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anybody tried layering over compost?

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

Hello:

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:

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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.

Dave


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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!


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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.


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