This is my first time growing veggies from seed. When potting up what kind of potting mix is best to use and is the potting mix moistened before it is put into the pots (like seed starting mix) or is it put into the pot dry and watered after the seedling has been transplanted? All advice is greatly appreciated.
So you have already started the seedlings are are just potting up? You should be transferring into soil now. Most seed starting mix is low in nutrients which is fine for germinating, but not for plants that are growing rapidly. I usually use organic "in ground" soil and compost. You can use potting mix but that has time release fertilizer in it which may not have the correct level of nutrients for your plants. I'd rather control what goes into my pots than rely on fertilizer in the bag.
If you are just starting your seeds:
Definetely moisten the mix first. The peat really does repel water in the beginning. Most commerically available mixes are made of peat and perlite or vermiculite. You can make a the mix yourself easily and it's much cheaper. I use a mix of:
1 part compost/manure
2 parts peat moss
1 part perlite/vermiculite
You can buy potting mix with a fertilizer, or make your own mix buy mixing compost,sand,& fertilizer. Some people wet the mix before planting, & then add more water after planting. And always keep out of direct sun for a couple of days.
Wet the mix first! If it is peat-based, also let it drain as much as possible, to reduc e the risk of drownin g roots through too-much-water, which menas niot-enough-air.
I like to use mostly 1/2" screened pine bark mulch instead of peat-based mixes.
pine bark is much cheaper
you can get it MUCH coarser than peat, so it drains faster. ("Medium" mulch is plenty coarse.)
a fast-draining coarse mix means more air for the roots, and that's a very good thing
I tend to overwater, so I really need a fast-draining, airy seedling mix. I haven't had any damping off or root drowning since I started using pine bark. Now, when I over-water, the excess runs right out!
Juast beware if you are starting tiny seeds that need light, like petunias! If the pkt says "sow on surface" or "needs light to germinate", sprinkle enough medium vermiculite on top of the pine bark to fill the small "crevices" and provide a szmoo0th surface. Then, when yolu sprinkle dust-like seedfs on the surface, they won't fall into the cracks between bark shreds, never to be seen again.
This is my first time growing veges with seeds as well. I have 2 aerogardens, and I purchased their seed starting kits for both of them. Once they are large enough, I just need to bring the plants out to harden them off for about a week-then they should be reay to transplant. I am doing squash, cucumber, a beautiful colorful mix of carrots, mini red tomatoes, mini purple tomatoes, and strawberries. I willl be growing mammoth sunflowers, and 2 smaller types of sunflowers, green beans, and watermelons by planting the seeds directly in the ground-and I am also doing purple and red potatoes in potato grow bags.
I will keep my fingers and toes crossed for the both of us. I have always purchaased plants in the past, but I really wanted to try varieties that I would never find as plants-and I also wanted to take the next step and do it all on my own.