A cucumber seedling has withered and died overnight due to damping off disease.
Adequate light reduces the chances of an infection.
A heating mat keeps roots warm.
Seedlings grown in peat pellets are prone to damping off as the peat absorbs too much water and stays wet too long.
Select a sterile potting soil designed for seeds.
Once seeds germinate they are vulnerable to the fungus Damping Off. Seedling stems become thin and thread-like, then they fall over and die. It is a quick death.
Soil: Use a free draining sterile potting mix for seedlings. Add extra sand or vermiculite if it’s too peaty and doesn’t drain quickly.
Avoid peat pellets: Made from pure peat surrounded by netting, they absorb too much water.
Cleanliness: Sterilize any reused pots or cell packs in bleach and water.
Drainage: Good drainage is essential so pots should have drainage holes – don’t cover them with anything.
Monitor Moisture: Avoid keeping the soil too wet: check with your fingers before adding more water.
Avoid Cold Water: Room temperature water is best from 20 to 22°C (68 to 72°F).
Warm Roots: Use a propagating heated mat available at home hardware stores and garden centres.
Warm Conditions: Room temperature should be at least 15.5 to 21.1°C (60-70°F)
Adequate Light: Seedlings should receive 12 to 16 hours of light per day.
Avoid Overcrowding: Don’t sow seeds too thickly; follow packet instructions for seed spacing.
Control: There are fungicides on the market to prevent damp off, however, I like to water and mist seedlings with chamomile tea as it contains anti-fungal properties. Allow it to cool to room temperature before applying.
Thin overcrowded seedlings to allow more air movement below and above the soil.
Here are some of my previous blog postings. They cover a wide range of topics from bugs to my botanical excursions and conventions. Click on whichever interests you on the titles below for easy navigation.