Seedlings Dying
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Lynne Tucker
Posted on: January 19, 2010

I have planted these seeds several times in various types of soil and can’t get them to grow past a couple of small leaves before they die. Can you tell me how and in what type of soil I should be planting them in?

Since you give me no information about which seeds you have trouble with, nor what you planted them in, nor how you cared for them, I will just assume you followed the directions on the back of the packages and simply have the bad luck to have a growing area that is contaminated with a damp-off fungus.

Swab the entire growing area with a 10% laundry javex/chlorox solution, scrub all pots you are going to use and then swab them with, or soak them in the above solution. Get a soil-less, peat-moss based potting mix such as Pro-Mix, put it into a heat-proof dish and pour enough boiling water onto it to moisten it well. Allow to cool and sow your seeds into this soil using the sterilized pots. After sowing the seeds water the pots gently, allow to drain and cover with a new or sterilized clear plastic bag. After the seeds have germinated gradually remove the bags over a period of at least a couple of days and thereafter keep the soil barely moist, never sopping wet. These damp-off fungi have spores that swim along the film of water that covers soil particles and this is the reason for the barely moist advice.

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