Thick moss/algae/mold growing on surface of soil

karen_b(6a s.c. PA)March 31, 2006

I sowed tomatoes, peppers, herbs and annuals under a grow light system, most everything has sprouted and looking good. My question is there is a thick layer of moss or algae or mold on the surface of the soil will this cause problems down the road? I do have an oscilating fan that I run full time. I've tried removing some where the seeds have already sprouted. Some of the peppers have just sprouted and the tops looked like they were chewed off. Can't image what could have chewed them off. The setup is in my basement about 4' off of the floor. Could it be the moss/algae/mold growth?

I used old seedling mix from last year that had mold on the outside of the bag so I think that is where the mold came from.

I was also thinking of repotting the seedlings and setting out in my cold frame, would this take care of the growths? Last year I had a white fly problem and repotting and setting out in the cold frame with a yellow glued sticker solved that problem.

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jwmeyer(Z8 OR)

Sounds like bugs!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 12:51AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

Karen,

I don't think the green moss/algae chewed off the tops of your peppers. The green stuff is common. I get it fairly frequently and I combat it by "cultivating" with a small rather pointed tool (sometimes a toothpick). The fan and watering from below should discourage a recurrence. If left unchecked, the green moss can rob your seedlings of needed nutrients.

I agree with jwmeyer that some kind of insect seems a likely culprit. You might want to pour out the container that suffered the damage and go through the growing medium looking for some creature that might eat tender young pepper plants. Just to solve the mystery.

I routinely treat my indoor growing medium with a little bacillus thuringiensis to control fungus gnats. That might help in your case.

MM

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 5:26PM
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karen_b(6a s.c. PA)

MM
Thanks for the tip using toothpicks, last night I cleaned off the slime using toothpicks, cultivating at the same time and I was surprised at how compact the potting soil had become. Also, I was also surprised that although the soil "seemed" moist it was actually dry, I will be watching the soil moisture more closely and not over watering. I had been putting too much water in at once and not keeping close enough watch on when it actually did dry. I think over watering may have stimulated the slime too.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 12:36PM
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maineman(z5a ME)

Karen,

If you have small electric fans going to create a breeze for your seedlings, the air circulation tends to dry out the surface of your growing medium and discourage the growth of the green stuff. The seedlings also get some "exercise" in the breeze, which helps them to grow thicker, sturdier stems on stockier plants.

MM

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 2:06PM
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karen_b(6a s.c. PA)

Caught my culprit eating the seedlings...a mouse!! No more chewed seedlings.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 11:35AM
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