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Sunday, January 14, 2018

How to Make Inexpensive Sterile Starting & Potting Mix: Peat, Vermiculite & Perlite - No Fungus Gnats

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How to Make Inexpensive Sterile Starting & Potting Mix:
Peat, Vermiculite & Perlite - No Fungus Gnats

If you don't use a lot of seed starting mix and you only pot up a few plants to grow as your vegetable transplants, you are better off buying prepackaged mixes. However, you need to sterilize it to decrease your chances of hatching fungus gnat eggs.

If you use a lot of starting mix and use potting mix to grow your seeds starts to a larger size, making it yourself will save you a lot of money. It is very simple and you can adapt the mixes to your personal needs.

A 2.2 cubic foot compressed bag of peat moss will cost you between $10 and $15. A 2 cubic foot bag of fine vermiculite will cost between $20 and $30. These are the two key ingredients for making starting mix. You will be able to make 60 - 90 quarts of mixes. I recommend not using perlite in the starting mix as it just isn't needed for your germinating seedlings. You can add perlite to make more of a potting mix when your plants are ready to be moved into larger containers. This video explains the ratios and it will show you how to make the different mixes and what they look like.


A key to having successful seed starts is sterilizing your seed starting and potting mixes. Always buy dry ingredients as the first rule. Never bring in soil, dirt or other amendments from your garden as the second rule. You will bring in dormant fungus, diseases and insect eggs. Once they are given the warmth of your home and the grow lights... they will mature along with your seedlings and cause great problems. Problems you can prevent by using heat.

Peat moss comes dry but fungus gnat eggs will sit and wait for moisture. Rule three, is to use boiling water to pre-moisten your starting mix before you start your seeds. You can also use the microwave to heat pre-moistened starting mix but should do this at your own risk. Boiling water is safer. The video discuss these principles for sterilizing your soil and ridden them of fungus, diseases and insect eggs.


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