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Seed starting soil types

Posted by jennieboyer 8 (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 7:52

Hi All,

I am getting ready to start my indoor seeds, and just have a quick question. Last year I learned not to use regular seed starting soil for peppers - they did not do well at all until I moved them to an orchid soil, and then they did great! So, I'll be doing that again for my peppers.

My question is regarding everything else I plan to do and whether regular seed starting mix is appropriate. I will be doing tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and a lot of annual flowers. Do any of these need a different type of starting soil?

Oh, and should I start my peppers in regular seed starting soil and quickly pot up once germinated, or will they germinate well in the orchid mix?

Oh, and one more question - OK, looks like I have several :-) - what containers do you start in? I learned my lesson last year on peat pots. Was looking this year at starting in small bathroom cups and then potting up to small solo cups. Other ideas welcome.

Thanks in advance!


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Seed starting soil types

I have always started my peppers in standard seed starting mix, and haven't had a problem, but I do separate them and pot them into a coarser mix pretty early on. Orchid mix is kid of pricey. You might be better off getting some fine pine bark mulch and mixing up your own. Lots of people on GW use Al's 5-1-1, (Pine bark fines/Pearlite/Peatmoss) for container growing. I use a finer mix than that for most of my seedings. ProMix BX seems to be the most popular soil mix on this forum. But seed starting mixes are not great for pretty much anything but starting the seeds.

I am a big fan of using plastic cups exactly like you are planning on. I did buy cell inserts (4x12) to line the trays. That size will take the 3oz bathroom cups and the 9oz cups easily - even larger ones if you don't fill every cell - it keeps them falling over when I move the trays around.

Have fun!

RE: Seed starting soil types

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 13:00

Jennie - you are using some terms without understanding their meaning I fear and that may be causing your problems. It can be confusing but it is important to understand the differences and use them correctly so that others can know exactly what you are doing.

1) nothing with "soil" is used. Soil-less mixes only.

2) Seed starting mix is one type of soil-less mix (not soil) made exclusively for germinating seeds and is not used for growing the plants once they have germinated and developed a true leaf. Some prefer it just for its ultra-fine texture.

3) Potting mix (not soil) is a soil-less mix used for growing the plants once they have 1-2 true leaves. They get transplanted into it out of the seed starting mix. It has a more coarse texture and contains some additional ingredients.

Last year I learned not to use regular seed starting soil for peppers - they did not do well at all until I moved them to an orchid soil

Peppers are commonly germinated in AND grown in any quality soil-less mix (no soil). Some use the seed starting type, most use the potting mix type (not potting soil). Orchid Mix is not required for any reason and the only difference in it is the ultra-coarse texture.

Does this help clarify?

Problems sometimes develop even with soil-less mixes but that doesn't mean it was the mix that caused the problem. And some brands of soil-less mix are better than others so we'd need to know exactly what brands you used.


RE: Seed starting soil types

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the clarifications. I did understand better than I articulated, but not as well as I do now :-). The reason I mentioned orchid mix for peppers was due to some problems I had last year and folks in the pepper forum told me to us MG orchid mix. It made all the difference for my plants!

I do have seed starting mix, and I have potting mix. Here's my next do you move the seedlings to the potting mix when they are so tiny? I'm scared to touch them!

Thanks for all you do to help!


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