Slow, slow seedling growth, mildew gnats?
I wanted to be really brave this year and start a variety of plants from seeds. I have peppers, tomatos, and a variety of flowering plants like lisianthus, begonias, and sweetpea.
I'm having a terrible time - I do as much research as I can and I try so hard, but only the water propagated weed like plants seem ok (rosemary, wandering jew, creeping jenny). I have a light about 8 inches above a covered tray (mostly blue wavelengths, it's a daylight bulb). They are planted in seed starter and I started them early January.
They aren't leggy, they just don't seem to grow at all. Some seem a bit yellow. I try to keep the humidity in there pretty good - watering when dry and the light stays on them from 8am to 9pm to simulate summer light.
Also, I have INSANE amounts of mildew gnats. I suspect they are the problem. I hand kill them every day - literally I sit there and squish them for like 20 minutes, but I can't stop them (can I?). I started the plants inside, so they must have been in the seed starter soil itself... Many seeds never sprouted and the sweetpea seems most devastated by the larva, though I have two robust looking sweetpea seedlings in spite of it.
Only the tomatos and peppers seem to even be getting close to forming the second set of true leaves. Some plants sprouted within days of planting only to look exactly the same for like three weeks.
Is there any solution for me? I'll post pictures later today or tomorrow when I can upload them. Thank you.