Answer: It sounds as though your seedlings are "damping off" which has numerous causes. In addition to starting with clean equipment and fresh soil, you need to provide the plants with bright light and good air circulation and be careful not to overwater. Avoid wetting the foliage when you do water, and be careful not to overfertilize. Seedlings need only a very dilute fertilizer as a stronger dose can burn their tender new roots and over fertilizing can cause lush growth which is ore subject to disease. Some gardeners report good success using a thin layer of milled spagnum peat moss on top of the soil for their seedlings and others report that a sprinkling of chamomile tea helps stop damping off, but in my experience avoiding overcrowding, avoiding overwatering, providing ample light and providing good air circulation usually do the trick.
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