Seeds of RE­BEL­LION

Trou­ble with ger­mi­na­tion or growth? Use this prob­lem solver from PHIL DUD­MAN to get your seed-rais­ing back on track

Gardening Australia - - SEED BASICS -

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.

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