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Help! My sweet pepper seedlings have mold issues!

Everett, WA(Zone 7b)

I am pretty new to gardening and brand new to peppers (and all other veggies). On a whim I decided to grow peppers, and things were going great... I started them in little peat pellets by seed under lights (they are a sweet pepper mix by Burpee), and once they got a few sets of true leaves and were fairly good size I transplanted them to 4" pots that I sterilized and used a miracle grow potting soil for vegetables. I don't think I have been watering too much, but I have been watering on top of the soil rather than bottom watering (now that they are in the larger pots I wasn't sure if I needed to continue with the bottom watering... obviously a newby at this). So now I have noticed the white fuzzy mold on the top of the soil, and also the base of the stem is having problems I think, as seen in the bad picture, hopefully you can see it ok. I guess my question is, does anyone have a suggestion as to what to do now? It is too cold outside here to move them out... we are supposed to get snow this weekend, which is not normal for us. Do I need to re-pot them? Will they live with that problem to their stem? My poor little seedlings! :( Thanks!

Thumbnail by catgal77
Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

I'd just cut back on the watering. Mold needs a lot more water and humidity than the peppers do. I think the mold is feeding on nutrients in the potting soil and not on your plants, so it should be OK once the soil has dried enough to no longer support mold growth.

You might rig a fan to blow on the plants a few hours a day. That would give them some good air circulation and do away with the wet, humid, musty conditions the mold likes.

Edited to say: I just noticed how low the soil is in your pots. That would make the soil stay wet, cause you to have to water frequently, and give mold a sheltered, humid place to grow down in there. I'd bring the soil level up to about 1/2" from the top of the pot - just don't cover the growth crown of any plants. Young tender seedlings like the one on the left will grow new roots from the buried stem, and that's good too.

This message was edited Apr 17, 2008 7:52 PM

Everett, WA(Zone 7b)

Great! Thanks so much for the advice, I will bring the soil up, and grab a small fan from the basement... I appreciate it!

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

My mold is prettier than yours. A nice green. Sometimes a little white but not much. Never hurt anything.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

Probably like a little moldy spot on a piece of bread - it might be good for you. Penicillin. lol

Catgal - did drying things out help?

Everett, WA(Zone 7b)

Yes, it did! Well, first I took a little plastic fork and carefully pulled up the fuzzy (which actually wasn't as close to the plants as I thought, in other parts of the pot)... brought the soil level up a bit... things are looking good! Its funny, with all the bad talk about mold being in houses and how horrible it is (my husband investigates water intrusion and mold issues in houses for a living), although I know it is a different type of mold, just makes it out to be the worst thing in the world. LOL They still seem ok, 'cept the base of the stem looks weird to me... of course since this is the first time I have grown peppers (and many other things), this is probably what the plant normally looks like. And the plants are getting bigger and look green and strong at this point. :)

North Hills, CA

I have a really cool looking fungus growing on the side of some of my peat pots.
It looks like scallop shells but they aren't growing on the peat flat.It's like the pointed side of the scallop shell is connected to the pot and the shell sticks out the side like a shelf.
It's white.
If i water heavily one time and let it dry out a few days then when I water again it comes back.
it only comes back a few times.It must run out of whatever it lives off of because it stops comming back after a few times.
I think it grows on the wood chips in the soil/potting mix.
It probably breaks down whatever it grows on so it's probably good for the plants.It isn't hurting them as far as I can see.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

I used Miracle Gro Organic Choice potting mix, and there's a lot of wood in it.

While I had my seedlings under lights, I had quite a few little-bitty mushrooms come up in the potting soil. They were tiny - about 1/4" in diameter and 3/8" tall, but with the classic mushroom shape. I just left them alone, and within 24 hours they were flopped over dead. Their life cycle must be real short, just enough time to make new spores.

There's fungus among us. lol

North Hills, CA

I had some little white dots all over a couple pots one time and under a magnifying glass they were little tiny mushrooms.They were less than 1/32 inch around the cap.
All kinds of stuff grows in my pots.
Outside I had some fungus that looked like coral growing.It came up tan colored then turned dark brown and then black.It never hurt my plants either.

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

I have some mold or fungus growing in my peat pots. I think it's because I've been using organic fertilizer (Hasta Gro).

Everett, WA(Zone 7b)

I have never used the peat pots, but I could see that happening... I would probably have that problem alot of the time. My peppers are looking much better! They look great now, and I am hardening the seedlings off...now the problem is that I have come the the realization that I have no place in any of my yard that gets enough sun to for these guys to fruit, I am pretty darn sure. Bummer. Gonna have to grow them in my parents yard... awesome sun there.

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

LOL!!!

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