Starting Seeds Indoors

ColoradoGalApril 25, 2013

Hello there. This year i finally have a home that has a large, raised bed garden and we have been very excited about starting seeds of all kinds. I have never had much of green thumb and I am starting to get quite frustrated.

We started some seeds a few months ago. They germinated very well, but once they were about 2 inches tall they shriveled up over night. I was so upset but tried again. I read that maybe we were over watering so I watered less the next time with literally no results. I have started round 3 and although some of my seeds to be coming up those dont look great and I am again worried about over watering. We have come cucumbers, toms, herbs, peas, beans and sunflowers started and the peas look great (i havent had any trouble with those at all actually).

I mixed water with my peat/vermiculite mix and planted the seeds as directed on the package. I covered them with plastic wrap, but they began to get moldy. I had purchased all new peat pots and mix for this round three and bleached the flats i have them in as well. I have them just a few inches under grow lights, between 10-12 hrs a day. The mold appeared within 24 hrs of starting, so I removed the covers. We have 2 fans going at times to maybe help with the mold problem and i try to keep them moist but still am worried about over watering. I have been covering them on and off but then worry about mold. I dont understand how as a child my mother and I would start seeds and they would grow just like that and I am having so much trouble! I am so frustrated and worried because we have such a short growing season here and I am not going to let our garden go to waste. Any suggestions!!!???

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Since the growing area seems to be high-mold, I would leave off the covers altogether. And, if the flats you are using around the pots have high sides, I would switch those out as well so air can circulate better. Peat pots tend to encourage mold.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 7:06PM
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Are you getting the green algae type mold? That, in and of itself, doesnt hurt the seedlings. But when it gets bad, it can form a coat over the top of the soil which can smother them, then if it dries out, it forms a hard crust, but that usually takes a while. 24 hours is really fast for it to form, so you must be introducing spores somewhere along the way. Is it growing in the container you water them with? Once the seeds are growing you can gently stir the top of the soil (I use a small screw driver) to break up the coating.

I'd switch from peat pots to plastic cups for starters. I use the little 3 oz cups for starting. Vermiculite and peat both hold water a long time. try mixing in 20-30% pearlite, so that your mix drains better.

You arent keeping them covered once they have germinated are you? that is never good. As soon as you see anything poking through - get rid over the covering. If there are still seeds that havent germinated, gently mist the top of the soil regularly to keep it from drying out, and the rest of the seed will germinate just fine.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 7:14AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

You can pick up a great deal of knowledge about all the basic issues of growing from seed just by reading the great FAQs here.

In addition to all the good info so far, it sounds to me as if the mix you are using may be a problem if the mold is developing within 24 hours. What brand is it?


Here is a link that might be useful: Growing from Seed FAQs

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 10:48AM
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