There is no better feeling than starting your plants from seeds. Not only it’s a fun but it also saves you lot of money. When we talk about starting seeds indoors or starting seeds in seed-trays to transplant them later, we always wonder about the medium to use. Should we use garden soil, peat moss, coco coir, perlite, sand or should we buy ready made expensive commercial Seed Starting Mix because the kind of medium we use can make a huge difference. I love making my own medium as I can modify the ingredients as per the need of the seed or plant. Let’s discuss how to make Seed Starting Mix of your own at home.
Seed’s Nutrients Requirement
First, let’s discuss the nutrients required by a seed to germinate. We can broadly divide them into three categories:
- Low requirement seeds – require very less or no nutrients to germinate like lettuce, petunia, pansies, most of the herbs etc.
- Medium requirement seeds – require less nutrients to germinate like Dahlia, gourds, cucumber etc.
- High requirement seeds – require more energy to germinate like pepper, tomato, potato, sunflower and many vegetables.
Ingredients for Seed Starting Mix
Seed starting mix should be light, spongy and must not be very high in nutrients. Main ingredients are peat-moss or Coco Peat and perlite or vermiculite though alternatives are also suggested
- Peat Moss or Coco Peat. Alternatively you can use Bark Humus, Leaf Mold.
- Vermiculite or Perlite. Alternatively you can use Sand.
- Lime (only if using Peat Moss – add 1/4 tablespoon per 4 kg of moss)
- Compost (in some cases)
Seed Starting Mix RECIPE
Following are the few recipes which I use as per the specific seed requirement and in general. Mix the ingredients well in the prescribed quantity:
Recipe 1 (For Low Requirement Seeds)
Coco Peat or alternative – 8 Part or 80%
Sand – 1.5 Part or 15%
Compost or leaf mold – 1/2 part or 5%
Recipe 2 (For Medium Requirement Seeds)
Coco Peat or alternative – 7 Part or 70%
Compost (well matured & fine) – 2 part or 20%
Garden Soil – 1/2 part or 5%
Sand – 1/2 Part or 5%
Recipe 3 (For High Requirement Seeds)
Coco Peat or alternative – 4 Part or 40%
Compost (well matured & fine) – 3 part or 30%
Garden Soil – 2 part or 20%
Sand – 1 Part or 10%
Recipe 4 (Basic Recipe)
Coco Peat or Peat Moss – Half or 50%
Vermiculite or Perlite or Sand – Half or 50%
Recipe 5 (Basic Recipe – for High)
Coco Peat or Peat Moss – 1/3 part
Vermiculite or Perlite or Sand – 1/3 part
Compost – 1/3 part
Sterilize the garden soil before adding it to Seed Starting Mix. You can sterilize the soil either by keeping it in a discarded oven for 45-50 minutes at 150 C or in microwave oven for 10 minutes at 800 watts.