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

Shoemaker, William H wshoemak at illinois.edu
Sat Apr 9 11:07:34 EDT 2016


It should, but it may be "heavy" in plug trays. But it really depends on what materials you use for it. I'd be inclined to try it.


Bill

William H. Shoemaker

Retired fruit and vegetable horticulturist

University of Illinois

wshoemak at illinois.edu<mailto:wshoemak at illinois.edu>

________________________________
From: Market-farming [market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] on behalf of Mike Rock [mikerock at mhtc.net]
Sent: Friday, April 08, 2016 10:07 PM
To: Market Farming
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Organic fertilizer in seed starting medium?

Thank you Bill,
What about Elliot Coleman's soil block mix?  It worked for blocks but how about just starter media?

On 4/8/2016 8:05 PM, Shoemaker, William H wrote:
Sorry about the previous post with nothing in it. Hit the wrong key with my left finger.

Marlin, one of the things I was taught as an undergrad in horticulture is that most seeds have all the nutrition they need to develop into an established seedling. That means a plant with leaves that are fully engaged in photosynthesis, probably the 4-leaf stage. So if you have a good growing medium that has very little nutrition in it, say 75% peat moss + 15% vermiculite + 10% rice hulls, your healthy seeds should produce healthy seedlings. That said, some good fertility applied before they reach this stage will be taken up and used when they reach this stage, and will help the seedlings continue to grow well into healthy, mature transplants. A compost tea applied at the two-leaf stage should be planty (sorry, I like puns). So I wouldn't invest too much in fertility in the growing media itself, unless it is compost you use as part of your growing medium. I do like that approach because compost slowly releases nutrients in a steady stream, creating a sustainable flow of whole nutrition to your young plants. It also establishes a microbe biome in the medium which goes to the field with your plants.

So I came to believe that what I learned as an undergrad was true. Fresh seeds are powerhouses designed to get the seedling into an established state without outside support. But once developed into a real seedling, they need, and benefit from that support.

Isn't Spring wonderful?!!

Bill

William H. Shoemaker

Retired fruit and vegetable horticulturist

University of Illinois

wshoemak at illinois.edu<mailto:wshoemak at illinois.edu>

________________________________



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