Help--mold on indoor seeds

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by hisenthlay, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    Hi, please excuse a basic question from a rank beginner.

    I started seeds inside two days ago (mesclun, basil, sage, chamomile), and I just now noticed fuzzy white mold growing on the soil and some of the mesclun seeds. Is this the deadly damp off mentioned in an earlier post, or is it ok? I searched old posts (under "seed" and "mold"), and they seemed to conflict.

    Here are the details. I planted them in commercial potting soil, in sections of paper towel rolls (suggested in another thread), that I placed in a cardboard flat that 24 packs of soda come in. I got the soil pretty wet (according to some book instructions), put them by a sunny window on a table that is about 8" above a radiator that goes on and off during the day. I also covered them with plastic wrap (suspended about 3" above the soil surface) and put plastic bags underneath so the wet cardboard doesn't leak onto the table.

    Since I saw the mold: I removed the plastic wrap, and used a spoon to scrape out the moldy soil and some of the moldier looking sprouts (the mesclun is already sprouting, and the moldy ones look like very tiny dandelions). I also added a 60 watt grow light to hopefully dry them off and make them stronger. I can put up a fan, too, if that would be good.

    Do I have anything to worry about? Should I remove all the moldy sprouts? Should I follow the advice in the earlier post for damp off? I'm planning on starting more seeds inside, and I don't want to repeat mistakes. I'd appreciate any insight. I have no idea what I'm doing, aside from what I read here and elsewhere.

    Thanks!
     
  2. kathy H

    kathy H kathyh

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    Remove any dying sprouts, then water them with tea as it gets ride of damping off. Dont put plastic wrap under them as it is trapping to much moisture.
     

  3. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    Thank you for the words of wisdom. Will do.
     
  4. Miz Mary

    Miz Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    use the fan !!! you need air circulation to prevent mold !
     
  5. bonnie lass

    bonnie lass Semper Fi

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    Did you use potting soil or a sterile seed starting mix? Damp off is caused by a fungus that lives in soil, that is why seeds are usually started in peat moss. I don't know if this works, but I read recently that if you sprinkle a little cinnamon powder on the soil surface, it acts as a natural fungicide to prevent damping off.
     
  6. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    Thanks! I turned the fan on, and mold growth seems to have stopped, as far as I can tell.

    I used commercial potting soil--I know that's not the best way, but it's all I had relatively cheap and convenient. :eek: I'll try out the cinnamon.

    My mesclun sprouts seem happy now, and I think I may see some basil pop out tomorrow. The sage and chamomile have yet to show themselves. The only thing is, now with the fan and no more plastic cover, the flats are starting to dry out. Being a clueless beginner, I don't know how dry is too dry. Maybe I'll give them a little water tomorrow. Also, it's warm enough here now that the radiator doesn't come on anymore, so the flats are a little chilly (maybe 65 degrees?). Well, it's a cheap experiment, so we'll see how they do.

    Thanks for the advice!
     
  7. stuckinsd

    stuckinsd Well-Known Member

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    When I get damping off mold started, I water with chamomile tea, add some baking soda to water used to water the flats, use a fan, sprinkle cinnamon and cornmeal on the soil. Usually takes care of the mold problem.

    stuckinsd
     
  8. Miz Mary

    Miz Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    And dont over water.....squish the sides of the container ( NOT HARD ) ....if hard, then water,squishy - still good. It seems like they are dry, but it doesnt take much wetness for them to sprout.
     
  9. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    Thanks, everyone. Almost a week later, and no mold problems. I've been following your watering tips, too, Miz Mary.

    Only problem now is I didn't expect such a high germination rate, and I'm overrun with seedlings! I guess there are worse problems, though :)