planting medium for vegetables

New Iberia, LA

Hi guys. I mostly have direct-sowed seeds in the past outdoors in the garden. I want to start some seeds early this year in pots and was wondering what is the best medium to do so? I read a lot about soil-less mixes. What do you guys use? Thanks in advance.

sun city, CA(Zone 9a)

I start seeds in vermiculite

Delhi, LA

I bought a couple of the small green houses that use the pellets at Wal Mart. I really liked them. They are real easy to do and a hundred per cent successful if you follow the instructions. Buy the one with the big pellets, they work best.

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

I am friends with a very large market gardener he starts thousands of seeds in plain good quality soil less potting soil. I have done this as well for 25 or so years.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Peat pellets or soiless seed starting mix. Some of the larger seeds I start in wet paper towels and plastic bags. After they sprout I sow them in the garden. By doing this they don't have to acclimate.

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

1lisac thats the way I do cucumbers as soon as the little white tais begins to show I plant them and they start. It appears your from mellon country if so should work good for them as well.

Lexington, KY(Zone 6b)

I love the Coir from coconut shells. . .they sell it at Gardeners Supply.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Eweed- I don't know about Melon Country?? But yes, I start melons, squash and Okra like that. Sometimes I just direct sow.

New Iberia, LA

Thank you all.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Any commercial potting mix ... mixed with about 30% to 50% shredded screened pine bark. You wnat it to be less expensive and better aerated, and medium-coarse bark accomplishes both goals.

I think most commercial mixes hold too much water and not enough air because they have too much peat, and the texture is too fine. It is too easy to over-water when the mix holds ALL the water you add. You want excess water to flow out the bottom, so more air can flow in the top, and diffuse or circulate through the sir.

Most people just add very coarse Perlite to improve the drainage. I don't like Perlite and it's expensive. I do like bark, and it's cheap.; But you'll probably have to screen it yourself unless you find very clean, small bark nuggets or chips.

Grit is good, too, like crushed granite or other c rushed rock. But screen out the rock dust and sand - you want some GRIT, like 2-3 mm grains.

If you buy clean dry bark mulch, or bark nuggets, you can screen it yourself. Mostly you want what passes easily THROUGH 1/4" screen, but not the dusty parts, fines, or fibers that are too fine.

If you can get 1/8" hardware cloth, you don't want the finer stuff that passes too easily through 1/8" mesh. That tends to clog up the mix.

P.S. I don't like Miracle-Grow potting mix or seedling mix. Where I am, it is almost all peat, and almost powdery in texture. I've seen good-looking "Pro-Mix" and "Fafard" potting or seedling mixes. They have enough of some kinds of fibers to hold the mix "up" even when wet. Water drains out and air can get in.

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