Disinfecting Seed Flats and Trays

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Disinfecting Seed Flats and Trays



When starting seeds indoors, it’s essential that the seed flats and trays are disinfected. Brand new seed starting flats and trays are fine to use out of the box, but dirty flats and trays should be disinfected every time you reuse them. If they are not disinfected properly, the seedlings will likely suffer from damping off (also known as seedling blight), which is a fungus that will kill the seedlings at the soil level.

 

Seed Flats Trays

Seed Flats Trays

It’ll take you a little extra time to disinfect the seed flats and trays, but the effort is well worth it to ensure you seedlings have a healthy start. If you’ve ever lost an entire flat of seedlings to seedling blight, then you understand what I mean.

Related Post: How To Clean Winter Sowing Containers.

How To Disinfect Seed Flats and Trays

  1. Wipe the loose dirt out of the flats and trays using a paper towel or small cleaning brush.
  2. If there’s any dirt that is hardened on, wash the flats and trays in warm soapy water.
  3. Disinfect seed flats and trays in a bucket of a water and bleach mix for 15-20 min. I recommend using a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.
  4. Rinse and let them air dry, now they are ready to use for starting seeds.

 

Soak Flat Trays

Soak Flat Trays

 

If you start disinfecting seed flats and trays a few days before you plan to start sowing, they’ll be ready to go whenever you are. For more information about starting seeds, read more Tips For Starting Seeds Indoors.

 

Seedlings Growing In Flats

Seedlings Growing In Flats

 



 

Comments

  1. says

    Maybe I'm lucky, but I've never had a damping off problem, and I never wash my dirty pots — I definitely never use bleach solution on them (too much work). I'm certain I'd start doing this as soon as I had some losses due to damping off though.

  2. says

    Hi Tessa, Thanks for your comment! You'll have to tell me more about the chamomile tea. I'm guessing it might kill the bacteria that causes damping off? I will look that up, thanks for the tip.

    Hi Alan – yes, you have been lucky! I also reused my flats for a few years without any problems…then one year lost almost all of my seedlings at once. It was devastating! Hard lesson

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