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Old 04-03-2014, 02:19 PM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
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Was curious what you guys thought or if you experimented with it.

I understand the difference based on what its made of and the benefits... but ... When we direct sow into the ground or a pot we're not using seed starting soil. It's just regular potting soil and they germinate and grow nice.

So is it because they are inside in a seed tray why we can't use the regular potting soil?
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Old 04-03-2014, 02:41 PM
 
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Well, it depends on the nutritional requirements of the particular seed you're sowing, as well as the nutritional analysis of the potting soil you're using.

Seeds have enough starch stored to feed them for awhile, and can usually do fine for a week or so on their stored energy. Some seeds with low nutritional requirements will burn when started in a high nitrogen potting soil, and are better off started in seeding mix, then transplanted to a richer mix when they're 2-3 inches tall, or when the tiny round first leaves (cotyledons) start to yellow. The yellow tells you the plant is cannabilising nitrogen from itself, and is an indicator that it needs more nutrients.

Many of the potting soils today are pre-fertilised with artificial NPK, which is a shock to sensitive-type seeds/seedlings. In the garden your soil is usually initially organic, and gentler to the young plants.
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:13 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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We use the same soil mix for both applications.

I dump out last year's containers into a wheel barrel. I shift through it to break apart any root balls, and to remove any debris. Then I 'adjust' it according to what I am seeing. I may add either; sand, or peat, or both. After that is mixed and I am happy with the feel of the soil, then I add compost.

I use this soil-mix for everything; hanging planters, raised beds, and fixed planters.

The sand is local sourced from a nearby sand, gravel, concrete facility.
The peat is local harvested from an adjoining parcel.
The compost is aged horse manure from a neighbor.

I try to go into winter with a dozen 5-gallon buckets full of unused mix. So in early spring, while there is still a thick blanket of snow and everything is encased in ice, I have soil mix in the house that we can use for sprouting.
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Dallas
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I've always read that seed starter mix was sterilized, and seedlings would not be exposed to anything in the soil that could harm them. I've always invested in the starter mix, and have had good luck with my seedlings. It's expensive, though.

I had read somewhere you could sterilize your own garden soil by baking it in the oven, and using that instead. NEVER AGAIN! The smell was horrendous. Never knew dirt could smell so bad.
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Old 04-05-2014, 03:49 PM
 
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I have started many many vegetables from seed in situ outdoors, without giving a thought to incubating them in a special medium. But then, they're outdoors in ideal conditions. I actually have much better success not starting seeds in special media and then hardening them off and transplanting outdoors later on. I did it for decades. Now I don't.l Seeds sown outside catch up real quick.
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