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04/02/2014 at 09:27

We will all have question like.................what can I use as a alternative to Cheshunt Compound so I thought I would take a look around just to see what other people are doing about this. I received a new book at Christmas from the RHS a year in the garden or something like that. I found this reply on a different forum and thought I would share as it ticks a lot of boxes with regards to DAMPING OFF

Avoiding what causes damping off is the best approach!

Too much water and cool conditions at soil level is the principle cause of damping of.

I minimise the causes as follows;

Sowing: soak seed compost well prior to sowing the seed on it then if the seeds require d
'dark' to germinate spread a light covering of seed compost over the seeds then cover this with a layer of vermiculite or perlite.
This will create a warmish layer at soil level where the seedlings emerge thus reducing the chances of damping off.
If the seeds require ' light' to germinate then omit the compost covering and only place the layer of vermiculite or perlite.
If you have got your watering right you should not need to water again till after germination.
If you require to water seedlings prior to pricking out have a pump spray at hand with a little fungicide (any type) and spray them lightly to keep them going, this should suffice.
If you feel that the tray has dried out ( I.e. It has been too warm) sit the seed tray in a tray of water and dampen the compost from below.
Pricking out; again soak the compost and allow it to drain off before placing the seedling/ s in it.

Sinking the seedling down to the seed leaves can be an advantage as this reduces the area of stem/ root that is most susceptible to rotting (damping off).

Aftercare; again watch the watering, temperatures and ventilation carefully!

Use the hand spray with the fungicide mixture if watering is required prior to the seedling becoming established.

What you want to avoid is cold compost at the point the plant emerges from it, watering makes this area colder than the compost below and the air above which is the main cause of damping off.

You could add a light covering of vermiculite or perlite to the compost surface ( like the commercial people do) as a precaution.

OK I sometimes have seedlings damp off on me but generally when I look at the issue more closely the fault was mine! ..............generally it was down to my watering regime!........... Carelessness/ laziness!

So that's my opinion on the subject!

I for one will be mixing some camomile tea just in case I need it but I will have to find one tea bag as I don't drink tea 

04/02/2014 at 09:31

O and the book is called RHS Gardening through the year by Ian Spence published by DK 

ISBN 978-1-4053-4739-6


04/02/2014 at 09:32
04/02/2014 at 09:34

I have sown bedding Lobelia for the first time this year, it has germinated well and the seedlings are between 1 and 2 cm tall and have no true leaves yet, when should I take the clear plastic lid off the seed tray?

04/02/2014 at 09:42

I have found a natural fungicide. watch this video


04/02/2014 at 10:15

Ashleigh, I open the vents on my lids as soon as the seedlings come up, then wean them off being covered asap

04/02/2014 at 10:25

Thanks Fleurisa, I love this forum

04/02/2014 at 11:36

Before sowing seed, I water the compost with warm water, when seed has sprouted I whisk off the plastic lid immediately.

04/02/2014 at 12:28

is that warm water from the tap if so can you explain why or is it tap water left some where warm over night ??


04/02/2014 at 12:57
Hydrogen Peroxide can be used to prevent damping off, cheap & widely available.
Needs diluting to the correct strength though.
04/02/2014 at 13:09

Just cold tap water with a little boiling from the kettle. I don't use the stuff from the water butt when planting seeds in case there is bacteria in it; I use it when the plants are a little more robust. I find warm water warms up the potting compost a bit, helping germination.

04/02/2014 at 21:28

I like to water the seed trays from the bottom, until you can see the top of the compost change colour, I generally sow on top of this, cover with compost and gently pat down. The compost doesn't seem to get so wet this way and seems a bit more controllable


05/02/2014 at 00:42

Might I add my two-pennyworth.  Damping off usually is caused by.  Poor ventilation.  The mistake of watering seedlings as though they were established plants etc.  Sowing too thickly.  Perhaps much in line with the previouse theme on seed sowing.  So here you are with your packet of seeds.. take stock.  Larger seeds usually mean less seeds.  So, unless you are sowing direct into the open ground, be wise.  Select your  sowing method well.  In the case of seeds that can without problem be easily counted.  If sowing under glass/ indoors etc.  I'd suggest sowing the seds individually in cells.  Should the seed be fine and a generouse amount be in the packet.  Be wise.  Do you really have need for each and every seed.  So.    Sow thinly, use more than one seed tray.  Look ahead, be sensible.  One day soon, you are going to see your seed tray looking like a turve of grass.  Hey matey.  Guess who has got to prick this lot out.  Sow thinly.  This will allow the seedlings to expand etc, giving you time to prick out.  At the same time, the added spaciousness will lessen the risk of damping off.  Might I quote smae days gone bye attitudes to gardening.  For instance. Sowing veg, such as peas and beans.  Years ago, the thought never arose to start these off in trays or pots.  I personally prefer to stick with what I have proved to be the best.  Relating to veg growing.  Please don't waste your time, poncing about sowing indoors/under glass in trays/cells veggei seeds.  Select your outdoor site, prepare theground, and sow direct.  Believe me, you will get the tops of your labour.  Back to the sowing bit.  Sow thinly.  Before sowing.  Prepare your trays, pots etc.  Give a good watering.  Leave to soak and drain.  Prick over the suface, spread the seed thinly.  Then it's jupto you.  You can either lightly cover the seed with soil or vermiculate.  If you resort to a growing dome etc, keep a close eye on it.  For instance.  In my greenhouse.  I haven't watered since October last year, Yet, I have pots of hyacinths weel in bud, narcissi and many others.  Fuchsias and geraniums are well advanced, my lilliums are going away fast.  Still I haven't watered.  I have no heat in the greenhouse.  Truly. We so often overlook the natural happenings.


Perhaps Mike has said too much.  However if you wish.  Just ask for more.

05/02/2014 at 08:13

Overcrowding, overwatering and poor ventilation are usually the worst offenders. If you can keep these under control it's easier to avoid damping off. I think you're right Mike about watering as if they're bigger plants. Lots of people use a spray instead of a can to dampen seedlings. That can help to avoid overdoing the water.

05/02/2014 at 08:20

Mike said ".... Please don't waste your time, poncing about sowing indoors/under glass in trays/cells veggie seeds.  Select your outdoor site, prepare the ground, and sow direct..... "

Music to my ears Mike 

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