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

Rob Wallbridge rob at songberry.ca
Fri Apr 8 21:34:53 EDT 2016


Hi Marlin,

My guess is that you're dealing with high soluble salts (EC) and/or ammonia
levels. More info here:
http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/pottingmix.html

Cheers,
Rob
On Apr 8, 2016 8:41 PM, "Marlin Burkholder" <burkholders at glenecofarm.com>
wrote:

>
> 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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