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Plant Soil

PLANTER BOX GARDENING 101:
LOW-COST SEED-STARTING MIXES

Simple Starter Soil

As part of the series, Planter Box Gardening 101, creating a simple starter soil is important.

When you're starting plants from seed, it's essential they have the best chance of survival. Quality soil and the right growing conditions are easy to create, and very important. 

If you're ready to start planting seeds today, be sure to jump ahead in the series to How to Successfully Grow from Seed. If you're ready to learn the simplest (low cost) formula for creating a DIY seed-starting mix, then start here. 

Store-Bought Seed Starting Mixes

There are several varieties of seed-starting mixes that can be purchased online or in your local garden center. I've had the best experience with ProMix Organic Seed Starter, as well as Burpee's Organic Seed Starter Mix. Both of these have been great producers for me, especially with vegetable starts. The are balanced with a variety of textures and nutrients. I buy the Burpee variety locally, but have to buy ProMix online from Amazon. 

As the volume of my growing has increased, I decided to experiment with a DIY option for making a seed-starting mix. 

Mel's Mix for Seed Starting

After many years of trial and error as a seed-starter and a gardener,, I finally discovered "Mel's Mix". Taken from the gifted gardener and author, Mel Bartholomew, I discovered Mel's Mix in his best-selling book, Square Foot Gardening

Not only is Mel's Mix what I use to grow vegetables in my planter boxes and greenhouse; it's what I use to start my seeds every year, too. 

Mel's Mix is a simple formula:

1 Part Vermiculite

+

1 Part Peat Moss

+

1 Part Compost

(I use homemade)

From Three Ingredients to Seedlings

I purchase peat moss and vermiculite in large bales from Home Depot or Lowe's. I make my own compost, but have also used store-purchased bags from garden centers. I simply mix these three ingredients together, as much or as little as I need. 

 

If you're ready to start planting seeds today, be sure to jump ahead in the series to How to Successfully Grow from Seed. I'll share the exact methods that I use, from start to finish, for growing healthy seedlings every year. 

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PLANTER BOX GARDENING 101

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CHOOSING CONTAINERS

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