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Dirt ain't cheap

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
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by Rebecca150 on April 29, 2006 02:07 AM
Until I get some worms, I'm pretty much stuck on the whole dirt issue. I don't have dirt, I have clay! I'm going to use worm bins, manure and leaves to help make friable soil the old fashioned way.

My veggie bed I plan to put equal parts vermiculite, peat moss and compost. Just because the square foot gardening guy swears by it. But I won't be able to do that for a couple weeks.

I also plan to raise seeds and root cuttings in plastic soda bottle greenhouses. But I need a good seed starting mix to fill them with.

All please feel free to post any seed starting mix recipes you may use that doesn't cost an arm and a leg!

Appreciate it!
by margaret e. pell on May 01, 2006 09:12 AM
It doesn't take much volume of mix to start seeds, but buying all the bags of stuff to mix can add up. My favorite mix is equal parts of vermiculite and screaned peat or potting soil. I screan with the kitchen strainer I strain homemade chicken stock with, run it through the dishwasher, and don't tell anyone. My "premium" mix is equal parts vermiculite, peat, potting soil, and coarse sand. Coarse sand is hard to come by. Fine sand is readily available, but I don't like it: it holds too much water. Every winter I buy 1 or 2 bags of traction sand from the hardware store (~$3.50/bag). I spend the first warm days of spring sifting it. I have 2 strainers from the grocery store. What doesn't go through the coarse one is grit. What doesn't go through the fine one is coarse sand. What does go through the fine one I toss. Then I wash it. Sometimes I wash it first. That doesn't matter. I punch holes in the bottoms of plastic Italian Ice, yoghurt, .., containers, and go from there. Soda bottles sound great, it's just that we don't drink soda at home. Hope this helps. Do you have a lawn that you mow? you could work those clippings into your clay..

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by Longy on May 01, 2006 11:38 AM
Here's how i make my seed raising mix.
1 part coarse sand. One part fine coir or peat. (Coir is a renewable resource made from coconut husk, same properties as peat).

That's it. There is no nutritional value in there, so once seeds emerge i feed with very weak worm juice or seaweed extract. You can add vermiculite to make the mix lighter but i've found this only to be necessary for cuttings which may otherwise rot.

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The secret is the soil.

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