Not all types of vegetables can be directly sown in the ground or potting mix soil outdoors. Investing in the best seed starting mix for vegetables to start indoors is more critical when living in a northern area with a short growing season. You can check some of the perfect options available on the market below:
Here are the best seed starting mixes for vegetables you can buy in 2021:
- Best For Strong Roots: The Next Gardener Seed Starting Potting Mix
- Best For Superior Germination: Hoffman 30118 Seed Starter Soil
- Best For Fast Root Growth: Burpee Organic Coconut Coir
- Best For Pak Choi: Espoma Seed Starter Potting Mix
- Best For Moisture Retention: Jiffy Natural & Organic Starter Mix
- Best For Bigger Seedlings: Sun Gro Black Gold 1311002
|6 Best Seed Starting Mixes For Vegetables|
Best For Strong Roots
|The Next Gardener Seed Starting Potting Mix|
Best For Superior Germination
|Hoffman 30118 Seed Starter Soil|
Best For Fast Root Growth
|Burpee Organic Coconut Coir|
Best For Pak Choi
|Espoma Seed Starter Potting Mix|
Best For Moisture Retention
|Jiffy Natural & Organic Starter Mix|
Best For Bigger Seedlings
|Sun Gro Black Gold 1311002|
Best For Strong Roots: The Next Gardener Seed Starting Potting Mix
- Fast to grow
- Easy to use
The vegetable roots need to absorb a lot of nutrients to feed themselves and support the growth of other parts such as flowers, leaves, and stems. The Next Gardener Seed Starting Potting Mix contains all essential nutrients for a strong root system. They include sphagnum peat moss, forest gold, and organic fertilizer.
This mix is lightweight enough to allow weak root branches of seedlings to reach everywhere in the soil to absorb nutrients, water, and oxygen.
|The Next Gardener Seed Starting Potting Mix Specifications|
Sphagnum peat moss
2 dry quarts
balanced pH level (5.5)
100% organic and all-natural seedling mix
Packaged in a reusable sealing bag
The Next Gardener Seed Starting Potting Mix provides your vegetable roots with enough nutrients for healthy growth.
Best For Superior Germination: Hoffman 30118 Seed Starter Soil
- Easy to use and follow the instruction
- Great price
- A bit expensive
This Hoffman 30118 Seed Starter Soil is lightweight and loose, smoothing the way for the formation of the root system from root cuttings and seeds. Specifically, it drains fastly and holds a certain amount of moisture so that your vegetables and soil won’t dry completely. Most importantly, the fertile soil content can strengthen and improve superior germination.
|Hoffman 30118 Seed Starter Soil Specifications|
Canadian sphagnum peat moss
limestone (PH adjuster)
6 components blended in proper proportions
Lightweight, loose, and fertile soil
Hoffman 30118 Seed Starter Soil helps your vegetable seeds germinate and grow quickly and easily.
Best For Fast Root Growth: Burpee Organic Coconut Coir
- Light and airy texture
- Clean coir medium
The majority of vegetables germinate within 7-10 days, but celery, treble, and carrots need more time (double). If you don’t want to wait for such a long time, you can invest in the Burpee Organic Coconut coir to stimulate the faster growth of roots.
This product provides your vegetables with enough essential nutrients, in spite of a small coir brick. Specifically, it contains 100% Bone Meal that is a wonderful source of phosphorus and calcium nutrients.
|Burpee Organic Coconut Coir Specifications|
Burpee Organic Coconut Coir can promote your vegetable’s root system to grow quicker.
Best For Pak Choi: Espoma Seed Starter Potting Mix
- Easy to use and store because of the zip-lock system of the bag
- Effortless to absorb the water
Although it’s not difficult to grow pak choi, this type of vegetable is prone to bolting on hot days. So, you should start pak choi seeds in well-watered soil like Espoma Seed Starter Potting Mix that features mycotone. This is a proprietary combination of 11 strains of mycorrhizae. All of them play an essential role in root growth; they raise the water uptake to fight against the hot climate and decrease stress due to drought and transplant shock.
|Espoma Seed Starter Potting Mix Specifications|
80-90% sphagnum peat moss
Limestone to adjust pH
Natural and organic seed starting mix
Great moisture retention
Espoma Seed Starter Potting Mix can provide your pak choi seeds with water timely in hot climates.
Best For Moisture Retention: Jiffy Natural & Organic Starter Mix
- Easy to use
- Fast to germinate
- If you don’t wet this mix enough, it won’t soak up water.
In case your seeds are filled with water, they will activate enzymes to start the germination process. So, the best seed starting mix for vegetables should have a good ability to retain moisture. Jiffy Natural & Organic Starter Mix can meet this requirement because it is formulated from the following ingredients: peat moss and vermiculite.
The peat moss can not only hold and retain a lot of water and nutrients but also provide your vegetable root plenty of room to breathe in the soil.
The vermiculite can keep your vegetable seeds from compacting, hold much moisture, and strengthen the airflow.
|Jiffy Natural & Organic Starter Mix Specifications|
Wood power source type
100% organic mix
Balanced pH level
Jiffy Natural & Organic Starter Mix can hold a high level of moisture without immerging your seeds.
Best For Bigger Seedlings: Sun Gro Black Gold 1311002
- Good drainage
- Good smell
- Lightweight and thin
- Requires you to add extra fertilizer to encourage the growth
Bigger seedlings need more nutrients, moisture, and air than others for healthy growth. Sun-Gro Black Gold 1311002 is a proper solution thanks to its double screened Canadian Sphagnum peat moss.
Plus, this natural organic soil conditioner ingredient can regular air and moisture around the roots for a perfect growing environment.
|Sun Gro Black Gold 1311002 Specifications|
Canadian sphagnum peat moss
An organic wetting agent
Good aeration and moisture retention
Sun-Gro Black Gold 1311002 offers double value for bigger seedlings than seed starting mixes for smaller ones.
How To Choose The Best Seed Starting Mix For Vegetables?
What Are The Most Important Ingredients Of A Seed Starting Mix For Vegetables?
Sphagnum Peat Moss
This is the most common base in the ingredient list of the best seed starting mix for vegetables.
It is the sphagnum moss’s decomposed material - moss growing in peat bogs, so sterilized and dehydrated sphagnum peat moss can provide an optimal environment for starting mix. Moreover, this ingredient just absorbs without packing down, which is extremely useful for the germination of seeds.
Coconut coir is a fibrous layer surrounding a hard coconut shell. It features the ability to retain moisture without compacting. This ingredient is dehydrated and compressed into a mix to rehydrate and start seeds.
Perlite is a lightweight white granular material that can retain a certain amount of moisture and keep the mix from compacting.
Vermiculite is a silica mineral mined from the earth. This ingredient is lightweight and highly absorbent, so it lightens the mixture and retains moisture.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
DE is a natural ingredient containing “diatoms” (the finely ground fossils of tiny aquatic organisms.) that can kill insects in some seed-starting mixes. When insects go into the soil with DE, this power will stick to their bodies to dehydrate and kill them.
The pH range is from 0 -14, and 7 is the neutral level. In case the pH is higher than 7, the soil contains larger alkaline content. Meanwhile, a lower 7 pH level has more acidic content. The ideal pH level for vegetables is 6.5, but their growth won’t be hindered between the 5.5 - 7.5 pH range. Adding lime into a mix can lower the pH level to 6 -6.5 to start seeds successfully.
Completely dry ingredients of the grow mix make the root absorb water harder. In this case, adding a wetting agent like powdered kelp can solve this problem.
Do Vegetables Grow Well In The Organic Or Non-organic Mix?
While flower and ornamental plants grow well in the non-organic mix, vegetables require organic seed starting mix made from natural ingredients without chemicals and synthetic agents.
Should You Choose Sterilized Soil?
Yes. If the seed starting mix is heated to over 200 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes, it removes fungi and bacteria, most importantly, destroys any pathogen that can kill tender seedlings.
While some manufacturers force steam through the material, others submerge the mix in the water and heat it to help your delicate seeds survive better.
Are Aeration And Moisture Retention The Keys?
Yes. As most of you know, compact and heavy potting soil will reduce the germination rate of seeds because it lacks these crucial keys. Instead, seed-starting mixes require lightness and loft because new roots need moisture and oxygen to grow. Perlite and vermiculite are helpful to provide your vegetable seeds in this convenient environment.
Which Brands Make The Best Seed Starting Mix For Vegetables?
The Next Gardener
Philip founded the Next Gardener brand in 2002. In the first stage, he just focused on planting a golden barrel cactus field. After that, the founder continuously learned about how to take care of this type of plant better. He is more successful in the field in the future by selling more varieties of succulents from China, Korea, and Japan.
Although Philip has his own professional organic cactus soil, he still wants to create something more unique. He learned more knowledge from experts in growing succulents in Germany and Denmark to produce a specialized soil recipe.
Now, The Next Gardener is selling more than 650 succulent and cactus varieties. Besides, this brand also has other product lines, such as gardening tools and planter pots.
Washington Atlee Burpee founded Burpee in Pennsylvania. As the original orientation, this is only a mail-order chicken business. After a specific time, this company sells more product lines, such as seeds and some farming tools.
This brand is famous for a reason. They are pioneers and have a lot of practical experience in this field.
Do you need an example for this view?
Burpee is the first one who sells yellow seed corn all over the world.
Of course, they have continuously innovated to produce improved carrot and new cabbage varieties.
Do you really need a seed starting mix?
Most gardeners can incredibly start their seeds in rich garden soil or potting soil, but investing in a seed starting mix can help you decrease a lot of effort on your end to transplant.
In particular, this type of mix is sterile soil that can fight against mold and fungi pressures.
Can I start seeds in topsoil?
No, you can’t because topsoil can’t offer the best growing medium for the great chance of seed germination: a proper amount of oxygen and moisture.
Can you start seeds in regular soil?
Just a few seeds can grow well in regular soil because it comes with a more coarse texture.
Should soil be wet when planting seeds?
Although seeds require consistent moisture for successful germination, they can’t grow well in a wet and soggy environment. Too moist soil can lead to rot roots.
What happens when a seed is planted too deeply in the soil?
It might grow into a weak seedling; even it can’t germinate at all.
The best seed starting mix for vegetables must provide your plants with enough essential nutrients for complete growth. It should be lightweight and breathable so that your weak vegetable seedling roots can quickly move in the soil to look for and absorb water, nutrients, and air. You also should consider which plant you grow because some seed starting mixes work great for some specific types of vegetables.