Damping Off Disease
Don’t let past problems starting plants from seeds prevent you from partaking in this fun and budget-wise garden activity. A clean start and proper care can be the difference between success and failure.
Damping off disease may be the culprit. It is caused by several different fungal diseases and can prevent seeds from sprouting or cause young seedlings to suddenly collapse and die.
Prevent the problem by starting seeds in new or clean containers. Use a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water to disinfect used pots, cell packs and flats. Purchase a seed starter or sterile potting mix. These are pest-free and have the drainage and moisture holding capacity needed for starting seeds.
Keep the soil warm and moist, but not soggy wet. The seed packet will provide recommendations. Sprout seeds in a warm location.
These steps are usually enough to prevent this disease.
Once the disease occurs, remove and destroy the infected soil and seedlings.
A bit more information: Contain this and other soil borne diseases by starting seeds in individual containers or cell packs. This slows the spread of the disease and makes clean up easier. Just discard the infested plants and soil. Dispose of or clean containers before using them again.