Thursday, February 2, 2012

Starting Seeds: Lightly Sifted Compost

Today we're launching a conversation about seed starting, and we hope you'll join us. I'll start us off...

Good advice from Sharon Astyk--smart, prolific writer:
You see, I knew you could start seeds in lightly sifted compost - in fact, I'd seen Rodale Institute tests that showed that some varieties seeds did best in finished compost. So, the year before, I'd gone out in February, dug up some compost, let it defrost, and then sifted it through an old screen and used it, with lovely results. All those living organic bacteria made a very happy arrangement, and the seeds I started that way did far better than those I did in organic potting mix.
Today I'm going to shovel out some compost and sift it through a screen. I'll use it in containers to start seeds using the winter-sowing method Debbie and Little Green Girl showed us last year. Not sure if sifted compost would work in the portable microgarden shown above, as it's sub irrigated and relies on a wickable potting medium.

I like the idea of using the rich resource we have in compost...and not having to buy potting mix. Since it was 60 degrees Jan 31 in Chicago and should hit 50 today, it's definitely gardening weather, at least for now.

Winter-sowing relies on cold...but we likely have more of that yet to come.


mmpaints said...

I usually start my seeds in those peat pellets because I like to make mini greenhouses with ziploc bags 9drafty in this crappy place). Last fall, I started some cherry tomatoes so I could eat them all winter long. Once they sprouted, I put one pellet in my own compost (critter manure, hay, straw etc) and another in potting mix. Within 2 weeks, the compost plant was twice the size of the potting soil plant. Natural is the way to go IMO.

H2 said...

Great results from your compost vs potting mix experiment, mm. That gives me a real reason to keep trying to sift WET COMPOST--a herculean task.