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Re: seedlings etc

Gerry - Thanks for the input.  Don't know why I always assumed Promix to
be sterile - I guess because it's a soiless mix, and peat moss has the
reputation of being sterile...  I only used the boiling water and
microwave because the mix was damp and the bag had been opened several
weeks earlier, and I was concerned about fungi. I certainly didn't
expect THIS little problem.  I've probably started thousands of seeds
over the years and only once before have I had something similar
happen.  That time the worms were green, it was gaillardia 'Burgundy'
and there was zero germination, so I blamed it on the seed.  Years ago I
grew gesneriads for resale and kept the pots on huge trays with felt
liners for constant bottom moisture.  At that time, I would on occassion
find these same critters swimming around when I watered the trays.  I'm
just rather amazed that the boiling water treatment didn't do the trick!


Gerry/Bob O'Neill wrote:
> Helen,
> I'm not sure where your white worms came from..But my best guess is that
> eggs were present in the Promix and even your boiling water/nuke treatment
> didn't get them.
> But, Promix is NOT sterile! I use it at work as well as at home, and I have
> learned the hard way that there's all kinds of critters in the stuff. I no
> longer use it for sterile culture, because even if it's pasteurized
> (flowing steam for 10 minutes on each of three successive days) the texture
> is pretty much destroyed by this treatment.
> If it's damping off you are concerned about, you might try sterilizing sand
> and putting a thin layer of it on the surface of the Promix after sowing
> the seed; that's what I use for my hibiscus seed, which can take months to
> germinate. Doesn't eliminate the problem entirely, but helps. Or buy a seed
> starting mix that is labelled "sterile."
> Gerry
> At 10:45 AM 2/11/01 -0500, you wrote:
> >Here's the story...
> >
> >Start with one clean never been used container with tight fitting clear
> >dome.  Add Promix for seedlings, (supposed to be sterile).  Pour boiling
> >water over, then nuke in the microwave for 2 mins for good measure.
> >Allow to cool, sprinkle with h. chirifu seed, close lid.
> >
> >The lid was opened once momentarily to add a little extra water after a
> >couple of weeks.  I now have delightful (translation - yuck!) thin white
> >worms in the mix, that I believe are fungus gnat larva.  Are these
> >fungus gnat larva????  Can anyone hazard a guess as to how these manage
> >to appear in a closed sterile environment?  Is it possible these things
> >were in the seed?  Or the bit of water I added later?
> >
> >Thanks
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