Most of the time, if you sow seeds and give them reasonable growing conditions, you’ll end up with quite decent results. On the other hand, when things go wrong, they usually do so very quickly, so always keep a close eye on your seedlings, ready to give them a helping hand at a moment’s notice.
Here are some situations you may encounter with young seedlings along with an explanation of what to do to help them recover.
|Poor or no germination.||Seeds unviable or of poor quality; poor growing conditions; soil allowed to fully dry out||Buy fresh seeds; improve conditions; keep soil evenly moist during whole germination process|
|Seedlings wilt, soil dry||Lack of water||Water gently, but deeply; if seedlings recover, keep soil moist in the future; if not, resow|
|Seedlings wilt, pinched at the base||Damping off (fungal disease)||Use fresh seedling mix; avoid soil from garden for indoor sowing; improve ventilation|
|Indoor seedlings leggy and pale green||Lack of light||Give seedlings better light: sunny window or artificial lighting|
|Indoor seedlings leggy and dark green||Too hot||Reduce night temperature|
|Small black flies present||Fungus gnats||Rarely cause much damage, but can carry diseases. Allowing soil to dry a little longer between waterings will kill larvae|
|Outdoor seedlings cut off at the base||Cutworms||Insert tin can with bottom removed around unaffected seedlings to serve as a barrier; harvest cutworm by hand (will be hiding in the ground at the base of its victims)|
|Leaves eaten on seedlings outdoors||Various insects, slugs, etc.||Hand pick slugs or apply slug bait; treat insects with insecticidal soap. Sometimes you have to resow|
|Seedlings blackened after a cold night||Frost damage||Resow|