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Sowing time and fungicide?

Posted by mayzu Zone 5 / Ohio (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 16, 10 at 22:01

Hi everyone,

I'm new here and I'm fairly new to indoor seed-starting. (Heck, I just turned 22, so I'm new to life in general! haha.)

Anyway, I have two big questions that I can't find an answer to, despite all my research.
First of all, here's my sowing dilemma:

When seed packets (or online instructions) say to sow a particular type of seed "X number of weeks before last frost date," or "during month X," do they REALLY take into account the time it takes for seeds to germinate?

For instance, I have a packet of dianthus ("Sweetness") from Plantation Products. The packet says that germination takes 10-14 days, but encourages starting them indoors in February. If I actually started them today, for example, it would be 12 weeks before I could actually transplant them into the garden! (We usually plant near Mother's Day, May 15th-ish, to avoid all frost.) Even if I went by our "official" planting date (April 30th), they'd still be indoors for about 10 weeks. That just doesn't sound right.

And here's one more example:
I have -- (also from Plantation Products) -- some columbine seeds. It says germination takes 21-28 days, so about a month. But it also says to start them indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost. The 6 weeks sounds too risky, but maybe the 8 weeks would make sense? Then they'd have a month to germinate, and a month to grow before transplanting.

From what I've been reading, seedlings shouldn't be kept indoors longer than 4-6 weeks anyway. Is this true?

And here's my last question:

I was wondering if it would be beneficial to use a fungicide when sowing my seeds to prevent damping-off. If so, what kind is best? If they're not necessary, how do I prevent fungal growth? I know that plenty of light, bottom-watering, medium soil moisture levels, and air circulation are all important ... and I have those under control. But will I have problems with seeds that take longer to germinate, and therefore need to be covered/kept moist a lot longer?

Thanks a million for any advice you can give me!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Sowing time and fungicide?


The weeks on your seed packets is when to sow them, so yes, it includes germination.

Most plants do not want to be inside at all, so that is why it is suggested when you start your seeds. The less time the spend inside the better. But in saying that, our cold temps up here don't allow us to enjoy the flowers unless we start them inside. Many times I start my flowers a few weeks before the suggested time only to have really big plants which don't transplant as well, but they look beautiful in a few weeks when the recover. It also depends on how much room you have...the earlier you plant them the bigger they will be thus making it more of atask to care for.

Lastly, I would not treat your soil with a fungicide. Just start your plants in clean containers and sterile soil and you should be good to go. Check out the FAQS on this forum and they can help you out with details.

I hope that helps.

There are a lot of us here, so ask away!


RE: Sowing time and fungicide?

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 17, 10 at 17:22

Just to expand a bit on what Keriann had to say about fungicide -

The Clothiers website has a lot of information on growing from seed, and not just the germination databases but also articles on sowing, mediums etc.

Of fungicide, he says: " The following chemicals are not recommended for use by the average recreational gardener, but may still be available for use (if not yet banned), providing the manufacturer's instructions are followed to the letter. " And he goes on to list 6 or 7, but followed by:

"There are too many to list, and they go on and off the market very quickly (mostly because they are very dangerous when used improperly, and some are too dangerous to have been put on the market at all.)"

Here is a link that might be useful: Good to bookmark for reference:

RE: Sowing time and fungicide?

1. Yes the germination time is included so follow the instructions on the packet.

2. Many seedlings can and are easily kept inside for far more than 4-6 weeks. It all depends on the set-up one has for doing it. The less ideal the growing environment provided, the less time the plants can be kept in it. EX: a greenhouse easily allows for indoor growing for weeks or months. A shelf by a window does not.

3. Fungicides are not needed and as already mentioned, not even recommended as they cause more problems then they solve. Damp-off is caused by the factors you mention - too much water, too warm temps, and inadequate air circulation. Control those and there is no damp-off concerns no matter how long it takes some seeds to germinate.


RE: Sowing time and fungicide?

mayzu I am impressed with your grasp of seed starting at your age. I am 60 years older but was not as thoughtful at your age. First your seed will probably germinate much faster than what is says on the package. When you have a few true leaves I would suggest you start taking them for a walk outside when you have a nice day. Only an hour at first,starting in the shade. As your walks get longer they should include more sun. By the time you can plant them in the garden they will adapted to the conditions, and take right off. Al

RE: Sowing time and fungicide?

Thank you all for your input! I will avoid the fungicide and follow all directions on my seed packages. ;)

And Al, thank you for the compliment! To be honest, I think my "thoughtfulness" and knowledge is helped a lot by the fact that I have the Internet AND books as my guide. There's a lot of information out there!

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