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Winter Sowing Dirt...what king?

I'm out here in the middle of nowhere. There is a hardware store in my little town. There is a Walmart 15 miles away. Home Depot or Menards is 50 miles away. Dollar General won't get any 'dirt' for a few months--and I'm not partial to their dirt anyway. Any suggestions what I should get or stay away from?

Heidi in Nebraska

Comments (9)

  • PVick

    Hello, Heidi! Stay away from anything that says "potting soil", they will most likely be too heavy; choose those that specifically say "potting mix". Don't use seed-starting mixes either. I use Fafard Professional Potting Mix, but used Miracle-Gro for years. Walmart should have that?

    Folks have used all kinds of different soil formulations and had success, and I hope they will chime in on your post.


  • mnwsgal

    I have used many, many kinds of soilless mix over the years. Early on I used a Walmart mix but they changed what they carried. Now I use either ProMix bought in compressed bagged bales from HD or Menards or plain Miracle Grow, no moisture crystals. Sometimes I buy the MG from Walmart. I find the Pro Mix Bales go further thus being cheaper in the long run. I buy ProMix in the fall but find that if I run out our Menards has them undercover so don't have to ask a sales person to bring them in from a snowy yard and then have to deal with heavy frozen mix.

    Some people find that seeds rot in moisture control mix which stays too wet.

  • morz8

    The product that comes to mind that you really don't want is Hyponex. Awful stuff. Just about anything else I've tried has been acceptable from the other soilless products available. Miracle Gro Organic Choice is a little heavy and I think holds more moisture than seeds need to get off to a good start, but Hyponex will turn into a brick and stunt roots.

  • PVick

    mor28 - that was the one I was trying to remember - Hyponex! Like concrete.

  • texasranger2

    I use just about any kind of potting mix and just add a good handful of vermiculite to make it very light and fast draining, about 1/3 vermiculite to 2/3 potting soil. I get these at Home Depot, Lowe's or Walmart. Around here they have big bags of potting soil outdoors in the plant area all year round, the vermiculite is found over by the fancy pots, cactus mix, plant food and other special stuff for plants. It works well.

  • xiangirl zone 4/5 Nebraska

    Thank you. I used potting soil last year and was so disappointed with low germination. The year before they all dried out. Of course that meant I think I kept things too wet last year as a result. I was a bit overprotective. I got my potting mix from the local hardware store and he's got more if I need it. I just need to retrain the husband not to throw out the containers now. LOL

  • rgreen48

    Germination is a bit different than potting mix. Get a good 'seed starter' mix like jiffy, or something similar. Either start your seeds right in that mix, or use one of the many methods of germination (paper towels etc..). Then... when the seedlings have grown to about 2" - 4" tall or so, transplant into the mixes people have described above. I like to use plugs. You can see when the roots have filled the plugs and are ready for the potting medium.

    Another simple method is to put the 'potting medium' in the containers, leaving about an inch or 2 of space at the top. Then fill the rest of the way with seed starter. Sow your seeds into the seed starter. The seeds will germinate in the starter, then find their way into the potting medium. Where you decide to do after that is up to where you decide is to be their home.

  • mnwsgal
    1. rgreen, those suggestions work well if starting seed indoors but not for the winter sowing method of sowing seeds in containers, sorta like mini-greenhouses, and setting the containers outside for the winter to wait for spring germination. It is not unusual for new posters to this forum to confuse the two methods as the same terms are used to mean different things.
    2. This forum is for using the winter sowing method. Other forums, Growing from Seed and Growing Under Lights discuss starting seed in winter, and other seasons, indoors.
    3. IMO seed starting mix is too fine for the winter sowing method, more expensive as well. Most prefer a potting mix, either bought or one they make. Potting soil is more dense than potting mix and unless modified doesn't drain as well so may stay too wet.
  • rgreen48

    Ahhh... ty mnwsgal. Then, in the immortal words of Ms. Emily Litella... "Nevermind".

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