I can’t believe it but it’s already time to start seeds! Even in January, we need to start growing seedlings indoors that will later be transplanted outside.
In order to start seeds indoors, you 1) need a seed starting grow set up and 2) you need a seed starting mix.
Your seed starting mix has three main parts. You’ll need coco coir, perlite, and vermiculite. I added green fertilizer to my seed mix as well, but that’s optional.
The basic set up is 8 parts coco coir, 1 part vermiculite, and 1 part perlite. I made a huge batch, so mine was 32 quarts (8 gallons) coco coir, 4 quarts (1 gallon) perlite, and 4 quarts (1 gallon) vermiculite.
The perlite and vermiculite are sold in bags and don’t need any additional prep work. I but them in 8 quart bags. Vermiculite is mineral that is very absorbent and helps soil retain moisture. Perlite is a volcanic glass that is used to improve soil drainage. So you have one for drainage and one for added moisture.
Coco coir is the outside skin of the coconut and would typically be thrown out, so instead we can use it for the main bulk of the seed mix. It comes in blocks and has to be rehydrated. My block was 2.5 cubic feet. It took 4 gallons of water to rehydrate it.
The trick to rehydrating the coco coir is to add enough water so that the coir is separated, but not over water it as to saturate it. You may need less water than I used or more. You just need to feel it out and see what your block of coir might need.
Step by Step:
1. Start by adding water to the coco coir block. I added water in 1/2 gallon increments.
2. Add water until the coco coir is fluffy and brown. The dry coco coir is light brown and the rehydrated coco coir is a darker brown. The rehydrated coir can be tossed around and doesn’t have any large chunks.
3. Add the perlite and vermiculite. Mix well. Use your hands or a garden trowel to mix.
4. Add any fertilizer you plan on using. This step is optional. If you don’t fertilize the soil mixture, you’ll need to find a way to fertilize the seedlings later. Mix well again.
5. Add your soil to your plant containers and add the desired seeds.