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Old 05/15/09, 01:11 PM
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What is the best way to sterilize soil?

The Clovis Daisy Project, once again, has been another year of loss.

My daisy starts are still dying. Out of two trays, with near 100% germination rate from my Burpee seed, I have less than 15 seedlings still alive.

I want to sterilize the soil before I reseed.

What is the best way to do this? I have heard others putting soil in the oven, and one poster here recommended pouring boiling water over the soil before planting.

Which is the best way?

Can you give me all the details? How long in the oven? What type of pan do you use? What temp?

Thank you for your time and help!!!!!!!!!

I really do appreciate it!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 05/15/09, 01:56 PM
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Location: Ohio
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Did you lose them to damping off? Are you using seed starter, potting soil, peat pellets? Give us some more info.

You may be better off to just dump the current soil in the yard and start over with fresh soil but if you tell us what happened there should be somebody here that can help prevent a repeat.
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Old 05/15/09, 04:27 PM
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It appears to be damping off.

I did wonder if it were the chlorine in the city water that I was using, but I seem to keep losing them with rain water.

I have been using Miracle Gro potting soil. I did not sterilize it before hand.

This is my fourth year and fifth attempt at growing daisies. I have grown hundreds of tomato and pepper plants in years past, and never had this problem. It seems to be the culprit to killing hundreds of daisy plants that I have grown.

I will bump my Clovis Daisy Project thread if you care to read it.

Would sterilizing the soil do me any good?

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Old 05/15/09, 06:30 PM
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I think the soil is your problem. Try a seed starting mix instead of potting soil and sprinkle some sphagnum moss over the seeds. Then water from the bottom only with distilled or rain water, don't use so much water that the top gets wet. No fertilizer until they have several sets of leaves. Some plants are terribly hard to start from seed because they are vulnerable to damping off. I just lost half a dozen blue himilayan poppies because of it. I had them in peat pellets that I kept too wet.

I read your original thread. Missed it when you first posted. I'm wondering if they need to have more alkaline conditions. I don't know if you have more seed or can get more and are up to experimenting a bit. Try some in regular seed starting mix and try some in seed starter with a bit of lime mixed in.
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Old 05/15/09, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Danaus29 View Post
I don't know if you have more seed or can get more and are up to experimenting a bit.
Up to experimenting more? This is my fourth year and fifth attempt with daisies. I am ready for the next round.

I should be near Menards tomarrow. I will pick up more seed, and maybe some seed starter.

I have never used seed starter. My tomatoes always did fine in whatever I had laying around.

I am tempted to use some plain garden soil in a test tray, just for kicks.

Thank you for the help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 05/16/09, 07:29 AM
Join Date: May 2002
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I use recycled containers. I put the soil in the container (that has holes in the bottom) and fill to the top. Then pour boiling water into the container. When it cools I plant in it. I put the container in a recycled bag that has holes in it for air movement. As soon as the seeds start to germinate I take off the bag to limit damping off. Put the seeds on the porch when you do this so that there is constant air movement to prevent mold that causes damping off.
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Old 05/16/09, 07:51 AM
eam eam is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: VT
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I sterilize my soil in the microwave - much easier and less messy than most other ways. However, I only sterilize soil that is being reused. If it comes right out of the bag I don't bother. (I typically use organic seed starting mix.)

Good luck!
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Old 05/17/09, 07:01 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Northern New Mexico
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I can recommend to NOT sterilize it in the oven. It will stink up your house to an unimaginable degree.
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Old 05/22/09, 04:57 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: N. E. TX
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I use soil from the yard near where the plants will be planted plus some compost from my pile. Never have sterilized. When they get up to maybe a few inches, I water w/cornmeal juice & never have damping off.

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