Seedlings Dying
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Name not given
Posted on: April 17, 2007

I live in upstate NY, USA & I’m new to starting plants from seed. I can get the seeds started no problem & they get growing pretty nice….then I put them under the 4ft fluorescent light about 3-6" above them and within a week or 2 they start dying right where the stem goes into the soil. I have done this twice now and lost some (initially) great looking herbs/tomatos/cukes.

What am I doing wrong?

Your seedlings are most likely struck down by damp-off, a water-borne fungus disease. Any seedlings you have already started, keep them as dry as possible without letting them wilt, but avoid soggy wet conditions. Good ventilation helps too. Any new seed you start, use sterile pots filled with soil that has been wetted with boiling water and used shortly after cooling. Using Pro-mix, a soil-less medium will be much less likely to harbour damp-off fungi. But wet it with boiling water anyway, to kill any dust-borne damp-off spores that are lodged in it. Swab down your growing area with a disinfectant.

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