Can I buy decent seed starter mix?
Would it be easier than making my own seed starter mix?
Oh, hell yes.
So why do I choose to make my own?
The Reasons to Make My Own Seed Starter Mix
There are three reasons. And if you want to add that I'm stubborn, that would make four reasons.
One reason is that the materials I use are more sustainable than those found in commercial seed starter mixes. Don't get me wrong, being sustainable is important, but it's not a huge driver in my actions. When I can use sustainable materials I do unless another material makes more practical sense.
The second reason is the natural fertilizers within the Kellogg's organic potting soil used in my seed starter mix and the composed forest products in the soil. Even though these forest products cause additional work when making the starter mix.
I'm hoping the use of this composted soil in the seed starter mix gives microgreens grown within the mix better flavor than a sterile mix.
The last reason is my hatred of unitaskers and one-use products. The plan is to compost the used seed starter mix with the forest products sieved out during the process as soil to fill larger containers to plant the vegetables in at a later date.
Those are the reasons for making my own seed starter mix for good or bad only time will tell.
This blog and YouTube channel are all about my journey from finding land, building a homestead, incorporating permaculture, raising animals and growing plants.
Here's a list of the materials used to make a seed starter mix.
Plastic storage container.
Dollar Store colander (I'll be making a 1/4" screen sieve next time).
5-gal pail with a lid to store sieved forest products for more composing.
1- to 2- quarts dry, used coffee grounds (as an acidifier).
1 coconut coir brick (Don't buy from Amazon it's too expensive - use this link.)
1 1.5-cu ft Kellogg's Organic Potting Soil.
Watch How to Make Seed Starter Mix
The process to make your own seed starting mix is explained in the video below.
Soils Used in My Mix
The images, either to the right or below if you're on mobile, are the ones used in my mix.
Again, I wanted to use an organically composted potting soil as a base along with the water absorbing coconut coir.
Remember that coconut holds a significant amount of water. You can see that in the video as I squeeze water out of the coconut coir.
Coconut coir is a sustainable or renewable product produced during the processing of coconuts. While peat moss takes at least tens of thousands of years to form.
Unfortunately, the Kellogg's potting soil does also contain peat. But, at least my mix has reduced some of the peat found in a typical seed starting mix.
Both the Burpee's coconut coir and Kellogg's soil products can be purchased at Home Depot. At a much lower price than any product on Amazon.
I like this product, it doesn't get great reviews from other users, I think because they're used to sieved, clean potting soil.
As you can see in the photos, the soil does contain quite a bit of forest products. These will continue to break down in your containers or the garden.
But twigs aren't great for seed starter mix, so I sieved them out.
In the photos, you can see fresh potting soil in the sieve and the twigs that remained afterward.
These twigs will be added to a compost pile.
One More Ingredient
The seed starter mix will be used for all of my vegetables, but the majority of those will be microgreens and lettuces. I read in many documents that these seeds like a slightly acidic soil.
As you can see in the SDS, the pH of the Kellogg's soil is listed between 6.5 and 7.5. For that reason, I added some spent coffee grounds into the seed starter mix. Only about one quart in the estimated 16-quarts of coconut coir and potting soil mixture.
Will the Seed Starter Mix Work?
Time will tell if my seed starter mix will grow plants well. I do know that the mix is fine-grained, it holds water well, and seeds have sprouted well in the mix so far.
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I now use too much seed starter and soil for my microgreens to make my own. However, I do still modify a base potting mix to make it much better.
You can purchase this potting mix in the Home Microgreens Store.