potting soils

Asked December 17, 2016, 10:00 AM EST

Below is a quote from http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/flowers/starting-seeds-indoors/#soil-less. I assume in the second paragraph when you talk about potting soil you are referring to the seed-starting mixes mentioned in the first paragraph. Potting soil is a more general term and therefore I find the quote confusing. "Commercial seed-starting mixes, usually composed of vermiculite and peat, without any true soil, are recommended for starting seeds. They're sterile, lightweight and free from weed seeds, with a texture and porosity especially suited to the needs of germinating seeds and tiny seedlings. Set the cell flats or containers into a solid tray, fill them with potting mix, and water the mix before sowing seeds. The potting mix will settle down into the containers, sometimes dramatically so. Add more potting mix and water again, until the containers or cells are nearly full."

New York County New York

9 Responses

Thanks for your question. This U of Minnesota article is a little unclear. Here's a link to a clearer article from U of Michigan that should answer your question.

Hope this is more helpful!

From the link you sent: "there is a difference between potting soil and seed-starting mix." Then later on: "making your own seed-starting or potting mix is an option." So which is it seed-starting or potting?

Seed starting mix is sterile. No dangerous microbes that might endanger seedlings. If making your own, it needs to be baked to kill microbes. Potting soil is full of organic materials that lighten the soil, allow water and nutrients to permeate and get to plants's roots, where they need them and can be uptaken up by the plants. But it is not sterile and not necessarily free of bacteria, microbes, nematodes, etc. Hope this is helpful.

This is the first time, I've seen any reference to baking a home made seed starting mix.
Let me start over. I will have a large garden (45' x 48') and a greenhouse for starting lots of seeds. I have no problem with making my own mixes if it will save money and result in healthier plants.
What's the best way to go from seed pack to garden.

Let me clarify: are you purchasing seed packets that have directions on them? What do they say? Once I'm clear about packet directions, I will send you as much information/clarification I can tomorrow afternoon.

Start indoor x days before planting.

Google 'New York Planting Calendar.' I don't know where you live.'

what does that have to do with anything? I'm in zone 5. The seed package tells me when to start seeds indoors. Isn't that what you asked? What's the best mix? How do I avoid multiply transplanting?

I'm going to turn you back to someone who wants to engage in dialogue.