gwozdz
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Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:02 am
Location: Way Upstate NY

Help please with Petunia growing soil or mix.

I would like to do several hanging baskets (and a few deck containers)of petunias. Does anyone have some good simple formula to share (ratios of media) using stuff that I can find in a small town. I have some decent top soil I would like to use, but in the searches I have done, that is discouraged. So now I am confused about what I should use to plant the petunias in. I'd like to make up a mix that members here have had success with so I don't have to re-invent. I'm in a small town and my stores don't carry much variety of commercially made mixes that may be available to bigger cities, so it would be better if I can make my own mix with easily obtained ingregients. Thanks in advance.

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Kisal
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I no longer make my own potting mix, but there's a classic recipe that I used to use.

1 part mature compost or leaf mold, sieved through a 1/4" mesh screen
1 part fine garden loam, sieved through a 1/4" screen (I preferred to sterilize it, too, but that was just my choice)
1 part coarse sand
1/2 part perlite (sometimes more, depending on how heavy the loam was)

You can add some sphagnum peat moss, if you like, but I prefer to avoid that.

I sterilized the garden loam to reduce soil-borne diseases and to kill weed seeds. Some people prefer not to sterilize the soil.

It's a good idea to test the mix for pH and NPK values before you plant, so you can add any amendments that may be needed, such as dolomitic lime, bone meal, blood meal, urea, etc. You can add a time-release fertilizer if you wish. I sometimes use Osmocote, but I don't think it's considered organic.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

lily51
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Location: Ohio, Zone 5

Are you starting the petunias yourself?

gwozdz
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Location: Way Upstate NY

Lily51,
Yes, I will be planting the seeds within a week or so. Most varieties are wave type.

lily51
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If they are waves I would start them right now. they're slow to get going, but do well once they are growing. I'm sure there's lots of ways to start the seeds, this is what i do that has worked very well:

Use potting mix (not soil) that you can get at any commercial place that sells garden supplies.
I use starting trays, fill about 3/4 full and totally saturate, just no standing water! Sow seeds by just placing on top of soil and patting to make sure they are in good contact. Don't cover.
Mine just stay on the kitchen counter, no extra light, no sun, until they germinate. They will be tiny and delicate at first.
Then the tray goes under grow lights kept about 2-4" above the tray. water with a light mist/sprinkler so as not to smash them.
When first two true leaves show up and are a decent size, transplant into cells ( I use the 48 cell insert for them) to let them grow. AT this point they go to greenhouse, but would do fine under grow lights. Once well established, make up your hanging baskets.
One thing on wave baskets, can't let them ever totally dehydrate or they won't recover.

Hope this wasn't tmi. Have fun! :)

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