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Best potting/seed starting soil? Toplef10Best potting/seed starting soil? 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Best potting/seed starting soil? I22gcj10Best potting/seed starting soil? 14dhcg10

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Best potting/seed starting soil?

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Post  NHGardener 1/24/2013, 12:09 pm

It's frozen outside so forget MM or anything from my yard. It's just about seed starting time, and I'm planning on many seedlings this year. Can anyone recommend a really really good potting soil/seed starter soil? If I'm putting all this work into starting seeds, I want to try to have a really good starting soil. I read online that some potting soils aren't really that high of quality.

I'd order greenhouse-quality starter online, but the shipping charges are too expensive.

Thank you!
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Post  camprn 1/24/2013, 12:11 pm

I use BM8. If you want to pick some up, go to Blue Seal, they should have it there.

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Post  NHGardener 1/24/2013, 12:15 pm

Ooh, great camprn, thanks.
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Post  NHGardener 1/24/2013, 12:21 pm

Oh. I called Blue Seal and they carry Coast of Maine and one other type only. Does your Blue Seal carry BM8 or do you get it elsewhere?
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Post  quiltbea 1/24/2013, 1:01 pm

Unless you are using soil blocks, you just want a quality seed starting mix, not potting soil which has too many nutrients in them, enuf to keep your potted plants going and fed for 6 months. Just buy a quality 'seed starting mix' locally, at your big box store, Home Depot, Lowe's, Blue Seal, Tractor Supply, etc.
They need nothing heavy, just a light starting mix for 3-6 weeks then they go outdoors in your Mel's Mix beds.
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Post  NHGardener 1/24/2013, 1:45 pm

Oh! Not potting soil. Thanks for that quiltbea.

I do have the soil block equipment, but I don't think I'm going to use it this year.
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Post  camprn 1/24/2013, 5:34 pm

@NHGardener wrote:Oh. I called Blue Seal and they carry Coast of Maine and one other type only. Does your Blue Seal carry BM8 or do you get it elsewhere?
Yup my local Blue Seal carries the Coast of Maine products and here is info about BM8, which they also carry.
http://www.jrjohnson.com/product.php?productid=16153
Your local store can probably order it for you.
Best potting/seed starting soil? Bm%208%20web

other products for comparison.

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Post  NHGardener 1/24/2013, 6:29 pm

Ah! Thank you.

You'd think Blue Seals would be fairly uniform. There's one more near here, I'll try them.
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Post  camprn 1/24/2013, 6:33 pm

@NHGardener wrote:Ah! Thank you.

You'd think Blue Seals would be fairly uniform. There's one more near here, I'll try them.
Ring them, they may carry the BM6 which is what I would take if I could not the 8. This is what I used my first year to make Mel's mix because I could not find the vermiculite.

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Post  cindre2000 1/24/2013, 11:27 pm

A good traditional mix would be 50% coconut coir and 50% vermiculite; with a splash of agricultural limestone; water with a weak compost tea. I am currently regretting using Black Hen due to the mold growth I am getting on the soil in the hot box. Though, once the seeds sprout, I can dry out my mix enough to fix the problem.

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Post  NHGardener 1/25/2013, 9:11 am

I think I read where it's good to bake potting soil at 180F for maybe half an hour, to kill off the viruses before you use it.

Anyone else heard of that? I forget now where I read that.
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Post  camprn 1/25/2013, 12:12 pm

@NHGardener wrote:I think I read where it's good to bake potting soil at 180F for maybe half an hour, to kill off the viruses before you use it.

Anyone else heard of that? I forget now where I read that.
The BM products are already baked or steamed or something.

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Post  quiltbea 1/25/2013, 12:47 pm

Baking your own soil is a very smelly business and could ruin your oven so unless you have an old oven out in a shed where you can do the deed, I'd forget baking it in the kitchen.
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Post  camprn 1/25/2013, 4:48 pm

@quiltbea wrote:Baking your own soil is a very smelly business and could ruin your oven so unless you have an old oven out in a shed where you can do the deed, I'd forget baking it in the kitchen.
+1

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Post  JackieB999 1/25/2013, 11:10 pm

I use Burpee Super Pellets which are coconut fiber with a little fertilizer in them. They worked extremely well. Out of 72 cells, about 65 sprouted and I'm still holding out hope for the others. I'm sure there may be better options, but I'm a no muss, no fuss kind of person. These were so simple and effective.
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Post  cindre2000 1/26/2013, 8:31 am

If you are using any 'natural' compost or soil in your seed starting mix, you will have fungal issues w/ high humidity. But straight peat, coir, vermiculite, and perilite from the store should be disease free, with little enough nutrients to avoid fungal problems.

I prefer to make up batches of seed starter and potting soil so that I can avoid disease issues, have better control over the ingredients, and because I can make it cheap.

--

As a side note, a little fungus in your potting soil will not hurt your seedlings (its just breaking down the organics in the soil anyways). Just increase your air movement to dry out the surface of the soil and water from the bottom.

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Post  NHGardener 1/26/2013, 8:48 am

Thanks for that info cindre, I think I'm leaning towards the make-it-yourself, if I can find all the ingredients in smallish sizes. I had fungal issues once and it's no fun. I think I treated it with hydrogen peroxide, unless I'm misremembering.
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Post  NHGardener 1/26/2013, 1:38 pm

Well, I cheated, guys. I was at the farmer's market this morning, held at a greenhouse nursery, and calling me from the shelf was a bag of Hoffman's seed starter mix, 18 qt. for $10.

So much for trying to find BM8 or mixing my own. I'll try this and see how it works. Maybe I'll even do an experiment, use this and use my own mix and see how they compare. That would be interesting.
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Post  CapeCoddess 1/26/2013, 1:58 pm

So far the used MM I dug up out of my SFG has worked fine. My broccoli and onions sprouted, now I'm waiting on the cabbage and potatoes. Altho, this morning I did see a bit of green in the potato bucket...just a wee bit.

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Post  cindre2000 1/26/2013, 6:00 pm

That is a good price. Does it say what is in it? I am just curious, since I cannot find any info on the internet as to the 6 ingredients!
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Post  NHGardener 1/26/2013, 6:27 pm

You mean the Hoffman's cindre? I don't see 6 ingredients, but it does list peat moss, vermiculite, limestone and a wetting agent.

I see on amazon.com it's only $7+ for the 18 qt, that's even better.
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Post  camprn 1/26/2013, 6:39 pm

@NHGardener wrote:You mean the Hoffman's cindre? I don't see 6 ingredients, but it does list peat moss, vermiculite, limestone and a wetting agent.

I see on amazon.com it's only $7+ for the 18 qt, that's even better.
plus shipping?

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Post  cindre2000 1/26/2013, 6:42 pm

All the websites say "Contains 6 Components Blended In Proper Proportions".

I wonder if one of the ingredients is air?
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Post  NHGardener 1/26/2013, 6:43 pm

Oh right, camprn! I was thinking the usual "if you order $25, free shipping" but I see it's a 3rd party vendor so scratch that.

cindre, looking back at your posts I see the ingredients in Hoffman's is a lot like what you stated, except instead of coir, it's peat, but the limestone and the vermiculite are the same. Oh, and maybe one of the ingredients is magic pixie dust or something. Probably some top secret agent that can't be identified. haha.


Last edited by NHGardener on 1/26/2013, 6:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  cindre2000 1/26/2013, 6:44 pm

On a completely unrelated note. The 3 reasons I like coir better than peat moss is that it does not shed water like peat, it is sustainably produced, and it is pH neutral.

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