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Beginner failing miserably.

Hi there, I have been trying to grow many things for a while with absolutely no success and was hoping for somebody to help.
I have been trying to grow basil, poppys, thyme, parsley, you name it, BUT

my little seedligns emerge, grow a tiny bit and then fall over on their own weight. Why is this? I am absolutely baffled. They are in full light, watered regulalry, good compost the lot. 
Can sombody shed some light?



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,935

    Oh dear, don't give up - let's see if we can come up with some helpful suggestions.

    Are you sowing them too thickly?  That can make them shoot up too tall like the cress you buy from the shops.

    You really need to sow seeds very sparingly indeed, so that each seedling has lots of space.

    Also, they don't need much water at all - just need to be damp. 


    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    What temperature are they? Are they on a window sill, what direction is the window facing etc?

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,304

    And there is a thing called Damping off disease which is a fungus which attacks the base of seedlings if they are too crowded, and or too damp. Not sure what is available for it these days, but we used to use Cheshunt Compound.

    And just to show it is not just beginners who have trouble. I have not managed to get seeds to even  germinate for the last 6 years now.

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    Oh Berghill, how sad! Are they at too cold a temperature do you think?image

  • happymarionhappymarion Posts: 4,591

    Never sow the whole packet at once.  Sowing right now when the weather is warm outside should get a good responce.  Do not overwater.  Try covering your seed tray with vermiculite and water from below.  you will see when to take the tray out of water whn the vermiculite changes colour which it does when it gets damp. Then cover unless the packet says not to with clingfilm or a propagator lid and take off s soon as you see seedlings appear.  No watering should be necessary till then and damping off fungi will not be able to get in.  I have been gardening for eighty years almost and have yet to see damping off disease except in pictures!

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,304

    Have to say I too have never seen Damping off, only read about it.

    Odd things seeds, my daughter and I stood side by side, taking Pulsatilla seeds out of a pot and sowing them. All hers geminated, not one of mine. I knew then it was time to give up on seeds.

  • happymarionhappymarion Posts: 4,591

    forgot to say you have to give parsley a lot of time to germinate.  it can take eight weeks.


  • If your seedlings are tall, it may just be time to pot them on. You can plant some of the stem as well as the root, so that the seedling is shorter. When it gets a bit taller again, with a few true leaves, it is often a good idea to pinch out the top pair of leaves between your nails, so that the plant grows bushier and shorter.

  • ginagibbsginagibbs Posts: 756

    sounds like they are too cold. Dont give up!

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    Seed growing is frustrating and great when it goes right!  Sow a few seeds at a time, use plenty of something like vermiculite to open the compost, use seed compost - nothing with feed in it, keep the watering to the barest minimum, sow as few seeds as possible, give as much light as possible, don't overheat or chill - that's all !!!    So much depends on warmth and light, and indeed overcrowding.  Maybe try with bigger seeds to start with, easy to handle and separate - things like courgette, pumpkin, beetroot  and so on - or go outside when the soil warms up a bit and thrwo around some packets of annual seeds for virtually instant flowers n a few weeks!!  

    Prick out as soon as the first true leaves appear, that may be over several days or even weeks, rather than wait for them all to get big enough.  This gives you staggered plants which gives you a good show for longer, or good crops if they are for eating purposes.


    Accept that some things take alot longer than others, primulas are known to take up to 2 years to germinate, some annuals are through in 3 or 4 days, nature will do as she sees fit, but does need the right circumstances to do it.  Keep trying, it is so worth it when it does go right.  If it doesn't this eyar, there are always plug plants to buy ...................

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