I posted this recipe a year ago but it is buried in a larger post and I decided it would be better-accessed if it had its own place. Making your own mix is SUPER easy and worth the small effort if you are growing a lot of seedlings.
These are the ratios I prefer. If you don’t need a huge batch you can use this as a basis for choosing a store-bought seed-starting mix. Always read the label and look for an ingredients list. Most popular brands have chemical fertilizers added that are unnecessary and will defeat the purpose of growing organically.
Instead, buy a basic mix and add in your own organic materials. I suggest adding a touch of vermicompost and watering your plants with a diluted sea-kelp mix. To be clear, seeds do not require any fertilizers until they produce their first set of “true leaves“. In basic terms this means the second set of leaves you will see. The first leaves that appear are called “seed leaves” and feed the seedling until the first “true leaves”appear.
- 1 part peat or coir (Coir is a sustainable peat substitute made from coconut husks. Peat is mined from marshland, destroying natural habitats. When you can, use coir.)
- 1 part perlite (popped volcanic ash that creates good drainage.)
- 1 part vermiculite (water absorbing material made from the mineral mica)
Photo by Davin Risk
Sigh. This view of my roof garden from the door feels a million miles away today.
Remember summer? Yeah, me neither. If not for photographic evidence I would have to assume these so-called memories are in fact only beautiful delusions. I know many of you in the Southern Hemisphere are in the midst of it so you will have to excuse my mid-winter pity party. Over the last few days the temperature has plummeted to an unbearable, and therefore unacceptable bone-chilling cold. Unbearable I tell you!! I held out for two full days hunkering down indoors without stepping foot outside until today when I had no choice but to suck it up, put on as many layers as possible and face it. Even worse, our Taste of Summer life-sustaining preserves are rapidly depleting: the red pepper katsup is no more (good-bye delicious sauce!) and I just opened the final jar of Blackened Salsa Ranchera.
Not to be dramatic, but people are dying over here!
See you in 5 months July, wherein you can expect to find me complaining about the heat.
Allow me to introduce to you yet another alternative to the Christmas Tree.
A few weeks back I bought this tiny $3.00 string of miniature LED lights meant for creating miniature Winter Wonderlands. I have a thing for miniatures that stems from repeated childhood trips to the Hobby Shop to visit the rotating display of doll house props for a doll house that would never be. I have to admit that I didn’t really care about the doll house as a play object but rather imagined it as a vessel to hold all those neat miniature Victorian-era do-dads. I just love tiny things and dioramas: tiny food packaging, tiny figurines, tiny ghetto blasters, HO scale anything… everything is more fun in miniature form.
Since I do not have space to store, let alone display the props of a Winter Wonderland (although I do collect HO scale models for a possible future giant diorama that will never be) I thought the lights would be best put to use draped over a small plant. This Tillandsia streptophylla* is larger than my outstretched hand and doesn’t particularly match the scale of the lights, however I enjoy turning them on at night, pausing while reading a book to gaze up at the brightly illuminated bulbs.
*Note that my Tillandsia is starting to put out a flower stalk from the centre!
I know that time is getting tight now as the Holiday Season kicks into gear but I wanted to be sure and mention some gifts to make if you’re coming up dry on ideas for the gardener friend in your life. A lot of these ideas use materials harvested from your own garden but I have found that in a pinch the herbs can be purchased at affordable prices from the bulk bins of local health food stores.
I took this photo back in October (Is it really very nearly the end of the year already?) on our trip to the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately, I can not recall which plant this is. I might have known what it was when I took the photo having more of the plant for context. And there is always the possibility that I might have known it based on a photo of the flowers rather than the seed pods. I have never been very good about keeping track of the plants I take photos of, relying on what I always think is a good memory only to realize later that I have no idea what the heck this thing is.
I’m excited about a plan to add a regular photo feature to the site in the New Year as a way for me to actually use some of the countless plant and garden photos I take during the growing season. I am especially excited about showing more of my film photography because that is actually where my heart is. It is a big part of my life (and my gardening life) but has never really felt like it had a home here. I’ve got to do a separate design for it since I want to be able to post those photos larger than 450 pixels wide hence the wait until after the New Year.