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Tomato seedlings wilting from the bottom up.

7 years ago

I started 2 flats of tomato seedlings in mid-February under fluoro grow lights. The lights are T-5 4ft 6 bulbs, running about 13 hrs/day. They hang about 10-12 inches above the top of the plants.The seedlings are several different early tomato varieties, all planted in standard 3.5 inch pots. They are growing in Promix BX. I had tons of issues last year using coir (salty) and putting my grow lights too close and killed everything. I have been much more careful this year and everything was going along great, healthy happy strong green seedlings until a week or so ago. The seedlings, some of which are 4 or 5 inches tall, started to look stressed. Some were already trying to put out tiny flowers. Some started to look yellow on the new growth. I have been feeding with age-old grow liquid fertilizer, about 1x per week or so. Last year I lost many plants to damping off so I have been mostly bottom watering and letting the plants get pretty dry (pot feels light) before watering. I also hung up a small fan several weeks ago to blow the air around since the grow room is a small bathroom in my basement which gets no air movement. This is a very dry climate but mold would start to grow on the top of the soil before the fan. Now I am wondering if the fan could be part of the problem? I let in run 24 hrs, it is a small fan and doesn't really move the tomato leaves, or only slightly. I first noticed the problem when the lower leaves started to have brown edges. But now the lower leaves are wilting and also look very dry and some or most turn yellow and/or purple, moving from the outside in. The lower branches the leaves are attached to are droopy too, even after being watered. I am careful to water with room temp water. It is softened water but I switched to potassium chloride as the softening agent after last year's issues. I looked at pics of most common diseases like early blight, different wilts, etc but this just seems different. I have racked my brain as to what the problem could be. I am wondering if the cool basement might be it? It is in the low 60s down there most of the time. Definitely feels cool when one is down there, but not cold. The thing is, they were fine, nothing has really changed, and then over the course of a couple weeks they have gone south. Even weirder, all but one or two of the plants are affected. But a couple look just fine?? They have all been treated the same way. Please if anyone has any ideas they would be greatly appreciated. I am perplexed as to what is wrong with my growing set up as the last couple years have been nothing but problems. Thank you!

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