Brown powdery stuff growing on soil?

vr46October 17, 2012

I planted a whole bunch of redpepper seeds in multiple containers. Some of those containers were from cut up juice boxes. One of them, just one of four planted in a juice box is growing at the same rate but there is this brown powdery substance on the surface of the soil. I thought maybe it was residue from the iced tea in the box so i cleaned it out and replaced the soil and replanted in the same box. A few days later the brown stuff is there again. It sort of looks like powdered ice tea and when I water the plant some of the brown powder floats up into the air.

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What was your planting medium made of?
I sometimes have seen, in containers where a peat moss based planting medium was used, a similar powdery brown substance would float to the surface.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 6:40AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

next time.. go buy some small plastic cups.. solo cups ... cut 3 holes in the bottom edge with a razor blade .. and use those ... rather than wax paper boxes ... there is no way to sterilize such ...

and we need to know your media ... a very high peat media.. will probably lead to failure ... its probably ground peat.. not iced tea.. once added to water.. dry ice tea will not turn back to powder ... since there is no freeze drying going on ...

and did you really mean that watering makes it float in the AIR???


    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 8:57AM
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The soil is mostly peat (afaik) and some "quick grow" stuff as well. I get soil in 1 or 2L plastic packs here in Hong Kong and most of the info is in Chinese.

I just now took a quick look and noticed some brown, disk shaped things growing on the surface.

@ken - Yeah, when i spray it with water, it disturbs the powdery stuff and it blows out into the air.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 11:29PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

That soil sounds like it's comprised of too many fine particles, dust. I would try to find something more chunky, less hydrophobic than peat.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 11:49AM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

Or, there is some type of fungus growing in the medium, which is either a powdery type or gives off powdery spores. It is not necessarily harmful if the plant seems to grow OK. In fact, many fungi have been proven to enhance the growth of various plants when grown together. So I wouldn't worry about it unless the plant seems to be damaged.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 5:17PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Agreed. But the cultural conditions that allow fungus to grow are often not good for plant roots.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 9:52AM
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