Soil Help

obchiliFebruary 2, 2014

Hi there. I just took pictures to post in another topic but noticed something while doing so. Some of my pots have a grainy substance similar to a crumble on top. I bottom watered a couple days ago, and I use purified water. I am using Miracle-Gro seed starting and germinating mix over top of an organic base. My greenhouse is indoors in a south facing window, and I also zipper the door shut. Thank you in advance. I am posting a picture for reference. This is the first time this has happened and they were planted approximately 3 weeks ago.

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leafericson(6)

The white stuff on the to appears to be excess salts rising to the surface. The hard soil crumbling on the top is probably from the soil being over saturated and then drying out causes it to harden.
I personally stay away from soil mixes and use only soilless mixes like peat, coir, and pine bark.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 1:13PM
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obchili

Ok, thank you for the insight. The crumble is light tan/brown in color. Where would the salts be coming from? Pre-mixed soil? Will this harm my plants, or what should I do? Remove the salts? I will refrain from watering for a while now as I do not want to kill my plants. Sorry for all of the questions, it is just that I am new to all this and would like to succeed. Thank you again.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 1:39PM
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leafericson(6)

The salts are fine and would be expected from any mix. They are from minerals like magnesium potassium calcium etc.
Your doing fine and your seedling looks healthy, there is no right or wrong way of doing it just some have different results than others.
One key thing to rember is that peppers do like well drained soil and once they are established don't water them until the soil is dried out and they may face wilting soon. Some people actually wait till they wilt to water them. This causes the roots to branch out more. When I say established I mean that they have at least two good sets of leaves on them.
Hope all this helps. If you need any seeds let me know.
-Eric-

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 2:00PM
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nc_crn

Soil fungus...harmless.

It is an indication of a container/soil mix that is staying consistently wet which can lead to other issues, though.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 9:35PM
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obchili

Lesson learned. Backing off the watering. Don't want trouble on my first year!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:07PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I bottom water and let it dry between watering. It is a bit time consuming but I think it is better. In addition I put a layer of fine pine barks n the top surface. It prevents mold, I think.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 8:35AM
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obchili

Cool, thank you. I too did bottom water these. As I am new to it, I put the containers one-by-one in another container of water. I waited about 30 seconds till I saw the soil get wet on top. Then I removed them and waited for them to stop dripping before putting back into my tray. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 4:50PM
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