Ideal Compost
Ideal Compost

Ideal Compost Potting Soil & Your Seedlings

by Dave Trumble, Good Earth Farm, Weare, NH

Everything you need to grow healthy plants is right inside this potting soil. We have been using this potting soil in our certified organic greenhouse business for over ten years. Our plants are healthy, green and stocky. Many customers tell us that our plants are their best performers in the garden. Transplant shock is minimal. We attribute this largely to this wonderful potting soil.

Here are some tips for you:

The nutrients in this soil are compost-based and therefore are balanced. As a general rule, do not throw them out of balance by over-fertilizing.

Container Size
The most common mistake made using organic compost-based potting soils is leaving plants in any container for too long. We figure four weeks per container is about right. If you are growing an:
8 week crop like peppers or eggplant - you will need two containers. Start your plants in a small cell (approximately 1 3/16" square) and then in four weeks, transplant them into a six-pack sized cell (approximately 2" square.) You can use deeper cells for the second cell.

6 week crop like tomatoes or basil - you will need to use two cells also. If you only use one cell, your plants will fade and get spindly.

3-4 week crop like squash - you only need one cell, but use an extra-wide cell (approximatley 2 1/2" diameter).

In short, the trick is to keep moving your plants into larger pots every three to four weeks.

Germinating seed - Just water the soil lightly and keep it moist so the seeds do not dry out. Do not drench them. The seeds may get washed away and you would be just draining nutrients out of the soil.

Growing plants - Water deeply in the morning. This will let the plants dry off and not be wet at night. A second watering in the afternoon is often needed, especially in warmer weather such as May.

Supplemental Feeding
You may want to add some fish emulsion/seaweed to your water once or twice in May. By then, the plants are getting large and will need an extra boost. This is the one exception to the rule that compost-based potting soils provide all the nutrients your transplants will need.

Hanging baskets will also need some fish/seaweed a few times during the summer.

We have been fortunate to avoid soil-borne diseases in our greenhouse. THe major reason for this, in our opinion, is the presence of beneficial microorganisms in the compost-based potting soil. In fact, new research has led many large conventional nurseries to start adding compost to the sterile "soilless mixes" they grow their plants in. The absence of all living microbes in those "soilless mixes" has allowed the bad microbes to take over. This leads to the use of chemical sprays to kill soil-borne diseases.

Another thing you can do to help your seedlings is to provide ventilation every day (even if it is cloudy).

Transplanting Your Garden
When you put a conventionally-grown pplant in your garden, it will be shocked when it is deprived of the miracle fertilizers that it was fed every day. When you put a plant grown in compost-based potting soil into the ground, it will thrive because there are rootball nutirents that it will continue to use until its roots go into your garden soil. You will notice a difference!

We heartily endorse Ideal Compost's Potting Soil. The mix is perfect for home gardeners and commercial farmers alike. Organic gardening and farming starts with the soil, including the potting soil.

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