The Q&A Archives: Early Sprouts On Seeds Sown Indoors

Question: I planted a variety of seeds 5 days ago that are already sprouting. Some trays had a clear cover (lid) over them, and they are the ones that sprouted first. Should the cover be taken off as soon as the sprouts take on a leaf or should the cover be left on for a longer period in order to set a stronger plant? They get some daylight from a window about 6 feet away, otherwise the only light is an occasional small ceiling fluorescent light.

Answer: The lids are designed to help hold moisture in the soil while the seeds are germinating. Once they've sprouted remove the lids to promote good air circulation. If you leave the lids on, you'll encourage damping-off, a fungal disease. Adequate air circulation will help your plants avoid diseases.

It doesn't sound as though they're getting the light they require and will turn into spindly, leggy sprouts instead of sturdy little plants. Move your seeds directly under a source of artificial light, or put them on a windowsill where they can bask in the rays of the sun. In a few weeks they'll be ready for transplant into the garden!

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