Monday, 8 May 2023

Planting out

I have been planting out veg and flower seedlings that I have sprouted from seed.   I have to admit that I'm disappointed with the results: the seedlings are tiny and don't seem to be growing much.   I suspect the compost.

I remember from when I first started growing plants from seed some 40-odd years ago, I would start the plants in seed trays, using a peat-based compost.   Leeks for example would grow to pencil-thickness in the tray, ready for planting straight into their final positions, and African Marigolds would grow to 6 inches and would need the roots cutting into blocks to separate them for planting out.

Now, most plants seem to reach the stage of 2 true leaves, and then stop growing.   I am hoping that my tomatoes, cabbages, onions, etc will recover from this setback, but I'm not happy.   From now on, I'll be preparing my own seed compost.


Scrobs. said...

You're not alone Mark!

UK/Irish compost is definitely not as good as it used to be, and luckily, I still have some peat-based stuff from last year, but it won't go on forever!

I'm looking at newer versions of John Innes now, as some of these 'new' coir-based bags are pretty useless! I've got nowhere with potting on bought plug-plants using this stuff as well!

Can you get peat composts still?

Mark In Mayenne said...

Hi Scrobs, I don't know a source of good peat-based compost. I will be making my own from now on. I can sieve compost from my heap, sterislise it, and add fertiliser. I might bulk it out with commercial compoast.

Woodsy42 said...

Same here, we are now on the third brand over the past couple of years and still getting poor results. Also it seems to grow mould on the surface. Mrs W42 tends to buy these tiny seedings, thimble sized root trays, by post. Those arriving now are nothing like as strong or sturdy as the ones we used to get and more fail when repotted on.

Andy said...

My tomatoes re coming up, already some of them have their true leaves. The chillies are also beginning to sprout. My strawberries have yet to show. All planted at the same time some weeks ago. I am using a bog standard John Innes compost bought from Amazon. The seeds, I confess, came from Robert Dyas. In the past I have used the Real Seed Company, link below, they specialise in heritage varieties and encourage seed saving.

decnine said...

Forgive the length of this comment, please. It's the summary of peat free compost comparisons done by a friend who is a keen organic gardener.

I bought two bags of Sylvagrow potting compost which had no date on them. I used the compost for very small seedlings and they died. I emailed Melcourt and explained the problem and they were very helpful. It seems they now put a date stamp on the bags but the bags I bought had no date stamp and must have been at least a year old. With organic composts a certain amount of slow release organic nutrients are added and if the compost is kept for a long time the nitrogen content will increase to a level which is too high for very young seedlings. I sent them a sample and they confirmed that this was the case. I took my complaint to the place where I bought the bags and sure enough there were some bags with date stamps and some without. They kindly gave me a new, date stamped bag. You live and learn. If you buy organic compost check the date and if you keep your commercial organic compost for a year don’t use it for seedlings. It is, of course, fine for larger plants or older seedlings

Mark In Mayenne said...

Thanks, Decnine; noted.

Scrobs. said...

That is very interesting Decnine, I didn't realise that such issues prevailed in compost!

I'm using some compost from last year - 'Jack's Magic' or similar, so will investigate further!

Blimey Mark - the proverbial 'can of worms' seems to be surfacing, and we heard it all here...:0)

Bill said...

Nip over to YouTube and have a look through Charles Dowdings videos in regards compost problems and solutions. Very enlightening.

Your seedlings look to me to be contaminated by pyralid.

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