What a difference the right soil can make

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Soil Test

We normally use the same “Mel’s Mix” soil, that we use in our Square Foot Garden boxes, for our seedlings too but, a while back (and for some unknown reason) I purchased a bag of standard “Seedling Mix” from our local garden shop. It had been lying in our storeroom for quite some time so just for the hell of it I decided to test the difference between the two soils. I planted a few “Aviram” lettuce seeds in a tray with the seedling mix and the following weekend sowed some more “Aviram” seeds in a tray filled with Mel’s Mix.

Even though they were sown a full week later, the lettuce in the Mel’s Mix tray is obviously doing a lot better than the lettuce in the standard seedling mix, all of which are looking rather weak and straggly. That’s enough to convince me of the benefit of using our Mel’s Mix above all else.

What a difference the Mel’s Mix made. After almost two months, this is what the two trays looked like:

Soil Test 1
The tray on the left is the one with standard seedling mix while the one on the right is the Mel’s Mix tray. As you can see, I also used a 6-pack seedling tray with larger compartments for the standard mix than the 8-pack Mel’s Mix tray. This may have made some small difference but I seriously doubt it. Other than the tray size and soil, both trays received the same seed variety, water, heat and light for the entire time – they were never separated – (Note: only the first six compartments on the left of the Mel’s Mix tray are Aviram lettuce, the second six compartments are a different lettuce variety).

What do you use for your seedlings? Do you have your own secret recipe or are you using a standard mix? As usual, we would love to hear of your experiences so please leave us a comment below or drop us an email.

Happy gardening
Mark

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6 Comments on “What a difference the right soil can make”


  1. Venessa says:

    Hiya – please can you help, I’m trying to decipher the ‘Mels Mix’ into metric or bags. I’m sure I’ll figure it out but I thought ‘the voice of experience’ could make it easier! ;0)

    • Mark says:

      Hi Venessa
      I had the same problem in the beginning (check the last few paragraphs of this post for how to work out how much of each to buy). I solved the mixing problem by simply getting a 25lt plastic bucket and measuring all ingredients into that – 1x bucket of peat moss, 1x bucket of vermiculite and 1x bucket of compost.

  2. Shingi says:

    cant find vermiculite anywhere – can anyone help – i live in johannesburg east

  3. Shingi says:

    vermiculite supplier PLEASE



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