Saturday, March 14, 2009

Makeing My Own Seed Starting Mix

I have been reading this past year about how peat moss is a non-renewable resource and how a lot of people have been experimenting with other potting mixes. I'd been buying peat pellets (the ones that expand when you add water) and peat pots that I filled with peat mix, but I really wanted to get away from peat. Since we'd also been saving our yogurt cups all year with gardening in mind, so it made much more sense to look into making my own seed starting mix than buying a couple bags of it.

One thing that caught my eye over the summer was Coir, which is a fancy name for cocoanut fiber. I found some moulded pots made of coir last year that I loved, but they were pricey and I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg on the number I would need this year (DOZENS).

I found bricks of Coir at Pinetree Garden seed company for about $3/brick. Each brick expands to about 2 gallons of medium when water is added. I bought 3 bricks.

I also bought a bag of boiled rice hulls for aboug $3. These add volume and air to the mix. Yes, plant roots need air.

You add the rice hulls about 1 part to every 2 parts of Coir. >>

This is what it looks like all mixed up. It is a very light mix, but it doesn't hold moisture like peat does and it doesn't compact as much. I've found peat to be soggy and sometimes smaller seeds have a hard time breaking the surface in peat.

I planted lettuce seeds in the cups and some sprouting greens in the take-out container.....

....and was surprised when they were sprouting in two days!!

All in all, I'm really happy with the mix.

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