Seeds of REBELLION
Trouble with germination or growth? Use this problem solver from PHIL DUDMAN to get your seed-raising back on track
You sowed the seeds but they failed to germinate
This could be due to the seeds drying out. Finer seeds in particular need to be kept moist to germinate. On the other hand, if they were large seeds, such as beans, which are prone to rot, the soil medium may have been too wet. In this case, let it dry out between waterings. Also, double-check the sowing depth on the packet. Seed sown too deep may also rot.
Your seeds came up but they rotted and died
You may have a problem with Pythium or another soil-borne fungal disease that causes the tender tissue in seedlings to rot (also called ‘damping off’). Make sure your drainage is good, use a fast-draining seed-raising medium, water in the mornings, not afternoons, and avoid excessive watering. Encourage better air circulation by removing lids from germination trays, and sow thinly to avoid overcrowding.
Your seedlings were there one day, then gone the next
This is likely to be caused by an overnight visit from slugs or snails. Cover in-ground seedlings overnight with upturned plastic pots or use other means of protection such as coffee grounds, copper wire, beer traps or pet-safe baits.
Your seedlings were okay one day, but the next day were lying on their side, as if they had been cut o with scissors
Cutworms are the culprit. Make protective plant collars by cutting the bases off old cans or yogurt containers and plunging them into the soil around the seedlings, or circle seedlings with diatomaceous earth.
Your seedlings have grown long and thin
This is common when seedlings are not getting enough sunshine, so move them to a spot where they will get some more.
Your seeds came up, they established, but didn’t thrive. en they started to go yellow
There is enough food in a seed to germinate and establish its first leaves. After that, it needs nutrients from an external source. Add some slow-release fertiliser to your seed-raising mix or supply nutrients with a heavily diluted liquid fertiliser applied once a week.