Updated: May 26
5/9/23: Super Fantastic update with the tomato seedlings!
4/16/23: Spoiler Alert -- this turned out well! Grow lights work!!
(Post started 4/9/23) "This might not turn out well." Today's post is about rescuing tomato seedlings, and I may be a few days late to this table. But we'll try. Truth be told, seedlings are just something for me to do until we can plant outside, and I usually end up going to Mecca for starters (Prairie Gardens in Champaign -- one block from my house.) Coincidence? I think not.
The remedy comes in at 1:42 in the video -- watch how I gently water each and every peat pot. Then, I turn on the grow light and make sure they are within 1/8" of the bulb. It feels like its too close and the leaves will burn, but they won't. The light will just strengthen the plant. Then keep the seedlings watered every 2-3 days. That's it -- that's all you need to do to go from the sad seedlings above to the strong seedlings below. For me, it's one of the most gratifying of the gardening tasks.
4/9/23: Here's where we start. [Seemingly] Total Disaster: (seeds planted 3/19/23)
After one day under the grow light and some badly-needed watering:
4/11/23: Here's some progress after watering and a few days under the grow light:
4/17/23: Progress after just ONE WEEK under the grow light, and watering every few days:
4/24/23: Progress after I had to put the cucumber seedlings under the grow light, and had the tomato seedlings just sitting by a door that gets a few hours of afternoon light.
... and one lonely jalapeno pepper seedling who finally germinated after one month!
P.S. All of the peppers FINALLY germinated. After a month!
5/1/23: Check them out today! I have started to thin them, but there are multiple strong seedlings in almost each peat pot. Thinning is heartbreaking, not gonna lie ...
5/9/23: I have thinned the plants in the 2 middle rows, because those are the rows that the light hits the most. Need to get another light for just this tray, but it's $49.
5/14/23: Still doing great! Not enough to put in the ground yet, but starting to harden them off.
This is Group 1 of a full tray of seedlings to be thinned. Now, they're outside hardening off 5/21/23:
And the last to be thinned 5/24/23, this is Group 2. (I do NOT recommend waiting this long to thin. Your seedlings need room to grow, and they don't need to compete for crucial nutrients!)