Jim G
Jim G
  • Hometalker
  • Suffolk, VA
Asked on Apr 7, 2013

How to Grow Tomato and Cucumber plants from SEEDS

Jim GDebbie BorthwickPatricia W
+9

Answered

Started tomato plants (and Cucumber this year) from seed indoors and they start out really well. BUT, they grow THIN stems and droop, then die. The stems never get thick and hard? How to grow the plants from seeds and get thick stems to replant?
12 answers
  • KMS Woodworks
    on Apr 7, 2013

    @Jim G Skinny stems is normally due to low light conditions. The botanical term for extremes of this is "etiolation" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etiolation One trick is to use "full spectrum" florescent grow lights. These can be placed closer to the plants than regular "incandescent" light of similar light output. These florescent run cooler and are a bit more energy efficient.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Apr 8, 2013

    As KMS says, strong light is crucial. Here are some great step-by-step instructions with photos for growing tomatoes from seeds: http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/grow-tomato.htm

  • Jim G
    on Apr 8, 2013

    KMS / Doug: Thanks. One of the things I didn't know till THIS year was hardening plants before bringing them out for the spring/summer. Also, My concern is the darn stems just don't seem to get thick for me from seeds, so having them in DIRECT light hopefully will make the difference. Cucs SHOULD grow wild and with little care..... I HOPE!

  • Deanna Whitten
    on Apr 8, 2013

    Thank you for this tip.. Time to move my tomato plants from the greenhouse to outside :)

  • Jim G
    on Apr 8, 2013

    Deanna - so I have NO CLUE and depend on Doug, KMS and others that know what they are talking about......... question is are you putting them out for a few hours a day and after a few days, increasing the time a few hours so you can "HARDEN" them? I started doing that and PRAY I learn something....

  • Deanna Whitten
    on Apr 8, 2013

    Took directly out of Greenhouse yesterday and put them in the sun... so cross your fingers... :)

  • Ouina
    on Apr 8, 2013

    To add to Doug and KMS, harden off you plants by first putting them in indirect sunlight (a patio or on the east side of the house) and then gradually add time in direct sunlight (starting out with an hour or less then increasing the time each day spent in the direct sun). If you put them in direct sunlight (goes for any greenhouse grown plant) you risk sun scald - leaves will "burn", yellow and eventually die off.

  • Jim G
    on Apr 8, 2013

    Ouina: thank you, I did not know that, I actually put them into the sunlight thinking they needed that for a few hours, then bring them in at night. (was just telling my neighbor these are harder to care for then pets! I have 5 Large Hibiscus trees, 4 Gardenia plants (one large pot), Caladium, tomatoes and cucumbers! starting research on Lettuce!) I'll start the day in INDIRECT Sunlight (one side, then as the sun moves, it naturally will make the direct sunlight!

  • Ouina
    on Apr 8, 2013

    Bringing them in at night is a very good idea especially if you have cooler nights. But as you extend the daylength in the sun you can also start to leave them out at night depending on the low temp. Lots of luck - sounds like you will do well. I have lived in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas and Alaska. They all came with unique gardening challenges!

  • Patricia W
    on Apr 8, 2013

    Its called "reaching" when stems grow up and thin. One thing this lady knows is the roots need warmth from below. In my nursery greenhouse, I used heat mats on sand. You can mimic natural outdoor light by making sure they get the same amount of day light inside that they would naturally get outside. sit them on a dryer while its running is one way to give root warmth so the roots grow downward and strong. Anywhere that you can get warmth from below is good. Even an old waterbed heater on a board then a towel on top, then the plants would work. Just keep it on low and watch that the soil doesnt dry out. Good luck!

  • Debbie Borthwick
    on Apr 8, 2013

    Cucumbers grow so easily and quick from seed, you really don't need to start them indoors. Also, cucumbers are sensitive to transplanting. Plant them outside when you are past the risk of frost.

  • Jim G
    on Apr 8, 2013

    Thanks Debbie. My brother-in-law used to grow them almost out of control. He says Cucumbers and Squash are very easy to grow and in abundance! (wish I could get the Tomatoes to grow in abundance! NOW on to LETTUCE! THINK I want to try it in pots forst, then Building a bottle tower for container gardening: http://www.youtube.com/embed/-uDbjZ9roEQ

Your comment...