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Greatgardens April 17, 2018 11:28 AM

adding fertilizer to seed starting coir.
**IF** you were going to add a small amount of dry organic fert. to a coir seed starting mix, what would it be? I'm looking for a bit of "insurance" since I typically let my first plants get very large before going outside. For example my Rejina Red plants are now a full foot tall.

My initial thoughts are Burpee Bone Meal. 6-8-0 or one of the others that is typically 0-10-0, but leaning to the Burpee. Or can you suggest something you think might be better?

BTW, I've done "no additions" for many years -- I'm looking for potential improvement.


Al@NC April 17, 2018 11:57 AM

I put a dry slow release fertilizer in my dixie cups in the bottom 80% of the potting soil. Then add jiffy mix sterile to the top 20% of the cup with the mindset that once the seedling is growing it's roots deep enough in the cup it hits the fertilizer and it will take off. I have used all sorts of different ferts such as Osmocote in the past without giving much thought to which one to use though.

I'm curious as well about others that may add ferts to the seed starting mix...


Father'sDaughter April 18, 2018 12:45 AM

Personally, I prefer to wait until seedlings are getting their first true leaves, then I start with a 50% strength liquid fertilizer with every other watering.

I used to use Neptune Fish/Seaweed Emulsion, but the smell gets pretty bad indoors. I now use the Vegetable formula from The Urban Farms (the Texas Tomato Food company). I start seeds in DE and up-pot to 100% coir, so my medium provides nothing on it's own.

Greatgardens April 18, 2018 01:09 AM

So in your use, multiple liquid fert. additions instead of a "permanent" one-time dry addition?

AlittleSalt April 18, 2018 01:14 AM

Just a comment about fertilizing - I wait until the tomato plants have four true leafs and are 3 - 4 inches tall. I don't use coir, so I can't offer thoughts there.

Father'sDaughter April 21, 2018 12:47 AM

adding fertilizer to seed starting coir.

Originally Posted by Greatgardens (Post 695777)
So in your use, multiple liquid fert. additions instead of a "permanent" one-time dry addition?


That is correct. They stay on the every-other-watering at 50% strength fertilizing schedule until they go out to the garden. It has worked very well for me so I stick with it.

bower April 21, 2018 02:31 PM

I have no experience with coir, but I can vouch for bone meal as a fert for seedlings, at least, here where it's cold it seems to work fine. As Al said, mixed into the bottom 80% or so is best, just because I find that fert on the top tends to promote wierd fungal stuff to grow.
The bone meal here is 4-12-0 iirc so some N as well as P. IMO the high P helps the cold situation by ensuring soluble P that's easier to take up in the circumstances. But liquid fish fert would provide that too, if watering works for you. I can't really water on a schedule here because I don't control the temperature and rate of uptake, and I want to keep the seedlings on the dry side not cold and wet.

It's possible that there's a better more balanced dry fert available with some K in it as well, but I don't know it or haven't tried.:)
Oh, and as regards the timing - I don't use ferts on the heat mat when germinating, but I put a few grains of bone meal into the cell pack and pot up the seedlings in 9 cells until they get a couple sets of true leaves. I've never seen any adverse effect of giving them a little fert before they have true leaves, but I wouldn't want to do that for germination stage as it might promote rots in the hot wet environment.

hl2601 April 22, 2018 06:12 PM

Thanks for your insights Bower and Al-
I have used osmocote sprinkled over the tops after transplanting generally with very good success. However-I see what you are saying about the issue of fungal diseases as possibly problematic. Never even considered that before. Also never thought of your solution to mix it into the bottom when transplanting. Love learning here!

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