Do I need Seed Starting Mix?

The other day I was Googling around and was BLOWN away by the number of questions folks had about seed starting mix:

Wow. Wow. Wow. Let's slow down and back track here to clear a few things up!

Do you have to use seed starting mix?

You might be surprised to hear this, but my personal philosophy is No!

Why's that?

Well, traditionally a seed starting mix is a sterile medium that is heavy in peat moss or coco coir that is used to germinate seeds in, before potting them up into a larger container with a Seedling Mix.

Image of Jiffy's sterile seed starting mix

This has been a common practice because it is a sterile environment and a desire to protect the very young seedlings from pests or diseases.

But my thinking has always been:

The garden, where we want them to thrive, is the opposite of a sterile and controlled environment  - so why bother starting them in a sterile environment?

What's the difference between seed starting mix and seedling mix?

When you look at some of the common seed starting mixes such as those from Jiffy and Burpee the ingredients consistent of only two elements: Peat Moss (or Coco Coir, a peat moss alternative) and Vermiculite. The Peat Moss or Coco Coir serve as the growing medium while the vermiculite retains water.

But where does the plant get nutrients and microbial life from?

And this is why I include worm castings and finely sifted compost in our Worm Casting Seedling Mix.

Image of Mind & Soil (Mind and Soil) worm casting seedling mix

With a seed starting mix you can only use it for about 3 weeks and after that point the plant NEEDS nutrients and microbes. To accomplish this, you would pot it up into a seedling mix to begin putting on its growth.  

So from my perspective, the only benefit of a seed starting mix would be if a non-sterile environment is causing damage.

Is it necessary for seed starting mix to be sterile?

Over the past several years I have started thousands of seeds using our simple method to starting seeds indoors, and not a single one has died in the first few weeks due to being in a non-sterile environment.

Genetically these plants are more familiar with a non-sterile environment than a sterile environment and will be looking for those nutrients and microbes within their first few weeks.

So given that they are in a more natural environment, not only have they survived, but they have thrived - just as demonstrated by our +150 delighted customer testimonials.

Link to Mind & Soil (Mind & Soil) happy customer testimonial page using worm casting seedling mix

DIY Seed Starting Mix with Worm Castings

If you are looking to make your own seed starting mix - I encourage you to add nutritional and microbial value to it by including both compost and worm castings. It is common to use up to 50% peat moss and perlite, and then 25% compost and 25% worm castings. 

However, to do so you would need to buy each of the four inputs individually and then mix the ratios together - likely to cost you more and certainly take more time than using a pre-measured and pre-mixed seedling mix.

Where can I buy Worm Casting Seedling Mix?

We would absolutely LOVE to have you try our Worm Casting Seedling Mix this season and even better is that we ship it all across Canada! We have been refining the ratios based off of our experiments for the last 3+ years and each bag is perfectly measured to fill 1x 1020 tray.

All you need to do is open it up and start seeding - it's never been easier!

Additionally, we offer FREE Shipping on all orders above $100 - which makes adding one of our tried & tested Grow Lights a common way to get the free shipping! 

How do I start my seeds?

Once you have your growing medium all set, you're nearly all set to start your seeds.

But - factors such as light, temperature, and water play a big role in how successfully your seeds will grow in your beautiful seedling mix. So when you're ready, I encourage you to head over to our step-by-step seed starting guide: The SIMPLEST Method to Start Seeds Indoors

Link to Mind & Soil (Mind & Soil) step-by-step guide how on to start seeds indoors

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