Damping Off / Sterilizing

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Cyngbaeld, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Some peat moss in the mix will help some. Mostly you don't want the soil to be wet and cold. A little bottom heat will make a big difference too.
     
  2. Mr. Dot

    Mr. Dot Well-Known Member

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    Howdy
    I also bleach soak my starting trays (well, mostly) and use sterile starter for the first leg. One thing that helps is to make sure the soil line comes up to the top of your starter tray/container. When the level is below the lip it decreases the free air flow and encourages the bad guys. What Cyngbaeld said and the fan is good too.
     

  3. Jan Sears

    Jan Sears Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if this is the same problem as I had but my seedling soil would turn white with a fungus or mold. Then I read if you watered your plants with chamomile tea it would solve the problem & it did. Hope this helps.
     
  4. Sedition

    Sedition Well-Known Member

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    I always associate any white fuzz on the soil with dampening off, but I don’t know if it is the same fungus.

    Thanks for the advice on the soil line. I usually line my blocks up, but I don’t pay much attention to getting them ‘at or above’ the tray lip. That should help.

    I start my plants in a self-contained grow room (the size of a walk-in closet, about 4’ x 6’). What I’d like to do is scrub and sterilize the whole room. When I brew beer, I sterilize with B-Bright, which I think is food safe, but I doubt that it is organic.

    Does anybody know some good, strong, anti-fungal medicine that is still an organic method? The best that I can think of is making a heavy colloidal copper solution, but I don’t have the equipment to do this. Would something simpler like nicotine tea work?
     
  5. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I watered the plants from the bottom, used a fan to circulate the air and SPRAYED the plants with chamomile tea. Never had damping off happen!
     
  6. mama2littleman

    mama2littleman El Paso

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    Start your plants in a soil-less mix if at all possible. That has really stopped damping off for me.

    If you can't get a soil-less mix for whatever reason, you can

    1) bake your soil in the oven to sterilize it (I wouldn't suggest it, it stinks to high heaven)

    2) Pour boiling water into your soil to kill pathogens before you use it. (this is moderately effective)

    3) use a fan to encourage airflow around your seedlings (I do this anyway)

    4) Chamomile tea spray is pretty effective

    5) A diluted Hydrogen Peroxide spray (1 part peroxide to 10 parts water, mixed right before you use it since it doesn't keep) has been pretty effective.

    6) Make sure you bleach wash or run through the dishwasher all your seed starting supplies before you re-use them. Otherwise you are just carrying over the problem from year to year.

    Hope this helps,

    Nikki
     
  7. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    Yea, a fan will give air circulation, and make your seedlings grow stout and strong.
     
  8. LaDonna

    LaDonna Well-Known Member

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    Does anybody know some good, strong, anti-fungal medicine that is still an organic method? The best that I can think of is making a heavy colloidal copper solution, but I don’t have the equipment to do this. Would something simpler like nicotine tea work?

    I had the same problem. I had to replant two flats.Too cool, too wet and not enough sunlight or air circulating. Never put anything with nicotine on your tomatoes. Don't smoke and handle you plants it will kill them.
     
  9. Sedition

    Sedition Well-Known Member

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    I use my pressure canner for sterilizing.

    A couple of my hobbies require sterile methods, beer-brewing and mushroom growing.

    In growing mushrooms, I managed to connected the dots after reading Paul Staments books and simply drop my culture tools into my pressure canner for about 90 minutes at 11 pounds. Kills the heck out of anything, I can carry the canner outside to vent it to keep the “old steam” smell out. I’ve done compost in the past (preparing morel mushroom cultures). All you need to do is use a cheese-cloth barrier and a canning rack to keep the soil out of the boiling water at the bottom. Vent it quickly and hang the sack up to dry. It’s surprising how little water stays in the soil. It was very crumbly when I started to inoculate it.

    That’s a great point though. I never thought to sterilize my soil. I usually use a mix of 50% ‘potting soil’ that I buy end of season at Wal-Mart with 20% garden soil cut with 5% vermiculite (to prep my plants with my native microbials to the roots, the vermiculate is because my garden soil is “loess” – so it is silty/claylike) and 25% from the compost heap. I have a “Park’s Grow Dome” that I use for some high-humidity florals (even with 2 humidifiers, I can’t get the grow room over 60% humidity in January/February), and I always pressure-can sterilize the grow plugs for that. Where-ever they have these plugs manufactured is infested with some common mushroom fungi.

    I thought that the garden soil or compost might be harboring the dampening off spores, so with my “restarted” peppers, I did a 100% potting soil mix – but they still died making me suspect my trays or the room. But I didn’t sterilize the potting soil!

    I think that I’ll got scientific and sterlize a batch of potting soil, compost, and garden soil/vermiculite. I’ll make 4 batches, one of all sterilized, and one each of two out of three sterilized. And I’ll figure out where the culprit is – tools (all sterilized), or what media.

    Thanks a bunch!
     
  10. Ann Mary

    Ann Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As far as an organic solution...try going to www.pureliquidgold.com and look under their agriculture and gardening section.....#92-#95 all talk about how to use Grape Seed Extract (GSE) to combat fungus and bacteria. Check out all the other uses they list! Pretty amazing stuff! Best wishes!