Does Fish Meal Kill Transplanted Seedlings ?

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Muttley

Muttley

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Hello fellow growers. I had some really healthy clones that were beginning to outgrow the plastic cups in which I started them out, so I decided to transplant them into slightly larger containers. Having recently read that fish meal is an ideal organic nutrient that breaks down very slowly over time, I mixed a fair amount of it into the soil that I added to the new larger containers, during the transplant of those seedlings. All these plants are under LED grow lights, with 18 hours light, followed by 6 hours of darkness. The intent was to transfer them outside in the next couple of weeks.

I was very careful to avoid shaking up the roots of the plants as I extracted each one from its cup, and gently seated it in the new container. After back-filling the new containers with my soil and fish powder mix, I watered the plants generously, expecting to see explosive growth over the next few days. To my horror, I checked those transplanted seedlings the next day, and every single last one of them was severely wilted, and clearly in the process of rapidly dying off. The remaining seedlings in their original cups, were thriving, so clearly I made a very serious mistake in my transplanting procedure. Oddly enough, I had previously used small amounts of fish meal and soil to top-dress ALL the plants in their original cups, with NO adverse effects at all.

Having transplanted seedlings from cups directly into the soil on numerous occasions in the past with no adverse reactions or wilted plants, my suspicion immediately focused on the addition of larger quantities of fish meal to the larger containers into which I transplanted these now dying seedlings. I used a fair bit of fish powder specifically because I had read that fish powder is a slow-release nutrient that is perfectly safe for plants at any stage of growth. Is this actually false, such that fish powder actually kills plants when added in larger amounts ?

This sudden wilting of 8 previously robust plants, immediately after transplanting into larger containers, just broke my heart, considering all the effort it took to create the clones, in a process that only runs about a 20% success rate for me, so this has been an enormous setback for my proposed outdoor grow this year. Any advice that will shed some light on this carnage, will be greatly appreciated by this complete noob to indoor seedling startups.
 
Muttley

Muttley

55
18
It never occurred to me that the light schedule could have been a factor in the wilting of all those clones once they were transplanted. This is worth taking into consideration for sure.
 
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