Seeds

Photo of seed starter. A seed starter set-up

I used my wife's vegetable steamer to sterilize my homemade seed starter and the same day I wrecked her blender grinding compost. I also took over the dinning room table with the trays and a grow light; my friends thought it wasn't a coincidence that the SEA SOIL guy was "growing" at home. My wife however was very patient.

I was trying to make a seed starter that was not just peat moss, vermiculite and perlite, which is a sterile "growing media". I am not a professional by any means but I like to think there are simple solutions to most things but sometimes it takes a little more work than I planned.

I tried a number of different seed starter concoctions, some with vermiculite, sterilized and not sterilized, peat moss and coconut coir, green sand, worm casting. This went on until I thought the vermiculite was too chunky and that blending the whole bag was a good idea. The blender never worked the same since.

I was growing radish, lettuce and sunflower seeds and my blend that worked the best (in a month) blew away my "control" grow tray of the name brand seed starter I bought at a garden centre. By the time the seeds broke the surface in the "control" grow tray my mix was on average 1.5 inches high already and the first leaf had started coming out.

Here's my secret blend:
Instead of using peat moss as a base to my seed starter, I used a fine grade of coconut coir, which is an eco alternative to peat moss (roughly 65%). Then I added, in no particular order, small amounts of worm castings, a pinch of green sand for new root growth and a fine version of our SEA SOIL (very fine almost like dust). Then I sterilized the mix in my wife's vegetable steamer for no more than 15 minutes. I figured sterilizing the mix would kill the beneficial bacteria from the composts but in my (unscientific) experiment I made same mix in an unsterilized form and it did not do as well at all. I also did the same blend with a portion of finely blended vermiculite and both blends ended up well over an inch taller than the name brand seed starter mix.

The seeds did very well in my mixes and it was a lot of fun; also, my kids loved the mess it made in the kitchen. Cooking dirt so we could grow seeds was a huge hit for them!

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