Shriveling kale and cabbage seedlings

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Salaam
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Shriveling kale and cabbage seedlings

#1

Post: # 120794Unread post Salaam
Wed Apr 10, 2024 8:43 am

Hello all,

I've grown kale and cabbage from seed, indoors, for years. For the first time, I'm running into a problem of seedlings shrivelling at about three weeks old. See the pictures. Some even look like they have leaf miners on them. Any advice, apart from trying new soil, new seed, sterilizing pots, ...

I've put a link for the images as I'm getting "HTTP Error" when I try to attach images.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/mfBPQRb5xcockHwF7
Canada Zone 5A

Seven Bends
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Re: Shriveling kale and cabbage seedlings

#2

Post: # 120816Unread post Seven Bends
Wed Apr 10, 2024 1:07 pm

My guess would be a soil issue or a moisture issue. What did you use for soil? Was it a commercial product in a new, unopened bag? Did it smell odd when you opened it, or was it really wet? Did you add anything to it or fertilize with anything? Are other seedlings growing successfully this year in that same soil?

I had trouble with one seed-starting mix this year, lost some seedlings before realizing what was wrong. Basically they grew no roots and just stalled out, then started wilting and browning. I repotted some of them into different soil and they recovered.

Is it possible you're over-watering? The soil looks pretty wet in the pictures, and there's some green on the surface in at least one of the pictures.

As for the marks on the tops of the leaves, what does the underside look like? Are there any raised bumps on the underside of the leaves or on the stems?

Are you using the same lights you've always used?

Are the seedlings wilting and dying fairly suddenly (like damping off), or is it more that they're failing to thrive and eventually they give up? Have you checked the root development?

I'd repot the healthiest seedlings into different soil (a regular potting mix) and be careful about watering. If it's warm enough to get them outside for a bit, that may help (but be careful not to sunburn or windburn them).

Salaam
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Re: Shriveling kale and cabbage seedlings

#3

Post: # 120817Unread post Salaam
Wed Apr 10, 2024 1:23 pm

Thanks for replying!

I used PROMIX Organic Potting Mix, the same I've used for years. It's not the best mix to use, but it's worked well enough in the past. It was in good condition. Tomatoes under LED lights had phosphorus deficiency so I fertilized very lightly. They are getting better. Peppers, lettuce, cilantro, parsley are doing great in the same conditions.

I tend to overwater, but I'm doing better this year.

I can't tell if there are any bumps - the leaves are so small. But the marks do look like the kind leaf miners make.

They are failing to thrive - slowly die off - and they shrivel slowly first. Roots are okay.

I've given up on them, got new soil, and I'm going to sanitize the trays I'm going to use.
Canada Zone 5A

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MrBig46
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Re: Shriveling kale and cabbage seedlings

#4

Post: # 120826Unread post MrBig46
Wed Apr 10, 2024 5:05 pm

Are the seedlings transplanted?
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Shule
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Re: Shriveling kale and cabbage seedlings

#5

Post: # 120846Unread post Shule
Thu Apr 11, 2024 4:18 am

I don't know what the issue is.

If you didn't do anything differently this year, I might suspect such as these problems:
- A change in the soil composition product that you weren't aware of
- A disease that has made it to your area, perhaps transported by small pests
- Small pests in the growing area
- A change in water composition (maybe test it)
- Seeds with issues
- Animals sitting on your plants when you're not looking
- Temperature or ventilation changes you didn't notice
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bower
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Re: Shriveling kale and cabbage seedlings

#6

Post: # 120854Unread post bower
Thu Apr 11, 2024 7:22 am

I agree with Seven Bends, soil and moisture tops the list of probable suspects, especially if it wasn't a fresh bag of potting mix. So changing to a new bag is likely your best plan.
Open bags of mix absorb moisture - and spores - from the air. Even a bag that was opened and then resealed can have unwanted company on board by the time you go back to it.
It is okay, fwiw, to cycle the tainted or suspected potting mix out into a garden bed. Damping off and similar organisms are especially favored by the environment inside a bag! In an open air, normally draining situation, they are not usually a threat to your plants.
AgCan Zone 5a/USDA zone 4
temperate marine climate
yearly precip 61 inches/1550 mm

Salaam
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Re: Shriveling kale and cabbage seedlings

#7

Post: # 122853Unread post Salaam
Mon May 06, 2024 11:21 pm

20240423_134251.jpg
Hello all,

Just to keep you up to date... Here are some more pictures of kale, eggplant, and zucchini seedling with a yellowing of the leaves of the kind of that happened before the kale died.
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20240504_112139.jpg
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Canada Zone 5A

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Whwoz
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Re: Shriveling kale and cabbage seedlings

#8

Post: # 122860Unread post Whwoz
Tue May 07, 2024 3:17 am

Have you checked for mites @Salaam ?

Seven Bends
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Re: Shriveling kale and cabbage seedlings

#9

Post: # 122878Unread post Seven Bends
Tue May 07, 2024 10:53 am

Pictures 3 & 5 show severe over-watering. If you've got algae on the top of your soil, you have a problem. I expect if you pop those cubes out of the plastic, you're going to find very few roots. You're smothering/choking those plants. They can't take up nutrients when the soil is constantly saturated.

The larger plants seem to have a different problem. I agree with @Whwoz that you should check for mites -- look at the underside of the damaged leaves with a magnifying glass or any way you can get some magnification (phone, camera w/ close-up capability). But it looks more physiological to me (burn). Have these plants been outside recently -- exposed to sun or wind? Have they been exposed to cold? Could they have gotten too close to the lights when they grew taller?

Are you using the same lights this year that you used in the past successfully?

Have you sprayed anything on the leaves, intentionally or accidentally?

Salaam
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Re: Shriveling kale and cabbage seedlings

#10

Post: # 123833Unread post Salaam
Wed May 22, 2024 9:56 am

Hello everyone,

Another update. I started two 72 cell trays of 70% kale, 20% swiss chard, 10% cabbage, about three weeks ago.

1. I watered less, or tried to.
2. Covered with vermiculite so that less watering required.
3. Started with a dome and heat mat for consistent germination.
4. Used Miracle Gro seed starting mix, which I noticed gets wet fast and stays wet, so I was careful.

Results were about the same. Maybe 20% viable kale, no viable cabbage, and I would say over 50% viable swiss chard. One thing I noticed is that the cotyledons would appear healthy at first, then slowly deteriorate and no true leaves would develop.

In the meantime, zucchini and pole beans are going well!

See attached photos.
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hed photos.
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Canada Zone 5A

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