help with science fair project please

my 7 year old is doing a science fair project on capillary action. he's doing the usual dye a celery & a white flower thing, but he's also trying to grow seedlings in different colors. he's using white stemed swiss chard as his vict^^ test subjects. he put the seeds in Jiffy pellets & waters them with food coloring. he has one control plant & one each yellow, red & blue. he's doing this at school & there seems to be a problem with damping off and/or mold growing on the Jiffy pellets. i was suspicious that the mold might be growing on the food coloring, but the control is also getting 'fuzz' on the peat pellet. anyway, if the plants keep damping off, he can't really prove anything with his experiment. the peat pellets are in an 8" x 8" tray, so they are not touching. the tray is not covered. the pellets were watered to expand, & are now only given one drop of food color (or water for the control) per day. any suggestions to get the poor things past seed leaf stage gratefully accepted. also, has anyone ever tried starting seeds in that polymer gel crystal stuff that is sold as Soil Moist? i was thinking of trying some white radishes in dyed crystals... lee
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Try again but keep the tray covered. If you are using the same tray that had mold before, then clean tray and then soak in 5% chlorine (bleach)(if you can smell the chlorine in the water, it is strong enough). Soak for 20 minutes. Rinse tray throughly. Re-plant and cover. Only remove cover to water.
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ct.net.au:

well, they took the cover off because it was getting mold & the teacher thought it might be too humid. they apparently are trying to start the new seeds in the same peat pellets, which is not a good idea. i'll make sure he has extra pellets for new starts now. also, each peat pellet in in it's own disposable cup in the tray & yes, i'll have him clean those with the bleach solution (it's the usual table cleaning solution in his classroom, so i know that they have bleach solution available). i was informed this morning that he was allowed to cut the babies off the class spider plant to work with also. will they be ok in cups of water for a few weeks or should i send in pots & a bag of compost? lee
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On 2/13/08 7:02 AM, in article Xns9A43478FF203enigmaempirenet@199.125.85.9,

Spider babies will thrive in water and you can watch them grow too!
C
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i'm hoping he gets to bring them home when he's done ;) i want to put hangers on the dining room windows next winter.
lee <with plants taking over the floorspace>
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On 2/13/08 8:40 AM, in article Xns9A435834CD3DAenigmaempirenet@199.125.85.9,

I'll give you some next time we can get together
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For years I've used a light dusting of cinnamon over my seed trays to prevent damping off. Cinnamon is anti-fungal, non toxic, works great.
Val
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as is milled sphagnum moss.... Ingrid

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