Growth substrate - composition and make yourself

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Anyone who deals with the breeding or pre-breeding of seeds for the first time and refrains from cultivating special seedlings will often have to record failures. The seeds hardly go up, the roots mold or after initial growth, the young plants remain stuck in their development. Because special cultivation soil is crucial for healthy growth.
Growing soil offers a special composition and texture, which promotes the germination of seeds and rooting in cuttings, also other special properties. In the successful dressing of plants, she is therefore a not to be underestimated helper. Nevertheless, it is not necessary to resort to the potting soil of the trade, because it is also quite easy to do it yourself. With the following instructions the even inexperienced beginners in the world of earth and plants is easily possible.
Already during germination, plants place special demands on their substrate. This is where the potting soil comes into play. This has some differences from ordinary garden, plant or potting soil.
This includes:

  • Loose, fine-grained texture
  • Freedom from fungal spores, bacteria, viruses and pests
  • Low nutrient content
  • Contains no roots or seeds of other plants
The reasons are quite simple. The loose, fine-grained texture prevents waterlogging, as it ensures a quick drainage. The risk of rot is thereby reduced. Furthermore, the young roots have easier to spread in the loose substrate.
Pathogens such as fungal spores, viruses and bacteria make it as difficult for young plants as pests. Since many seeds require a high humidity and appropriate heat to germinate, pathogens would spread rapidly and provide for fast, strong infections. That would be devastating for the young plants.
The required, low nutrient content may seem strange. After all, the plants need a lot of power to turn from a tiny seed to a plant. But too much nutrients have exactly the opposite effect. The seeds may germinate quickly and rise, but it follows a weak growth. Seeds contain in their seedlings all the necessary substances for the first germination. Therefore, the soil must not be fertilized.
Other seeds, spores and roots, which are still germinable, can quickly create strong competitive pressure under the conditions required for the seeds actually desired. Water and nutrients are missing the seed then. In addition, they are literally crushed by the other plants. It is also possible that the plant remains germs and pests sitting or attached to the seeds harmful substances. Growing soil should therefore be free from such foreign residues.
If you want to do your own breeding, you do not need much. Basically, it only depends on three components. Nevertheless, it may be necessary for special plants to add other substances to this basic mix or to modify them according to their specific needs.
The components are:
  • San
  • Unfertilized earth
  • Humus or compost (earth)
The sand provides for the loosening of the earth and favors the drainage. In addition, it inhibits rot and ensures faster drying. Unfertilized soils, such as garden soil, topsoil, but also balcony or plant soil, stores water and has a low nutrient content. In addition, it is necessary for keeping the roots dark and anchoring them.
Humus or compost soil, which should be well rotted, provides an optimal pH range and provides nutrients that are released slowly. Also this ingredient can store water and is necessary for the roots.
The mentioned proportions should be combined in equal parts for the basic mixture of the compost soil.
Tip: On peat - even if this is often cited as part of potting soil, the environment should be avoided.
Plant is not the same plant - that is also true for the claims of the seeds. Some may like it slightly damper from the beginning, but others need a very dry, loose and well-drained soil. Also stony substrates or earth clay with a high clay content may be necessary. For a successful germination, it is therefore necessary to adjust the cultivation soil in nature.
For plants that are later in the rock garden, pebbles and stones in the potting soil are recommended. The proportion of compost should, however, be smaller.
Exotic plants often like loose soil of soft texture, coconut fiber is ideal for this purpose.
Basically, the seedling soil should be similar to the later required substrate.
Tip: If there is any uncertainty about the composition of special growing substrates in the trade, this can at least be an orientation.
If cultivation soil is made by hand, as mentioned above, it is not just about the mixture alone. The treatment is also important to prepare the substrate accordingly.
Three steps are required:
  1. Thoroughly and finely sieve all ingredients and remove from foreign parts of the plant.
  2. Mix everything together to evenly distribute nutrients and loosening elements.
  3. Spread flat on a baking tray and place in the oven at 150° C to 200° C for about one hour.
So before the seeds are introduced, the soil is free of other parts of the plant and pathogens. Even pests and their larvae do not survive the ordeal. Thus, the substrate is already for sowing.
frequently asked Questions
How long is the cultivation soil suitable as substrate?
When the change of the substrate should take place, depends on the respective plant type. For some, only the height is used as orientation, for others the number of leaves or the time. In order to make an appropriate decision, information about the particular plant should be obtained.
Can cultivation soil be reused?
A little bit of fresh compost, another round in the oven and, if necessary, another sieving - the cultivation soil is ready for further sowing. If nothing grows on it or if it appears washed out, it can be put on the compost heap.
Tips for quick readers
  • Seed soil is needed for many seeds and cuttings
  • Has special composition
  • Contains few nutrients
  • Must be loose and permeable
  • Freedom from viruses, bacteria, fungal spores and pests required
  • Must not contain any other plant material or foreign seeds
  • Sand, unfertilized soil and compost are equally suitable as a basis
  • Can be adapted to specific needs through gravel, coconut fiber or more compost
  • All ingredients are to seven
  • Must be mixed well
  • An hour at at least 150° C ensures sterility
  • Not suitable for the permanent culture of most plants
  • Can be used several times in a row for cultivation if properly treated

Video Board: Making your own inexpensive potting mix.

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