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HYB:SEEDS:potting soil

In a message dated 11/27/2004 12:49:49 AM Central Standard Time, 
irisdude@msn.com writes:

> Anyway, that is the plan for now...
Patrick,  I'll pass this story along once again.  For those that might be 
interested (??) and haven't read it anywhere before.  

Normally, I buy an expensive variety of potting soil (Bacto) for my 
seedlings.  It is a mix carried by my local nursery.  It is light and doesn't pack 
(bad) in the pots.  In 1991 I had 77 different crosses to plant, with some taking 
4 pots, and I ran out of soil after # 40. I ran by K-Mart and picked up some 
'cheap' potting soil.  My notes say Rusko (wet).  My notes also say Bacto-dry!  
Apparently, I hadn't started potting up the soil weeks earlier at that time.  

Spring arrived early the next spring and all pots sprouted well.  (one of my 
best years for germination--morning shade).  I was aware that the nutrients 
leach out of the potting soil over the winter (all gone in 3 months) and started 
with Miracle Grow when they were about 3/4 inches tall.  (Just a guess as to 
the time when the nutrients from the seed plays out.) 

About 2 weeks later, I noticed that 1-40 were growing well, but 41-77 were 
showing severe tip burn and had ceased to grow.  As the seedlings in the 'good' 
soil grew lush and happy it became clear that the problem lay with the soil.  
Those seedlings sat at that stage for a full year and started growing the next 
spring. There was a slight advantage with these 2nd year seedlings as the 
weaker ones did die.  But I'm no longer willing to take a chance on losing a 

There have been various speculations as to what was in the Rusko that 
inhibited growth.  I thought it was possible that materials with growth retardent 
residue were used in the soil.  Someone on this list, Bill Sheer I think, 
suggested that it might be salts or any number of other possibilities.  Whatever the 
cause, I've not wanted to chance it happening again.  

Every year I make some type of mistake!  This year, I forgot to line the pots 
with coffee filters!  Granddaughter was helping fill the pots and I just 

Betty W. in South-central KY Zone 6
Bridge In Time Iris Garden@website:
 Reblooming Iris - Home Page 
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