Saturday, March 17, 2012

Getting My Seeds Started

I had planned to start my seeds today, but that didn't happen.  I spent the day sterilzing the pots I saved from my geranium and petunia purchases last year and sterilized them with a little bleach and hot water.  I'm a big customer of our local Big Lots so I purchased a few peat pots for a $1.00 for good measure, lol.  I purchased a bag of seed starting mix from the local hardware store and was rearing to go this morning.  For some reason I decided to research the seed starting mix that I purchased.   What did I find, mixed reviews.  I purchased a bag of the organic Jiffy and some of the reviews have stated that it's difficult to germinate seeds with this mix.  Apparently, the mix doesn't hold water well.  Some of the customers stated that the water beaded on top of the mixture when when they tried to water the seedling.  I was leery of this review, I thought you watered from the bottom when you were germinating seeds and just misted the plant and surface?  I continued reading, other reviews and they also stated that they had difficulty when they tried to moisten the mixture prior to placing it in the pots/trays.  Either way, there's a problem.   

According to customers,  Jiffy is aware that the mixture doesn't absorb water well; however, they're not pulling it from the shelves.  A user suggested that water be added several days before using to ensure it absorbs the water; otherwise, you will encounter problems. 

Thankfully, I saved my receipt and will return it Monday.  I'm so glad that I decided to research the mix before I planted my seeds.  I would have been extremely disappointed and wondering what I was doing wrong and why none of my seeds germinated.  Rather than take this chance, I'll wait a few days and find a mix worthy of my precious seeds. 

What type of seed starting mix do you use?  Have you encountered this problem?  I'm also curious about seedling heating mats, do you use one?  Initially, I wasn't going to use them, but decided to purchase 2. 



  1. I liked the old Jiffy seed starting mix, this not so much. You can moisten it quickly if you use HOT water. Of course, you have to let it cool down before you put in the seeds. It also dries out more quickly, so I bottom water with tepid, not cold, water.

    I use rope lights instead of heating mats. Much less expensive, and they hold the temperature tight around 80F. A 12' rope light covers a 4' shelf with three loops, just perfect for two flats of seeds.

    1. @Annie's Granny - I was googling last night about alternative ways to heat the seeds and discovered the Christmas light method. I'm going to start contacting you (the master gardener) for ideas. I have an attic full of lights. I'm going to try them, and if they work my heating mats go back.

  2. I tend to stay away from seed starting mixes because they don't hold enough water. I like the Miracle Grow potting soil (the one specifically for holding more water) because we live in a dry high desert area and with heaters running in the winter the seed mix dried out so quickly that I had to water 2xs a day or more. I love the peat pots because they help wick the water up and into the soil. You can cut a piece of old t-shirt or nylon stocking and feed it up the center of your pot and soil and about 3 inches out the bottom to wick water to the plants in the plastic containers.

  3. @Beeks by the Lake - I'll try the nylon stock in the plastic containers. I'm heading out to start some of my seeds.