Mixing Soil for Seed Planting

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Mixing Soil for Seed Planting - Provided by eHow
Mix sterile soil for planting greens in trays to keep in a hoop house. Learn to mix soil for growing greens from an organic farmer in this free gardening video. View Video Transcript

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Daniel Botkin

Video Transcript

We're going to talk today about soil. My assistant, Shenandoah, is going to demonstrate some of the mixing techniques that we use. First of all we need a large quantity of good soil for transplants in the spring. "Shen, why don't you start mixing up the first batch?" She's going to add equal parts of peat moss and garden compost that we mined from our in-house composting system, and then an organic aggregate, a stone called "perlite", which serves to add bulk and to increase the water-holding and the aeration capacity of her mix. "Do we need more"? "Add another scoop of each, yeah". We go through lots of soil for all of our many transplants. Now the perlite is adding bulk, no nutrients, but it adds a certain quality of fluffiness and aeration and water retention capacity. The compost, of course, adds all the nutrients that the little plants will need. And the peat moss here, is going to add organic matter, some nutrients, and a lot of water-holding capacity. Now in mixing soil for this kind of purpose, you begin to realize that there is no "sacred recipe" to follow. Soil mixing is as much an art as it is a science. So when I mix, I begin to get a sense of the fluffiness and the ability to hold water, the ability to hold air, and you can see that this would be a pretty typical mix. "For transplanting"? "For transplanting". Now this has garden soil in it, so theoretically we wouldn't use this for starting seeds, because they would be prone to a disease called "damping off". For the seed starting, we're going to use this sterile mix, this is a commercially, organic commercially prepared sterile soil starter. And this, since it's sterile, will serve better for the seeds, because they are prone to this disease, this terribly damaging disease called "damping off".