In late October, I participated in “Heritage Breeds & Heirloom Seeds: The Past Strengthening our Future,” a gathering of gardeners and farmers in Debert, Nova Scotia. The speakers included Dan Jason of Salt Spring Seeds, Greta Kryger of Greta’sOrganic Gardens, Andrea Berry of Hope Seeds and Greg Wingate of Mapple Farm. I gleaned the following tips from our wide-ranging discussions.
– Janet Wallace, former editor, The Canadian Organic Grower
A gardener, who was just starting to use organic methods, asked how others dealt with damping-off (a fungal disease that can kill emerging and young seedlings). The group offered a number of suggestions, including:
- Water seedling flats with weak chamomile tea or compost tea every second watering.
- Fill flats right to the rim with potting mix so that there isn’t a pocket of stale air above the seeds.
- Use compost rather than a sterile potting mix. The compost contains microorganisms that can inhibit the fungi responsible for damping off.