What kind of potting soil do you use?

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What kind of soil do you use for seed starting? I get good germination from the soil I use, but the plants do not thrive well. Some varieties stay small and just don't grow at all. Has anything worked really well for you? I start tomatoes, broccoli, onions, peppers and cabbage crops from seed. I need to get started soon, too.

-- Karen Braun (jbraun@one.net), February 07, 2002


Hi Karen, I used to try potting soil too but shortly after germination they'd damp off. A friend told me to use spahgnum peatmoss, vermiculate and coarse sand. I don't measure just eye it to more or less mix in 1/3's. Put it in a big bowl and pour in hot water and mix by hand. It shouldn't be drippy wet but nice and moist. Now plant your seeds and ta da you have it! I just started some clove carnations on the 2nd, for a hanging basket for our daughters birthday on April 24, and I noticed just a few mins. ago 7 of the 25 are already up.....isn't it fun!!!

Good luck,

-- Anna in Iowa (countryanna54@hotmail.com), February 07, 2002.

1/3 worm casting, 1/3 garden soil, 1/3 peatmoss/unscented, clay kitty litter mix (for moisture retention and equalization).

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), February 07, 2002.

whatever you use - make sure you fill your container nearly to the top with your potting soil and (after planting your seeds) sprinkle with a quarter inch or so of milled sphagnum moss. the milled sphagnum helps defeat damping off fungus along with the filling your container full which allows more airflow across the surface of the pot. my seedling survival rate really improved after I started with the sphagnum.

-- B. Lackie - Zone3 (cwrench@hotmail.com), February 07, 2002.

A weak chamomile tea solution helps prevent damping off.

-- Ardie/WI (ardie54965@hotmail.com), February 07, 2002.

I use a soiless mix, that has moss, vermiculite, and perilite. I think there are several brands of this , Promix is the one I'm familar with. Seeds will sprout about anywhere that there is moisture and correct light, some seeds like to be covered , some need light to germinate. This mix doesn't have any fertilizer in it but the seedling do not need fertilizer until they get thier first true leaves. Hope this helps .

-- sherry in Arkansas (chickadee259@yahoo.com), February 07, 2002.

1/2 garden soil 1/2 good, sifted compost.

-- Lynell SowesternVA (x2ldp@aol.com), February 07, 2002.

For the third year in a row am using Schultz potting soil from Wal Mart, comes in 12# bags at $5.48 per bag. No damping off, no problems, seems to work well for me.

-- fred (fred@mddc.com), February 08, 2002.

I'm in agreement with Fred on this one...for the price and for less mess, this is the best way for me and I have also had wonderful results.

-- Plant Lady (the_plant_lady@centurytel.net), February 11, 2002.

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