Starting seeds is a cost-effective and simple way for gardeners to grow a variety of plants and vegetables in containers, in outdoor gardens or indoor spaces, or to continue as potted plants. By starting with seeds, gardeners can save money compared to buying pre-grown plants from nurseries or garden centers.
Starting your plants from seeds in a good growing medium also offers greater control over the growing process and allows for customization of the garden according to personal preferences.
With a few basic tools and materials, such as seed trays, soil, and light sources, anyone can easily start seeds and grow their own plants. Whether you have a large outdoor garden or a small indoor space, starting seeds is a great way to save money.
You will also enjoy the rewards of growing your own plants from store bought seeds or your own seed that you harvested the previous growing season!
We're going to look at the best tools for starting seeds indoors, specifically, the best seed starting mixes.
Best Soil For Seed Starting
Before we give you the best brands and listings for where to buy your seed starting mix, here are some of the things you want to look for:
The best soil for planting seeds is going to be a fine-textured, well-draining potting mix that is specifically formulated for seed starting. Seed starting mixes are designed to be lightweight and porous, allowing for optimal air and water circulation around the delicate roots of seedlings when they start to form.
Seed Starting Mixes
These mixes also typically contain a balanced blend of nutrients that should be readily available to young plants so they can grow into healthy plants!
Seed starting mixes are often made from a combination of materials such as peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and compost.
Peat moss (think sphagnum peat moss) and vermiculite help to retain moisture and provide aeration, while perlite helps with drainage.
Compost adds nutrients to the mix and supports healthy growth in a potting mix recipe. You can go ahead and compile all of those yourself, and mix them together in a large container an distribute evenly among your trays (yes, you can totally do this, you will save money, but not time.)
DIY Seed Starting Mix Resources
Here are our recommended resources for purchasing those materials to make a homemade potting mix for growing seedlings:
Check price of compost here (or you can use your own compost!)
*If you don't have a backyard composter, you can always use a countertop composter. You put your table scraps in every day, and before you go to bed, press the button and it composts overnight to a dry, grainy compost that you can save.
Check price of the countertop composter we highly recommend here
It's important to note that garden soil is not recommended for seed starting because it may contain pathogens and other harmful organisms that can damage or kill seedlings.
Additionally, garden soil can become compacted and heavy, making it difficult for young roots to grow and develop.
Here is a DIY seed starting mix recipe if you decide to go ahead and make your own. If you are ordering the recommended materials online, feel free to bookmark this page to come back for the recipe!
Homemade Seed Starting Mix Recipe
Homemade Seed Starting Mix Ingredients:
- 2 parts peat moss
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part vermiculite
- 1 part compost
Homemade Seed Starting Mix Directions:
- In a large container or bucket, mix together the peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite until well-combined.
Pro tip: if you are doing this outdoors, a wheelbarrow comes in handy!
- Add the compost to the mix, and continue to stir until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
- Moisten the mixture with water until it is evenly damp but not soaked.
- Fill your seed trays or containers with the seed starting mix and sow your seeds according to their planting depth and spacing requirements.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of the seed starting mix, and mist lightly with water to settle the soil around the seeds.
- Place the seed trays in a warm, bright location, and keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged until the seeds germinate.
Note: If you prefer a more sustainable alternative to peat moss, you can substitute it with coconut coir.
Coconut coir is a renewable resource that is becoming increasingly popular as a seed starting mix ingredient.
Check price of coconut coir here
In summary, the best soil for planting seeds is a high-quality seed starting mix in your seed starting trays that provides a balance of nutrients, aeration, and moisture retention to support healthy seedling growth.
Here are some of the best seed starting mix options you can purchase and have delivered right to your door in a few days! You don't even need to go to the store, do the heavy lifting and get your vehicle dirty.
Let's get into it, here are some of the best seed starting soil options for you.
Here are our TOP 7 seed mixes:
1. Espoma Premium Potting Soil Mix
This mix is made from all-natural and organic materials, including peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite, and contains a blend of mycorrhizae, a beneficial fungi that helps improve plant growth and root development.
The mix is specifically designed to provide a loose and porous texture, allowing for optimal air and water circulation around the delicate roots of seedlings.
With a 16-quart bag, this product provides enough seed starting mix to plant a significant number of seeds, making it a cost-effective option for gardeners.
The brand itself is well-known for producing high-quality organic gardening products, and this seed starting mix is no exception, offering gardeners a reliable and effective option for starting their plants from seed.
2. Miracle Grow Seed Starting Mix
This one is another popular option for starting seeds. This mix is specifically formulated to provide a lightweight and nutrient-rich environment for seedlings, containing a blend of sphagnum peat moss, perlite, and fertilizer.
The mix is designed to promote healthy root development and fast seedling growth, allowing gardeners to get their plants off to a strong start.
The Miracle-Gro brand is well-known for producing high-quality gardening products, and this seed starting mix is no exception, offering a convenient and effective option for gardeners of all levels of experience.
3. Coast of Maine Mix
This mix is made from all-natural and organic materials, including sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and kelp meal.
The kelp meal provides an added boost of nutrients for seedlings, promoting healthy root development and strong plant growth.
The mix is specifically formulated to provide optimal moisture retention and drainage, promoting healthy seedling growth and preventing overwatering.
4. Sun Gro Seedling Mix
Here is a potting mix that is specifically formulated to provide a lightweight, well-draining, and nutrient-rich environment for seedlings, containing a blend of Canadian sphagnum peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite.
This combination of materials ensures that the mix has optimal moisture retention and aeration, providing the perfect environment for healthy root development and strong plant growth.
The mix is also pH-balanced, providing an optimal growing environment for most plants.
5. Purple Cow Organics Seed Starting Mix
Here is an all-natural and organic option for starting seeds. This mix is made from a blend of high-quality organic materials, including peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and composted organic fertilizer (chicken manure). The chicken manure provides an added boost of nutrients for seedlings, promoting healthy root development and strong plant growth.
The organic seed mix is also pH-balanced, providing an optimal growing environment for most plants. The organic material in the mix help retain moisture and promote drainage, ensuring that seedlings have the perfect environment to grow.
6. Jiffy Organic Seed Starting Mix
You may recognize this brand when it comes to an organic seed starting mix. The Jiffy Natural & Organic Seed Starting Mix is an affordable and popular option for starting seeds. It's made from a blend of natural and organic materials, including sphagnum peat moss, coir, and natural fertilizers.
The mix is also pH-balanced and provides good drainage and moisture retention, creating an ideal environment for seedlings to grow. With a 16-quart bag, this product provides enough seed starting mix for starting a large number of seeds, making it a great value for gardeners.
Jiffy is a well-known and trusted brand in the gardening industry, offering gardeners a reliable and effective option for starting their plants from seed.
7. Burpee seed starting mix (coir)
For those of you who love using a soilless seed starting mix or you want an organic seed starting mix, here is another type of mix you can use that does a really great job for germinating seeds.
Burpee organic seed starting soilless mix is a unique and eco-friendly option. This comes as a compressed brick and it actually expands to up to 8 quarts when hydrated, providing a sufficient amount of soil for starting seeds indoors for beautiful, healthy plants.
This soilless seed starting mix is made with renewable and sustainable coconut coir fibers that provide excellent water retention and aeration, making it easy for seeds to germinate and grow. It's also OMRI-listed, which means it is approved for organic gardening.
Gardeners who prefer using organic products to start seeds will appreciate the fact that this seed starting mix does not contain any synthetic materials or chemical fertilizers and it is great to start seeds indoors with.
Seed starting mixes, in conclusion...
In conclusion, choosing the right seed starter mix is crucial for successful indoor seed starting germinating seeds, and root growth. Each of the seed starting soil mixes we discussed (organic seed starting mix, soil mixes and soilless seed starting mixes) each offers unique benefits and features, but ultimately the best one for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.
Organic seed starting mixes
Organic mixes such as the Espoma organic seed starter or the Burpee organic coir compressed seed starting mix (both listed above) are popular options due to their sustainable and eco-friendly properties, especially if you plan on selling your produce at a farmers market or at your farm gate and you are selling "organic" produce.
It's also important to ensure that the seed starting mix and potting mixes provide adequate water retention, drainage, and aeration to promote healthy seed germination and healthy root growth as well give your young seedlings all the nutrients needed.
With a good seed starting mix and the proper care, you'll be able to successfully grow healthy seedlings indoors in a proper growing medium, and eventually transplant established plants into your garden or outdoor space.
You may also want to consider some good plant food, such as a Miracle Grow plant food or an organic plant food to help give your germinating plants a good start.
Check price of Miracle Grow plant food here
Check price of an organic plant food here
Here are some other articles you may be interested in reading:
SOIL HEALTH 101 | BEST Soil Testing Kits
Best Soil For Orchids (Article)
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