The Q&A Archives: Seed Starter Soil

Question: I am using mixture of peat moss and vermiculite to start flower & vegetable seeds. I wonder what is proper mix? Should lime, fertilizer or anything else also be added?

Answer: I generally use a ready prepared sterile, soilless mix. There are several homemade soil recipes to try. For ingredients similar to the ones you you list, mix 50% vermiculite or perlite, and 50% milled sphagnum moss. Remember, this mix has very little fertility so, seedlings must be watered with a diluted fertilizer solutions as soon as they emerge. Another recipe is 1/3 sterile soil (EXTREMELY important that it is sterile), 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 vermiculite or perlite. You can work a bit of fertilizer into your mix. When making a home mix, I usually add about 1 tbsp. of granular superphosphate and 2 tbsp. of ground limestone into the vermiculite/moss mix. For all practical purposes though, I like to stick to purchased mixes. I find the damping off rate to be lower, there is less aggravation, less mess, and difference in cost is negligible.

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