Thursday, March 10, 2011

Seed starting mix redux

Little bok choy and broccoli seedlings, just getting started!  Growing from seed chez Smith is underway.  And I am going to declare a change of strategy:  I've decided that the coir fiber/rice hulls/worm castings mix I discussed in a previous post is really not the best medium for seed germination.  I've had much better germination rates in good old MiracleGro seed starting mix, which I bought for the extremely scientific reason that it's what they sell at Home Depot and I was in a hurry.  Absolutely no endorsement intended, but I would recommend a peat-based mix (which can just as easily be lightweight fluffy potting soil as seed-starting mix - probably cheaper that way) for the early stage.  The coir fiber mix tends to dry out too fast for good germination, and something in it (probably the worm castings) promotes mold growth if left covered too long.  However, it's great for transplanting into, which I've already done with some of my egg carton-started seedlings, now happily getting bigger in small pots.

Many more Cute Baby Plant pics coming, I'm afraid.  I can never resist.

4 comments:

  1. I have very good success w/ jiffy pellets in egg cartons, but have recently tried coir fiber pellets from Park seed: "coco one starts". In side-by-side comparisons, the peat pellets are better. Coco fiber wets much faster, but also dries out much faster. The coco coir is coarser and ok for big seeds, but smaller seeds do better in the peat pellets. And the seedlings grow much slower, smaller, and not nearly as green in the coir fiber pellets. I think there is a bit of fertilizer included in the jiffy peat pellets that makes the difference. The price and convenience of getting bulk bags of 100 jiffy pellets works out well for me.

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  2. Thanks, that's very useful. I agree about the texture and the fertilizer would make a difference as the seedlings grow. Also cost is important! I have used jiffy pellets in egg cartons but then went to the system of just putting a hunk of seed starting mix in, and transplanting when the seedlings are still pretty small.

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  3. I love starting seeds in egg cartons. What a great way to reuse and I especially love the paper based ones as you can use a knife to cut them right out and place them in the ground. I spoke to a friend today who suggested saving the egg shells to line the carton with when I'm planting as that will provide the baby seedlings even more minerals that the egg shell provides (like calcium). To assist with drainage poke tiny pinholes in the shell before filling with seed starter mix.

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  4. What a cool idea to use the egg shells!

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