is high in peat moss (acidic) then perhaps the alkalinity added by the crete won't be so bad..... hmmmmm.
I do have a nice PH testing kit so I think I will keep tabs on the PH of the water for the first season or two just to be sure. I was primarily concerned with other possible contaminants that concrete might add to the water but so far my research has mostly shown the lime as the only thing people have mentioned here and at other sites.

Once I have it set up and running I'll try to grab a picture of it and post back here as to how things are working out with in - just in case someone else somewhere else might have the same idea.
What Karen said!
I've been using willow water for rooting for years and it is amazing!

As for the water roots taking to soil - I've never had any roots that I started in water have an issue with the soil - so long as you're putting them in good soil to begin with.
Just be sure to keep the soil moist after planting them.
I like to use the clipper trick when planting mustard seeds.......
OK - that was just ridiculous - lol.

But on a more serious note - another option that I've grown to love is to use a piece of sandpaper to scuff up the outer surface of the seed - sometimes I scuff into the edge until it wears right through the tough outer shell. I've had really good luck with this method. I've tried the clipper method in the past and it worked pretty well when my eyes were younger and my hands were steadier - haha.
I'd try the Epsom salt idea for the yellowing leaves. I use a little bit of that every year with my tomato and pepper plants. Works great!

Another possible cause (hopefully not) could be chemical lawn spray. I've had this happen with similar symptoms.
It turned out being a neighbor, 2 doors down, had been spraying his lawn with some kind of weed and feed poison on a windy day and just enough of the fine spray made it to my garden to cause a very similar result on some of my veggies without killing them. Once I figured out the cause, I sadly destroyed the effected plants because it wasn't worth the risk. I'll give you one guess as to which neighbor did NOT get an armful of veggies hand delivered to them in the Fall like the rest of them them do every year.

Best of luck with this and let us know how you make out. I'm curious to hear if the Epsom salt works for ya.
3 years ago
In my experience, for whatever that's worth - lol, I've almost always had trouble with leggy seedlings doing well afterwards. I've actually started new seeds after accidentally allowing seedlings to get too long and leggy and planted them all. The newer seedlings, even thought they were younger, quickly outgrew the older, yet weaker, leggy seedlings and produced more fruit. I'm not sure why it stunted them to get leggy but it did. It is important to keep the light right on top of the seedlings as they are growing because the strength of usable light disperses very quickly as you get further from the light source.

I've been using T5 fluorescent bulbs over the years and have been very happy with them. And now, last year and this year I added some LED shop lights to my seedling setup and I LOVE EM! Because they run so cool, I can drop the light right down on top of the seedlings and not worry about burning the plants. Not to mention they cost a fraction of the electricity to run. The initial cost of the LED shop light is quickly regained through energy savings and no more bulb replacements.

As for your reptile lights, they may run too hot. I wouldn't place my seedlings on a "precarious" windowsill, especially if cats are in the house but that's just me.
If you can keep the LED or fluorescent lights right down on top of your seedlings as soon as they sprout, they should not get leggy in the first place. On a side not, if any of your leggy plants are tomato plants by chance, then not to worry. You can always repot them in a taller pot or planter and bury the long leggy stem right up to the bottom set of leaves as the tiny hairs on the stem will then take root and thereby increase your root base. Only try this with tomatoes though as most other plants will not tolerate this.

Good luck with your seedlings and let us know how you make out.

*Haha - yeah what Chip said. It took me so long to type that out I didn't see that you already had the same answer - lol.
If you can get a ton of worm casting soil, perhaps you could consider making up some raised beds and filling them with that soil. This could be the best of all worlds. That soil won't need to be composted or broken down so it won't get too hot or burn your seeds or seedlings, and it will leach down into your terrible soil over time to improve that too. Mulching it with ground up leaves or grass clippings (so long as you don't use chemical treatments on your lawn) will keep it moist and reduce evaporation and cut way down on needed watering.
On a side note, if you can get goat manure (or any herbivore manure, especially ruminant (multi-stomached animals is best - cows goats sheep etc) then set up a compost pile off to the side somewhere to make up your own supply of black gold to add to your garden or to add new gardens in the future. Ruminants digest the seeds better so their manure has far less weed seeds to deal with than say horse manure. But if you run a hot compost, that should burn up any weed seeds though. Just don't ever use any maunre from a predator (meat eaters such as dogs or cat etc. as their feces has far too many parasites and is very unhealthy and unsafe to use.
Best of luck this season.