"Chamomile tea definitely works," says Steve Peters, an agricultural planning associate for Seeds of Change, an organic seed company. Even broccoli and other brassica seedlings, which often fall prey to the iow light and lack of air circulation in greenhouses, will survive with a dousing of strong chamomile tea.
Steve mixes 1 cup of dried chamomile flowers with 1 quart of water to make his tea. He suggests steeping the brew for at least an hour, explaining that "the stronger it is, the more effective it is." He adds that the taste of this strong tea, should you try it, would probably be too bitter to drink.
Spray the seedlings as soon as they appear. Continue spraying daily until the seedlings are past the danger point (about two weeks).
Using sterile soil for seed-starting, rather than garden soil or potting soil that has already been used, should be your first step in preventing the damping-off fungus, Steve advises. And keeping soil moist.
rather than soaked, is also important. For more tips on how to keep your seedlings healthy, see "Ward Off Damping-Off" on page 77. ^
Defeat damping-off! Spray your seedlings with chamomile tea as soon as they pop up, and continue daily for about 2 weeks. A daily spray will combat the dreaded damping-off fungus that makes tender seedlings topple over and die.
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