Tips for Success (Spring 4)

Disease

Seedlings can sometimes succumb to fungal disease. Avoid overwatering. Always wait until pots/trays feel light before watering. Always water from the bottom, not the top. Never let the plants sit in water for too long. Watch for  Damping Off.  Symptoms: Seedlings suddenly collapse, lying flat on surface of the compost. On examination, their stems are brown and shrivelled at the base. This disease will spread like wildfire through a tray of seedlings. Once seen, lift out the still healthy seedlings, in a block, and put into a clean tray. Do not include any that look limp. Surround with new potting compost – and hope! You may end up chucking out a complete tray of dead seedlings.   It happens. That’s why we sow more than we probably need.

Twines and Canes

It’s often useful to have extra twine on the canes, to mark out longer rows. Commercial products are often many metres long. Canes and twine can be re-used almost indefinitely. When canes/twine are removed from the ground, always wind the twine round one cane only, leaving the other free, ready to stick into the soil again, so that you’re ready for the next sowing activity.

Watering

Good ventilation around all the plant trays is essential. It helps to prevent mildews from developing. On warm days it’s fine to have windows open to allow air to circulate.
Large trays of vegetable seedlings have to be watered from the top – they are too big to be managed otherwise. Always use clean, room temperature, tap water. Always use a clean, scrubbed out watering can. Only water when the tray feels light. It won’t be very often as the compost is quite deep in these trays.