Propagation forum: Mold on pots 24 hours after seeding: advice needed

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gruenfinger
Feb 25, 2018 4:35 AM CST
Hello All,

Let me preface by saying that I am new to all of this. It's my first time trying to grow seeds and I want geraniums (pergaloniums) for my balacony.

So I read up and bought good seeds (F1 hybrids) propagators, peat pots, mat heater with thermostat and two florescent bulbs (one 6500K the other 2700K). I made the mistake of over watering the pots and 24 hours later I have many spots of hairy white mold on the soil and pots. I removed the plasctic domes and added a fan to ventilate and let them dry off. I am not sure about the compost I bought - they recommended it at the garden center but I does not say specifically for seeds nor does it say sterile.

The seeds have not germinated (now 48 hours after sowing). Should I just continue and water less and ventilate more and sprinkle with cinnamon , or should I try and fish out the seeds and bake the soil and pots in the oven or microwave.

Any assistance much appreciated!
Chris
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[Last edited by gruenfinger - Feb 25, 2018 6:07 AM (+)]
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Name: Caroline Scott
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CarolineScott
Feb 25, 2018 7:46 AM CST
Cinnamon might help as it contains a peroxide like compound.
Myself, I would spray the mold with a dilute Hydrogen peroxide solution. And then let the tray dry out some.

Be careful with the peroxide, and don't get it on anything else !
It acts like a bleach !
[Last edited by CarolineScott - Feb 25, 2018 7:48 AM (+)]
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Name: ZenMan
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ZenMan
Feb 25, 2018 2:04 PM CST
gruenfinger said:It's my first time trying to grow seeds and I want geraniums (pergaloniums) for my balcony. ...I made the mistake of over watering the pots and 24 hours later I have many spots of hairy white mold on the soil and pots. I am not sure about the compost I bought - they recommended it at the garden center but I does not say specifically for seeds nor does it say sterile. ...The seeds have not germinated (now 48 hours after sowing). Should I just continue and water less and ventilate more and sprinkle with cinnamon , or should I try and fish out the seeds and bake the soil and pots in the oven or microwave.

Hi Chris, Welcome!
The garden center should not have sold you compost as a seed starting medium, because compost is a product of decay, and that decay could be on-going. That said, 48 hours is probably not enough time for geranium seed germination.

On the other hand, the compost and the hairy white mold may have invaded the seeds already and killed their embryos. It might be a good idea to bake the soil and pots in the oven or microwave. I currently use an old microwave oven to sterilize Pro-Mix in small (3.25-inch square) plastic pots to create sterile germination conditions. I don't use our kitchen microwave oven for that. But my hand-me-down microwave oven is great for sterilizing medium in the pot. Remember that microwaves only heat water, so make sure your medium is moist before you put it in the microwave. Dry medium might not benefit from the microwaves.

I don't know how many geranium seeds you have, but you might try cleaning some of them by washing them off and putting them to soak in 3-percent hydrogen peroxide for a few hours. A small container like a lid could hold just enough peroxide to float the seeds. The 3--percent peroxide right-out-of-the-bottle should do a good job of sterilizing the outside of the seeds. Even though it is "the pure stuff", just 3% is pretty weak. But limit the seed exposure to peroxide for only a few hours. I have successfully germinated contaminated zinnia seeds that had been in 3% peroxide for 16 hours, but I think that was "pushing it". A few hours would probably be enough. Good luck.

ZM
I tip my hat to you.

gruenfinger
Feb 26, 2018 1:25 AM CST
Thank you both for your kind advice! I have found a great community here.
I will try taking the seeds out washing and baking the soil, and let you know how I get on.
Chris

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