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Re: CULT: Soil mix for seeds

  • Subject: Re: [iris-talk] CULT: Soil mix for seeds
  • From: "wmoores" <wmoores@watervalley.net>
  • Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001 17:39:19 -0500
  • Priority: normal

> Last year I bought a potting soil that nearly killed my seedlings.  
> It was so dense and set up so hard the babies couldn't break through
> unless I helped them.  None of that stuff again!
> My garden soil is sticky clay.  I've have some rock-free screened 
> soil ready, but don't know whether to use it at all or even in part 
> in my mix.
> Would anyone care to share what has worked for them that could be 
> expected to work also in our humid, chilly but only occasionally 
> frozen continental winter?
> Neil Mogensen  z 6b/7a near Asheville, NC


   I have written of my experiences before on this subject and have probably become a bore to some on 
the list, but I will answer this question just for the sake of answering it.

   I use varying size pots, also, depending on the number of seeds 
I have of a particular cross.

   Essentially three things go into my mix.  I use equal parts of 
my own garden soil, potting soil, and sand.
I have not found any difference in the potting soil mixes I have 
gotten at Wal Mart, Coops, or regular garden centers.  I try to find 
the most 'organic' potting soil I can.  I mix all of this up almost 
to the rim of the pot I will eventually sink.  Since I have had a 
problem with damping off, I have put about a teaspoon of terrachlor 
into the mix.  A layer of pure sand is placed on the top of each pot. 
I find that I have to go back and add more sand to the top because 
winter rains can wash it off.  The sand keeps a hard crust from 
forming on sunny days and will allow your little babies to poke their 
head up through the soil and sand with relative ease.  I also 
sprinkle a little more terrachlor on the top as the seedlings emerge.

Have you thought of using some vermiculite  or those little white 
pearls that look like styrofoam in your heavy clay?  That might also 
keep the clay and potting soil from hardening like cement.

Walter Moores
Enid Lake, MS USA 7/8

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