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