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 Post subject: Dirt in pot went moldy
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:54 am 
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I recently added new dirt to my potted basil (the old soil in the pot was getting so compact that the plant roots were showing) and it's now covered in fuzz. What happened? What do I do?! The pot is indoors for the winter, but we haven't turned on the heating yet and the air is relatively dry. I've used soil from the same bag in other pots with no issues. I don't want to have to throw my basil away!


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 Post subject: Re: Dirt in pot went moldy
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:18 am 
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ol' garly cooch
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Aelle, you have a couple of options:

Treat it with Actinovate or another food grade safe fungicide. I have no idea if that is accessible in Seoul. Neem Oil is vegan and has antifungal properties. Don't over do it though, because the oil can clog the stomata.

Basil doesn't like it too wet, so let it dry out.

Once dried, I suggest feeding the plant with a grow formula that has mycorrhizae in it. That'll give your roots a little boost.

What kind of light is it getting?

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 Post subject: Re: Dirt in pot went moldy
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:01 pm 
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water it with dish soap.


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 Post subject: Re: Dirt in pot went moldy
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:17 pm 
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Thanks, Jewbacca. I have no idea where to get these things or even if I can, here, but I'll try. What do you think of the dishsoap idea?

jewbacca wrote:
What kind of light is it getting?

It's in a room facing east, so some direct sunlight for a couple of hours in the morning and diffuse light the rest of the day.


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 Post subject: Re: Dirt in pot went moldy
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:37 am 
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ol' garly cooch
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Aelle, basil really likes the sun.

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 Post subject: Re: Dirt in pot went moldy
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:33 am 
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Personally, I don't like to do the dish soap thing, especially not on edible plants. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I fear that the chemicals in the soap would contaminate the plant. Is this true?


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 Post subject: Re: Dirt in pot went moldy
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:32 am 
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ol' garly cooch
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I wouldn't use the soap because the high phosphates might cause the basil to bolt. Something else I just thought of: is it really mold, or is it a salty deposit? That can be remedied by flushing with water. If it's mold, then you'll just want to pick it off and make sure the growing medium is the consistency of a wrung out sponge. Can you lift the plant out and put a layer of pebbles in the pot to provide some pockets of air in there?

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 Post subject: Re: Dirt in pot went moldy
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:21 pm 
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Mold sometimes develops on the soil surface with super fine potting mediums, especially when the area is cool or lacking air circulation. But it sounds like you're talking about soil you added at the surface level of this pot, rather than repotting the plant? When you have two distinct layers of soil like this, with the initial compacted and the new loosely on top, it can form a somewhat impenetrable barrier where they meet. Thus most of your water could be collecting in the new layer like a sponge, and that, again with the cool room and lack of air circulation is problematic. If you're worried about exposed roots on the surface you'd do better to dump out the new stuff and add a thin layer of pumice to cover.

But if you repotted the whole plant, and worked around the edges to incorporate the new soil with old, ignore most of what I said. And I agree with jewbacca - without a warm, sunny exposure or supplemental lights it's going to be hard to keep basil alive through the winter.

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 Post subject: Re: Dirt in pot went moldy
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:19 am 
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Jill wrote:
Mold sometimes develops on the soil surface with super fine potting mediums, especially when the area is cool or lacking air circulation. But it sounds like you're talking about soil you added at the surface level of this pot, rather than repotting the plant? When you have two distinct layers of soil like this, with the initial compacted and the new loosely on top, it can form a somewhat impenetrable barrier where they meet. Thus most of your water could be collecting in the new layer like a sponge, and that, again with the cool room and lack of air circulation is problematic. If you're worried about exposed roots on the surface you'd do better to dump out the new stuff and add a thin layer of pumice to cover.


This makes a lot of sense, and is probably what happened. Thank you for the tip!
The mold is gone now. Maybe the very dry winter air helped.

The basil lived through last winter in the same spot already so I am not too worried.


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 Post subject: Re: Dirt in pot went moldy
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:57 pm 
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Kitty wrote:
Personally, I don't like to do the dish soap thing, especially not on edible plants. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I fear that the chemicals in the soap would contaminate the plant. Is this true?


Its diluted soap.

Dish soap is obviously not toxic if you eat it because we wash our dishes with it!

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 Post subject: Re: Dirt in pot went moldy
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:38 pm 
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Plus you can buy biodegradable dishsoap.

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