garden4joy
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Best potting soil

I am doing some part time work at a local agency running a garden program. the agency has always purchased Miracle Grow potting mix at the local stores, because it is cheap and because it is local!

But I am noticing more and more problems with some of our greenhouse plants and the horrible GNATS that are infesting us! I would LOVE to be using some kind of soilless mix like Jiffy Mix or Pro-mix, but know that they are way more expensive and not often found at the main chain stores around town. We also have a problem with our watering reliability...more often than not, our plants are overwatered and soggy, creating a perfect place for our lovely fungus gnats to breed! (I only work there twice a week, so can't control the watering amount very well!)

Do any of you have any experience with either Jiffy Mix or Pro-mix? Or know where I can find it relatively inexpensively?

Is there a benefit for using a soilless mix like these versus the regular Miracle Gro Potting Mix?

I do a lot of seed starting with the agency, as well as transplanting and propagating of houseplants.

Thanks for your help!

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nedwina
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Location: CT River Valley

Re: Best potting soil

garden4joy wrote:I am doing some part time work at a local agency running a garden program. the agency has always purchased Miracle Grow potting mix at the local stores, because it is cheap and because it is local!

But I am noticing more and more problems with some of our greenhouse plants and the horrible GNATS that are infesting us! I would LOVE to be using some kind of soilless mix like Jiffy Mix or Pro-mix, but know that they are way more expensive and not often found at the main chain stores around town. We also have a problem with our watering reliability...more often than not, our plants are overwatered and soggy, creating a perfect place for our lovely fungus gnats to breed! (I only work there twice a week, so can't control the watering amount very well!)

Do any of you have any experience with either Jiffy Mix or Pro-mix? Or know where I can find it relatively inexpensively?

Is there a benefit for using a soilless mix like these versus the regular Miracle Gro Potting Mix?

I do a lot of seed starting with the agency, as well as transplanting and propagating of houseplants.

Thanks for your help!
Pro Mix is the best. I'd advise doing a search online for "greenhouse supplies" or "nursery supplies". You may get lucky and there will be a wholesaler within a do-able drive. I get bales of Pro Mix at a Griffin Greenhouse & Nursery Supply satellite office which about 40 minutes from me. I just call in the order & pick it up. They have 2 NY locations and will sell to the public:
https://www.griffins.com/locations/index.asp

If you have Ace Hardware stores, they can special order it for you too. Not as cheap as driving to a wholesaler, but at least they can have it delivered to their store at no shipping cost to you.

I don't like potting mix with fertilizers or anything else added. And I'm just not up for mixing my own yet. Maybe someday~

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Kisal
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I use Pro-mix. I find it in most of the stores around town, but only in small bags. For your purposes, buying online or from a local nursery supply house, if there is one in your area, would be more cost effective.
"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

Susan W
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I've been curious about this. I don't do much seed starting, but have a few things going now...slowly! Mine are mostly herbs. I am using the small (10-12 pack) peat pellet trays, with 3 active now. I need to up pot soon and start a few other things both to 4" containers, and some to larger 10" pots. I think I am through with Miracle Grow with the fungus gnats etc.

I topped at my local garden center today to see what they have. They were cleaning off the indoor shelves and product getting ready for what's to come all too soon! Seeds start coming in next week. I asked the fellow (owner) what he has that I should use, and reminded him I do the herbs and am growing for the farmers market. He has the Fafard brand. I got the larger bag for about $10, has some food. That's about the same $ as MG. We agreed for the larger pots, put some cheaper top soil on the bottom, then the good stuff. I have some fresh worm stuff (worm castings from my fellow market vendor). I can mix in a couple of handfuls of it. For the small 4" pots will mix the bagged dirt with some worm stuff.

For herbs that like it more lean I will go heavier on the top soil.

BTW, this Fafard brand also has some without food, especially for seed starting. The fellow said he hasn't heard of any problems with fungus gnats or other bad juju.

Just FWIW!
Have fun!
Susan

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Kisal
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I prefer a soilless mix for starting seeds, because it limits fungal problems, like damping off. Soilless mixes don't have nutrients, but seeds contain all they need for the initial growth. I usually pot up the seedlings into a different mix as soon as they get a couple sets of true leaves, anyway, so the lack of nutrients in the soilless mix doesn't worry me. If you don't want to repot the seedlings so soon, you can always feed them with some very dilute fish emulsion, or other organic fertilizer.
"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

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soil
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make your own

1 part homemade compost or wormcastings
1 part coarse sand
1 part crushed lavarock sifted to the size of the pot( i.e 1 gallons no sifting, 200 cell tray, sift through 1/4 inch screen)

thats it.

you can add a mycorrhizal powder if you like at this point if your compost doesnt have it already.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

Susan W
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Location: Memphis, TN

A post script to the Fafard bag soil. I chatted with my fellow vendor who uses it. He said the plants love it, but there are fungus gnats. For seed starting there is the bag w/out food.
I'm just the messenger!

Soil, good points on DIY, but especially now, just a few things, managing in small area, mixing my own is not a good option.
Have fun!
Susan

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