Thursday, March 10, 2011

Seed Starting 101 Step 5

One think I mentioned briefly in step 4 was a term dampening off. To me this is the most dreaded part of seed starting. I have it happen too often and it is usually mine own fault as I don't take the time prevent it from the get go.

Dampening off is caused by a fungus that especially attacks new seedlings. There are products that you can buy on the market and some times you will see on a seed packet drench soil the day before planting with benrot. That is the product but you don't need to buy that. There are a couple of things for the shoestring gardener that work just as well and are organic.

The main causes of dampening off is too much moisture and poor air circulation. One way to help prevent this problem is to fill you contain full of medium so you get good circulation, don't over water and use an oscillating fan running in the room where the seedlings are. If the room has a ceiling fan that will work fine also. Keep the air moving. I have my hooked to the timer with the lights so it runs 12 hours a day. This will also help to strengthen and thicken the stems on your seedlings the same as the wind does in nature.

Listrine is on way of helping to prevent dampening off. Mix 1 tsp of Listrine with 1 pint of water and spray the surface of the planting medium as soon as the seedling emerge and do that every couple of days being careful not to get the medium too wet.

On larger seedlings you can use 1 TBL of listrine to 1 pint of water.

I have been using Chamomile tea which contains sulfur which is a natural fungus killer. If you have dried chamomile flowers pour on pint of boiling water over 1/4 of blossoms. Let steep then strain and put into a spray bottle.

I actually use tea bags. I steep 4 tea bags in a pint of water than place in a 2 qt. container and fill with water. I have just started drenching my seed flats with it before planting and those seed are just germinating. I am still spraying as soon as they germinate also. So far so good. Don't mix a lot at a time as it will only keep for about a week.

Thanks for reading and I hope some are helped by this information.

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