Return to the Growing from Seed Forum | Post a Follow-Up

anybody tried layering over compost?

Posted by Need2SeeGreen 10 or 22-24(SoCal) (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 5, 13 at 17:24


I am going to start some tomato seeds. (I am already late!) I've been reading on here and I've been pretty convinced that I should either buy a seed starter mix, or make my own from vermiculite, perlite, and milled spagnum. (I already have vermiculite and perlite, but people seem to think the peat-y stuff is important, I guess to prevent dampening off? I am a little worried b/c I am new at tomatoes and have never tried heirlooms. The hybrid seeds I threw in actual dirt last year all sprouted, but that doesn't mean these will.)

But, I read in an (old-ish) seed starting book that you could layer things, for example, a layer of vermiculite over a layer of compost, with something that drains well on the bottom. I gather the seed would go somewhere in the vermiculite layer. (Note: my compost isn't real compost, it's some nice dirt I buy in a bag at the indie nursery.)

Does that sound like a terrible idea? I was kind of intrigued and I haven't seen anyone mention it here. Maybe I will put most things in the mix, and just use the layering on a couple of things.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: anybody tried layering over compost?

The big concern with using compost in seed starting is all the natural bacteria and fungi it contains. Great stuff for the garden and established plants but potentially hazardous to very young seedlings.

Both damp-off, a seedling killer, and the most common tomato plant diseases are fungus and bacteria caused so IMO the risks far outweigh any benefits when it comes to seedlings. That is why using a sterile seedling mix is usually recommended.

Then add to that the consideration that without those active soil bacteria the nutrients in the compost aren't available to the plants anyway so even the nutrient benefit that is claimed with it is lost.

Just some things to consider.


RE: anybody tried layering over compost?

That makes a whole lot of sense -- I think I'll stick with the tried and true.

Thanks again!

RE: anybody tried layering over compost?

If we build compost, which is done with a ‘layer upon layer’ system; it can help accelerate the decomposition process. Hardware stores, garden centers and nurseries; supply the ingredients used for a compost bin. If you throw in a handful of ready-made compost with the microbes inside; then it will give your compost a boost.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Growing from Seed Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here