FW: [CH] The good news and the bad news

Gil White (gilbert.white@sympatico.ca)
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 21:57:22 -0400

My stab at the different types of soils.  I have had some luck with potting 
soils, but only if..

First I don't think there is a legal definition, I know from buying from 
different suppliers there is a wide variety under the name Potting soil.

Garden soil is simply soil from your garden.  Not recommended usually for 
several reasons, the most important being that your garden soil is teeming 
with life.  Great in your garden, can cause major problems with outbreaks 
of various things in your isolated indoors environement.  You can sterilize 
your soil, but it involves stealing a baking pan and baking it for several 
hours in the oven.  Apperently it stinks real bad and who wants to use the 
pan again.  The other reason is that it is usually too heavy a mix for 

Potting soil is ideally a mixture of sterilized humous, peat and inert 
materail such as vermiculite which gives the soil a very light texture, 
allows it to both hold moisture and drain, and gives the soil enough nut  
rients to start off your seedlings.  I've found most commercial mixes don't 
meet these requirements, being way too dense.  I now add additional 
vermiculite and peat and I've had fewer problems this year.  Just lift up 
different bags, the weight difference is very noticable.

I'm guessing a soiless mix is mostly vermiculite ( basically flakes of a 
mica like substance ).  I believe the other common one is pearlite, which 
is from crushed volcanic rock.  Apperenlty it's not as good and does pose 
some health hazard if you were to breath much of it in.  I've seen so 
called soil-less mixes recommended as the first choice, especially for 
germinating wild flower seeds, but I don't really understand the why. 
 You'd have to be very quick at transplanting once they've germinated or be 
constantly feeding the plants and it's all I can do to keep the flats 

I've had no problem getting peppers to germinate in various commercial 
potting soils.  I use the plastic commercial trays with clear domes.  When 
put under flourescent lights, the temperature during the day can get up to 
80 degrees.  I've also used bottom heat in the form of heating cables but 
the lights alone seem to do fine.


-----Original Message-----
From:	MidNite RamBler [SMTP:nkal@hol.gr]
Sent:	Wednesday, April 15, 1998 3:45 AM
To:	chile-heads@globalgarden.com
Subject:	[CH] The good news and the bad news

Anyone can explain the difference between potting soil , garden soil,
soilless mix and whatever else there might be?

My first batch of seedlings is now resting in peace and I am now trying
to get lucky with the second batch. If there was a way I could only
get beyond the "seedling leaves/half true leaves" stage I would be a
happy man. This time I started them in "potting" soil and almost all
of them have germinated. I have this intense feeling that the story
will repeat itself. Any hints are mostly welcome.

The good news is that I received BigTom's Id cards #2021 #2022 and they're
far better than *great*. To give to those that don't own one an idea, my
brother who is no ch at all (a sweet bell ,is his idea of capsicum rush :)
tried to get me into giving him one :)))
As to why I got two of them for myself, I followed the famous rule of "the
more seedlings die on you the more cards you should have" .

Take care