Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Does it Really Matter?


Using an organic sterile medium is recommended for seed starting, but is it really necessary to do so? Take it from me, yes, it is necessary! I usually do this, but last year I had so many seeds to start, I thought I'd be frugal and save money by just using a cheap potting soil from a big box store. Big mistake!

For three months I pampered, nurtured and babied my precious seedlings...


some of which were weeds!!! I had quite a few stinging nettle that I had spent the winter pampering, only to discover that little fact when I went to plant it. There is a very good reason for its name. Wow, was that ever painful!

This year I have the proper medium, and hopefully there will be only desirable seedlings that I spend my time nurturing.

29 comments:

Dave said...

I've found the same thing. Sometimes in the long run it's cheaper to do the thing that costs more in the beginning!

tina said...

I usually try to use seed starting mix, but sometimes mix my own if I run out. I do think it best to use the good stuff though for seeds. Good luck this year!

Gail said...

Robin, This may be one of those rules that is generalizable to many products and projects. If you invest in good shoes you can resole them! Can't wait to see your babied babies this year! Gail

flowergardengirl said...

Isn't that the truth! Don't skimp on the soil. I remember you raising the nettle and getting bit by one of them.

Kerri said...

I've never had that experience with nettles, thank heavens, but yes, seed starting mix gives the seeds an easy medium to put down their roots in. Potting soil packs down too much.
Have fun playing in the dirt! :)

nancybond said...

We're still a while away from starting any seeds...at least on the scale I'm able to do it, but even the *talk* of it is exciting! Thanks for the advice!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Aggh! What a nightmare. Talk about learn your lesson the hard way. I wonder if you have a basis for a product liability lawsuit. ;^)

DirtDigger (Tessa) said...

Robin, I have to agree- with this you really do get what you pay for! I sometimes make my own seed starting mix, then I really know what is in it. But usually, I buy organic Black Gold with Coco- sift that (when using for seed starting) and then sift some of my compost and mix it in. It makes the bag go a lot farther and coco in it really helps me make perfect soil blocks that hold together.

Diana said...

Ouch - that's too bad. My dad just opened a sealed bag of cheap mulch, only to find it FULL of enormous grubs. I almost posted the photo on my blog, but they just make me nauseous!

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

I'm sorry for your pain (previously) but glad to get a 'heads up' on what can happen by taking shortcuts. Diana's story is truly nauseating. I think she should do what MMD suggests. That sounds upsetting.

shibaguyz.com said...

OMG! *snort* Soooo NOT laughing at your pain. But the way you did that. LOL Been there, done that! *snort*

Thank you for passing on a painful discover most of us have made... hopefully sharing your pain will spare others the same.

Frances said...

Hi Robin, I remember that from last year too. Ouch! Your seed starting stories are what inspired me to get the lights and heat mats this year and do it right. What a difference they have made. Using the packaged seed starting mix that is sold with the seed displays in the big box stores has given good results for me. In addition, I use vermiculite, sold with the houseplant potting mixes as a topper. It contains an inhibitor for the dreaded damping off disease that affects some seedlings. I sprinkle it over the mix before the seeds are sown, then over top to whatever depth the seeds need to be, just a very light sprinkling if the seeds need light to germinate. For large seeds I use chicken grit. Hope you don't have any weed seeds this year!
Frances

Frances said...

And have a very wonderful day on your birth date day! :-)

Frances


proudly number 2!

Kerri said...

Wishing you a very happy birthday Robin. I hope your day is wonderful!
Blotanical doesn't seem to be available again this morning. I'm getting the 'account suspended' message.

Rose said...

Ouch! This sounds like something I would do, Robin. I often pamper a plant outside, not sure what it is, only to discover eventually that it is a weed:)

At a seed starting workshop Beckie and I attended a few weeks ago, the presenter recommended a 50/50 mix of peat moss and perlite over the commercially blended seed starting mixes. I don't know if that's any cheaper, though.

A little birdie (not a robin) told me it was a special day for you--Happy Birthday! And happy 2-year blogaversary as well! Whether you're #1 or #3 in the rankings really doesn't matter; I always enjoy your beautiful photos and reading what you have to say.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Happy Birthday Robin! I got the email this morning reminding me, so I tried to go to Blotanical where I planned to go to your plot...but, then I got distracted when Blotanical wouldn't open...and I forgot to leave you a message. I hope you've had a lovely day today...and perhaps are doing something w/your family tonight, or at least, this weekend;)

Mine is tomorrow--and my husband is out of town. But, he'll be home by the weekend, and my daughter will be home this wkend also, as her spring break will begin...so, that will be nice. For me, it's really 'just another day', but, it's nicer to Have a birthday than NOT to Have a birthday;)

Oh yeah, I just remembered you are still younger than me;-) Lucky you!

Zach said...

Hahahaha, that is hilarious. Happy Birthday. Hope you have a wonderful 20th B-Day

Msrobin said...

A little bird told me it was your birthday, and since I can't get onto Blotanical, I thought I'd stop by here to wish you well. Hope it was a special day! I bet you are really getting excited for your upcoming garden show. Like you, I need a water feature, but not sure what kind. I used to have a small container pond, and I may try to get that going again this year. But I still want one with sound!

cindee said...

Hi Robin,
Are you having a Birthday Today??? I can't seem to get into my blotanical acct.)-: I just wanted to stop by and say hi and wish you the best birthday ever!!!!

Diana said...

Robin - we're getting mass-spammed! The woman who wrote above just posted a comment on my blog and I was just looking up the info when the post came in my email on your blog. Aack! What a pain. I wonder what we can do about that? Guess nothing...ideas anyone?

Bren said...

What seeds did you purchase today? I can't wait to see your report on planting and growth of these seeds.
Thank you for stopping by my blog . It means the world to me to have someone so talented visit and comment on my work.
((HUGS)) Garden Friend

inadvertent farmer said...

Ohh my...stinging nettle is just about the worst plant to run into around here. Well as far as coming into direct contact anyway. I have found it to be very useful in other way, but is is still nasty when touched.

I can't believe that you potting mix had it in it...ughhh! Kim

Patsi said...

Organic and sterile is a must.
That's funny about the weeds, I think we've all done that before.

Meems said...

Hi Robin,
I remember so well all those little seedlings you were nurturing last year in your house. I was VERY impressed.

I don't start any seeds indoors down here but I do start some in small pots on the back porch.Otherwise I direct sow. Regardless, soil is absolutely just as important as the seed. I use a specially blended soil bought from my favorite local nursery. I use it in all my containers whether veggies or flowers.

Happy Birthday (belated. I hope your year is blessed and happy!
Meems

Rosehaven Cottage said...

Now that is NOT a nice surprise. I'm going to have to remember that for sure.

Cindy

themanicgardener said...

Oh my gosh. Talk about the ultimate betrayal--nettles! Ack!
--Kate

flowrgirl1 said...

I have had one encounter with stinging nettle. I wont forget it.

Sorry that you spent all that time pampering a horrible little weed. Ugh!

I bought organic seed starter this year too.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Thanks everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes!

Kylee said...

Happy belated birthday, Robin! And to your hubby, too! That's great that you both were born on the same day!

Oh yes...stinging nettle. As geocachers, both Romie and I know all too well the pain and itch and burn of stinging nettles. Not fun at all!