I shall be writing about how we sow seeds in the Higgledy garden at the weekend. Meanwhile for those of you darling students of the University of Higgledy Love… then please get your bonces around what ‘damping off’ is… and how to avoid it. It’s imperative you are aware of the pitfalls before you embark on your sowing adventures.
What is Damping off?
First and foremost damping off is a right royal pain in the Kyber and one must do all one can to avoid it ruining your life and the life of those around you.
Damping off is a fungal disease which attacks seedlings. This cruel and heartless disease causes the innocent young things to topple over before they have even had a chance to experience a summers day… or hear the smack of leather on willow. Cut off in their prime these defenseless seedlings are often submerged in a white fungal growth, of the like only seen in 1960’s ‘B’ movies… heartbreaking.
How to spot Damping off
*Your seedlings all fall over.
*You experience great sadness followed by great anger.
“Oh Mr Higgledy how can we avoid this Damping off?”
*Treat all plastic pots and trays as you would a baby’s bottle. Either use new pots (not going to save the world) or thoroughly clean old pots. We use home made paper pots too… which being new haven’t got the nasty fungal fiend lurking inside.
I use The Guardian newspaper for my paper pots but you could equally use any broadsheet… The Daily Mail tends to turn the young seedlings into gibbering wrecks… afraid of the world that they are about to enter… so avoid using this ‘newspaper’.
*If using home made compost then I would sterilize it first in the oven. 200 degrees for half an hour. Or you can do it in the microwave… but add a little water first.
*Don’t sow too thickly… give your new friends some room to breath. Poor air circulation is known to be a contributing factor to damping off.
*Don’t water log your growing medium. High humidity also encourages the evil little damping off to run amok in your future cut flower garden.
*Some folk suggest watering with Camomile tea… I have no idea if this works… or indeed if I heard it in a pub or made it up myself.
*It sounds wrong but don’t water your seedlings using rainwater from water butts… they might be working for the enemy and harbouring some damping off terrorist spores (this is not a problem for grown up plants as they can just biff them out of the ring).
*Use water at room temperature.
Don’t forget you are allowed to spend the housekeeping on Higgledy garden seeds… in the Higgledy Shop. ;)
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May 25, 2014 @ 1:10 pm
I’ll add to the chamomile tea believers (though coming late to this post, I suppose I’m a just in believer – groan!). It’s also good for more than just preventing damping off! Shameless plug for my own blog about it at http://www.rivendellgarden.co.uk/?p=275
April 12, 2014 @ 2:00 pm
I tried using chamomile tea in a sprayer on my plants. It seemed to work well. I had a lupine that developed mould on the seed coat; I sprayed chamomile on it, and it’s doing fine. I’d give it a try; I’m a believer.
April 12, 2014 @ 11:23 am
Nice information and some good ways to avoid it. Still smiling at the choice of newspaper and subsequent comments … Lol
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March 11, 2013 @ 11:17 pm
LOL re: The Daily Mail! I guess we want plants to grow up with common sense and good taste after all. What happens to plants if we make seedling pots out of The Sun or The Daily Star?
March 11, 2013 @ 11:15 pm
LOL about the Daily Mail! I guess we want seedlings to grow up with common sense and good taste after all.
March 12, 2013 @ 7:55 am
yes indeed…and being that most of the flowers I sell are ‘immigrants’…the daily mail wouldn’t approve. ;)
March 25, 2012 @ 6:45 pm
Oh, just had another thought….I like the idea of homemade pots, but everyone and their dog in the neighbourhood gives me pots after they’ve planted as they all buy, so perhaps feel the extra need to save the world, hehe…Wonder if maybe before I plant I do the usual sterilization, but line the pots in newspaper as well?
I forgot to mention that a light mist of drop of bleach in the water was working until the cold cloudy days came…but now there is not enough warmth to dry the soil surface at all ….As you say, soon they’ll be tough enough to fight it but need to get them to that stage…
March 26, 2012 @ 6:17 am
you could line the pots…but maybe it’s unnecessary and extra work? I shall try a few and see how they go. :) Thx for posting…send us some pics of your successes. :)
March 25, 2012 @ 6:37 pm
You made me giggle…I just shook cinnamon on the surfave of my many starter flats…as I had bleached the pots and used good soil, so believe the turnaround in the weather back to the big chill is the major culprit. It may help to keep the surface dry until some sun returns…In the meantime, the house smells lovely.
Do, however plan to pick up some camomile tea…thanks for the advice. Have tried peroxide in the past, but just ended up with bleached blond non-permanent waves…..
March 23, 2012 @ 10:05 pm
Quite right too, I use the independent newspaper, my seedlings thank me for it ;-)
March 23, 2012 @ 6:20 pm
Hi Ben — A very experienced Canadian gardener (CannedAm) I know has had confirmed and brilliant success with chamomile tea. She brews it, dilutes it, pours it into a spray bottle, then mists her plants! LOVE this article! Cheers!
March 23, 2012 @ 8:35 pm
Bless you…my Sister lives out in your wonderful land. Well it’s confirmed…let’s go on the chamomile action. Big thx to you! xx
March 22, 2012 @ 7:36 pm
Giggling about using the Daily Mail.
March 23, 2012 @ 8:36 pm
so am I (secretly) ;)