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Old March 19th, 2008, 11:03 AM
gallika gallika is offline
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white fungus/mold on top layer of soil


For the past 2 weeks I have been growing some basil and cilantro plants from seeds. I have been trying to reuse products within my home - my green house was made up of a spinach plastic container with paper rolls as the pots. I used starter soil and misted the plants with some water in the morning before work. I didn't have a grow light - just a 2.5 gallon aquarium florescent light to give the seedlings some addition light.
Before they sprouted a layer of fluffy fungus/mold appeared on the top of the soil and sides of the paper tubes. I didn't water the seeds for 2 days thinking all was lost - I thought I must had over watered causing this fungus to grow, but they sprouted anyway. The cilantro I had to re-pot last week because they were getting too big for the container. When I re-potted i looked at the roots and general health of the plant - all fine. The fungus/mold isn't growing on the roots that I can see. Now I have another layer of the same stuff on the soil top of the cilantro seedlings. I have been watering those guys lightly every 48 hours.

I am wondering what the fungus/mold is. If the fungus/mold have a symbiotic relationship with my plants (I am hoping the fungus/mold isn't parasitic). Am I over watering? Are they just not getting enough light? The northwest seems to be prone to all sorts of fungi/molds - so is this something I am going to have to deal with for here on out? (I am originally from Michigan and I have planted seeds like this before with no molding/fungi happening...)

(The pics show the newly re-potted cilantro and the basil seedlings. Since I took the cilantro out of the "greenhouse" the fungus/mold is now only on the bottom of the paper rolls by the second layer of soil)
Thanks for you input!
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 10:38 AM
growest growest is offline
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Re: white fungus/mold on top layer of soil

I get something like this after using liquid organic fertilizers, and it causes no problems. Actually is encouraging to know things are growing in my soil (I'm quite a proponent of "organic" growing, and tend to trust the soil microbes know what they are doing more often than not :-)

Running a small fan beside your plants would probably help, tho. It helps to keep the soil surface a bit drier, and also makes the plants sturdier. More light may be required judging by the legginess of the cilantro babies. Let the soil dry down slightly before watering thoroughly...better than constantly moistening things, once the seeds have sprouted your babies can endure a tiny bit of drying, which is more natural than constant even moisture.

OOOh, can't wait for fresh basil again!
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Old March 23rd, 2008, 01:09 PM
gallika gallika is offline
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Re: white fungus/mold on top layer of soil

Thanks for the suggestions! I ended up not watering them for a few days and put them outside on a covered portion of our deck and they seem to be doing just fine. The mold/fungus doesn't seem to like it outside and died back a bit.
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Old April 13th, 2008, 05:14 PM
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plantenthusiast plantenthusiast is offline
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Re: white fungus/mold on top layer of soil


For future reference, you may be over watering or/and watering too frequently. Try to let the soil dry a little more in between waterings. Also good ventilation and air circulation are important in preventing the growth of molds; they thrive in warm, humid environments. Make sure that whatever sort of pots that you use have holes in the bottom and are free-draining.

Good luck with your seedlings,
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