Third failed attempt - In dire need of help


Hi,

I’m 100% new to growing (or any sort of gardening tbh). A couple of months ago I bought a grow kit online with a 6ft high tent, 200w LED light and extractor fan, carbon filter. I’ve been reading all I can find online and watching videos but even so I’ve had a very disappointing experience with 3 failed attempts and am struggling to figure out where I’ve been going wrong. I haven’t been able to find many resources online to help with this very early stage.

Attempt 1

Ironically my best attempt was before any of my gear arrived. I decided to germinate and sprout some seedlings while I waited for the grow gear to show up. I germinated 8 seeds in a paper towel, planted them in 2-inch pots and placed them underneath a desk lamp with a 10w LED bulb (on an 18/6 hr cycle) just in the middle of the room. By the way it’s winter here and room temperature is kinda cold (17c / 60f). 6 of them sprouted within 4 or 5 days and they grew quite nicely for the next week or so before my kit arrived. I was giving them probably about a tablespoon of water a day with one spray in the morning and one at night (regular water).

By the time the kit arrived they were about 5 - 7 inches high. I set the tent up with the new 200w LED about 10inches above the pots. I also placed a small usb fan on the plants (as I’d been reading good for the air circulation plants need). All plants were dead/dying within 12hrs. I assumed it was because I had blown too much air directly at the plants before they were strong enough. Felt stupid, but thought okay I won’t do that again.

Attempt 2 (pictured)

I tried another batch with same germination process in paper towel, ended up with 4 sprouted seeds which transfer to 2-inch pots in the same way. Placed in tent under 200w LED light again about 10inches above the pots. Still giving about 1 table spoon of water per day. I bought a small oil heater to get the temperature within recommended growing conditions and had it fluctuating pretty nicely between 23 and 26celcius (73-78f), I was using the extraction fan intermittently to try and keep fresh air coming into the room, but wasn’t sure if it was necessary at that time. Once it had been over a week and nothing came to surface in any of the pots I tipped them out and found that the dead sprouted seeds had basically not grown at all since germination. The soil was also pretty dry (quite powdery and doesn’t really stick to your fingers) I assumed I had dried out the soil by having too powerful a light too close to the pots as well as the heater and that was what had killed them.

Attempt 3

Same germination process in paper towns, transferred 3 sprouted seeds to 2-inch pots. Placed under the 200w LED at almost the lowest setting and about 3 ft above the pots. Slightly increased watering to about 1 and a half table spoons. This I didn’t use the heater or extraction fan so the tent has been around winter room temperature (17c / 60f). Again after a week nothing sprouted, I tipped out the pots and again found that the spouts had died exactly the same size as I had put them in as without growing at all (sigh). Again the soil was pretty dry.

I know that my 200w LED is probably overkill for seedlings, but that’s the only light the grow kit came with and I assumed I could get away with using it for all stages far away and/or at low power, but so far I’ve only been able to get seeds sprouting under the 10w desk lamp.

Sorry for the essay, any help would be much appreciated!!

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Welcome to the forum!! Sorry to hear about ur problems. Something i saw u mention is Winter. In winter here, its not dry… but its alot drier then summer. Most places i imagine its pretty dry humidity wise in the winter tho. And seedlings crave humidity. Especially with fragile root systems barely able to uptake water. That light being on may draw even more water out the air.

If you’re gonna try again, try this. Start them like you’ve been doing, but out under the desk lamp. And cut some 1 gallon bottles in half and make some domes. Spritz some water inside the dome and place it ontop the cup. Thatll keep some humidity inside.

Also the day before you germ the seeds, water ur cup of soil. Make sure its draining nicely. Thatll give you ~3 days for the soil to kinda set before the seeds hit dirt. Dont forget the domes.

Good luck

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Thank you!
I assumed humidity wasn’t the problem because it’s pretty high here sitting around 60% (not sure if just my house or my city in general, I only started paying attention to humidity since the grow project). I actually bought a dehumidifier because seems to sit slightly higher than the recommended humidity (from what I’ve read).

60 is just find in Veg… flowering, you want it lower as u get later. Walk me thru your germination process again. Step by step

  1. Place seeds on 2 layers of paper towel on a plate 3 - 4 inches apart from each other. Cover with 2 more layers of paper towel. Spray with water to get them damp, put another plate on top and place in hot water cupboard.
  2. Re-spray with water every 12 hours.
  3. Once each seed has sprouted, fill 2-inch pot with potting mix, poke hole 1-inch down soil using a pencil. Put seed into hole and cover lightly with soil.
  4. Spray soil with 3 or 4 squirts of water and place under LED Light

Hmmm. How long does it usually take to come up? Thats actually and interesting way to start.

Sprouted? U mean the taproot is coming out the seed?

When putting in the hole, i barely scrape any ontop of it. And never softly pact it down ontop the seed. Im sure u know that. But i leave a visual opening to see the seed. Hate hunting out dead unviable seeds from soil

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Yeah the taproot coming out of the seed. It seems to be taking between 24 and 48hrs.

I’ve been putting a full layer of soil over the seed after planting and ever so slightly patting it down… I guess I’ll stop doing that!

That’s interesting about the visual opening, I thought it needed to be covered

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I was having a similar issue recently because it’s winter here in Australia. Seedlings were looking limp and appeared to be dying. I did what Purp said and made some domes and within 2 days they had perked right up and are now growing great!

I’d definitely do that first and see how they go.

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Yup. Its too easy to restrict them. When u can see the seed, u can monitor the progress. Definitely give the domes a try too tho

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In the winter I start my plants using a seedling heating pad under them and use a dome to cover them to keep the temperature and humidity up where it needs to be. As the seedlings get stronger I remove the dome every day for progressively longer periods of time. After a couple weeks the dome is no longer needed.

Turn the fans off until the seedlings are out from under the humidity dome.

As for heat… I live in a northern climate where it is cooler. I started using high intensity discharge lights (HID) when I started growing years ago and set up my grow rooms to take advantage of the heat produced by the lights. This year I started buying some LED lights but am worried about the coming winter. The LED lights will require supplemental heating and probably won’t save me any money. I’m keeping my HID lamps and grow room untouched, and buying some grow tents to use with the LED lamps to experiment with. I’m growing in my basement, and even in the summer using a grow tent and LED lamps the temperatures in the tent barely gets above 73 or 74 degrees (23C).

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@weetbixguy Welcome to the forum.

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@PurpNGold74 I know nothing about domes but what I have read on here, doesn’t he need to remove the domes a few times a day

You do want to exchange the air for fresh, but most domes come with vents. At least once a day removal is fine


My fourth attempt seems to be going okay so far.
I decided to only try one plant because I literally only have 5 seeds left and I don’t want to have to find more if this attempt fails.

The only real change I’ve made was going back to using the desk lamp instead of my 200w LED. How long should I keep it under this small light before moving it up to the big light?

I tried a dome as suggested by @PurpNGold74 for the first day after planting the germinated seed, but I started to get worried because a full 24hrs after giving it it’s first water, the soil was still super wet and not looking like I should water it again. It just kinda confused me as to whether I’m meant to keep watering it every day if it has barely dried since it’s last water, so I took it off :man_shrugging:

You want the soil to stay damp for the first 4-5 days at least. Should never water seedlings everyday

ah okay. I’ll chuck the dome back on then

She’s standing. Should be smooth sailing either way dome or no dome by now.

The lights is a diff thing. Usually she’s fine under that for 5-6 days above ground. Really can go longer, but that’s time you could be pushing her.

Whats the big light?

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200w LED

COB’s? Who made em? Can u find the amazon link for me? Actually could throw that above her by monday. Just at what height… and it would kind of be a waste of electricity ATM anyway

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Not an amazon link. Could u pull it?

@dbrn32 where does it start? Around 20?