[Market-farming] Organic fertilizer in seed starting medium?

Beth Spaugh lists at rhomestead.com
Fri Apr 8 21:02:07 EDT 2016

Don't know Plant Tone, but a cup to a cubic foot sounds pretty steep.  I 
throw in some peanut or alfalfa or soy meal.  Sometimes a LITTLE of our 
poultry bedding (peat based but very rich).  Tomatoes are pretty tough.  
Lettuces, never the poultry bedding.

On 4/8/2016 8:41 PM, Marlin Burkholder wrote:
> Organic fertilizer in seed starting medium?
> Looks like I have done it again!
> A year or too ago I posted on MF about have trouble getting seeds 
> started after mixing an organic based fertilizer (Plant Tone I think) 
> into potting soil I was using for seed starting and for pricking week 
> old seedlings over into grow out flats.  Plants would germinate 
> satisfactorily, then stop growing.  After a week or two of wondering 
> why the slow to no growth I would check a few seedlings and find few 
> to no roots.  As I recall someone mentioned that plant proteins 
> contained in some organic fertilizers can be toxic.
> The first time it happened about five years prior to the time I last 
> posted about it, I had used a premixed OMRI approved “ready to plant 
> into” medium bought at a local garden center.  Every thing I planted 
> into that stuff failed and I got my money back when I went back to the 
> garden center and bitched.
> The time I used Plant Tone I mixed according to instructions on the 
> bag, about a 1/2 to one cup into about a cubic foot of medium.  I 
> assumed that organic materials are more forgiving of less than precise 
> mixing procedure but apparently got bit.  Last year I decided for the 
> next go round to use nothing but chemical salt based materials, 
> Miracle Grow or something similar, and got along better.
> Well guess what!  I succumbed to temptation again and bought a five 
> pound bag this spring to use in my starting mixes.  You know, it had 
> kelp, bone meal, alfalfa meal, fish meal, micorizae, several other 
> beneficial organisms whose names I can’t remember etc.--all the good 
> stuff, along with the promise that the plants would love it!  When two 
> seedling flats of peppers tanked, I blamed it on a small amount of 
> germination mix I had left in an aluminum baking pan for about a week 
> which I had used to cover seeds.  The one I had covered with material 
> other than what was in the aluminum pan did not have impressive 
> germination, but the seeds that did come up were healthy.  Then the 
> tomato seedlings I had pricked over into to grow out flats started to 
> go down hill.  A watering with Miller’s Nutri Leaf didn’t revive them. 
>  This afternoon I repotted 180 plants into clean potting soil watered 
> with nothing but Nutri Leaf.  I will do the other half of my tomato 
> seedlings on Monday and hope for better luck.  After over 20 years of 
> plant starting this thing is getting embarrassing and extremely 
> frustrating.
> Is it wrong to use fertilizer in seed starting mix?
> Marlin Burkholder
> Virginia
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Beth Spaugh
Rehoboth Homestead, Peru NY
http://rhomestead.com      http://www.facebook.com/rhomestead

"How we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used." -
Wendell Berry

"Without power over our food, any notion of democracy is empty." - Frances
Moore Lappe

It's not that nice guys finish last. They have a whole different notion
where the finish line is. - unknown

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