fungus gnats and seed starting

Bill Richardson
Wed, 09 Nov 2005 14:05:05 PST
you are on the right track. I use a mix of seed raising mix, perlite
vermiculite and cocopeat for starting seed and often put a layer of granite
grit on top.
It works a treat and presently I have the most fabulous seedlings of Lilium
growing in this medium I have ever had. I follow this with up foliar sprays
of seaweed/superboost on a fortnightly basis.
I stopped using peat moss ages ago and use coco peat which is readily
available in our hardware stores. You can buy it with or without fertliser
 I also like the larger sized vermiculite and I have halved the amount of
perlite I use.
I do not use insecticides unless it is necessary and I find that is not
often, maybe for a few aphids if they are around and then I use pyretherum
which works fine.
The granite grit does not set hard on the top of the pots and works for
moisture retention and keeps the snails away. Sometimes I even add it tp the
Linda, there is no perfect mix. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I have
used many mixes over the years and change the quantities of ingredients
often, to suit what I grow.
Obviously I don't have your problem with gnats and other beasties and I
don't need to grow anything under lights.
If you keep your seedlings strong and healthy they are not prone to getting
diseases and  problems if they are healthy. I provide mine with filtered
sunlight and a good air flow.
I think growers often tend to overfertilise and use too many sprays. Often
this is not necessary and I think it weakens your seedlings.
I would almost cry if I had to throw away a dozen pots of seedlings. What a
Anyway, I'm off to the garden plot now, no more time to chat.
Good growing.
Bill Richardson,
West Gippsland,
Ixia Website:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Linda Foulis" <>
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <>
Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2005 5:58 AM
Subject: Re: [pbs] fungus gnats and seed starting

> Thank you all for your responses regarding the granite grit.
> As for seed starting mixes, I'm always on the lookout for new and improved
> methods.  I start seeds year round, when one only has an average of 112
> frost free....  I garden indoors a lot.
> I started off using a mix of 1-1-1, peat-vermiculite-perlite.  Over the
> years I've reduced it to half and  half of peat and vermiculite.  Needless
> to say, I'm still looking for the ideal mix.
> With the perlite I found that it surfaces, and algae will grow on it
> Now that problem was solved by eliminating the perlite, however it creates
> other problems.  My mix is less porous.  I switched to a larger grade of
> vermiculite.
> I have gnat problems every year and I'm convinced that they comes in with
> the peat.  I'm extremely careful about cleanliness.  This year is the
> it has ever been.  I'm almost debating throwing out about a dozen trays of
> seed due to this problem.
> Insecticides of any sort have to be carefully researched in my house prior
> to use.  I have allergies and we also have a parrot.  I liked vectobac,
> active ingredient being Bacillus thruringiensis israelensis, very
> and environmentally friendly.  However I can not seem to find it anymore?
> I'm currently trying a product called SM-90, made by Nutrilife, which
> claims - 'Nutrilife's SM-90 is liquid magic for your plants. Made from
> extracts such as corriander and canola oil, SM-90 can be used in the root
> zone as a shield against pathogens, fungal gnat larvae, and root aphids
> as a foliar spray against spider mites. Safe enough to use regularly in
> hydroponic reservoirs, SM-90 can act as a good method to promoting healthy
> roots.'
> Is it working?  Some days I think I'm ahead of the game, other days I
> they are winning.  Sticky strips are everywhere.
> Is there something that I can replace the peat with?  I love the idea of
> using straight granite grit as I'm pretty sure that will eliminate my gnat
> problems.  However once the seedling starts to grow I have to put it back
> into a soil or soil-less mix?
> Still at the drawing board! and becoming one with the fungus gnats!
> Linda Foulis
> Okotoks, AB
> Canada
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