Saturday 16 April 2016

Flowers From Seed and Potting Soil - Make Your Own!

The great part of starting flowers from seed is the amazing variety!  I can go to my local grocer and pick up some petunias but there tends to be very little choice.  For the most part, I'm only growing flowers to help the vegetables I grow (distracting bad bugs or attracting good bugs for pollination).  And that generally means marigolds, nasturtiums and sunflowers.  And there are so many colours and size to choose from (well, maybe not all of those sunflowers, just a few of them!).

Here are my plans for this year:

I made a post this same time last year on this subject so won't get into detail about the flower seeds themselves.  But I thought I'd share how I make my potting soil.

I've already potted up tomato and pepper seedlings using a store-bought potting mix.  That's okay for a small amount of seedlings.  But around this time when I start many other vegetable seeds and flowers, it can get a bit pricey.  So I make my own mix.

It's a pretty loose "recipe" but I generally use 1/3 each of compost, vermiculite/perlite and peat moss.  The compost provides vital nutrients.  Vermiculite or perlite helps with aeration and drainage.  Peat helps with retention of both water and nutrients.

I need to rethink the use of peat moss simply because of its ecological impact here.  And when I say "here", I mean Canada as it is one of the world's largest (2nd?) producers of it.  Approximately 12% of Canada's land surface are covered with peat although most is in remote locations (reference here).  So maybe I'll switch to coir which is a byproduct of coconut.  But hey, I had a bag of peat moss left from last year so that's what I used!

I mix them up in an old wheelbarrow along with some water.  Flower seeds are started in styrofoam flats and left in the greenhouse until ready to be planted outside - many weeks from now!!


  1. Your mix looks like the right stuff. Maybe a touch of limestone to increase the pH. I'm lazy so I buy the premixed Lambert stuff (a great Canadian producer) from the local garden center. I wouldn't worry about using peat. At least it is from unpolluted peat bogs. Coir is an industrial waste product that has been promoted as "green" but really is not.

    1. Thanks for the advice, David! Hmm ... I really should test my pH levels now and then although everything seems to always be around 6.5 - 7 no matter what I do to it.

      And OK on the coir - I haven't really looked into much so not in a rush to change my approach.