Seed-starting : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Even if you live in the Deep South, it's still not too late to statr seeds, although you'll have to protect them from hot sun (use an old window screen or muslin rigged up between two stakes). But what to start your seeds in? NOT dirt from your garden! You might get lucky and grow something in regular garden soil but, generally, there's too much that can go wrong. The Oct 1995 Organic Gardening recommends the following two mixes, available from garden centers.

Hoffman's Seed Starter and Peters Professional Potting Soil (despite its name).

When it's time to put your seedlings into larger pots or containers, here's what Organic Gardening recommends:

Hoffman's Original Formula Potting Soil, Sunshine's All-Purpose, Hyponex All-Purpose Potting Soil, and Jungle Growth. [And, one presumes, Peters again, which is what Old Git usually uses, for starting and growing.]

If you plan to purchase some of these products for initial Y2K use, be sure and buy soon. Garden centers often run out by the end of summer.

-- Old Git (, April 21, 1999


Thanks, Old Git ! May I add my two cents ? If your planting elongated seeds, like cucumber or melon, plant them with with long axis running NORTH-SOUTH and your seeds will come up in half the time ones planted otherwise. Has to do with earth's magnetic field . Eagle

-- Hal Walker (, April 21, 1999.

Someone suggested on a previous thread stocking up on soiless mixes for Y2K. A huge caution - I learned the hard way the last couple of years that my attempts to be frugal and hold over soil from previous years just led to damping off (a deadly fungal disease where the seedlings quickly wither away).

Seedlings need the best possible conditions, including sterilized pots. I will buy more mix this year as a backup for next year just in case, but I'll be hoping I can find fresh mix next spring. This is on the recent advice of a local Master Gardener, which seems to have turned my seedling efforts back around.

Gardens Alive has a damp-off preventer additive, which I have tried (may be the reason my first batch of seedlings this spring, grown in previous years' mix, revived). Does anyone have any success with that product? Other recommended damp-off preventers are "milled" sphagnum and compost. Any other suggestions?

-- Brooks (, April 21, 1999.

I used to grow seedlings with great success. I purchased old wooden flats with slotted bottoms (thin wood with a bit of space in between. Then lined with non-colored newspaper. Then mix the peat moss with potting soil. (Add pearlite for moisture retention. The peat moss also makes the medium spongy and retains water.) I didn't have problems with "damping off," but had to watch sowbugs and cut worms.

You might also want to look at hydroponics. There is a site reporting experiments on "survival gardens." The nutrient mixture used was fish pond water, but they said chicken poop could also be used. I think I will experiment this year with some hanging PVC hydroponics.

-- marsh (, April 21, 1999.

I have had luck with sterilizing and re-sterilizing soil by baking at 400 F for 45 min. A pain but frugal and recycle worthy.

-- will (, April 22, 1999.

I wonder if you could sterilize soil in a solar oven?

At the moment, I recycle and sterilize those little plastic cell packs and flats by washing on the hottest cycle in the dishwasher. Please don't try this with your dirt, though. . . . (chuckle).

-- Old Git (, April 22, 1999.

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