New topic/ seedling damping off

Pamela Harlow
Fri, 30 Dec 2011 15:40:16 PST

I grow on two sites in Seattle, one especially damp, so I understand your
problem.  I don't think I could manage a tunnel without fungal problems.

I use two covered outdoor areas for sowing the cold germinators. One is a
breezeway between house and garage.  The other is a five-foot high area
below an elevated room, open on three sides to the air.  In both areas I
hang ladders horizontally from ropes, which excludes most rodents, and line
up the flats across them.  Even with inverted mesh flats on top to
discourage the more acrobatic rodents, the air flow is excellent.  I have
never seen seedlings damp off in either area.

I sow most seed in disposable tray inserts in which I cut LOTS of extra
drainage holes. The inserts that fit 12 to a 1020 flat are very useful.
Seedlings that abhor root disturbance, like peonies, get individual 2.25"
rose pots.

My mix is half peat and half pumice or black lava, no fertilizer.  The
pumice tends to moss up fast if exposed to the surface, but the black lave
is denser and more resistant.  I mulch with crushed rock.

I wish the breezeway had a glass roof.  As it is, once the seedlings are up
I have to transfer them to lighted racks in my chilly basement, or to the
greenhouses.  The basement is completely safe from damping off.

The greenhouses have a botrytis problem, despite the fans that sound like a
small jet taking off.  Neem oil helps somewhat.  If someone can recommend a
non-carcinogenic fungicide, I'll consider synthetics.

Pamela Harlow

-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Reichjke de kuypeurs
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 11:29 AM
Subject: [pbs] New topic/ seedling damping off

I'm curious to know  how other seed sowers handle the problem of  
damping off.
I use  a high content of pumice in my mix  so that  the mix dries out  
relatively quickly.    I also have sterilized the soil, but ,  
unfortunately,  besides killing pathogens, it also kills beneficial  
All seed containers are soaked in a Sodium hypochlorite / H2O  
solution  before being used.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, even under cover, a seed pan can stay  
moist  for a long time, which can be a problem.  Even with the ends of  
a tunnel left open for  circulation, the air is full of moisture.
I used to be a greenhouse grower, so have  had a bit of Benlate  
left.... when all else fails.
It would be interesting to hear  others cultural practices.

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