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  • how long do I cover seedlings?

    Created by gardengirl on

    I’m starting some tomato and watermelon seeds indoors and I have one of those plastic humidity domes. How long do I keep it on the seeds after they have germinated. Will they get diseases if I leave it on to long?

  • Author
  • #13787


    Garden Girl – Seeds are very sensitive to the amount of water they get. Too much water or too little water will greatly effect your success rate. Covering seed trays can help keep moisture levels (and temperatures) constant – that's why we do it. The trouble is covers will reduce the amount of airflow and can increase plant diseases, such as damping off. Remove covers as soon as the seeds have germinated.


    I use the plastic shoe boxes found in the storage aisle at Wal*Mart as my seedling incubators. It is always warm enough in the house for seeds to germinate.I keep them covered in the way you are describing until the seeds have sprouted. If it is nice outside, I then take them outdoors with a screen fabric "tent" over them as they grow their first set of true leaves. I only water these seedlings from the bottom by setting them in a pan or tray. Misting them daily in the morning with camomile tea and adding it to the water in the tray is the secret I found to prevent "damping off" which is just a fungal disease. I also find that using new vermiculite or jiffies is important.


    Eric Vinje

    I would take the dome off after most seedlings have sprouted and have fully formed cotyledons. Leaving it on longer may cause dampening off, root rot, or other nasty soil borne diseases to attack the sensitive seedlings. Check out our tips and tricks for growing vegetables from seed!


    Happy Planting!

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