Sunday, January 6, 2013

How to Make your Own Vegetable Seed Starting Soil

If you want to ensure that the vegetables you grow are the healthiest they can be, then you must be involved in the growth of your vegetables from the start and that means growing them directly from vegetable seeds as opposed to buying established vegetable plants.

Now that is not to say that the vegetable plants you buy from your local garden nursery or home center are bad. It simply means when you start your vegetable plants at home from vegetable seeds you are in complete control of the environment in which your vegetable seeds will germinate and where they will grow.

This is important, because when you start directly from vegetable seeds, you get to choose the vegetable seed starting soil. The better the vegetable seed starting soil, the better the start will be for your vegetable plants, and in turn the healthier they can become.

Just like a tall skyscraper needs an excellent foundation, so do your vegetable plants. This foundation is your vegetable seed starting soil. The best vegetable seed starting soil you can have is one that actually contains no soil at all. Instead your vegetable seed starting soil is made up of three different ingredients.

Whether you make your own vegetable seed starting soil or buy commercially packaged vegetable seed starting soil, all should have these three main ingredients. Each of these three ingredients serves a purpose that helps your vegetable seeds germinate.

What you should be looking for in your vegetable seed starting soil is an ingredient that helps with water absorption so that you do not over water. That usually comes in the form of perlite or vermiculite. Both readily available at any garden center in its own form and will also be included in many commercial vegetable seed starting soils.

The second ingredient that should be on your radar is something that will make your vegetable seed starting soil loose and friable. Two good choices are sphagnum moss aka peat, or coir, which is the fiber extracted from the husks of coconuts. Both can be found at local home and garden centers or online.

Finally, your vegetable seed starting soil must contain some form of fertilizer otherwise the vegetable seed will not get the nutrients needed for proper germination. There are a wide variety of choices and combinations here, but the simplest vegetable seed starting fertilizer you will find is compost. Easily made at home, you can add in your own compost to your vegetable seed starting soil, which gives you a true, self made vegetable seed starting soil.

So how do you make your own vegetable seed starting soil with the items mentioned above? Making your own vegetable seed starting soil is very simple. Combine equal parts of all three ingredients, that is one part perlite or vermiculite, one part peat or coir, and one part compost, then mix them together.

Your homemade vegetable seed starting soil has everything your vegetable seeds need to germinate properly.

As mentioned earlier, you can also purchase vegetable seed starting soil from your local home or garden center. There a variety of different combinations of ingredients that are used with commercial vegetable seed starting soils, so be sure to read the packaging to know exactly what you are buying. Some are formulated for specific vegetable varieties, such as tomato or pepper mixes, make sure you read the bag before you buy.