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Topic: Soil mixtures


Hey, wanna try out the new forum here, I'll start the first topic in gardening: soil mixtures!

I don't have a clue what I'm doing, but this commercial seed starting mix seems to not be the best. I'm using But organic seed starting mix and don't know if it's good. Was kind of an impulse buy at Tractor Supply...

With the elecampane seeds, I did something different. I mixed about two parts chicken compost, one part worm compost, and one part burpee mix. Those seedlings are coming up STRONG!

The first day I noticed, there were five. Then nine, then twenty, and now there are around fifty of them!!! Wondering if the soil is helping, because the seeds I've started in just the burpee mix aren't doing as well...

Are there other factors I may be ignoring?
Are there ways of mixing soils that I'm unaware of?
What are some things that I might need to look into to learn more here?


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Reply to Soil mixtures


First off, I'd like to point out two things.

Sprouting seeds and little seedlings rarely if ever need nutrient rich medium to grow. Their needed energy is already contained in the seed itself. That could very easily be tested by growing a tiny seedling in a "sterile" medium, like a cotton swab and using distilled water. You will see that this seedling will grow the same speed and vigour when compared to one planted in a pot full of soil. At one point in time the first will slow down its growth but that time differs from seed to seed, as the reserves differ.

So there's no need to provide nutrient rich medium for the seeds ++IF++** they're going to be planted out in a larger container at 1st or 2nd real leaf phase.

Second, having a super rich medium can actually hurt the tiny seedling. High amounts of nitrogen are actually harmful to the plants. Also, it could induce a rapid, unsustainable growth, that will result in a tall, spindly, weak seedling.

So when preparing a soil mixture, ++context is king++. Actually, context is king with most things in life, so yeah, there's that.


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Reply to Soil mixtures


Ooh, manure! I'm very short on manure. Perhaps I could talk my dairy I to giving up some of theirs.


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Reply to Soil mixtures


OK now for my more low-key, general mix. As our soil is very much clay (Vertisol, we're on an ancient lake bed), it turns out that if you plant perennials directly into a hole of it, they have a hard time breaching the hole walls and "acclimating" as a whole, as the hole, if full of the above mix, is like an oasis :) So the roots tend to stay in the hole for quite some time, until the worms manage to mix stuff up.

In order to speed up the process, we make a mix of:

  1. One part vermicompost
  2. One part our own compost (probably low quality but still rich in organic matter)
  3. Two parts garden soil, that's mostly clay

That stuff needs a bit more mixing, but it's mostly free. The vermicompost is relatively cheap around here and it's a rather sustainable product, recycling the farms' manure.

What's more, the roots kinda get used to the conditions in the soil and the hole with the mix it in is not so starkly different from the surrounding soil.

We do not add sand to our soil as it's not easily obtainable or very cheap if of good quality, not building grade. Also, they dig it out of river beds around here and we'd rather not encourage that practice. Also I feel organic matter is a much much better additive for high clay content soils than sand. We have raised beds that double as mini-swales so drainage is not a problem.


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Reply to Soil mixtures


OK so that topic is huge and I won't be able to cover it in a single reply. That'll take ages and also, I want to spam the forums a bit :D So I'm gonna write several separate replies. This one being the first :D


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Reply to Soil mixtures


Hey Nate, I have a simple soil mix that I have been using as potting soil the last year now that I learned from a local farmer. I really like it.

  • Compost
    I get locally made organic compost that is 60% composted green/brown plant material adn 40% organic dairy manure.
  • Sand
    At about 8-10% the amount of compost by volume. I buy "reject sand" from a local construction materials supply that is not construction grade so it is way cheaper.

Mix it together and good to go! You can also add ground egg shells, ash, kelp into the mix.

In my opinion this is way better than commercial potting mix. I also like sing the sand rather than vermiculite because it doesnt float around. Only downside is sand is heavier to move around. Also, I buy the compost by the yard and then have them scoop some sand on top of the compost. Buying in bulk is much cheaper than buying bags of potting soil, and theres no plastic involved!

Depending on your soil structure you might be OK using some of your soil from on site into the mix at some portion of the compost. If you have pure clay I wouldn't use much or any at all. if you have very sandy soil, obviously you wouldn't need to add sand and you'd be adding more compost for example.

Basically you want something nutrient rich with water holding capacity, but also drainage so that it doesn't stay soggy. Your container should always have holes at the bottom to drain.


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Topic: What items do others want to see listed on the Co-op?


Got a few questions I've been considering:

  1. What items do you want to see at the Co-op? What would you spend your steem on?
  2. (Ooh, it Auto generated my list numbers. Cool!) How do we ask others what they want to see here? What products will draw customers?
  3. What can we be doing as contributors, vendors, and early supporters to provide these things we want to see? If we want them, there are others that want them. If we provide them, there's financial incentive from our community!

Just things to think about :)

I'm liking this interface @sagescrub!


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Reply to What items do others want to see listed on the Co-op?


I would LOVE to ask these questions of our audience! I've been thinking about this for a while, so it should be an easy post to make.


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Reply to What items do others want to see listed on the Co-op?


What I'd love is a seed vendor in the EU, so we can swap seeds! :)


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Reply to What items do others want to see listed on the Co-op?


I personally would love to see more seeds, Natural Medicine, homemade clothing, basketry, leatherwork, knives and other handmade goods!

Thanks for trying out the forums @nateonsteemit!

It seems like you hit on a good topic for a homesteaders co-op post! Would you have any interest in posing the question to our audience?


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