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Best seed starting mix?

Posted by BioTomato 7a Southeast PA (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 5, 12 at 15:48

What would be the best store bought or homemade seed starting mix? I would prefer to not use soil-less mixtures. Could just good potting soil be used?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Best seed starting mix?

I use Miracle Grow potting mix and always have great results. As of right now, I have coleus, lupines, black pansies, and blue poppies all growing in it under my lights, with very good germination rates. I've used potting soil of various brands, even Miracle Grow Garden Soil, which the instructions clearly state not to use in containers. It seems to me that unless you have a really finicky plant, they are happy with almost anything. Many plants reseed without our help, and sometimes in odd places. Nature has given the seeds what they need to do their thing. The best we can do is try to imitate it.
If you're still not sure, I would recommend trying first with seeds that are easy to replace. (this is what I did when I decided to take the leap into winter sowing.) That way, it won't be absolutely heartbreaking if something goes wrong. Good luck!

RE: Best seed starting mix?

I would prefer to not use soil-less mixtures.

Why when for best results that is the only thing recommended for seed starting. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Potting soils compact too much in small containers. It won't drain well so seeds rot and if they do germinate the roots can't penetrate the wet compacted soil. Comparative studies repeatedly show markedly reduced germination and growth rates.

But it is your choice and all depends on what amount of success you want to have.

As to which is best? It is a frequent question here that the search will pull up for you and the two most frequently recommended are ProMix BX and Metro Mix 360. But even plain old cheap Jiffy mix beats potting soil hands down.


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