permaculture Eliot Coleman’s seed starting mixture

I too have been avoiding the use of peat moss for the same reasons Robyn has listed.

Coconut coir seems like a great alternative in that it offers most of the same benefits as peat moss (as a seed mix/soil conditioner), but is less acidic and “re-wets” easier. I have read that coir can however (depending where it is sourced) contain excess salts, and it might be wise to rinse it thoroughly after initial rehydration if you are not sure. I’ve also heard it can require additional decomposition, and may temporarily tie up nitrogen in your soil mix. If this is true, it might make sense to pre-mix this material into some compost (or your finished soil mix), and let it sit for a couple weeks before using.

Other things to consider are the extra expense and the carbon footprint involved in getting this material to your location. There surely aren’t many coconut palms growing anywhere near where I live…that’s for sure! I think we should always be experimenting with our own endemic substitutes for such products.

We don’t need to create the “absolute best” seed starting medium at any expense…we just need a “reasonably good” mix that doesn’t endanger the resilience and diversity of natural ecosystems, and is locally sourced.

— On Wed, 4/6/11, Robyn Francis wrote:

> From: Robyn Francis
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Eliot Coleman’s seed starting mixture > To: “permaculture”
> Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2011, 2:41 PM
> Here we don’t encourage the use of
> peat in any form as much of it is
> extracted from fragile ecosystems and is a non-renewable
> resource. The
> horticulture and nursery industries have decimated ancient > boglands, moors
> and other sensitive environments around the world.
>
> We use coir or coco-peat as a substitute in our potting
> mixes, which is made
> from the fibres of coconut husks, a renewable resource
> processed from a wast
> product of harvesting coconuts for food.
>
> Roby
>
>
> On 7/04/11 1:08 AM, “Lawrence F. London, Jr.” > wrote:
>
> >
> > From ATTRA:
> >
> > The following four recipes are credited to Eliot
> Coleman. The first
> > was published in the Winter 1994 issue of NOFA-NJ
> Organic News, in an
> > article by Emily Brown-Rosen. The remaining three are
> adapted from
> > Coleman’s book The New Organic Grower (see Appendix
> 2).
> >
> > Organic potting mix
> >
> > 1 part sphagnum peat
> > 1 part peat humus (short fiber)
> > 1 part compost
> > 1 part sharp sand (builder’s)
> >
> > To every 80 quarts of this add:
> >
> > 1 cup greensand
> > 1 cup colloidal phosphate
> > 1 1/2 to 2 cups crab meal, or
> blood meal
> > 1/2 cup lime
> >
> > Blocking mix recipe
> >
> > 3 buckets (standard 10-quart
> bucket) brown peat
> > 1/2 cup lime (mix well)
> > 2 buckets coarse sand or perlite
> > 3 cups base fertilizer (blood
> meal, colloidal phosphate, and
> > greensand mixed together in equal parts)
> > 1 bucket soil
> > 2 buckets compost
> >
> > Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Coleman does
> not sterilize
> > potting soils; he believes that damp-off and similar
> seedling problems
> > are the result of overwatering, lack of air movement,
> not enough sun,
> > over-fertilization, and other cultural mistakes.
> >
> > Blocking mix recipe for larger quantities
> >
> > 30 units brown peat
> > 1/8 unit lime
> > 20 units coarse sand or perlite
> > 3/4 unit base fertilizer (blood
> meal, colloidal phosphate, and
> > greensand mixed together in equal parts)
> > 10 units soil
> > 20 units compost
> >
> > Mini-block recipe
> >
> > 16 parts brown peat
> > 1/4 part colloidal phosphate
> > 1/4 part greensand
> > 4 parts compost (well decomposed)
> >
> > Note: If greensand is unavailable, leave it out. Do
> not substitute a
> > dried seaweed product in this mix.
> > _______________________________________________
> > permaculture mailing list
> > permaculture@lists.ibiblio.org
> > Subscribe, unsubscribe, change your user configuration
> or find out more about
> > this list here:
> > http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
> > permaculture forums http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums > > Texas Plant and Soil Lab
> > http://www.texasplantandsoillab.com/
> > List contacts: permacultureforum@gmail.com,
> chrys@thefutureisorganic.net
> and
> > paul@richsoil.com
>
> –
> Permaculture College Australia inc
> Pathways to sustainability through
> Accredited Permaculture Training�
> Certificates III & IV and Diploma of Permaculture
> PDC and short courses
>
> Robyn Francis
> International permaculture design and
> sustainability consultant, educator & facilitator
>
> Djanbung Gardens
> Permaculture Education Centre & Demonstration Farm
> PO Box 379 Nimbin NSW 2480
> 02-6689 1755 / 0429 147 138
> http://www.permaculture.com.au
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> permaculture mailing list
> permaculture@lists.ibiblio.org
> Subscribe, unsubscribe, change your user configuration or
> find out more about this list here:
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
> permaculture forums http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums > Texas Plant and Soil Lab
> http://www.texasplantandsoillab.com/
> List contacts: permacultureforum@gmail.com,
> chrys@thefutureisorganic.net
> and paul@richsoil.com
>

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