Peat Moss vs Coconut as a seed starting medium - a little experiment

It’s that time of year again!

10 weeks until Minnesota’s average last frost. We like to put stuff out earlier than that if the weather permits. I have a lot of plans for the garden this year – including growing the flowers for our wedding this September! I’ll have to post more about that later. I also ordered 100 grape vines, and Chris ordered some nut trees so I’m sure this summer we will be busy planting.

There is a nice little nursery just down the road, so to save some time I am planning on just purchasing a lot of transplants from them. There are a few varieties that we just can’t pick up locally though: heirloom tomatoes, fancy peppers, funky-colored cauliflower… so I took out the shelves and grow lights and set everything up in our spare bedroom again.

2011 Tomatoes and Peppers

There seems to be a lot of debate on using coconut fiber vs. peat moss as a seed starting medium. I read a few posts on gardening forums, and people have strong opinions about both – on which is the most environmentally friendly, and which performs better. I haven’t made a decision yet, but I did decide to put both to the test this year with our seedlings.

I picked up some Hoffman Seed Starter from Bachman’s. It is made of peat moss, vermiculite, and limestone. I also picked up some Burpee Eco-Friendly Concentrated Seed Starting Mix from Target, which is made of coconut fiber.

Half of the pots are filled with peat moss (the green pots in the picture above), and the other half with coconut fiber (yellow pots above). I prefer the consistency of the coconut fiber, and it seems to be better at both retaining moisture and draining than peat moss. We’ll just have to wait to see which one the plants prefer!

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