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 .
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?