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GeneralLee
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2004
9614 posts

Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
The past few years i've tried to grow tomato seeds into plants to transplant into my garden, but they always seem to get too thin, leggy, and snap in two once they are exposed to winds in the garden. On the other hand, my pepper seeds grow into normal, healthy pepper plants. I have them under a grow light and a heat mat. Any ideas as to what I could do to make the tomato plants grow better from seed? Thanks.


PillageUrVillage
LSU Fan
Mordor
Member since Mar 2011
10631 posts
 Online 

re: Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
Increase light intensity. I’ve had that problem in the past. This year I upgraded my lighting from a single grow light, to a 20k lumen, 4 foot, 4 bulb T5HO fixture and it has made a huge difference.

ETA: Also, try to keep the temperature in the low to mid 70’s. Higher temps can also cause the plants to grow too rapidly.
This post was edited on 1/31 at 2:57 pm


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CheEngineer
LSU Fan
Louisiana
Member since Aug 2019
1480 posts

re: Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
Once ours sprout anytime the day is over 50F I put them outside in full sun with a breeze. In doors you have to have good light and a fan to make them grow sturdy. Just like people a little tough love is needed to make them turn out right.


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gumbo2176
Member since May 2018
6583 posts

re: Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
When you transplant them pinch off the lower branches and bury them deep in the soil so most of the leggy stem is under the soil. They will send out roots along the stem and they won't snap off and break as easily.


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FowlGuy
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2015
456 posts

re: Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
Everyone above gave good advice. The best advice I can give you is that if you’re using a grow light you want to hang it from something to where you can put the light as close as you can to the sprouting plants and as they’re growing raise the light. Basically try to have the light only an inch or so above the plat at all times. I was reading something one day that said natural light even if it is on an over cast day is way better then a growing light. I built a green house using the plastic panels and it’s the best thing I could have ever done, absolutely love it.


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jyoung1
LSU Fan
Lafayette
Member since May 2010
1692 posts

re: Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
When your seedlings sprout, take them outside for a day on a warmer day (over 60) to experience sun and wind at an early stage. This will help them be more prepared for it later on when they are transplanted permanently.

Make sure your grow light is around 2k-3k lumen & 5k-6k kelvin. Have the light around 2-3 inches above leaves.

Image: https://i.postimg.cc/FHWxMxjc/B2-AC1-C25-8-CC0-4-ABE-AD95-7-ACDE6-BB4-D9-E.jpg


I sowed my peppers a week after tom. Which im gonna regret when the tomatoes are gonna be much taller than the peppers.
This post was edited on 1/31 at 4:56 pm


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CoachChappy
LSU Fan
Member since May 2013
25945 posts

re: Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
Bury those things up to the very top but of leaves. Build it up into a mound.


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Caddo
LSU Fan
Member since Dec 2014
371 posts

re: Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
Put them outside a week or so before transplanting to harden them up. Also, don’t leave them under the light and heat until they get leggy. At optimal height, move them outside.


bluemoons
New Orleans Saints Fan
the marsh
Member since Oct 2012
4443 posts

re: Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
All good advice, but one thing that hasn’t been mentioned is kill the heating mat after they germinate. Excessive heat can make the leggy. Up the intensity of your light and keep it as close to the plants as possible. (~1”).


keakar
Member since Jan 2017
14760 posts

re: Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
use stakes and tie losely with shreds of rags

usually fast growth in height is a sign its reaching for more sunlight because its not getting enough


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PillageUrVillage
LSU Fan
Mordor
Member since Mar 2011
10631 posts
 Online 

re: Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
I sowed all of my seeds on January 1st. So here’s what they look like after a month.

Image: https://i.imgur.com/mdcEWSu.jpg

Image: https://i.imgur.com/5kqTJNk.jpg


The ones in the gallon pots I’ve been bringing outside during the day. They outgrew the 4” peat pots. Won’t be long I’ll need to move more of them to gallon pots. Last year with my old single grow lamp, they weren’t even half this size.


Tbone2
Member since Jun 2015
92 posts

re: Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
Keeping the light 2 inches above the plants is what I do. The best thing is to put them outside in the sunlight.


Bill Parker?
Member since Jan 2013
3368 posts

re: Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
I picked up a couple of cheap LED grow lights online. Had made a big difference in my seedlings.


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Tear It Up
Ole Miss Fan
The Deadening
Member since May 2005
12641 posts

re: Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
I had that issue the first time I started tomatoes from seed. I just planted them deep with just the top of the plant poking out of the ground.

The next year I started putting a small fan to blow against the plants which has helped to improve stalk thickness.



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boudinman
Member since Nov 2019
1330 posts
 Online 

re: Tomato plants from seed growing too tall and leggy?
If you are growing plants from seeds under a grow light, you need to NOT run the light 24 hours a day. That much light is making them continually grow 24hrs a day, and it's a slower rate lets them build larger stems. Turn the grow lights off each night or place them on a timer. As stated here, plant tomato plants deep into soil to prevent breakage of stems. Also buy a bag of pyrethrin/cypermethrin garden dust. When setting out young plants sprinkle around the base of the stems to prevent any cutworms from damaging them.


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