Rachell Koenig wrote: I like to start plants indoor, like my peppers, and lots of new herbs. I only have one good sized window and it just barley gets enough light, but it works. I start my seeds off in damp potting soil with plastic wrap laying on top until the spouts show up. This keeps the fungus from showing up, and keeps the soil moist.. but soon after its removed the trouble begins. Last year i saved most of my plants by stirring the top layer, it kept the fungus to a minimum. I want to do better than that this year, but stay organic. Like maybe mix up some garlic spray? I would like to know what other people do for this.
Chamomile tea is reputed to be antifungal, and I've had good success with it in previous years -- just mist the soil surface with a weak solution periodically. I also use a small fan on low speed to keep air moving around the plants. This both strengthens the seedlings and helps to control fungus. Finally, I've found that I have the fewest fungal problems when I stick with a mostly sterile potting mix of peat/coir and perlite/rice hulls. Definitely no organic fertilizers or compost, but I did begin experimenting with 10% worm castings last year with good results. The worm castings boosted growth and seemed to provide sufficient nutrition without the risk of fertilizer burn.
EDIT: Looks like others chimed in with much the same advice while I was composing my reply...
Seed Starting Successfully
1. When starting seeds, wet soil the correct amount (lol) and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Thin seedlings down to make room for stirring (the very top layer of soil), circulation (air), and transplanting.
3. Water with Chamomile and Cinnamon tea. (These are notes that I made at the end of spring last year, this year I haven't had to use this step yet) Maybe the others are enough.
4. Have a fan for drying after watering. Have sand for after fan. (This year I'm just sprinkling a very light layer of dry soil (instead of sand) on after fan drys the soil out a bit.)
5. Have a grow light to accompany the window light for healthier growth (this has been even more successful this year) you should see my tomatoes plants! short, fat, and strong!
6. Stir top layer when ever soil is dry and plants can handle it.
I would also like to note that I do not use sterilized potting soil. Which is why I had such a hard time last year with fungus.
But with these methods I'm very confident that sterile is not needed!
Why would we kill beneficials like that?
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