Starting Strategy?

I’m trying to formulate an easy soil/nutrient strategy for my first grow.

Per recommendations, I’m going to use MG seed starting mix to start my seedlings instead of a “washed down” FFOF to avoid burning the seedlings. I have a couple different strategies in mind, but I’m unsure about them.

First is just using the starting soil straight up with no additives. The question that arises is: If there is very little to no nutrients in the soil, will I have to add nutrients to the seedlings before transplant? I’ll be transplanting into FFOF at some point. If I do add nutrients, when I go to the FFOF do I stop feeding them and just use the nutrients in the soil or is that bad for the plant?

Second strategy: Using the starting soil and adding some FFOF to add some nutrients to avoid trying to feed the delicate seedlings. I’d like to avoid adding nutrients until they become more established mainly because I’m brand new to growing and the nutrient portion of the program still has me nervous. If I do this, how much FFOF do you think I should add?

I also plan on adding perlite to the FFOF to aid in drainage. Should I add it to the MG seed starter also? It says there is perlite in it but I haven’t opened the bag yet and have no idea how much is actually in it.

I want to “over love” my plants BEFORE they’re born by making the best nursery I can before my black thumb gets me in trouble.

Tell me what you think? Thanks folks :v:

@SilentHippie… For what it’s worth, I did use the mg seed starter soil… It has very littleNPK… It has 0.03% of NPK… I started in this with no problem… Ph water to 6 for your spray bottle and spritz soil twice daily… Moist not too wet… I left them in this soil in solo cups for like 4 weeks, then moved them into ffof in 5 gal fabric bags… I did not add any perlite ffof has it in there already… so I didn’t use nutes until they get transplanted into 5 gal bags… Just what I did… Hope that helps you a bit

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Oh and I don’t add perlite to mg soil either @SilentHippie

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you should not have to worry about nutes for the first few weeks. Just watch your sugar leaves…no nutes until they start to die off.

one of the reasons folks worry about transplanting into a big pot too soon is because more soil means more water retention which can lead to root rot and such.
I use FFOF but also add an additional 20% or so of perlite into the mix…it makes the soil light and fluffy and it drains really well.

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@Oak @Zombo Thanks for your input guys! I think I got a good jumping off point. I’ve been gathering information from the forum for a couple weeks while waiting on my seeds. I’m trying to lay down a solid plan for success. I know there will be variables along the way but I want to try to eliminate as many as possible before the problems arise. The vast amount of information out there is a bit overwhelming and it’s easy for an inexperienced person, like myself, to get confused. I can’t thank you all enough for the information I’ve already received. Thanks!

If anyone else would like to weigh in, please! By all means, your opinion/experience is welcomed!

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That’s the main reason I’m considering this. I feel like with all new growers, I’m, at some point, probably going to water too much. I hope the extra perlite will help combat this a little by aiding drainage. If I waste a little nutrients along the way by draining too much out, I can live with that. I’d rather waste the food than the plant!

If you grow in fabric pots, then you should not be worry too much about overwatering, its practically impossible unless the pots are sitting in standing water for some reason…
Just take it easy and enjoy the grow…
Happy growing :wink::wink::wink:


Right on @Ragnar. I bought 6 gl. plastic pots before I saw all the folks using fabric. I’ll probably use them for my next grow though. Thanks!

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Very well, good luck and enjoy :wink::wink::wink:

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IMO this is a place where you should cut your losses. Fabric pots WILL improve your grow.

Over watering is the biggest no no at the beginning. The spray bottle technique mostly overcomes that. I’ve been very successful starting directly in FFOF and I see a bunch of people are mixing Happy Frog 50/50 to cool off the FFOF.

Really it’s more a matter of paying attention to what your plants are telling you and understanding it than following a set schedule per se.


@Ragnar @Myfriendis410 Well it sounds like I need to go with the fabric pots. Priced them, pretty cheap. If it makes as much difference as you guys claim then I guess it’s no-brainer! Thanks guys!:+1::ok_hand:


@SilentHippie I found instructions online on how to make your own. I have lots of weed block fabric leftover from veggie garden (I hate weeding), so I have them on my "stuck in the house during winter " to do list :blush:


@SmoknGranny I also have weed mat at the casa. Do you have a link to the instructions? The pots themselves aren’t that expensive but it sounds like a cool project!

Edit: Searched online, first hit, score!

Yep. The instructions are easy to find. I’m still learning the ropes here and wasn’t sure about linking to them. AND, as a beginner, what is a weed mat? I’m learning new terms every day :blush: & starting to get into information overload!!!

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@SilentHippie, my wife is a 1976 graduate of OSU and asked what year for you?

weed block fabric like you were speaking of. We just call it weed mat. lol

I’ve also heard of folks adding 1 cup of DE/gal of soil. One of the reasons being it keeps bugs away.

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Not a grad, just born and raised a Buckeye! Like many others, I live and breathe Ohio State Football. Oh BTW, only 32 days until Indiana. Go Bucks!

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I’ve read sprinkling a dusting over the surface straight off but would a cup per gallon affect the soil ph?

I don’t think adding the DE in with the soil will do much good. It will just wash away when watering. I think the ones using it sprinkle it on top of the soil after watering. Then reapply again after the next watering. If you don’t have a pest problem there really is no need for it at all.