New Year and New Seedlings! But that moss...

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Hey Everyone,
Last year was my first year of starting seedlings indoors under lights. I used covers over my dirt while they were germinating to help keep the moisture and heat in. However, in many instances, moss or another green substance started growing on the surface of the dirt. It wasn't a problem for those plants that had sprung, but I believe it probably stopped others from growing. I had read to use cinnamon to kill the stuff but at that point, it was too late.

My question then - I'm supposed to cover the soil for moisture and heat but I'm getting the moss/mold/green stuff on the surface doing that. Suggestions?

Thanks!
 
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What do you mean you used covers over your dirt? Do you mean those plastic domes that fit over seed starting cells? If so, then yes, use them. That green stuff is algae and will only grow if there is light. You do not need any light to germinate seeds. It is after the seeds sprout that you must provide light. What kind of soil did you use to start your seeds? It also sounds as if the soil was too wet. Here is a fool-proof way to germinate seeds, not the only way but it is fool-proof. First, use a good potting soil such as Happy Frog. Fill up the cell or container/pot and completely saturate it. Then press down to remove all excess water. Then place your seeds and cover to the appropriate depth with unwatered potting soil. Place on a heat mat and affix the plastic lid. I use those plastic dry cleaner bags but anything will work as long as it keeps the atmosphere super humid and moist. When the seeds start to sprout put under artificial light and remove the plastic but leave the container on the heating mat until they have all sprouted and the cotyledon leaves have fully opened. I leave mine on the mat until the first set of true leaves begin to appear. When the first true leaves begin to appear put an oscillating fan nearby to help with excess moisture (and stop the algae from growing) and to strengthen the stems of the plants. Very simple and works every time.
 
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Yes, plastic covers. I have a couple of heat mats but I'm growing a lot of seedlings and so that won't work for all plants.
I used potting mix. They are in a small room in my house. I had a fan and a small heater in there since I'm in Colorado and it's pretty chilly. Thanks for the advice.
 

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Yes, plastic covers. I have a couple of heat mats but I'm growing a lot of seedlings and so that won't work for all plants.
I used potting mix. They are in a small room in my house. I had a fan and a small heater in there since I'm in Colorado and it's pretty chilly. Thanks for the advice.
All I can tell you is this. Algae and moss normally do not harm your plants. Algae makes its on food from carbon dioxide and WATER by photosynthesis. Moss makes its food from WATER and particles in the air. Water is key to eliminating both moss and algae. Water from the bottom up and use a sterile potting mix. Keep your soil damp/moist, not wet I have been growing my own seedlings for over 60 years and I have never ever grew moss or algae, And you can use cinnamon either before or after seed germination but spraying with 3% hydrogen peroxide works better.
 
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Not 100% true, some need light to germinate, it usually says on the pack. It is worth reading the pack, the seedsman wants you to succeed and return next year.
In my experience very tiny seeds such as lettuce, cabbage dill, do need some light but tomatoes, peppers, beans, okra, melons, corn, cucumbers etc do not need light. In fact, for years I sprouted seeds in a closet with no light whatsoever.
 
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In my experience very tiny seeds such as lettuce, cabbage dill, do need some light but tomatoes, peppers, beans, okra, melons, corn, cucumbers etc do not need light. In fact, for years I sprouted seeds in a closet with no light whatsoever.
True, in the days when we had a hot water tank and an airing cupboard I would always have some tubs under the towels.
 
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Re the algae, I usually find the seeds germinate and are a bit established before the algae gets hold. When I see it I usually rough the surface up a bit with my finger, or a plant label. It is a single cell thing growing on the surface in colonies without any roots or anything, very hard to eradicate, but easy to knock back to an insignificant amount.
 

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