Skip to main content

New Sprouting Experiment

In addition to my olive fruit fly control research project, I started a small experiment to test the effects of different potting mixtures on seed germination rates. The method typically used here at Casa Caponetti is sprouting seeds in soil blocks with a mixture of 1 part soil from the farm, 1 part manure, and 1 part pre-made outdoor potting soil with peat and fertilizer. I wanted to see how effective it would be to keep the amount of regular soil the same, and change the ratios of manure and potting soil.  I sprouted lettuce in 4 different combinations: 1 part farm soil and 2 parts manure, 1 part farm soil, 1 part manure, 1 part potting soil, and 1 part farm soil and 2 parts potting soil, and a control of 100% pre-made potting soil. As one might expect, the pre-made potting soil seems to be the most effective in germinating seeds quickly, since that is what it’s designed for. The sprout heights were measured, and the ones that germinated in the potting soil were longer than those in the other three mixtures. This was likely because there is fertilizer in the potting soil already, which speeds up the growth. The combination of just soil from the farm and manure was very unsuccessful, and only resulted in 3 out of 27 seeds germinating because of the high levels of ammonia in the fertilizer. The mixture of equal parts manure, potting soil, and farm soil was not far behind the 100% potting soil group and seems to be the most effective texture for making the soil blocks. It’s an added bonus that this mixture uses resources that are already on the farm and reduces the amount of external resources needed to produce and transport the potting soil. It is also a less expensive option.


Skip to toolbar