new transplants in garden turning white! why? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Last Sunday I transplanted about 100 cucumber plants(6-9" tall) that I started four weeks earlier, along with a few watermelon and cantil., and thirty tomatoes(8-12") I had stared them in my porch and they were doing great, and on Sunday, the weather was cool and a little rainy(it has been cool and rainy for the last week. Anyway, after I transplanted them into my garden it became about ten degrees warmer(75) and sunny the next day and my vine plants did a little more than normal wilt, and the next day the leaves stared turning white, over the entire leaf. Plus, I now noticed the tomatoes have white leaves! All of the watermellon and cant. died, and about 25% of the cucumbers have died, none of the tomatoes yet. I did the same as always, transplanted in early morning, soaked the plants breafly in a kelp/fish dilution, did not let the roots dry at all, and added a small amount of organic fertilizer to each hole(dug it into the soil a couple of days before planting), and watered well after transplanting. Any ideas what this is, and what I can do to salvage the others. Sun burn?(they have all been started in a windowed porch with full sun), fert. burn? Thank You Craig

-- craig swasnon (, May 31, 2001


Craig, my first impression is to say they are sunburned from not being sufficiently hardened off. When I'm going to set out transplants, I harden them in morning sun, then gradually full-day sun over several days before they go into the garden. Being on the porch, they may not have gotten enough sun and wind exposure to get them really hardened. A porch, even a sunny one, will not give the same conditions. And I've always planted mine out in the evening, so they have all night to get over any shock to their system before they have to face the daylight.

-- melina b. (, May 31, 2001.

I agree with the previous response, they probably weren't hardened off enough. I've been trying to harden ours off for the past week and left them out too long in the afternoon sun the other day and that's exactly what happened to the little sprouts. You've got to watch them pretty closely while you're doing this, not too long in the afternoon sun and plenty of water and not on a really windy day. Ours seem to have recovered and will go in the ground tonight or tomorrow.

-- Rose Marie Wild (, May 31, 2001.

It's hard to say what hurt your plants without seeing what happened ,but it's better to transplant and wait on the fertilizer for a few days to a week to let the plants root into the new spot.If you planted them in good composted soil you shouldn't need to fertilize for at least a week or two. You soaked the plants in fish/kelp dilution and added organic fertilizer to the hole.It would be better to plant first,wait til the plants start growing a leaf or 2 then side dress,by working the fertilizer into the ground keeping about 6 inches away from the stem of the plant.Or just use the kelp/fish solution on them after the first week,and 2 weeks after planting use the solid.Fertilizer leaches down when you water so putting in solid fertilizer before you plant can waste fertilizer.Side dressing keeps the fertilizer near the roots that feed the plants that are closer to the soil surface.I used to use fish-meal and kelp meal when a 100 lb of fish meal was $16.00 and 100 lbs sack of ground kelp was $8.oo.That was before everyone jump on the Organic band wagon and the prices got out of control.The only fertilizer I use now is composted hay that is composted with leaves and goat or chicken manure.The results are the best using the compost.But if I could afford it,I'd use dried Norwegian sea kelp and mix it in my compost pile .Kelp has natural plant growth hormones and seems to make vegatables and fruits taste better than any fertilizer I've used.It also increases yields .When growing organic, a good composted soil is more important than the exspensive bags and bottles of organic fertilizer.But they are a good addition.Just not cost effective.

-- SM Steve (, May 31, 2001.

It sounds to me that it was sunburn as well. One method I have found is when I transplant cover the plants with old milk cartons. The plastic type - one gallon - cut off the bottoms - remove the cap. This seems to help break the sun's rays and helps to get the plant established because they are placed in the garden. I remove the cartons when the plant is about to touch the carton.

-- Tom S. (, May 31, 2001.

My favorite transplanting trick is to transplant whatever it is and loosely cover the plants with whatever weed is growing around that needs to be chopped. We have a lot of sun here so the green weeds dry out in a day - the first day the plants are basically covered but as the weeds dry out the plants get more sun. My neighbors think I am crazy but it works.

-- kelly (, June 01, 2001.

Undoubtedly sunburn. Either set them outside for part of the day (to "harden", as others have said) for several days before transplanting, or use a row cover material for their first few days. Tomatoes will likely recover, but curcubits (any vine crop) transplant very very poorly anyway. I have set out cuke plants on the same day I planted seed next to them, and they produced at the same time. And those transplants weren't even stressed! Just replant the vine crops from seed directly in the garden. You really haven't lost any time. And usually, it's best to put in transplants in the evening to avoid the stress of sun. Use plain water - save the jump start of fertilizer for a week or so later when the roots have begun to search for supper. GL!

-- Brad (, June 01, 2001.

The other option is to just plant the cucumber plants directly outside when the weather and soil is warm enough. The only plants I usually start indoors are tomatoes and peppers. Cucumbers are usually only 55 day plants and we do them periodically for several weeks through the planting season to extend their harvest. By the way, what are you going to do with the cucumbers from 100 plants?? Do you have a pickle contract with someone?? very interested....

-- Rose Marie Wild (, June 01, 2001.

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