The Q&A Archives: Tomatoes Started From Seeds Only Last 2 Week's The Die

Question: Being from ohio,I try every year to start tomatoe seed's indoor's.They get about 4inches tall then lay over and die after about a 2 week period.I HAVE TRYED EVERYTHING!!They never seem to get their true leave's(which is their 2nd set of leave's?).I've tryed natural light,grow light's,direct sun light,misting from the top,watering from the bottom,70's degree temp.constantly controlled.I've used miracle grow potting soil(alway's fresh),I've read all the book's,tryed all the tip's,followed all direction's to the ''t''and cant grow a good tomatoe plat to save my life!Please help!! al andrews

Answer: This is certainly a stumper. It sounds like damping off, a fungal disease that attacks a plant right at the soil line. The disease is soil-borne, and can be carried through year after year in unsterile potting soil. The only thing I can figure out is that you are not using clean pots. You said that you are using clean potting soil, but how about sterilizing your pots or flats with a mild bleach solution before filling them with soil? Everything else you are doing sounds just right. So, try cleaning your pots and see if that clears it up. Good luck!

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