The Q&A Archives: Mold Around Seedlings

Question: I have started several tomato and hot pepper plants and they are doing quite well. I have them in my basement under lights for 15 hours a day. There is a small amount of mold growing on top the soil and I need to know if this will harm the plants and what to do to get rid of it. can I use a fungicide or something or do I need to star over? Why did this start I thought I was giving enough light. Can the plants get too much light?

Answer: As long as the plants seem healthy I would not worry too much about a small amount of greenish growth on the surface of the soil. Very young seedlings may succumb to damping off and in that case mold may be a concern. This may occur due to the seedlings being too moist, overfertilizing, lack of air circulation, temperatures that are too high or too low, or simply as a result of something in the soil mix -- or even spores from the basement. Always start with clean tools and equipment and a relatively sterile soil mix. Your plants need light for 14 to 16 hours a day, and should be kept close to the bulbs, within just a few inches.

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