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Old March 7, 2018   #1
Jeanus
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Default Potting mix/soil

Has anyone had bad luck with store bought potting mixes? I have had mixes with fungus gnats, a mix that the peppers would not grow in, but next year they grew, this year the seeds are dying they do not want to put roots into the mix just grow along the top and then die. If you do use your own stuff from the great mulch pile how do you treat it for unwanted wildlife?
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Old March 7, 2018   #2
TexasTomat0
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Are you saying you're using store bought mix or homemade mix?

I probably wouldn't use mulch to start seeds. I have had good success using just straight peat moss to start them in or floor dry (diatomaceous earth) from AutoZone. Both are sterile and don't have any critters.
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Old March 7, 2018   #3
Al@NC
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I personally had a lot of issues with big box stores mixes which would sit out in the elements and get rained on and grow gnats and who knows what else. When I first started I would buy this mix after it sit outside all season and then get it on sale thinking I was getting a bargain but no more.

I now only buy the good stuff but more importantly, I only buy new soil that was made for the new season (or at least I think it's new, it gets put out after their old soil is on clearance). And lastly, it has to be stored indoors or I don't buy it...

The last season I bought the bad gnat infested stuff I found out you could buy "mosquito dunks" and break up a dunk over the top of the mix, the dunks would get eaten by the gnats and kill them, but why hassle?

Al
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Old March 7, 2018   #4
GrowingCoastal
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I am wondering about the viability of mycorrhizae in soilless mixes that have sat in a warehouse for a year.
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Old March 7, 2018   #5
oakley
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You mentioned this year they are dying...your pepper seedlings. Take note/record, what is
different this year from last. Starting seeds, you want the most pure/sterile non-soil mix
possible.

I'm potting up some seedlings today, (snow day), ...two foil roasting trays in the oven to
sterilize a big half bag of SunGro I have stored in the garage.

Oven at 225 pre-heat, both pans covered with foil. Check at one half hour for 180º. Turn
off heat and rest in oven another half hour. Good safe soil pasteurization.

Seed starting I use coir bricks. Easy to store and have back-ups on a shelf when I need it.

I got so boned last year with a damp 'old stock' bag of start mix. And I know better.

I also have a supply of yellow sticky traps and just one set up to monitor any issues.
I grow year round so I have to keep an eye on issues.

I also baked a tray of clean sand at much higher heat. It's a prep ahead that I'll mix with
DiaEarth if I need it at some point.
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Old March 7, 2018   #6
ginger2778
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al@NC View Post
I personally had a lot of issues with big box stores mixes which would sit out in the elements and get rained on and grow gnats and who knows what else. When I first started I would buy this mix after it sit outside all season and then get it on sale thinking I was getting a bargain but no more.

I now only buy the good stuff but more importantly, I only buy new soil that was made for the new season (or at least I think it's new, it gets put out after their old soil is on clearance). And lastly, it has to be stored indoors or I don't buy it...

The last season I bought the bad gnat infested stuff I found out you could buy "mosquito dunks" and break up a dunk over the top of the mix, the dunks would get eaten by the gnats and kill them, but why hassle?

Al
Gnatrol granules are easier. Already broken down into usable BT. I sprinkle it on my seed starter, and slso in my 2 week old transplants , no fungus gnat larvae ever since. Its on Amazon, and eBay too.
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Old March 7, 2018   #7
ginger2778
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrowingCoastal View Post
I am wondering about the viability of mycorrhizae in soilless mixes that have sat in a warehouse for a year.
Most of these have a purchase by date, the mycos live about 2 years from that unless at very high heat.
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Old March 7, 2018   #8
AlittleSalt
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I am/was thinking about getting MG with the 6 month flavor berries in it for our 5 gallon buckets https://www.homedepot.com/p/Miracle-...1430/206457033 I haven't tried it though.

I have seen bags of Potting Mix in stacks that sat out for a long time growing Bermuda grass in them. Some others that smelt rancid.
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Old March 7, 2018   #9
Koala Doug
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeanus View Post
Has anyone had bad luck with store bought potting mixes?

I've had bad luck in the past (especially with Miracle-Gro potting mix) - bugs, sticks, rocks, and even an occasional piece of plastic. I've since moved on to higher-quality products (I've settled on Pro-Mix) that have none of the aforementioned issues and are cheaper than the stuff bought from big box stores like Home Depot and Lowe's.
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Old March 7, 2018   #10
PotGarden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlittleSalt View Post
I am/was thinking about getting MG with the 6 month flavor berries in it for our 5 gallon buckets https://www.homedepot.com/p/Miracle-...1430/206457033 I haven't tried it though.

I have seen bags of Potting Mix in stacks that sat out for a long time growing Bermuda grass in them. Some others that smelt rancid.

I've seen the ny botanical garden use Miracle Gro. But I've had a hard time with it...fungus gnats and mites.

This is the one thing I don't scrimp on is soil. I've used Epsom seed starting mix, coir, peat, depending on the plant. There's also a great brand called Coast of Maine i love for container growing, but I think it's regional.
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Old March 7, 2018   #11
PotGarden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koala Doug View Post
I've had bad luck in the past (especially with Miracle-Gro potting mix) - bugs, sticks, rocks, and even an occasional piece of plastic. I've since moved on to higher-quality products (I've settled on Pro-Mix) that have none of the aforementioned issues and are cheaper than the stuff bought from big box stores like Home Depot and Lowe's.
I forgot, yes, other things in there, too! Have to pick through it...
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Old March 8, 2018   #12
Al@NC
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If you do use MG and get gnats eating the roots of your plants, get the gnatrol that Marsha mentioned and get some yellow sticky paper or I've even used yellow paper and 2 sided tape before. The gnats are drawn to yellow like catnip for cats...

Al
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Old March 8, 2018   #13
Jeanus
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I was using store bought starter mix. I was wondering about using composted rabbit stuff leaf mulch because that is what I have and because the store bought stuff has been such a disaster.
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Old March 8, 2018   #14
Jeanus
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I had poured boiling water over some but I will try roasting in the oven. I have the trays.
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Old March 8, 2018   #15
oakley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeanus View Post
I was using store bought starter mix. I was wondering about using composted rabbit stuff leaf mulch because that is what I have and because the store bought stuff has been such a disaster.
Save that good stuff for outside. Later on when planting in your pots or garden.

When baking in the oven, pay attention to temps. Don't want to roast/char at too high
temperatures.
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