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Old April 13, 2019   #31
Labradors2
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can I ask what kind of softener do you have that you can add too much salt? none of the ones I have ever seen used more than a preset amount of salt per cycle. leaving some salt in the water is normal but not enough to kill off the seedlings.
It's a Culligan which we have had for 15 years, I'd added 20 kilos (about 40 lbs) of salt, but the water was still hard so I added another 20K bag to the drum. I assumed it was that, because when I examined the potting soil with a magnifying glass, I could see salt crystals on the surface! It was odd though because I've always used softened water for my seedlings and had never had a problem before then.

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Old April 13, 2019   #32
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I just heard back from my friend in NC who lost a batch of seedlings. Apparently, she had left them outside overnight and temps dipped to 40F, plus it was windy, so maybe that was what done 'em in .


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Old April 13, 2019   #33
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Originally Posted by Labradors2 View Post
I just heard back from my friend in NC who lost a batch of seedlings. Apparently, she had left them outside overnight and temps dipped to 40F, plus it was windy, so maybe that was what done 'em in .


Linda
That’ll do it alright. I also think “ user error” is often more of a factor than we like to admit.
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Old April 13, 2019   #34
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Can't blame the potting mix when it gets down to 40 F and windy....
I didn't have a problem with seedlings but the greens I planted have been struggling a bit, 100% sure it is something wrong with the mix. Or possibly outright neglect. Or like oldman said, evil chain letter effect...
@oakley, the piccolo gato looks amazing! I have not started tomatoes yet! Super late, I just feel I am waiting for aphids to appear... saw my first ant today in the greenhouse. I may just plant extra extra late and put em outdoors, to spare myself the battle.
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Old April 14, 2019   #35
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Tomato seedlings that die from the top down, and growing tip turns brown then black, may be infected with Topocuvirus. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topocuvirus
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Old April 14, 2019   #36
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I use softened water for my seedlings without a problem.

Water softeners add a minimal amount of salt to drinking water and the main reason that people do not use it for outdoor watering is to save wear and tear on the water softener as well as money on salt. It is not because the salt will hurt the plants. All of our outdoor faucets are fed with unsoftened water.

The amount of salt in your water is determined on how hard your water is and that determines how much salt is used to remove the hardness ions from the resin bed but even with really hard water the amount of residual salt in the drinking water is minimal. The softener only uses the salt that it needs and the amount of salt in the tank is immaterial.

Last edited by brownrexx; April 14, 2019 at 02:15 PM.
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Old April 14, 2019   #37
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Thanks for your comments Brownrexx. I had been using softened water for years without any problems.

I guess it was the potting mix then. I had suspected it because it was "new" and had isolated it, re-potted everything and flushed each pot with rainwater. The seedlings that hadn't been killed all survived .

Linda
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Old April 14, 2019   #38
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I definitely don't think that you killed them with salt Labradors2.

I don't know what potting mix that you used but I always start mine in a soiless potting mix that contains no fertilizer and then I water them with half strength fertilizer after they get their first true leaves.

I think that some regular potting mixes may have too much fertilizer and that can be too strong for tender seedlings. Or there is always the theory that the manufacturer added too much fertilizer to the mix by accident. Too much fertilizer can definitely be toxic.
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Old April 14, 2019   #39
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I definitely don't think that you killed them with salt Labradors2.

I don't know what potting mix that you used but I always start mine in a soiless potting mix that contains no fertilizer and then I water them with half strength fertilizer after they get their first true leaves.

I think that some regular potting mixes may have too much fertilizer and that can be too strong for tender seedlings. Or there is always the theory that the manufacturer added too much fertilizer to the mix by accident. Too much fertilizer can definitely be toxic.
I think you hit the nail on the head! I had run out of my previous mix (which actually had some added fert, but my seedlings did really well on it). I had some Pro-mix for herbs and veggies left over from the previous season and I used that for my seedlings. I guess I won't make that mistake again!

Thanks,

Linda
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Old April 14, 2019   #40
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My PromixBX has no fertilizer. Only peat, perlite, vermiculite, dolomite, and mycorrhizae. The freshness off The Promix could make a difference, a lot can get in there and grow from the time of last season. Fungus gnats is one thing that could happen. The larvae eat tiny tomato roots.
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Old April 14, 2019   #41
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Thanks Marsha. I'm using PromixHP for seed starting. (Apparently it has more perlite than BX). I'll look for the BX for next time.

I've encountered fungus gnats before. I have a feeling they are more likely to appear in bags that have been left outside in the rain, so I try to buy bags that have been housed inside.

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Old April 21, 2019   #42
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I had a total disaster with my seedlings this year. I use my own mix of peat perlite and vermiculite with just a little bit of a slow release pearled fert. I sanitized my starting chamber with a peroxide spray a couple of days before seeding. I added a fan on low as when the heater gets to temp and shuts down there is no air movement. Everything started out well. Good germination on most seeds. Got lights on them. Seedlings seemed to be doing well for over 2 weeks. Then suddenly some started falling over. Didn't seem like damp-off exactly. And I was alternating bottom soaking about every 4-5 days with daily spray watering with just water with some peroxide added. 1 pint to 2 gal water. Most were my own saved seeds that I bleach rinse before drying.

Last year I had some die before I started adding peroxide so this year added it from the start. Now I lost more than last year. I can't figure out what I did wrong other than I couldn't get them out to the greenhouse as soon as germinated because of late weather issues. But when we did get them out they continued to die.

Did I use too much perxodide and dry them out ?? or what ??

I'm not going to have much for market sales this year and not knowing why is driving me crazy.

Carol
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Old April 21, 2019   #43
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So you are saying you watered every time with a mixture of 16:1 peroxide water?

If so I think this is way over doing it.
You just need to mist the soil with a spray bottle every now and then, not water with it.
The vermiculite may be a factor too but no expert on the subject.
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Old April 21, 2019   #44
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Have you tested the PH of the mix? Maybe it is too acidic?
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Old April 22, 2019   #45
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No I haven't tested the ph but this is the same mix I've used successfully for 30 years.

I was wondering if I was doing the peroxide too much. But last year I was doing too little and lost a lot. but this year is way worse. I guess I'll have to find some mid point.

Carol
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