What is everyone using for Seed Starter Mix?

jensyen ( z7 MD )(7a)January 31, 2011

I was wondering what everyone is using for starter mix to winter sow their seeds. I have Burpee's Concentrated Seed Starting Formula made of coconut fiber (known as coir), which needs to be reconstitute with water. Very lightweight. Would love to get a review of this product if anyone has used it. Or, a recommendation for something else. Thanks.

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Pro mix. I can get it reasonably priced in the big bales and it's never failed me, so I stick by it. If you are going to WS a lot of containers, consider buying whatever you are starting the seeds in in large quanity bags/bales. I also use it all summer to fill pots.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 10:37AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

The coir isn't a bad product but comes in different forms, some more fibrous, other brands are fine as dust. I don't really buy Burpee products so I don't know about the one you have, but -

You don't need an expensive seed starting product for winter sowing as would work best for you indoors. What you want is a good quality potting soil/mix (almost all on the market are 'soilless' and not really soil at all) like you would use for mature containerized plants, not one made specifically for starting seeds.

Pro Mix and Farfards are two popular brands, neither are available to me here. Locally, two others that are good are Black Magic and Whitney Farms, others will use Miracle Gro. My own is the Cornell peat lite blend, but mixed and bagged by a mom-pop nursery for me.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 10:47AM
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For my ws containers I actually use a topsoil product sold locally. I can get it in bulk (by the yard) and it is not very expensive. Mostly people get it to top dress their yards or start new gardens. I've found it works great for my ws containers and my container gardens too. It really is just topsoil with compost mixed in. Nothing special about it.

For seeds I start indoors or in the greenhouse I use a potting mix from the same company (I can get this in bulk too).

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 11:05AM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)



    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 11:07AM
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jensyen ( z7 MD )(7a)

Thanks for the input everyone. Wish Pro Mix was sold around here.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 2:06PM
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Menards in Chicago area sells ProMix

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 2:19PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Miracle gro potting soil now and forever. Bought a bag today and seeds. I saw all the indoor lighting stuff and peat pots and had to cringe. Not for me.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 3:19PM
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livsauntieshel(6b/7a south PA)

Jensyen- don't know where in MD you are, but Valley View Farms in Cockeysville has (had, in the fall anyway) ProMix. I remember regular sized bags, not bales but I wasn't looking for soil then. Should have bought some, because I keep running out. OOPS
Ugh, I just looked up their page to give you a link and they have their seeds in. And they opened at 8 AM. Guess I gotta go get dressed!

Here is a link that might be useful: Valley View Farms

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 8:43AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

livsauntieshel, obviously I can't go with you but I'd certainly love to. What a great looking nursery - tools, tons of pots, even classes that might be fun to sign up for.

The closest (but still smaller) business to that for me is 55 miles away. Hope you have a good day!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 10:41AM
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Fafard Professional Grower mix - same formula as Pro-mix, also Canadian & comes in the 3.8 cu. ft. bale. $3-$5 less per bale than Pro-mix. I'm on bale #2 this year but #3 is coming inside this afternoon after my daughter goes home with what's left of #2.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 11:19AM
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river_crossroads z8b Central Louisiana

jensyn, do you have an Ace Hardware store near you? Terrene said her local Ace Hardware got Promix Bx for her from their warehouse for the internet price.

That reminded me that my local Ace has told me previously that they can get anything I see on the Ace web page with **no shipping charge**. They can put my order in with their own order to re-stock their shelves. They order at least once a week & will call me when it comes in. They have told me to either write down the item number from the web page or run off the web page with the item number & bring it to them. Or try calling it in.

This looks like the compressed bale. Other people can tell you how much it makes up & how to mix it. (Think they said 1 cu ft compressed = over 7 expanded; 3.8 = over 26.6 cu ft expanded, but check with a user.) This price of $31.49 looks competitive with the price I have seen people discussing here but check with users. I only have a few jugs & can't use this much.

Here are links that might be helpful:
Pro-mix Bx with Mycorise - 3.8 Cu.Ft. Bale on Ace Hardware website
Ace Hardware store locator

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 1:41PM
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livsauntieshel(6b/7a south PA)

Just an update, yes, valley view does still have promix. They also have a bunch of my $$$!! Love it. So nice to go in there and see all the green when there's snow on the ground. Even bought some kids growing stuff for my niece for valentine's day. And seeds. And promix. And trays for the stuff going in my mini greenhouse. And pots. Etc. :)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:00PM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

Would you believe our local garden center quit carrying ProMix?!?


    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 3:38PM
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jensyen ( z7 MD )(7a)

Thanks for all the tips on Pro Mix. I will call ACE tomorrow and see if they can order me some. Valley View Farms is on the western shore. I'm on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake bay. Sadly, it's a 2+ hour trip for me. I see their commercials on tv all the time. They give great growing tips. I would love to go there sometime to shop.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 10:26PM
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livsauntieshel(6b/7a south PA)

You definitely should make the time, sometime. I try to go once a season, it's almost an hour for me from PA but I have many many memories of that place at Christmas time. In the fall they have huge mum displays, and the greenhouse is steamy all winter. It's kinda pricey, but you do get what you pay for. They have blue orchids right now. Huge phals dripping with blooms...I would have bought one, but I tend to kill my orchids and those are too pretty to come home with me to die.

It is a place you could spend all day, especially in the summer when the whole place is stuffed with plants.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 7:59AM
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jensyen ( z7 MD )(7a)

Thanks river, I went to my local ACE hardware and ordered a large bale of Pro Mix BX with Mycorise. It should be in my hands by Tuesday. I am so happy. I wonder how many pot I can fill with 3.8 cu ft of this stuff. I better keep collecting containers. Best wishes to everyone on this thread. Happy Gardening!!!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 8:38PM
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jensyen - I kept track and was able to WS about 100 milk jugs with a bale of Fafard this year. I mix in a little potting soil (about 1 part in 10) to help it absorb water plus I filled the milk jugs right up to the cut this time to give the sprouts more mix for root growth.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 4:25AM
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jensyen ( z7 MD )(7a)

Gardenweed- I am getting the Promix on Tuesday. I don't plan to add any potting soil to this product for fear of damping off occurring. Have you seen sprouting yet? Please keep us updated.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 9:24AM
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I was thrilled to find coir last spring at my local garden center. I had become disillusioned with peat and peat based products mainly because fungus gnats seem to love it.

Coir caught my interest because it is an easily renewable substance and has a neutral PH. I used it just like peat (same ratio) in all my potting mixes last year and am thrilled with it. It absorbs water much better than peat.

I just this past month made a soilless seed starting mixture with coir and winter sowed a few jugs. I have all the faith in the world that it will work out fine.

I don't remember the brand name and disposed of the package after hydrating but I'm sure it wasn't Burpee. I'll never go back to peat based products.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 4:15PM
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jensyen - it'll be several more weeks before I see sprouts and even then the jugs may still be buried under so much snow I won't know the sprouts are there. I read today we've "officially" had 79.9 inches of snow so far this winter here in CT. With the cold temps it isn't going anywhere anytime soon plus it's still early February which is often our snowiest month.

I will be sure to post pictures and give a shout when I do finally see sprouts.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 5:37PM
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