Seeds forum: Seed Starting Soil Recipes

Views: 850, Replies: 17 » Jump to the end
Name: Leslie
Chapin, SC (Zone 7b)
Keeps Sheep Daylilies Hybridizer Garden Photography Cat Lover Hummingbirder
Birds Region: South Carolina Plant and/or Seed Trader Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 2 Avid Green Pages Reviewer
Image
Lalambchop1
Dec 5, 2016 12:12 PM CST
If any of you make your own seed starting soil please share what you use.
Thanks!
Leslie

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
Bulbs Region: Canadian Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
CarolineScott
Dec 9, 2016 6:48 AM CST
I don't mix my own, but use a commercial potting mix.
In the past, I have used commercial seed starting mix, but it is very expensive.
Sometimes I use just moist vermiculite for starting seeds.
I add vermiculite to the potting mix for starting alpine seeds.
I add peat to the potting mix for starting meconopsis seeds.

The potting mix probably gives some weeds, and some green algae, but sprinkling vermiculite over the potting soil helps. If molds show up, a spritz with peroxide water can help.

This is not really what you were asking, but no one was replying to your post.

Name: Leslie
Chapin, SC (Zone 7b)
Keeps Sheep Daylilies Hybridizer Garden Photography Cat Lover Hummingbirder
Birds Region: South Carolina Plant and/or Seed Trader Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 2 Avid Green Pages Reviewer
Image
Lalambchop1
Dec 9, 2016 7:07 AM CST
Thank you Caroline. That helps.
Leslie

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
Image
RickCorey
Dec 14, 2016 4:44 PM CST
I start with a bale of something that is a slightly cheaper imitation of "Pro-Mix", then I add screened bark grit to make it cheaper.

I'm still looking for inexpensive cheap very coarse vermiculite so I can winter-sow "Jonna-Style".

http://www.seedsite.eu/
http://www.seedsite.eu/article...

Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
Seed Starter Herbs Vegetable Grower Cut Flowers Butterflies Birds
Image
mom2goldens
Dec 14, 2016 7:47 PM CST

Moderator

I am also on the commercial seed-germinating mix team. I have tried a few different types, but keep coming back to the Gardeners Supply germinating mix. Have been using it for years with great success.

Sorry that this doesn't help answer your question, though........
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
Image
kqcrna
Dec 15, 2016 4:27 AM CST

Moderator

I use a good grower's mix too, like ProMix or Fafard, and sometimes add pine fines or vermiculite... it depends on what I'm trying to germinate.

Rick, you should be able to find vermiculite at any hydroponic store. Or on Amazon, it's only $6 for 8 quarts. Just how cheap are you??? Hilarious!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LY9O6F6/

Karen

And in your area, can't you just blink and have an Amazon delivery in a nanosecond?
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
Image
RickCorey
Dec 15, 2016 12:23 PM CST
I admit I never even considered buying a big bag of anything online, because of shipping costs.

>> $6 for 8 quarts.

So $6 for 2 gallons, (0.27 cubic feet) is $22/cubic foot. The bark I buy runs around $3 - $3.50 for two cubic feet, say $1.75 per cubic foot.

So I must be 12.6 times cheaper than a reasonable person, even before shipping and handling.

This is approximately what I would want from Amazon, except this is Medium instead of Coarse, and around 8 times what I wish it cost (2 cubic feet for $44):
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C3B7XJ4/

But the cool thing is that they seem to say "free shipping"! Admittedly it doesn't weigh much, but the volume would be huge.

I guess I don't HAVE TO be as cheap about seed-starting mix as I am about raised bed soil amendments and bulk potting soil. I don't need many cubic feet of mix to START seeds.

But I like to be as "frugal" as possible, and I know that home insulating companies sell a VERY coarse vermiculite cheaply enough to insulate walls with it. But no vermiculite is mined near me, and so far any 2 or 4 cubic foot bags of vermiculite I've seen in stores were fine or medium, and I want coarse.

Hydroponics stores might have it, but I haven't even priced it there, assuming it would be so expensive that things grown in it would cost $300 per ounce. I should check, because it COULD be pretty cheap.

I should buy some to experiment with, decide that I "need" it, and then look for rationalizations. Like "It's only twice as expensive per cubic foot as a compressed bale of Pro-Mix, and I accept that I need some of THAT, even at that price". (Of course, after the bale of Pro-Mix-like stuff is fluffed up, it becomes 3-4 times cheaper than vermiculite.)

It also bothers me that vermiculite is so fragile. When I dump pots or seed trays out into a raised be, I wish it would amend the soil for a few years, instead of crumbling to dust very quickly.

I should tell myself that I CAN buy expensive stuff if I'm only buying a gallon or two (instead of trying to budget for a cubic yard). But I wouldn't listen. Too cheap.

Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
Image
kqcrna
Dec 15, 2016 12:44 PM CST

Moderator

It's cheap at the hydroponics store where I buy it. So cheap I can't even remember what I pay.

Do you mean to tell me you live in (Near) Seattle and aren't a Prime member???? Everyone I know is a Prime member. Free 2 day shipping... free streaming music... free streaming video... what's not to love?

Karen
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
Image
RickCorey
Dec 15, 2016 12:58 PM CST
>> cheap at the hydroponics store

ding-ding-ding! Aroogah! (flashing lights)

That got my attention. Now I have to check a couple of those stores out and resist tempting gadgets, doo-dads and nostrums. I know their prices for Sunshine and Pro-Mix are higher than a nearby semi-wholesale nursery and market growers' store (Steuber's).

Hmm, why did I never look at their catalog for vermiculite? ... Steuber's has coarse vermiculite for $27 / 3.5 cu.ft. bale, 2012 price. $7.70 per cubic foot. That's almost three times better than $22 per cubic foot! (Around $1 per gallon.)

Thanks for stirring me up about vermiculite! I was hoping to find it at a home-insulation place, but they only use vermiculite nearer where it is mined.

>> Do you mean to tell me you live in (Near) Seattle and aren't a Prime member????

My DSO has Prime but I don't. The shipping cost keeps me from buying books and gadgets every time I go on Amazon to check something out. Only things that I "need" are enough excuse to ask Becky if she would order something on her Prime account for me.

One reason I'm as cheap as I can be, whenever I can be: low will power.
Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
Image
Pistil
Dec 15, 2016 1:37 PM CST
Steuber's is the best! Plus, it's so much fun to just wander around looking at all the stuff they have for the "real" farmers (I live near Steuber's too). But then, the low will power thing comes into play. I have so little I can't even be a member of Costco. Speaking of Steuber's and low willpower, if anyone needs Rooting Hormone I bought like a lifetime supply there last year, in several strengths. The only problem is, it is a biologic product and just does not last a lifetime.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
Image
kqcrna
Dec 15, 2016 2:33 PM CST

Moderator

Rick, until you try seed starting in vermiculite, you might not want a bale! You might hate the whole deal. For each type of seed you try to germinate in a little container, you only need around a cup or cup and a half of vermiculite.

Thumb of 2016-12-15/kqcrna/562056

And FYI, I joined Prime because I am cheap. My husband's razor blades (pack of 10 blades) are $11 cheaper at Amazon than Kroger. His probiotics are $20 cheaper for a package of 42 pills (6 week supply) ... My eczema skin cleanser is $6 cheaper than @ Walgreens... I use an app called Keepa to follow prices, and I'm notified when the price drops. If you're cheap, explore the possibilities at Amazon. I get a box from them almost every day!

I'd better go check for packages. After all, there are all those Christmas gifts. Green Grin!

Karen

Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
Image
RickCorey
Dec 15, 2016 2:55 PM CST
I think I tend toward the theoretical rather than the practical.

Theoretical focus:
" $7.70 per cubic foot is cheaper than $22 per cubic foot. Three times cheaper!"

Practical focus:
"$6 (for 8 quarts) is less than $27 (for a 3.5 cu.ft. bale). $21 less!!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
Image
RickCorey
Dec 15, 2016 2:58 PM CST
Mary, I couldn't afford to visit Steuber's very often. Nowhere near enough will power!

BTW, I found a TINY measuring cup there, designed for measuring and diluting pesticides. But it is marked in teaspoons and tablespoons, so it's great for measuring batches of seeds that I'm dividing up.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
Seed Starter Herbs Vegetable Grower Cut Flowers Butterflies Birds
Image
mom2goldens
Dec 15, 2016 7:52 PM CST

Moderator

OK--I need to ask the question here (and sorry if I missed something). Rick is talking about pine bark (screened) and large vermiculite. This sounds like a really "chunky" seed starting mix. I like my seed starting mix to be really fine, so those really teeny-tiny seeds don't sink down so far they won't germinate.

So what am I missing here? I love Pro-Mix for potting up seedlings/transplants, but wouldn't use it for seed starting. Maybe nothing more than personal preference/experience?

And Amazon Prime is da bomb Hurray! Free delivery, movies, delivery, books, delivery, tv shows, delivery..........
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
Image
RickCorey
Dec 15, 2016 8:16 PM CST
mom2goldens said: ...
Rick is talking about pine bark (screened) and large vermiculite. This sounds like a really "chunky" seed starting mix. I like my seed starting mix to be really fine, so those really teeny-tiny seeds don't sink down so far they won't germinate.
...
.


Yes, mine is very coarse and chunky, by design. That may be why I seldom hear of anyone using screened bark for seeds. The Pro-Mix-like-stuff and the finest bark fibers provide plenty of water retention. The coarse bark "grit" provides the voids which supply channels for air to diffuse through.

(Maybe the Pro-mix-like stuff by itself would have provided enough air. But after I drowned too many trays of seeds using a cheap mix that was almost powdered (brown, cheesy) peat, I went as far as possible in the other direction.

Another reason I add bark to Pro-Mixy stuff is that bark is around 4 to 8 times cheaper.

Al (Tapla) and other reading convinced me that seeds don't need fine, water-retentive mix around them, they just need contact with moisture and plenty of air. Seeds would probably germinate aeroponically if the humidity was 100% and there was an occasional fine mist.

The way I overwater, means that MY SEEDS ALWAYS NEED MORE AIR.

Anyone who HAS mastered watering seeds so they don't drown should take a bow. To me, that's like flying, walking on water and squaring the circle. How do they DO that???

I imagine that they must have a system like the way my father made a martini. Just SHOW the vermouth bottle to the cocktail. Maybe loosen the screw-cap briefly to allow some vermouth vapors out.

I do have to lay down a thin layer of medium vermiculite (I do have a LITTLE) on top so that tiny surface-sown seeds like petunias don't fall down into cracks.

My main controlling factor is that I have never mastered not-over-watering. If I have a fine mix, I drown the seeds. One year I had zero germination in 2-3 trays. Coarse mix assures air, which prevents seed rot and damping off.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
Image
kqcrna
Dec 16, 2016 6:48 AM CST

Moderator

I'm not fond of the fine seed starting mixes either. I too find that they compact easily. I stopped using them years ago. But, like rick, I do sprinkle a little vermiculite on top of the mix with the seeds.

Karen
Name: Michelle
Cheyenne, WY (Zone 5a)
Salvias
Image
MrsBinWY
Jan 15, 2017 9:41 PM CST
I messed around for a few years with a 1:1:1 mix of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite. It seemed it compacted too much, possibly because the perlite was too fine. I've decided ProMix is most forgiving of my haphazard seed-starting style, and I use it for everything.
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Dog Lover Foliage Fan Greenhouse Container Gardener Heucheras Sedums
Image
springcolor
Jan 15, 2017 10:21 PM CST
I use sungro redi-earth seedling mix. It's in a white bag with red lettering. Nice stuff been using it for years.
Sempervivum for Sale

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Seeds forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by krobra and is called "Lantana Dew Drops"