Seed Starting Soil
Ohio Earth Food has been making “Plant Pro Potting Soil” for around 30 years. The bag has changed but the recipe has stayed the same. And while there are a few wise, old farmers around northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania that claim to have designed with mix, the one thing that we know for sure is that it works.
Because you get the most money for early produce…more and more growers are learning that you can’t skimp on your seed starting soil. The six or so weeks that your seeds are germinating and growing into transplants, will chart the course for the success of the plant. We test our soil against many competitors every year, and Plant Pro continually grows larger and healthier seedlings in less time, and most importantly plants started in Plant Pro are more successful after transplanting. They are hardier and able to stand up to spring time temperature variations and wind, and go onto be more disease and insect resistant.
Plant Pro Potting Soil
The ingredients that go into Plant Pro were chosen to provide the seed with an ideal environment to germinate and establish a healthy root system. This includes air, moisture, empty space and nutrients.
Canadian Sphagnum peat moss – We buy high quality long fiber peat and mix gently to keep from tearing these fibers. The long fibers give Plant Pro the fluff that is needed for the perfect mixture of contact with the seed for germination while allowing plenty of space for roots to grow. Canadian peat is grown and harvested sustainably and responsibly.
Vermiculite – A heated mica mineral that replaces the water and mineral holding properties of clay in garden soil while allowing for much better drainage. Pearlite – An expanded mineral that acts as blocking to keep Plant Pro from compacting.
Sharp Sand – Large, jagged granules to add minerals and drainage to Plant Pro. Sharp edges resist packing and aid in root division.
Re-Vita fertilizer – Composted layer hen manure with kelp and humate provide a mild and slow release fertilizer charge as well as carbon and organic matter to feed microbes. Ascophyllum Nodosum kelp aids in germination and is a proven root growth stimulant.
Calphos Soft Rock Phosphate – The addition of Calphos provides a healthy dose of calcium and phosphorus as well and a long list of micro nutrients.
AZOMITE – To be sure that all of nature’s minerals and trace elements are present for your future green friends to feed on, we mix a bit of AZOMITE in. There has been quite a bit of research and testimonial posted about the benefits of adding AZOMITE to potting soils. When Greensand was no longer available, we began testing for a replacement and were very impressed with what we found.
The Seed Catapult
The Seed Catapult was released in late 2015 after two years of testing. We set out to develop a version of Plant Pro that contained the spores of Mycorrhizal Fungi so that the roots of plants could become inoculated at the earliest possible moment. We had just set up a supplier relationship with Myco Apply, by far the best producer of Mycorrhizal Fugi spores. Half way through testing we made the decision to switch from greensand to AZOMITE, a decision that the folks at Myco Apply loved as they knew how well the two products worked together. We however had to start all over, but it was certainly for the best.
Creating the ultimate seed starting soil. To follow up on the success of Plant Pro was an intimidating task. I was convinced that if done right, the long term benefits of earliest inoculation with Mycorrhizal Fungi would would make it worth the extra cost to growers. Providing a perfect environment for the Mycorrhizal Fungi to grow and thrive was crucial. We started with Plant Pro and added double the recommended dose of Myco Apply’s Endo Granular to make sure that every root would have some exposure - even in 200 cell trays. We then made batches with 18 different combinations of other organic ingredients and started hundreds of seeds and let them grow to maturity over the 2015 season. One mix stood out, especially with tomatoes, peppers and arugula sprouts. It was just the Myco and a bit of our Soluble Fish with Crab Powder. We sent this mix to the folks at Myco Apply to run tests to be sure mycorrhizae spores would thrive. They awarded the mix the Myco Apply Certified seal. It turns out that the fish feeds the myco fungi, and the micro nutrients from the Calphos and AZOMITE are everywhere for the myco fungi to deliver to the plant. The Symbiotic relationship between the myco fungi and the plant has a perfect place to start and develop. A quick visit to Chris, the best cartoonist in my 5th grade class for an illustration, and mix #5 became The Seed Catapult.
Ingredients added to Plant Pro
Myco Apply Endo Granular
Micronized Soluble Fish Powder with Crab 10-2-0
The fall residue of some of the test plants started in The Seed Catapult. Note the health of the roots.
Farmers experiment with growing tomatoes right out of our potting soil bags, especially in winter high tunnels for more contact with heated air.