Starting your own seeds is one way to save money in your gardening costs. Another way is to make your own seed starting mixture. A variety of materials may be used to germinate seeds and root cuttings. These mixtures must be sterile and must meet certain other criteria.
They must be firm and dense enough to hold cuttings or seeds in place during rooting or germination. They must be of a consistency that will not alter drastically either dry or wet, since this would cause root damage. They must be porous enough to drain properly yet retain enough moisture so that frequent watering will not be necessary.
When starting seeds you can purchase large bags of pre-mixed soil designed especially for seed germination. I have begun to mix my own when I just wasn’t happy with the results of the store bought mixture. The mixture I have been using is easy to make and does a great job. As you experiment with various components you will discover what works best for you.
This is the combination I use:
1 part sterilized garden loam or top soil
1 part coarse sand or perlite
1 part peat moss
Pearlite is used to increase aeration in a mixture. It is derived from a type of volcanic rock and is processed into light, porous, sterile particles that hold many times their own weight in water.
Sand is used to add body and drainage to a soil medium, and is also excellent when used alone for root cuttings.
Peat moss is used in heavy mixtures to lighten and increaser porosity; it is derived from partly decomposed aquatic plants.
Now that we have mixed up our soil we are ready to start planting seeds! Hopefully next week I will start with my leek and onion seeds. They need time to grow and establish themselves before I can plant them directly into the garden. I enjoy starting seeds inside as it is a sure sign that spring is coming even when it doesn’t look or feel like it outside!