Hello, everyone – I was hoping to get some advice.
I’ve got about 7-8 onions (green bunching) seedlings that seemed to have been doing well; they all sprouted with 2 heart-shaped leaves, and my oldest ones were starting to sprout more little leaves in between.
However, today I came home, and to my dismay, two of them that had been doing really well had suddenly shriveled – but only the leaves, not the stems. I stupidly touched the shriveled leaf to examine it, and it shriveled even more after 20 minutes – it looked liked it couldn’t be saved, so I pulled it out (it was sharing a container with another onion seedling.)
The other seedling isn’t looking as bad- only one of its leaves had shriveled, though the other one is starting to look like it’s going in the same direction, around the edges.
Is this what damping off looks like? The stems themselves are still strong and healthy. I’m wondering if maybe they got exposed to too much heat? They sit on a sunny window that faces west, and they get a lot of afternoon sun; however, it’s been hot here lately and temps in that window can rise over 80 degrees.
If I’m doing something wrong, I’d like to stop it right away, before I lose any more babies ;_; Thank you so much!
http://www.hort.uconn.edu/IPM/greenhs/htms/dampofgh.htm This is an article on damping off. It could be that is what is happening, but it also sounds as though it could possibly be under watering? I did not have good success with starting onions from seed indoors. Perhaps you should try starting them directly in the ground in which they are to grow?
If your soil is a little damp, that is probably about right. You want it to be neither soggy, nor dry. It is a bit of a science, but I find it a great challenge, and I have learned a lot this year. :)
What sort or onions are they?
I don’t know of any onions which have heart shaped leaves and stems, or have I read this wrong? Onions are a monocot, and have only one true leaf which uncurls and sticks it’s little head up.
I just had a look at your planting, and I don’t think they are Onions you have growing there.
Won’t make any difference to your problem, would still most possibly be dampening off though.
Could your seed have got mixed up? It will be exciting to wait and see what they are. They are ‘mystery onions’ lol.
Hi there – thanks to everyone for their feedback so far.
They’re supposed to be these: http://myfolia.com/plantings/90304-onion-evergreen-long-white-bunching-allium-fistulosum (Evergreen Long White Bunching)
It’s possible that I’ve gotten them mixed up, though I think it’s unlikely since I had them labeled to begin with, even after thinning.
I took some photos of what’s going on. The stem is still strong and standing, but the leaves have shriveled. Though, there are tiny new little leaves that are growing, and they look perfectly healthy. Not only that, but they seem to be different shapes from the shriveling leaves. o_O;; I have no idea what to think!
I just looked at your planting. I don’t think those are onions, and I don’t think your problem is damping off. It’s hard to tell from the angle, but Damping off usually affects the stem. Once true leaves start to grow, sometimes the baby leaves shrivel up and go away and it doesn’t mean anything is actually wrong. It’s like dropping an umbilical cord. For any seedling, it will happen eventually. It’s just a little shocking when it happens earlier than you think it will. Those seedlings look healthy; I don’t believe there’s anything actually wrong with them. If your soil is wet, back off on watering if you’re concerned about damping off; you never want to let the seedlings dry out completely, but overwatering is easy and it contributes heavily to damping off. See if they perk up in a day or two. If they don’t, or if the stem goes, cut back on watering or start new seeds.
It’s hard to tell from the picture with the shriveled leaves or the angle from the main planting picture, but my best guess is that you’ve got something in the brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, mustard, etc.). They tend to have heart shaped baby leaves, which I think is what you have. You’d know better than me, since you saw them from the top and I just have the photo from the side. I’d work under the assumption that it’s a brassica and not onions until you have bigger true leaves. Then you can post the pictures and ask people to make guesses.
There are several possibilities here. Either there was a labeling mixup and you just have to look at the seeds you own and guess what they are based on what the plant looks like. Or your onion seed packet has a few stray seeds in it and by luck of the draw you ended up planting them. I think the odds of this are low, since I’ve never seen more than a few odd seeds in a packet with hundreds of seeds. I wouldn’t place high odds on getting lots of identical stray seeds at once. The third possibility is that the soil you’re starting with wasn’t sterile and there were stray seeds in it already and they’re what sprouted. Having just done a run-through of your garden, I say labels got swapped. It looks like you’re using specialized pellets for seed starting, which means it’s almost certainly sterile with no odd weed seeds in the mix. Your garlic chives don’t quite look like garlic chives—those will look like grass for an infuriatingly long time. Your onions look like brassicas. But your mustards seedlings (which are brassicas) look like they’re in the onion family. If you have more seeds, double check them and make sure your packages are labeled correctly. Brassica seeds are smooth and almost always spherical. Seeds in the onion family are rougher and more ovalish with edges, like an American football. Brassica seeds tend to range in colour from greens and yellows to browns—usually browns. Every onion I’ve ever met has had more blackish seeds. Google images can probably give you pictures.
If you want a third opinion – They are not onions.
As cmagnus said they look like they could be from the brassica family. It is a bit hard to tell in 2D, and without a top view.
Ah, the mystery starts to reveal itself. Your mustard seeds are onions which suggests these ones are the mustard seedlings – which fits with the heart shaped leaves cmagnus described above.
Your tomatoes though are beans if I’m not mistaken, for images of new tomato seedlings see these which leads to the question, do you have photos of any beans you planted?
Does this make it Colonel Mustard in the greenhouse with the labeller?
I was going to say the same thing. And there are soo many different possibilities for brassicas.
@ gnee- I had a bit of a hard time with the organizing of my seedlings when it was spring here, and got some mixed up. What types of brassicas are you growing? A short list of them includes cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radish and bok choy. And that is a very short list.
@ graibeard- that was a great bit of humor!! :) I love that game! We actually have a mystery train here, I recently found out. I am hoping to go and try it out. :)
Ok, so it’s hard to tell because the leaves have water droplets on your garlic chive sprout photo and there aren’t any true leaves, but I am now wondering if the garlic chives are the tomatoes. The “garlic chive” baby leaves look so much like the baby leaves on graibeard’s tomato seedlings. Looking back at your garden pictures, I notice you have beans with no photos attached. Do they look like nothing? Possibly an impossible-to-photograph single blade of grass? I think your garlic chives are your tomatoes and your beans are your garlic chives.
Oh, and it doesn’t show in the photos, but the real tomato seedlings will be slightly fuzzy. They might not have gotten to that stage yet, but most of your seedlings will have smooth stems and the tomatoes will have miniscule hairs on theirs.
Gosh… I feel so silly. I can’t believe I mixed up so many of the seeds! I opened one seed packet at a time while sowing, and was labeling as I went along, so I thought I had it made XD;;; I’m sorry for the trouble, everyone T_T
@ graibeard: I do feel like a buffoon indeed XD
I had these labeled as tomatoes, which then must be beans o_O
These plants are by far the largest I have. They have huge, heart-shaped leaves, and about 1" below the leaves, there are 2 little cashew-shaped “pods” attached to the stem that have started shriveling – they’re now yellow, and new leaves have started sprouting, which also look like a different shape from the original leaves.
The only plants that I guess would be from the brassica family that I have is the mustard, so the shriveling seedlings must be those…
@ cmagnus: Now that you mention it, the plants that I have labeled as beans are particularly hairier than the others. Not only that, but they’ve got the two thin baby leaves with true leaves growing out (I think.)
The only seedlings I have that look like single blades of grass are:
Though, I also planted Seashell Cosmos flowers, and they too, look like single blades of grass. With the ones that sprouted, the shell of the seed was stuck on the end, and it was small and sesame-seed shaped. The plants sprouted while looking as if they were folded in half, and now all of them have straightened out, but are still basically single grass-like stalks.
I’m going to have to take photos of everything I have and google to see if I can label them properly. Damn, I just gave what I thought were the tomatoes a second round of fertilizing the other day, I hope I didn’t overdo it.
Thank you SO MUCH, everyone – all of your aid to this noob is much appreciated. I will be much more careful the next time I sow anything – this is a disaster! lol In any case, I hope I can bother you all one last time with some identifying help, once I get a new set of photos.
Lastly, I’d like to give you all a gift as thanks for all of your help – I make polymer clay charms and jewelry as a side-hobby, and would love to make some complementary custom charms for everyone. You can check out my stuff on gneeworks.etsy.com and gneeworks.artfire.com <3
Are you kidding? This was the funnest garden mystery I’ve had in a long time. Thanks for posting it here so we could have the pleasure of unraveling it. :)
And now that we’ve unraveled the mystery, I know you don’t have a problem. I grew a bunch of mustard microgreens last winter and those first two leaves shriveled pretty quickly after the true leaves showed up.
Cosmos also have narrow elongated seed leaves. The true leaves look a bit like lace. It is a very pretty plant, but in my experience really ought to be staked. they tend to fall over after a time.
Thank you for the offer. I do not have any necklaces or bracelets for which I would need a charm. You have some pretty things though. I like the strawberry earrings. :)
I hope that you have a successful growing season!!
@ cmagnus: Hahaha! You’re right, that was a lot of fun, even though I still feel like a dork XD I also feel bad because I actually pulled out the first mustard seedling that started shriveling – now I’m realizing that I totally killed it for no reason!! T_T And I hope you don’t mind if I add you as a gardening buddy. It’s nice to have experienced gardening friends!
@ TropicanaRoses: I think the first plant (the one with the dewdrop) is actually Cosmos. I think this because I looked up some seedling photos on Google, and it looks exactly like what you described: two baby leaves that are slim, and lacy true leaves that are growing out of the middle.
And in terms of staking, I guess I should get them outside first and then stake them? The plant is about 4" tall, at this point.
I would love to send you a pair of strawberry earrings – I insist! You’ve been helping me so much. Also, I hope you don’t mind if I add you as a gardening buddy ;_;
Everyone has so many gardens! It’s amazing that you can keep track of them all. I would love to have something growing in the raised bed I have in the backyard – I think my previous tenant used to grow stuff there, though my landlord says she never got to see it. I actually checked out the soil there, and it’s pretty dry and sandy. I also decided to try container gardening first, as a beginner, before getting into things like soil amending and whatnot. (And I definitely won’t be doing that until I know I won’t get my seedlings royally mixed up XD)
@gnee, if you live some place where leaves fall in the autumn, rake them up into that raised bed and leave them. If you decide to ever plant in that bed (and I think I recognize a born gardener in you — seriously — you’ve got the most important trait, curiosity, down cold), the dirt will be much improved just from being covered with leaves. It will make a nice damp, protected spot for worms to do their thing.
@gnee. I agree with katxena that you seem like a born gardener and I’m happy to add you to my buddy list. You’ve got the curiosity and enthusiasm. But I’ve got to disagree about leaves on the raised bed. It depends on the kind of leaves. I figure your leaf choices will mostly be eucalyptus or live oak. Don’t do eucalyptus; they have herbicidal tendencies. A few leaves falling in won’t hurt anything, but collecting mounds of them probably isn’t a good idea. I’ve heard mixed things about oaks. Most other trees you’re apt to come across should be fine, and if they’re what you have access to, by all means collect them in your raised bed.
@gnee, There’s absolutely no need to feel like a buffoon, my final comment wasn’t meant in that light – just a bit of levity that I couldn’t pass up on. After all it almost wrote itself – well in my mind it did :)
Mislabelling happens to us all and adds some excitement to the process, usually when we least expect it! Be thankful you didn’t pass them on to friends like I did once – but it was him that switched the labels, not
As the old saying goes ‘if you’ve never made a mistake you’ve never tried anything’. We should all keep trying, the alternative is pretty boring.
Cashew like leaves is a good description of bean cotyledons, sounds like they’re nailed then.
Remember, It’s a disaster when they all die before their prime, and even then there are lessons to be noted and tucked away for use next time – nothing is without merit if you at least try. This is only a minor hiccup along the way. By all means post follow up photos, it’s not a bother – might find that there were two murd
- ah never mind ;)
LOL! I sense a bit of the comedian in you graibeard!! We have a friend like that. :)
At gnee- Thanks for the offer of the gift. I would not offend you for the world, but don’t feel as though you have to send me something. :) Also, the reason that oak leaves can be good or bad as the case may be for your garden is that they are fairly acidic. If you are planting azaleas there, oak leaves are great, but some types of plants do not like acidic soil. Compost is a good one, and you can get it usually fairly cheaply at your local dump. They take garden waste and compost it. We did that this year, and our plants loved it!! We got a pickup load (nearly 2 tons) for 10.00 because we didn’t load it. IT would have been 5 if we had.
I have to say that you show all the enthusiasm that I myself feel every time I think about planting, or gardening in general. I am glad to add you as a gardening buddy. We all need somebody from which to draw useful information, and share our satisfaction and disappointments with. :)
Gosh… a born gardener, that’s such a nice thing to say! ;_;
I’ve always wanted to nurture nature, and finally having the opportunity and the resources to do so has been extremely rewarding. San Jose is, despite its positive aspects, is ultimately an urbanized and “sterile” city, and I don’t really like going out to clubs/bars or shopping at the mall or things like that, which is the usual fun around here – funny thing though, is that if you drive outside of San Jose, we are surrounded by farms. I once visited a “pick yourself” strawberry farm about an hour’s drive from home, and I think that’s when I first got hooked – how nice would it be to go outside to your backyard to get strawberries you grew yourself <3
@ Katxena: You’re right, I am a very very curious person XD I’ve recently been working on my physical fitness, and my personal trainer often has to stop me from asking too many questions so he can finish his sentences :P
With gardening, I find that I’m even more curious than usual – I just find the entire experience to be utterly fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever been this fascinated in my entire life, in fact. The first time the bean seedlings sprouted, I literally sat there and stared at it for like 20 minutes, because it was just so pretty! And then when the bean cotyledons (thanks for identifying the cashew-like things, graibeard) grew in, I was thinking, “What are those?! Are they like, egg yolks for the plant?!”
@ graibeard: Oh, I am not offended at all – I’ve been laughing at myself this entire time XD (I used the word “buffoon” because that’s how they describe Colonel Mustard on wikipedia :P)
I consider myself extremely lucky that I haven’t lost any seedlings yet, except when I had to thin some and that mustard I killed on accident… But as enthusiastic as I am, I’m trying to remain humble, and open-minded – anything can go wrong, but I won’t be discouraged from it!
My ultimate plan is to start with containers, and eventually start using the raised bed – it’d be such a waste if I didn’t. I’ve read in various books that I should test the soil for pH as well as the loam/soap detergent test, which I was planning to do early in 2010. Though… it would be nice to get that soil amended earlier. I was researching cover crops, when I first started studying gardening, and it’s definitely something I’d like to try, though it sounded too complicated and labor-intensive for a beginner. Though, going to the local store and throwing a bunch of store-bought stuff in there doesn’t sound like that great of an idea either… it would be awesome if I could do this as organically as allowed.
The soil in the raised bed looks like it’s in pretty bad shape to me- I tried digging a 5-6" hole, and it was extremely difficult because it had no moisture whatsoever, and the first few inches was nothing but hardened sand. (Actually, it makes me think that maybe it wasn’t a raised bed, but a children’s sandbox… though, the presence of container garden plants around the backyard, and broken marble slates that had been laid down on half of the raised bet, makes me think it was supposed to be a garden.) I don’t know if it means anything, but I dug up a bunch of clover-like plants (could be weeds) from a different area of the garden and planted it in the raised bed about 3 weeks ago, and it’s still alive…
I also read up on making your own compost, and I have plenty of things I can throw in there – the landlord has a gardener who comes weekly and prunes the backyard. I’m not sure about what trees I have though – I’ll have to take photos and try to identify them. And I naturally eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, so I have plenty of things that are currently going in the trash that could go into compost.
Sorry for the long post – I’m very happy and excited that my plants aren’t sick/dying – lol!
Whether it’s a sandbox or an old raised bed, you can just start throwing all your vegetable scraps into it and toss them every week or two with a pitch fork. By next spring, you’ll have something that holds water better that you can plant straight into.
I totally defer to cmagnus about the leaves. I have no idea what kinds of leaves you have, and she has a much better idea. The idea is to do something easy and free right now so that the bed is ready for you when you are ready for it. Cmagnus’s easy composting suggestion is a good idea.
@gnee. Just think how much you have learnt from getting a few seedlings mixed up! Best way to learn things, mix it up and then try and work it out later!
One of the things to remember about gardening and building a garden is there really is no wrong or right. Somethings you will try will end up being ‘wrong’ but hey, if it doesn’t work, just stop doing it and try something else.
I started gardening when I was about 12, studied horticulture when I was 18 and am now doing a science degree, but at the end of the day everything which I have learnt about plants and gardening over the years has pretty much all been trial and error and the inquisitive mind that does like to understand why something didn’t work! Understanding and knowing basic priniciples of course is a great help, but trust yourself and you will be surprised how great your garden will be!
Oh, and as you have been told, there is no reason to feel like a dork. There are no such things as stupid questions, trust me, I am the queen of stupid questions!
They have cheap diy soil testing kits at most places that sell garden supplies. I don’t know what soil is like in Northern California, but in Southern California, alkaline is a problem. It would be worth checking your soil, since if alkalinity is a problem and TropicanaRoses is right about oak leaves adding acid, they’d be great to add as well. I’m trying to think tree types, but I haven’t spent much time in San Jose proper. My uncle had a ranch on a mountain outside San Jose; the trees there were mostly oak and conifers. Pine needles are also supposed to add acid. I flew into San Jose for my last family reunion and I remember seeing mostly Eucalyptus, at least around the airport.
I was too! I sat around this past spring sometimes for an hour or so watching my little plants as if I was going to see them sprout! Sometimes I did find new ones in that way. :) So don’t think you are the only one out there that people might label “strange”. :)