How to Choose the Right Seed Starting Soil

Successful germination depends on good-quality seed starting soil. Actually, you don't want to use soil at all (it's too compact). Seed starting medium needs to be free-draining and disease-free, so do not use garden soil. And leave that miracle mix on the shelf because all that built-in fertilizer is overkill to seedlings.

seedlings, seed startingSeedlings get off to a good start with the right seed starting mix. Image Credit

Mix it Up: How to Make Your Own Seed Starting Soil

You can mix your own seed starting soil-less medium for germination of seeds. A good soilless medium is a blend of equal parts: sphagnum moss, perlite and vermiculite.

Growing cacti and other succulents from seed or cuttings requires a faster-draining, sandy mix. Use equal parts of sphagnum peat and coarse sand, or buy a bag of ready-to-use cactus mix.

Remember, seedlings started in a soilless, nutrient-free medium will benefit from a weak fertilizer before they are transplanted. Some mixes have give seedlings a little more oomph with organic nutrients.

Which type is best for starting seeds?

Seedlings grow best in a light, airy seed starting medium that drains well.

To make it easy on yourself, you can buy a ready-to-use seed starting mix. This is your best bet for successful results.

These commercial mixes, such as the Seed Starting Mix shown here, are actually soilless, made up of sphagnum peat, vermiculite, limestone and a root booster for healthier roots.

This combination allows good drainage and also maintains steady moisture.

Organic Seed Starting Mix

Can the best seed starting mix get any better?

This Organic Seed Starting Mix is made of sphagnum peat and perlite so that the medium will drain freely, yet maintain even moisture.

What makes this mix superior? The addition of compost, protein meal and trace minerals gives seedlings more oomph: faster growth, healthier roots, and stronger plants.

With the addition of these nutrients, this organic medium will get your seedlings off to a great start. You won't need to fertilize until after the true leaves have appeared.

Garden Starter Kit

This Organic GrowEase Seed Starting Success Kit includes everything you need to succeed.

  • Two 24-cell growing trays with greenhouse covers

  • Organic Seedstarting Mix

  • 24 Plant markers

  • Self-watering trays water your seedlings for you, and the capillary matting helps to maintain moisture. Seedlings wick up moisture as needed -- no over- or under-watering

Need a bigger seed starting system? You'll find seed starting kits here.

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