Home | Garden | Orchard | Cooking | Crafts | Lifestyle | Chickens

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dampening off and recovering

As I have been carefully tracking the progress on my seedlings several times a day, I noticed that something wasn't quite right. It was on Monday 2/9. I had to yet to remove the plastic greenhouse cover from the seedlings, so the humidity was still high. Also, the heated grow mat was still in use. I saw that some of the plants were shriveling up and falling over. This worried me because it had only been a week since I planted the seeds and I was afraid that they all would shrivel up an die. I immediately suspected that they were "Dampening Off" which was a term I had come across in some gardening articles. Not knowing exactly what conditions caused it, I googled and found some useful information.

The first result took me to Dave's Garden, where I decided that there was too much humidity for the seedlings. I immediately took off the plastic cover, unplugged the heating mat, and put a fan next to the plants. My thought was that I would reduce the humidity and maybe stop the fungus. I also read that anti-fungal agents such as solution of hydrogen peroxide or chamomile tea and water could be effective in countering the fungus. I didn't have any peroxide, but I did brew a large cup of tea to have ready when the time was right. Although I wasn't quite sure when that would be.

Returning to google for a second opinion, I went to the Pioneer Thinking link. On this site I confirmed the moisture and chamomile tea facts. Additionally, there was a mention that ground cinnamon is also a natural fungicide. With this new knowledge, I took the cinnamon from the cabinet and sprinkled it generously over the seedlings (after turning off the fan).

I left the fan blowing over the uncovered, cinnamon coated seedlings for the rest of the day. I didn't use the fan on Tuesday since the soil was drying out and the greenhouse cover was not going back on to increase the humidity. Late Tuesday evening I checked the plants again. Things did not look better. Some additional plants had fallen over and looked like they weren't going to make it. I decided to try the chamomile tea (same one brewed from the day before) and water the seedlings from below. I poured the tea into the bottom tray and added a little water to make sure the base of the plants were barely covered. As I went to bed that night, I was telling myself that it wouldn't be so bad if I had to start over.

Then to my amazement, yesterday some of the previously fallen plants were standing upright again. It was unbelievable. Today they are still going strong. I plan to carefully monitor the moisture level and only water from below with a solution of chamomile tea. Keeping my fingers crossed.


Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails

_ | _