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SPierce
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Mould on seeds?

Okay, so I haven't run into this one before! I put some pumpkin, pepper, gourd and watermelon seeds in plastic baggies over the weekend to start them like I did my others, so that I could try and see how they would do in my regular ground (would like to expand my garden without having to pay for a million more raised beds!). I only used 1 paper towel instead of 2 like I did previously, and one of the seeds started to sprout already.

Except, all the rest of the seeds aside from the one that has sprouted, have some sort of mould/fungus growing on them. Should I throw these seeds out and start over again? Aside from using 1 paper towel, and using warmer water instead of the colder, I haven't changed anything from my successful bout with the plastic baggies & paper towels from last time, so they have less moisture.

Any ideas/advice?

I googled and most websites said that if there's mould on the seeds, it means they're dead, but how can ALL the seeds end up being bad seeds?

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applestar
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I think cucurbit seeds when not properly cleaned will have bits of flesh left dried on the surface and they can get moldy.

In the soil, competing organisms will ameliorate the fungal growth, but in a paper towel/baggie situation, there's nothing to keep them in check. I don't know what the best course of action is. Perhaps a swish in baking soda solution or very mild bleach solution followed by thorough rinse? (I can't say because I don't use bleach myself). There is a sticky thread on saving tomato seeds that details using bleach.

That said, I don't really know that the baggie/towel method would be a good indicator of how well the seeds would perform. These larger seeds need constant and steady moisture in ultimately larger amount than the tiny seeds to properly swell up and sprout and paper towel might be inadequate for all I know (too wet or too dry). They need more warmth to sprout than tomatoes too -- at least I don't see cucurbit volunteers in the garden as early as I see tomato volunteers.

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SPierce
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applestar wrote:I think cucurbit seeds when not properly cleaned will have bits of flesh left dried on the surface and they can get moldy.

In the soil, competing organisms will ameliorate the fungal growth, but in a paper towel/baggie situation, there's nothing to keep them in check. I don't know what the best course of action is. Perhaps a swish in baking soda solution or very mild bleach solution followed by thorough rinse? (I can't say because I don't use bleach myself). There is a sticky thread on saving tomato seeds that details using bleach.

That said, I don't really know that the baggie/towel method would be a good indicator of how well the seeds would perform. These larger seeds need constant and steady moisture in ultimately larger amount than the tiny seeds to properly swell up and sprout and paper towel might be inadequate for all I know (too wet or too dry). They need more warmth to sprout than tomatoes too -- at least I don't see cucurbit volunteers in the garden as early as I see tomato volunteers.
Interesting, I guess as an experiment I will leave them and see what happens. These are seeds straight from a packet of seeds that I bought, different brands (pages seeds and burpee). My first set of tomato and zucchini seeds I tried to germinate this way did absolutely fantastic and are growing strong.

it's just this second batch that's getting strange, and I'm not sure what to do with them!

johnny123
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Yea those seed are probably shot.

To save you alot of effort just file the point off the pumpkin and squash seeds to open the shell to let moisture in and soak them overnight in a bowl of water before planting.

Some folks like to add a teaspoon of sea-weed extract to the water for seed soaking.
If a disease doesn't kill them and a bug doesn't eat them there may be something left for you.
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rainbowgardener
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"They need more warmth to sprout than tomatoes too -- at least I don't see cucurbit volunteers in the garden as early as I see tomato volunteers."

That would usually be true for me too. But I planted a tree with some compost and now it already has two little volunteer squash next to it, even though we have had little warm weather or sunshine. Haven't seen any volunteer tomatoes yet. I guess it just depends on what seeds were in the compost.

I find it interesting that my compost gives me lots of volunteer squash and tomatoes and very rarely a pepper, but never any other kind of weeds. The squash and tomatoes being hybrid seeds produced for market must be tougher seeds than the regular weeds....
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SPierce
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I ended up giving up on them... I'm stressing out too much, and i guess i didn't have the room for it... i took my one germinated pumpkin, put it in compost to make it's way into plant adulthood, and threw the rest away.

That's the last of the seed starting for me!

Tony02905
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Interesting thread... I planted Rosemary, parsely, tomatoes and coleous in a jiffy 72 cell planter. The rosemary, coleous and parsely seeds were just placed on top of the peat pellets instead of covering them. The plastic top created so much humidity that those seeds were covered in mold. I periodically took the cover off and the mold was all over them and the soil. Lo and behold verything sprouted. Now that the top is completely off the mold is gone. Maybe the bacteria in the peat pellets took care of the mold? Every one of the seedlings is fine.
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rainbowgardener
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Weeding out the lettuce/spinach bed, found three more volunteer squash. Thought about leaving them but the spot where the lettuce is, is too shady for squash. I still have yet to see any tomato volunteers this season.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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