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Re: Watering seedlings & fungus gnat control

Hi Betsy,
Neem Oil kills fungus gnat larva, and thus fungus gnats.  I found mine at http://www.dyna-gro.com/ courtesy Charles Tuttle.  If you start using it right away, the gnats will never appear.  If you wait until they appear, it will take up to a few weeks for all signs of this pest to disappear, as the oil kills the organisms only in their larval stage.  The 8oz size will last a long, long time as I believe the dosage is about 1 tsp. per liter of water.  I applied via a misting sprayer that I got from KMart, also a tip from Charles.  When the neem oil coagulates in its plastic container, as it no doubt will, you may need to re-liquify in the Microwave (on low).  At $11.50 plus shipping, it's a quite reasonable solution to this problem.   

As for the watering, I believe Ran has a great solution.  You water once at the time you plant.  Put the tray under the domes (or I believe he uses 2-gallon zip lock bags), and then don't water again until you remove them from the growing chambers.  This should be about 8 weeks or longer.  I found that once they get going, we are a lot more concerned about keeping the water level just right than are the plants. But you'll want to confer with the experts on this.  I may be setting them back by abusing them and Mary Chastain, Ran, or several others can address this watering issue better than I.  

Good luck!

Andrew Lietzow, Plantsman            http://hostahaven.com
HostaHaven.com                       mailto:andrewl@hostahaven.com
1250 41st Street                     515-274-0300 voice
Des Moines, IA 50311-2516

Betsy Mahtani wrote:


>I keep my seedlings very wet, about 1/2 inch of water in the trays at all times. The surface of the growing medium gets a little slimy, but it doesn't seem to bother the hostas.

I tried that with a few trays last year, and had really bad fungus gnats
in those trays.  I left the domes on, too, maybe that was the problem??
Mine are in a small greenhouse (bought second-hand), and I do much
better with mine on the slightly dry side.  What did I do wrong with the
wetter ones?

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