Starting seeds in a gritty mix (Josh)

earthworm73(WA z8)December 7, 2012

I am suppose to be getting some palms seeds that rumor has it are notoriously finicky about the germinating media. People have said they will rot if the media is keep to moist and/or too humid. I read on here that Josh from NorCal used a version of the Gritty to germ pepper seeds. I believe he used equal parts bark, course perlite, and turface. I was wondering if Josh or anyone else wants to comment on this mix for germinating seeds? Any tips for this mix.

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello! I am that Josh.

I've started pepper seeds in Gritty Mix since 2009, with never a failure (among seeds that sprouted).

I have started many different seeds in Gritty Mix, or in a mix porous enough to be called gritty :-)
These seeds include Peppers, Citrus, Calocedrus, Pine, Osage, Castor Bean, and recently Lily seeds.
The Gritty Mix is supreme for seed-starting, as long as you choose the appropriate volume (container size)
for the seeds you are germinating. For example, I believe it is better to use smaller volumes of mix so
that the mix will dry out in timely fashion. The trade-off is that you must keep the mix properly moist...
which may seem inconvenient to those with a "set it and forget it" seed-starting mentality.

I substitute ingredients regularly, but I want to emphasize to those just starting out that
the actual Gritty Mix is equal parts Pine/Fir bark, Turface, and Granite (or other non-porous stone).

I don't use equal parts bark, coarse perlite, and turface because these ingredients all hold moisture
and require slight modification to hit the moisture retention that is found in the Gritty Mix proper.
Occasionally, I will also add in Quartzite grit to reduce water holding capacity and increase structure.

There's more to discuss, but I'll await your thoughts and we can continue.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 7:01PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

i have found that starting seeds in a "gritty" type mix leads to tough coarse roots which seems to help resist root damage when pricking out or transplanting. I have had a lot of success with tough to germinate seeds in sifted pumice.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 7:59PM
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earthworm73(WA z8)

Josh I am sorry to misquote you. I was referring to your post in the chile forum titled "Greenman's Pepper Pics 2011" dated 02/21/11. In it you said you used bark, perlite and turface. I must have assumed you used equal parts. How did you tell when the mix in those little cells needed water without disturbing the seeds?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:02PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

No worries, Earthworm, I just wanted to be sure to explain that the ingredients I use are not
a direct substitution. Whenever I depart from the original recipe, some modification is required.

I keep the mix moist with a spray bottle, and I put plastic saran wrap over the top of the cells.
Every few days I just pull the plastic aside and give the surface a thorough spraying. As soon as I see
the first hint of a green sprout, I remove the plastic.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 12:32PM
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earthworm73(WA z8)

Thanks Josh. Today when I was out buying a car for the wife for Christmas I saw some palms across the street from the dealership and I took some seeds. I think I'll put that mix into action.

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    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 9:40PM
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