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Article: Seed Starting 101: The Dreaded Damping Off (and How to Prevent It): Just what I needed (sob!)

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Forum: Article: Seed Starting 101: The Dreaded Damping Off (and How to Prevent It)Replies: 5, Views: 83
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Columbia, SC

February 27, 2008
9:21 PM

Post #4597424

Usually a fanatic about winter sowing, I've tried getting a head start this year with some tender annuals only to discover some ruined plantlettes. Instinctively, I removed the humidity dome and won't replace it until I've made some holes in it. I'll also try the hydrogen peroxide solution.

One question: once a few seeds have succumbed to damping off, will the other little cells be okay? (Please say "Yes").
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

February 27, 2008
9:55 PM

Post #4597547

It's hard to say for sure without knowing if your potting mix has a pathogen issue... but I am guessing that your problem had more to do with overly wet/humid conditions. I'm glad you didn't lose all of your seedlings!

Once germination has occurred, most seedlings don't seem to need the extra protection of a humidity dome (with or without holes). Since you've already encountered problems, I'd suggest trying to do without it, especially once you see germination.

A fan for extra air circulation and bottom watering will also help.

Good luck!
Central, VA
(Zone 7b)

March 13, 2008
1:17 PM

Post #4658006

Jill, Great article. I should have read all this before I started my seedlings. I was almost afraid to read about damping off, figured if I didn't know about it, I wouldn't worry about it. My little seeds that are up look good (hollyhocks, MG's, basil), but the earliest ones were only planted 3/06/08. I don't have lights. Mine are in the garden room by the south facing windows. I try to turn them a couple times a day so they don't get the major leans. I've grew tomato seeds of heritage types in the past and had almost 100% germination of probably 20 different types in 2" peat pots, transplanted into 4" peat pots. I put them outside before work and took them in again after work for about 30 days. That was the year of my tomato forrest. I didn't do it a second time because it was in the front yard and looked like a jungle. None of the neighbors commented, but I kept expecting to get a letter from the Home Owners Association.
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

March 13, 2008
3:57 PM

Post #4658636

I've done the "tomato forest" thing! The past couple of years, I've followed Carolyn's advice and started seeds just 8 weeks before setting out... I only need to put them in 2 inch pots, and they're not so huge and hard to deal with!

Putting them outside on mild days for "real" light is probably even better than using fluorescent lights... but I was stunned at the difference when I switched from windowsill growing to putting seedlings under lights. I thought my window was bright! LOL

Good luck with all your little seedlings!
Columbia, SC

April 1, 2008
5:27 PM

Post #4741104

Wouldn't putting fragile seedlings outdoors for the light burn them instead?
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

April 1, 2008
6:39 PM

Post #4741409

You just can't put them into full bright sunlight for 10 hours on their first day out... letting them adapt gradually is the key (aka "hardening off").

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Other Article: Seed Starting 101: The Dreaded Damping Off (and How to Prevent It) Threads you might be interested in:

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