Chamomile tea to prevent damping off

Maxim1122January 30, 2014

Hello, last year was my first attempt with seeds, and almost all of them ,especially my Spinach, almost 95% of them were infected with damping off. They were tall and leggy, and they began to wilt or snap. I've read that ou can solve that by watering the soil with chamomile tea (or garlic spray, but I don't want it to stink my house), will kill the fungi.
Is it true?

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Chamomile tea is a mild anti fungal agent, many people use it on their seedlings. However if you are losing 95 % of your seedlings, you need to look at your growing conditions. Damping off is usually due to a, to wet - to cold environment.

Bottom water your seedlings, and don't over do it - if they are inside the house its probably not to cold for them.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 7:08AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

If your seedlings were tall and leggy, they were likely not getting adequate light and chamomile tea won't help with that. I don't know how effective the tea might be, no experience with it, but improving the light and placing a fan to blow gently on your seedlings for a few hours every day will help encourage stronger sturdier plants.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 10:26AM
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cinnamon is also a mild disinfectant and your house will smell like cinnamon buns so is garlic water.

Plants don't dry out indoors like they do outside and when they look dry on top there is probably lots of moisture underneath. I mist seedlings every day when they appear dry if I don't have a fan on them. If you are prone to overwatering either put a fan on them or mist only

I agree with morz8--if your plants are tall and leggy they are not getting enough light. I'll bet you are growing them on a window sill. Window sills do not give seedlings enough light. They need direct light like from a fluorescent light setup

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 10:54AM
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Will it be better if I'll start my seeds indoors and when they sprout I'll move them outdoors?
Because I don't want to buy a lighting fixturesâ¦

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 11:30AM
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You can do that but be very careful where you put tender seedlings. They need a period of shaded light to get used to the UV light. You'll have to bring them in at night because the cold temperatures at night will keep them from growing. Do not leave a humidity cover on them because they will fry.

You can make a light setup very cheaply. All you need is a 4 foot shop light with fins so the light is directed down and T8 daylight fluorescent tubes and a table or shelf to hold it. I have 3 of them and the whole thing cost me a little over $100.1 fluorescent light fixture costs as much in electricity as 1 incandescent light bulb to run. It would save a lot of carrying plants in and out

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 5:41PM
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ZachS. z5 Littleton, CO

I know lots of people who start seeds in window sills and have good luck with it. I am not one of those people. In my experience, a light set up is leaps and bounds ahead of windows.

I just bought another shop light fixture from Lowe's for $15. It's a 2 bulb, 4' long fixture and the bulbs were about $10 for a 2 pack, so about $25. If you make them all lengthwise single file you fit half a dozen of the 6 cell starter trays under it. Not sure how many seeds you start indoors every year but that should be a sufficient set up to start out with. Then as you start to do more, you add more lights so your not dumping $100+ all in one go.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 10:53PM
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For years I've used a weak solution of chamomile tea in a spray bottle for helping to control damping-off disease. It certainly seems to work for me. When seedlings grow true leaves--using a light set-up with bottom heat--I remove any covering (mostly small rectangles a rigid, clear Lexan-type plastic) and bring out a small computer fan to blow a gentle breeze. I never worry about d-o disease anymore.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 11:21AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

As Gary said above, it is a "control". It is not a preventative. You can only prevent damp-off by providing the proper growing conditions: proper soil moisture levels rather than over-watering is the most effective and improving air circulation in and around the plants is the second.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 1:44PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Maxim - you only mention spinach but I'm wondering if you need to be starting indoors at all. What are the conditions like in your region regarding temperatures and sunshine?

Depending on what you are growing you could quite possibly be planting and sowing outside now or very soon. Things like, favas, lettuce,brassicas and other cool weather crops are grown outside all winter in the Med area.

Most posters here are in the US and their conditions and methods are often not typical of what is done elsewhere in the world. Can you look around your area and see what others are doing in similar conditions?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 3:37AM
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Search 'nazareth illit weather' in Google, that's my weather. Don't you think it's too cold to start them outdoors now? The days are pretty warm but the nights are pretty cold (although we have no frost danger in my area right now)...

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 2:58AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Well, I don't really think I should have to do the searching for you, Maxim. However, I did and it's plenty warm enough for you to have a thriving spring garden out there. All your days are over 60. Indoors starting is a waste of resources and is clearly causing you hassle. Maybe you could use a bit of horticultural fleece or some plastic for the nights. Your conditions are not much like those of many posters here, so I think you need to be seeking local advice to understand what needs doing. After all Israel is a world leader in growing produce. I Googled 'Gardening in Israel' and came up with a lot of hits: message boards, blogs, advice columns etc.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 1:18PM
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floral I didn't mean for you to search for me, but thanks a lot! I only meant to ask if you really think that starting seeds indoors is a total waste of time, but you already answered my question, thanks anyways for your help!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 12:45AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

1) I have used chamomile tea, I think it works. But, If you use sterile starting mix, you should not have any fungus problem.

2) Maxim, are you in Israel ?. In the US, you can buy shop lights, already wired and ready. Just put bulbs(tubes) in it, hang it. I bough mine from HD. They are 48"- T8 (2 bulb per unit). Total cost : $20 with the bulbs. I bough one, then the second one, now I need to get third one. They are very efficient. Give out more light and less heat. But what the heck, the heat is used too, not wasted.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 6:45AM
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