In my last post we discussed damping off, a fungal disease that attacks and kills developing seedlings. A clean growing medium will minimize the occurrence of damping off. And a seed starting mix can be pasteurized by pouring boiling-hot water through it.
Once the seeds have germinated and the newly emerged plants are off to a good start, there’s more you can do to protect those tender seedlings.
There’s plausible evidence showing some homemade concoctions can inhibit the growth of pythium, the fungus responsible for damping off. One of these is chamomile tea. That’s right, the same tea we brew when we feel like mellowing out with something warm to drink.
Steep at least two teaspoons of chamomile flowers into each cup of boiled water. Let the tea come to room temperature before straining and using. This is quite a bit stronger than what most people use to brew a cup of drinking tea. The stronger you make the tea the effective it is.
Use a spray bottle to water your new seedlings by spritzing the tea over the plants and soil once a day. To help the tea be more effective, make sure you allow for plenty of air movement around your plants while they are growing.
Eventually Mother Nature will take over and you won’t need to use the tea anymore. As seedlings grow and get older they will outgrow their susceptibility to damping off.