garden5
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Organic Jiffy Seed Starting Mix REVIEW

This is my review of the Organic Jiffy Seed Starting Mix. I picked up a bag several weeks ago and used some for the first time the other day to start some seedlings.

The mix was really dry and fluffy and smelled great....a lot like my own compost-dirt.

I filled the cells of my flat with it, tamped it down a little, and then proceded to water it before I planted my seedlings. After having several seeds wash around last year, I've decided to water first, plant second :lol:.

So, I go to moisten the mix......and It repels the water! I mean, the water puddled up on the top of the mix, in the cell, with a thin layer of mix on top of the water. The water gradually drained through, but the mix was still dry :?. So I tried it again, this time stirring the mix around in the cell with my finger. This time, the water went through it faster, but when I felt around in the cell, the top layer was half-wet, the middle pretty dry, and the bottom decently moistened.

OK, by this time I was very glad that I did not plant the seeds in it ahead of time. I did some checking online and found out what may be the culprit: the mixture is 50% peat and 40% vermiculite. That's why it wasn't acting like all of the other potting mix I've used before.

So, in my researching, I found that several others had the same exact problem with the water I did. However, I also found 3 solutions:

1. Take hot/warm water and put a drop of dish SOAP (NOT DETERGENT) in it and water the cells with this. Supposedly, this breaks the surface tension of the water.

2. Set the containers in water and let the mixture wick up the water from the bottom for about 12/24 hrs. before planting.

3. Mix it by hand in a bucked, slowly adding warm water until you get the right consistency.

Since I had no experience working with something like this before, I decided to just dump it all out, rinse the cell-packs, and re-fill them with the compost-dirt I used last year. It worked then, so it will have to do this year.

Once everything was planted, I decided to return to the Jiffy mix. I didn't want to mix soapy-water with seed-germinating and didn't want to wait overnight for it to soak up water, so into the mixing bucket it went.

I added warm water little by little , mixing it in thoroughly by hand. To my surprise, it actually turned out great! The texture was very nice: dense, moist, but still very crumbly and sort of fine. It seemed to hold a lot of moisture without being "drippy". So, I decided to fill a few cell-packs with it and plant them and to a side-by-side to see which one does better.

So far, it's got the dirt beat on texture, we'll see how germination goes.

Anyone else have any experiences with it?
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gardenvt
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I always mix the germinating/transplant mix with water before I put it into containers. The soil is evenly moist and when I fill a cell, I don't have to add any more mix to it.

Odd Duck
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Pretty much the same as your experience. I pour hot water over everything inside another container and let them soak for at least 12 hours before planting. I have made screens and plan on making my own mix in the future.
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DoubleDogFarm
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G5,

What is the last 10%?

I have used 50 / 50 peat and perlite for many years, but now have changed to 50 / 50 Coconut Coir and perlite.

I mix mine in either a wheelbarrow or large rubbermaid tub with pond water.

Eric

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DoubleDogFarm wrote:G5,

I mix mine in either a wheelbarrow or large rubbermaid tub with pond water.

Eric

Therein lies your secret. Pond water fertilized by your many ducks. That stuff must be like Nature's Miracle Grow Concentrate.

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Duh_Vinci
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Up until about 3 years ago that's all I've used. The older, yellow/green bags.

I had no issues with germination at all. Getting it moist was a little "difficult" at first, I agree. Warm water worked well at home indeed. But still, I generally filled the 72 cell 1020 format trays to the top, and used "shower" setting on the garden hose attachment and watered the trays for a minute or so. Then let is sit overnight. This way any access moisture dripped out, and the mix was nice and moist, but not "wet".

My issue with that mix was that once the plants got their firs full set of leafs, growth rate was really really slow. And not surprising, since the mix is pretty much sterile. Adding worm casting improved the growth rate amazingly!

But now, I use Espoma organic mix. Finer texture, easier to moisten, and includes mycorrhezae... I still add worm castings to the mix...

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D

JZydowicz
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I have the same problem. You can keep a spray bottle next to your seedlings and just spray the mix a little bit to wet it. After that it should absorb poured water fine. That works pretty well for me.

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gixxerific
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I used it with no problem myself. I saw it cheap so I had to have it. Though I mixed ti with humus so it wasn't the pure Jiffy mix. I liked it cause it lightened up the more heavy humus and whatever else I threw in the mix.

That being said I am a big fan of Dr Earth mixes but they were too expensive at the time. I did end up getting some here lately and just love them.

garden5
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Thanks for all of your input everyone! I'm glad I'm not alone.

Eric, the bag says "45-50% peat moss, 45-50% vermiculite, lime for ph balance.

What made you make the switch to coconut coir?

So far, the germination rate has been about equal with the compost-dirt. Well, OK, I didn't really count the seeds this year, so I can't say for sure. Also, I have twice as many cells with dirt as I do with the mix, so that doesn't make my test any more accurate either.

However, the first plant up was with the dirt, the next day, one came up from the mix. So, as far as first sprouts go, they seem to be equal so far. Overall, there are more sprouts up this morning in the compost-dirt than in the mix.


I hope this thread will help out anyone who has trouble with the Jiffy Mix. If it does help you....let us know :).
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DoubleDogFarm
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What made you make the switch to coconut coir?
Initially curiosity. I found out it is a little easier to work with than peat. Also it's a renewably product.


Eric

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Re: Organic Jiffy Seed Starting Mix REVIEW

I bought 2 bags of organic seed starter mix,one was fine I opened the other bag and it took my breath away , it is putrid I actually gagged on the smell.

I worked on construction jobs fixing sewers, and this is close to the worst thing I have smelled in my life, maybe rotten fish in a dumpster beats this smell, and I have smelled the fish too, I don't know if I can have this in our car to return it.

It was bought at walmart spring of 2014

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Organic Jiffy Seed Starting Mix REVIEW

I would put it inside a big plastic garbage bag or something and take it back to the store. They should know what they are selling and you should get your money back.

But you said it was purchased spring of 2014. Technically we haven't even gotten to spring of 2014 yet. Did you mean you just bought it recently or did you mean spring of some other year?
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katjohn83
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Re: Organic Jiffy Seed Starting Mix REVIEW

I had the same issue with the Jiffy Organic mix. After messing with it, I threw it out and bought a bag of miracle grow moisture control. Much better to work with.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Organic Jiffy Seed Starting Mix REVIEW

well, everyone has their own set of circumstances, so what is best in one situation, isn't in the next. I haven't used the Jiffy stuff, so can't say anything about that. But I did try the MG moisture control one time (by accident) and hated it. Way too moisture holding, everything stayed too wet and you couldn't let things dry out between waterings.
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imafan26
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Re: Organic Jiffy Seed Starting Mix REVIEW

Peat moss is hard to wet and repellent when it is dry. I also pretty much wet the mix first. I make my own so I add osmocote or some other controlled release fertilizer.

I have used peat lite dry. To keep the seeds from floating up, the dry mix needs to be watered in stages. Bottom watering helps to wick the water up. I usually water lightly wait a couple of minutes and water again and usually by the third time, water is draining from the bottom of the pot.
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Taiji
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Re: Organic Jiffy Seed Starting Mix REVIEW

I use Jiffy mix too. It has worked well for me. For me, the easiest way to get it wet thru and thru without having to go to the trouble of mixing in another container, etc, is simply to fill my containers (which are plastic) with it, then fill my sink with about an inch or 2 of water, then place the growing cells on the water. Then I just go away and do other things. The grow cells made of plastic, of course have some little holes in the bottom. When they sink to the bottom of the sink, the mix is thoroughly wet! I make sure the water isn't so deep that it overflows the growing cells. Very little effort needed.
Another thing I do that has helped is, that when I plant the seeds in the mix and place it on the warm grow mat to sprout, I will use some plastic (saran) wrap to cover the flats so that they are airtight or nearly so. This creates a little mini greenhouse effect and keeps the mix and seeds humid. But, once they sprout of course, remove the wrap or you will get mold.

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jal_ut
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Re: Organic Jiffy Seed Starting Mix REVIEW

The potting mixes I have looked at or used are all quite predominantly Sphagnum Peat Moss. Yes, if dry, it is slow to soak up water. The bucket is the way to go. Get the stuff wet before putting it in a pot. If you can start the day before, and put the amount you need in a bucket and add some water, stir, and let it sit overnight it will be damp.
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Re: Organic Jiffy Seed Starting Mix REVIEW

I still have these yellow paged paperback set of horticulture books that I basically started with back in junior high school. From those pages, I learned to cut a small hole and pour warm-hot water in the peat/vermiculite/perlite mix, then shake the inflated tightly closed bag vigorously. I think there was how much water per X qt bag kind of instructions but over the years, I just eyeballed it so I don't remember the exact amount.

I used to call it the "Shake 'n' Bake method" because I typically only use a portion of the bag so would scoop out an amount in a sturdy clear bag (veg/produce bags are too thin and your fingers will punch right through, especially after adding warm-hot water) and shake until the interior is all steamy, then leave the bag closed until the bag and soil cools down to appropriate temperature.

The properly moistened mixture should clump when held in your hand, but should not be soggy enough to squeeze out any moisture, and fall apart when poked.
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