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1. Peat moss or Coco Peat
Peat improves aeration and can save a lot of water. It is acidic and contains less or no nutrients and if you’re using peat, *add 1/4 tablespoon lime per gallon in the mix to balance the pH.
The biggest downside of using peat is it can only be obtained by destroying the remaining Mires. There are peat-free alternatives like coco peat you must opt for.
Best and better alternative of peat moss is coco peat. Coconut fibers are offered in lightweight blocks that swell to become large when water is added. The Benefit of using coco peat over peat moss is that its production doesn’t harm the environment. It also has macro-nutrients and potassium and it is neutral, unlike peat, which is acidic.
Leaf mold is a kind of a lazy man’s compost. It is an outcome of the natural rotting process of leaves. You can use leaf mold to sow seeds. Here’s an interesting on The Guardian for you to read.
Pine Bark humus
Bark humus produced from the composting of the bark. The bark originates mostly from conifers. These crusts must be composted for a long period of time. The result is perfect for growing plants: Water permeable and stable structure. The small roots can grow unhindered.
Composted Wood fiber
Wood fibers have similar favorable properties as coir. They are also low in nutrients. The material must, of course, do not come from treated wood waste.
2. Perlite or Vermiculite
Perlite is a volcanic mineral. It doesn’t absorb water or other nutrients, thus improved drainage. It also has insulating properties that help the plant roots during fluctuation in temperature. *You can also use pumice instead of perlite.
Vermiculite is light, but unlike perlite, it retains water and nutrients and release that when needed. It also helps in drainage.
You can use sand if you don’t have perlite or vermiculite. Sand is always there as a part in soil. It is important for a stable soil structure and drainage. Sand does not contain any nutrients.
Compost is used in a few of the seed starting mix recipes given below. If you’re using compost make sure it is fine. You can also use manure instead of it.
Make seed starting mix depending on the seeds you’re sowing and their nutrient requirements. We divided these recipes into three types: Recipe 1, for high energy requirements seeds. Recipe 2 and 3, for medium and low energy requirement seeds.
- High requirement seeds are those that require more energy to germinate. Many annual flowers and vegetables, such as potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, sunflower and geraniums.
- Average requirement seeds are the ones that need less energy for germination. This includes Allium, pumpkin, cucumber, snapdragons, dahlias and gloxinias.
- Low requirement seeds are those that require less or no nutrients for germination. They are most of the herbs, lettuce, azaleas, begonias, petunias and pansies and most of the plants belong to Crassulaceae family and palm species
Two Basic Seed Starting Mix Recipes
Recipe 1 (High Requirement)
Peat or Peat alternatives 40%
Garden soil, sand and bark humus 30%
Recipe 2 (Average Requirement)
Peat moss, coco peat or wood fiber 55%
Bark humus 10%
Recipe 3 (Low Requirement)
Peat or Peat alternative 50%
Perlite or Perlite alternative 45%
Bark humus 5%
Mix the proportion well before sterilization and make it evenly moist (especially when you are using peat moss). This happens best when the soil is kept in a discarded oven (45 minutes at 150 ° C) or in a microwave oven (10 minutes at 800 watts). This will make your soil disease free.
Also Read: Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden