Friday, March 25, 2011

Bumping up the Babies

It is about time to bump my seedlings out of the tray where they were started (in seed-starting medium) and into pots with something that's more like soil. I usually fill the new pots with Miracle Grow potting soil, but a friend of mine who uses the same stuff had a problem this year.

My friend starts about a thousand plants each year. Some are for her own garden, but most are for Master Gardener projects like the Plant-a-Row-for-the-Hungry garden, where we both volunteer, and the veggie garden at the elementary school for which she is the project chair.

This year, she transplanted all her seedlings into the potting soil as usual, but this year all her seedlings died. She called the company, because she is pretty sure there was too much nitrogen and that it burned the plant babies. The company refunded the money for her three bags, but she will have to start all those seedlings again. That is a lot of work and time lost.

The big problem for me is that I bought my bag of potting soil at the same store, and at about the same time. It is probably from the same lot, but my friend doesn't have her empty bags anymore to compare.

Yesterday, because I would hate to lose my (much smaller number of) plant babies, I bought a big bag of Farmer D's Planting Mix. If I had been thinking, I would have switched last year when I first saw it, because it is locally produced and not already laced with fertilizers (I will get to manage the nutrients myself).

This afternoon, I washed the empty six-pack-style plant containers that I plan to use for the first bumping up and filled them with planting mix. The tomatoes are all settled into their new spaces, but the rest of the babies will get moved tomorrow.

3 comments:

  1. I like to use plain potting soil, and mix it with seedling starter soil. I do a half / half mixture. It works well.

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  2. I use the same stuff, but I mix it half and half with seed starter just like meems. I tried the "organic" potting soil a couple of years ago and it was full of gnats or aphids, yuck!

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  3. Meemsnyc & Erin, I don't know whether my friend does a mix of the seedling starter with the potting soil for her first bumping up, and I don't know for sure whether excess nitrogen was the problem. The "not knowing" still has me a little spooked. As a result, I'm not sure what to do with my bag of Miracle Grow.

    I am hoping that Farmer D's planting mix will not have the problems of other organic mixes. I've met the guy and heard him talk about how he makes the compost that goes into the mix, and it sounded as though the creepie-crawlies wouldn't survive the heat involved. Obviously, I am hoping that the new mix will be great. Thanks for chiming in!

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