Calling all "judges" for the annual DG County Fair! Vote for your favorites here!

Seed Starting Medium

Allen Park, MI(Zone 6a)

Over at Tomatoville there's a thread discussing using Diatomaceous Earth as a seed starting medium.

Those who have tried it report high success rates.
DE is a mineral and is sold in auto supply stores as Ultrasorb. (Nothing else added just DE)

I'm going to be starting some seeds soon in the Master Gardener greenhouse and am going to experiment with DE and a regular seed starting mix and see how it goes.

Paul

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Paul, what is Tomatoville? I think I have looked at it before. Is it just .com? I will try it. Keep us posted what you think of it.

Carmel, IN(Zone 5b)

Paul: I have some DE that is labeled as food grade. Is there a difference between that and what is sold at auto supply stores?

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

I tried Tomatoville before and had trouble with it. They had a random question for me. "How many stripes does the American flag have"? I put 13 and it said it was the wrong answer. Well, I googled it and all of theirs said the same thing. And they keep saying it is the wrong answer. Don't know what they want. Oh well, they can't want new people on there very bad.

ttyl, jen

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Jen, I'm sitting here laughing b'c when the site went down a month or so ago b'c of a transfer of servers, I too had to get back on and I too said 13 and was rejected, and I was at Tville from the first day it opened back in Jan of 2006. LOL

I think the answer is 6 or 7, maybe someone here can confirm that for you, I certainly hope so.

And no, it has nothing to do with the site not wanting new members, b'c the rate of new members right now is beyond anything I've seen since I've been there.

You can read that DE thread in the Seed Starting Forum and almost all other Forums without registering but need to register if you wish to post and all is free. Right now there are about 10,000 members and the site is very active and of course there's much more there than just tomatoes.

Just letting you know that I goofed as well and I too Googled it and still was wrong. LOL

And IMO I can't see where using DE is going to help that many get better germination, but am glad that Paul and others will use controls to help answer that question.

Carolyn

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Hi Carolyn, Thanks for confirming that I am not crazy. Google sites ALL, yes literally ALL (that I looked at) say 13 because they are counting both red and white. But, if you only count red, I guess thinking the white is background, then there are 7. I would think both answers would be correct, and whoever is not counting the 13 is a moron. The 13 is suppose to represent all 13 colonies.

Ok, back to the DE. I cannot see where there would be any food value in it to feed them once the initial seed is used up. I think I read where there is something in the seeds to get them started.

It might be that there should be no initial diseases?? Maybe that is it. If so, why not just sprinkle the DE on top of the starting mix to keep down any damping off or whatever??

OH, BTW, it said that the info I was using, email address, user name, had been used before already. Yup, think I went thru all this once before and gave up figuring to h--- with them.

Jeanette

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

You might want to assure that the DE doens't pack down so tight there is no room for air. You might have to mix it with something fibrous like peat, coir or bark fiber. Or chunky like coarse Perlite, coarse grit or fine bark nuggets.

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

OH, BTW, it said that the info I was using, email address, user name, had been used before already. Yup, think I went thru all this once before and gave up figuring to h--- with them.

******

I'll check the member list to see ir the user name you use here is also there, assuming you use the same user name wherever you read/post.

Had you tried before to register there, I mean not lately ?.

When you say to H with them, me is them since I'm a Global Moderator there but I'm not the one who approves new registrations.

If you're frustrated and yet want to register I can tell you another way to go about it by directly contacting the person who does approve the new registrations.

I meant to check the member list at Tville for your user name to see if you'd registered at some other time, in which case you user name and e-mail address would be on record. But I came here to IE since most of the time I can' post directly at DG and it's the ONLY site where I can't do that.

I can do that when I log on tomorrow if you use the same user name at all places b'c that's the only way that the server/computer would say that your user name and e-mail were already on record.

Carolyn

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Carolyn, as far as I know I did use the same ID and user name. I go into so many anymore that I am not sure.

Do you need those to check? Let me know and I will D mail you. Don't know why tho, it is no big secret. Right?

Jen

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Jen, I checked and there is no member with the user name you use here.

If you want to e-mail me with your other user names since you said you read/post at many other sites I can then recheck.

If not, and you still want to register at Tville I can tell you that other way to get help.

My e-mail addy is cmale@aol.com and folks this is just for Jen.

Jen, I used to participate and many message sites, and I think it's great if folks have the time to do so, but slowly I've dropped almost all of them for different reasons at different sites. As in enough is enough, really, at some sites b/c I simply cannot stand what's called Forum/ Website politics.

Carolyn

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

No Carolyn, I'm not on any more sites either. Everyone swears FB is so private and I went on there once because so many of my friends were on there and wanted me to. Well, I read about people I didn't even know. Nope, don't have time for it either.

When I said I read/post at other sites, I mean things like my bank, etc. Other than that I am on 2 or 3 garden sites. I hate the fact that you have to have passwords/user names/ids for everything. Like someone else is going to pay my light bill???? That is what I meant.

I guess I really don't want to be on Tomatoville, I was just curious about the DE used for seeds. Just another one I need the above for. Now I have a whole long list of passwords etc. for those very same things. Even my mail order pharmacy. Yes, some things like that I can see.

But, I have never had any trouble growing from seed with anything I use. Just curious is all. Thanks anyway. Jen BTW, I just like to experiment is all. :0)

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I don't know about using DE solely as a seed starter mix.but I always have mixed a little into my seed mix. Results are about the same with mine I far as I can tell.The plus is any bugs you might have or get "take a powder" instead of a seedling

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

Forgive me if this is a bit off topic, but I buy 5# bags of of Kitty Litter at my Dollar Store which is 100% DE. I have used it for 3 years as an additive to my potting & growing mix. It works great for improving aeration & water distribution.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

I have never heard of using DE for kitty litter Jo. How much does it cost? In garden places it is pretty expensive. For litter I don't think they could charge a lot or people wouldn't buy it.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

All natural kitty litter is to heavy for me to use,after it saturates to much like heavy clay.it is not bad with all the silica and other minerals for "dead soil".Improving though.It just takes it a while to do that also. I have a few hen &chicks growing in some with lava rocks,as long as it sets high and drains it works otherwise it mucks.
3.50 TO 5.50 FOR A BAG, around here.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

I can't stand the dust of the litter. Even the clay is dusty. Bob has to take the boxes outside to clean and change them. Is the DE dusty? I have never used it in bulk like that before. Is it a finer stuff than than they use in the garden? I would imagine, or it would cut the skin of the cats wouldn't it? But then finer would be dusty too wouldn't it?

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Forgot to ask how big a bag?

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

Jnette, the litter I buy is $1 at the Dollar Tree-- I had said it is 5#, but it is 4.5# . I don't have a cat, but I wouldn't be surprised if DE was an ingredient in many brands. In my opinion, it is about the texture of perlite. Here are some photos- at the moment I have a wheelbarrow full- I used 1 bag litter, I bag Topsoil, and 1 bag Nursery Mix from Lowe's. It makes a great mix for topderssing and container use, as well as in ground use.

Thumbnail by JoParrott Thumbnail by JoParrott Thumbnail by JoParrott
Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

Jnette, we posted at the same time! Yes, there is a little dust to the litter, like in perlite(since they are both rock products.) If it really bothers you, you could always wet it before using it. I just make sure not to breate it as I add it- once mixed there is no problem. Our Dollar Tree keeps a lot of it in stock, and I am their best customer!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Very dusty, I have a 15 pound bag of DE sitting behind me as I type this,You have to be careful not to breath it in,not because it is poison or anything ,but because it is food grade dust, like sulpher powder, finer than baby powder.
I mist spray some in my hand to dry bath pets with, keeps the dust down.
Mostly when it comes to such things I go for or with food grade,so many ways to poison ones self.
Well anyway we are talking super dust like perfume to the nose,dust is so fine it is to the level of odors, which incidentally it can also be used to control. Well anyway get ya a painters surgical or drywall mask and I am sure you will be fine l lol.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

My favorite is a bag of shult'z aquarium rock for plants, kinda expensive and made from fullers earth,good stuff, I use it more in decoration than my starter pots. My own opinion is nothing works as well as finer old gravel ,you know the older finer particles that are like sand, only they are still rougher.

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

juhur7, yours is a lot dustier than that I use- different grinds, I guess- anyway, someone could wear a mask while mixing it-

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I forgot to answer 15lbs around here,lol.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

JoParrott thh bag siting behind me that I am talking about is real DE not mixed with the kitty litter ,it is like flour! Of course it is what is in the litter than causes some of the dust and odor control.
It has rained for three days here and the litter from a bag of all natural has gotten gray and heavy like a gray plastic clay as putty, which for mold making it is used also . Unless I mix gritty sand or small gravel with it here, at ground level or during rainy seasons it mucks like the clay base it is.
Works decent raised up mixed with lava rock for cacti , and that is not bad!

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

The DE I use is just that- 100% DE- nothing else mixed with it- it is not the coasreness of dust, it is just about the same size of perlite-the little pile in this photo is about 4" in length. The bag states: ingredients-Diatomaceous Earth.(see the photo of the bag) DE is available in many forms- I once bought a bag at Lowe's to use for slug control, but when I read about it not being effective when wet, I returned it. That bag was a coarse dust-I remember.

Thumbnail by JoParrott
Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I will take that to be a lesson and if the Dollar tree is still where it was on the other side of town the next trip to wall mart will have an extra stop. I like the coarse size and look of your pic .I will have see about that. So the bag says like blue &red ribbon? yes I really do look at pics and read them lol!

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

Right- it says Blue Ribbon- all the $Trees in my area stay stocked up on it- good luck- I am really sold on it- even add it to my houseplant mix to make it lighter in texture.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Thank you,!! You know the last time I saw a bag that looked like that was a Blue -red bag at a Centennial 1-5-10 store, And I am not going say when that was.
THANKS AGAIN! THAT IS SOME GOOD EARTH.!!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Well the rock absorbing crystals is all there is around town so I just had to buy some, not as compulsive as useful as I have been looking for them for a while anyway.
Made by the same company as the Blue Ribbon and it does not look bad.So beware to the snails,lol
I know it was not a deal or anything at 5.99 for a 15 lb bag, only it should last awhile and that is all right with me!

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Jo, I couldn't see on the bag, did it say anything about the size of the grind? The dust thing probably sounds silly, but I have a medical thing and I have to be careful. The cats hair is bad enough, plus I have a short hair lab dog that all are in the house, especially in the winter. Have to vacuum a lot. I have a central vacuum and that is good since it puts all the hair etc. in the basement in a tank.

When I made my hosta bed I bought a bag of DE for slugs. But they are in a raised bed and I haven't seen any slugs near them and haven't used the DE yet. But it is a much finer grind than what you pictured Jo. Interesting. I have never seen it that large.

I will certainly look next time I go over to Walmart. 40 miles away. I am going to make Earth- Buckets for my tomatoes next year. So, I need to get colanders too. They get them from $ stores.

Jen

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I get leopard snails 6-8 -9 inches long they can eat more than locusts and grasshoppers when they find a seedling they like, the seedling has no chance! They appear Sept. through Oct. here, I don't like to kill things just to be killing or destroying them and this is a good way to redirect them. Keeps my frogs and toads a little happier also.
I am thinking I will be happy as satisfied with the 100% DE absorption crystals (made by the same company) from the auto parts store, it looks like heavy grained sand only it is real light,just what I was looking to test.
Thank you both for the thread chat,the direct and info has been useful.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Jnette; try" Molten ,blue ribbon d.e. kitty litter" they have a page flyer that shows the grind consistency . AND thank you for the colander suggestion, I hadn't gotten that one till just now (duh) lol

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Yes, thanks you guys. I am looking for this stuff everywhere now. Auto parts you say? Interesting. For sucking up oil huh?

Know what you mean about the slugs, snails, Seattle gets them real bad too, the slugs. When I lived there they were really bad. You know the best thing I found to get rid of them? Ducks. The ducks love them and dig down under rocks etc. where they lay their eggs.

When I had them the neighbors used to have bathtubs of water out for my ducks. They cleaned up the whole neighborhood. I only had a couple. But a mail truck hit one and don't remember what happened to the other one but after they were gone it was 3 years before I saw a slug in my yard.

Now I have polymer absorption crystals and I don't think they are DE. Jen

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

juhur7

I will. Go to the container planting in the community forums and Gym Girl has a really good thread on the Earth Buckets. She tells how to make am going to use that in my mix next year in them.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Know what? I think we hijacked this thread from Paul. So sorry Paul. We just got wrapped up in the DE. Jeanette

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

Jnette, is that hijacking? We are discussing DE- although not for starting seeds. I know I am really enjoying the info we are exchanging, and if I had started the thread I would not feel like it was hijacked. I hope we can continue- Moltan is the company that manufactures it, and you can Google it and get the info on the coarseness. If I have upset anyone, please accept my apologies- I just get excited when I can offer any help-

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I'm sure you know this by now but when you go to Molten Blue ribbon products you can press the DE products button It will show you all the 100% DE products they make.
I am sure you will be able find one or the other somewhere near you,

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Thanks juhur7. I don't know, some people get upset over a few taking over the conversation and some don't. I never do, I love it when people discuss interesting things. Even if they are off topic. But others don't. Paul hasn't said anything.

The funny thing is, I went to the first one of the links you posted and it took me to Tomatoville which Paul started this thread out with and they don't like my answers and won't let me in. Oh well. I have been turned down by better people. LOL, isn't that the way it goes?

Carolyn was nice enough to offer to help me with TV but that's ok. I can get on Molten and get their info. Thanks you guys. Don't let me stop this tho 'cause Paul hasn't said anything. And you are right J. We are still on topic.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

My only thing is off a bit we were but , mites whitefly several fungi (that I don't particularly know the name of except maybe generally mold) all are kept away from seedlings when using D.E.
A seedling mix suggested here before; sphagnum moss sand DE all in one part to one part is what I will try first..

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

When I first went to tomatoville it only had about 20 registered members, won't let me in lately and my potential risk on microsoft shows when I am there. I think a line or communication piracy may be at work there recently.

Post a Reply to this Thread

You cannot post until you , sign up and subscribe. to post.
BACK TO TOP