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Crop Care: How to Save Leggy Tomato Seedlings?

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
Tomato seedlings

To get the right soil, climate, geological and ecological conditions for the crop, it takes a lot of time and effort. And when the right time comes to harness its benefits, it turns out to be a failure. There’re quite a few culprits for those leggy tomato seedlings and to get your seedlings back to normal shape, you have to identify those problems and fix them.

Tomatoes are very tasty & add a unique flavor to your dishes and you can even grow tomatoes from seeds at your home. But they require a lot of care. Common factors that are responsible are inconsistent soil moisture, lack of light after germination, overcrowding, and also poor ventilation. Let me tell you more about all the factors one-by-one along with ways in which you can fix them so that your seedlings grow healthier.

How to Identify Leggy Seedlings?

If you see your seedlings have grown very tall & skinny, you can say it ‘leggy’. They could be pale and yellow colored, not be quite bushy too. In the field of gardening, tall doesn’t indicate good health. Contrary to this, seedlings those are thick & stocky are considered to be healthy.

What Causes Leggy Seedlings?

There are numerous causes of leggy seedlings. Let’s discuss:

Absence of Light when Sowing Tomato Seed:

To thrive properly, tomato plants need more than ten hours of direct sunlight in a day. Therefore, seeds that are sown too early before the last frost or started indoors can develop leggy tomato seedlings. Seedlings would bend in the direction of the sunlight.

Overcrowding Tomato Seedlings in the Tray:

If lighting isn’t the problem, crowding might be. It also stops the seedlings from receiving sufficient sunlight. If the plants are too closely placed, the shade of each plant will overpower the available light.

Use of Excessive Tomato Fertilizer:

Feeding your plant with too much fertilizer in the soil can also cause leggy seedlings. It’s important to ensure that your plants receive the right amount of nutrients. Too much Nitrogen or any other nutrient can overdrive and producing only foliage and no blooms.

Poor Ventilation:

If you’re growing your seedlings in a protected environment, the possibility are that they’re not receiving adequate air. Seedlings raised outdoor are prone to airflow and winds, they become stronger, and their stems grow much thicker. Therefore, in the absence of proper airflow, seedlings become weak and fragile.

How to Fix These Issues?

Now, we are going to discuss the possible solutions of this problem. Let’s start:

Providing Sufficient Light for Tomato Seedlings:

To make sure that your seedlings receive enough light, you need to place the pot directly under the sunlight. You aim should be to provide about 10 to 12 hours of direct sunlight to the plant.

Maintaining Adequate Soil Moisture for Tomatoes:

Keeping the soil hydrated through consistent watering is the key here. Ensure that the soil is evenly damp and can retain moisture as well. Apart from this, the soil should not be too sandy that drains faster.

Sowing Tomato Seeds Thinly:

It would be a great help if you sowed the seeds at distance from each other. You can still re-pot them in different or larger pots. You don’t want the seedlings to compete and struggle with each other in search of light, nutrients, and air.

Diluting Tomato Fertilizer:

Tomato seedlings should receive fertilizer once they have developed their second set of leaves. Since the current nutrient-content of your soil also plays a crucial role, it would be much better to get your soil tested before you start fertilizing.

Maintaining Optimum Temperature When Growing Tomatoes:

Seedlings need a warms set-up, the temperature should not go beyond 21 degrees Celsius during day and 15 degree Celsius during night. Also, you have to remove the humidity domes from your seedling trays or take them off the heating mats after a couple of days of sprouting.

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