Sticky Fingers

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How to make mud pies

This past weekend I worked on potting up some of my small seedlings into 2" pots, and I also sowed another batch of seeds - 24 species or thereabouts. I made a mess of my soil preparation by using a too-concentrated solution of hydrogen peroxide that caused the soil to bubble and rise just like cakes in the oven.

I did this already, the first time I used peroxide and I thought I had figured it out, but I guess not! Took me a while to dilute it out through the soil and bring the bubbles back down to something I could go ahead and sow my seeds in. Hope the acidic soil doesn't affect germination - but some species have already started to grow.

My 7-year old daughter has taken quite an interest in plants now, and she reaped her own seed from my Mamillaria prolifera and wanted to do some of her own. So I had to facilitate her while I was doing mine, and then the 13-year old jumped into the action as well. So they both got a mix of cactus seeds to plant in one pot each, and they have been checking them every day since. Guess who is going to have to look after them as they grow? That would be me! But I'm pleased at the interest - it's much better than the jealousy that used to be (and sometimes still is) expressed when I would spend hours in the garden. We'll see how long it lasts.


  • I am interested in your using hydrogen peroxide. Why do you do this? Have I missed something, what does it do, disinfect the soil?

    By Blogger vonlafin, at March 01, 2008 10:22 pm  

  • I have been using hydrogen peroxide solution to soak my soil before sowing seeds, to see if I get better results in terms of reduced fungal attack, damping off, mealy bugs, etc. It seems to have been beneficial (not a scientific study) so I have continued to use it.

    I do not sterilise my soil by baking or microwaving, and I used to have difficulties with seedlings mysteriously collapsing when they reached about two to three months old, and would have to prick out very early. Now I have been able to maintain the seedlings in the seed pots until a year and more.

    By Blogger Jade, at March 02, 2008 1:29 pm  

  • That's great! I have two daughters, 9 and 13, and they love all the succulent plants around the house and patio. They can't get over how different they are and how some are so fuzzy! I planted some lithops, cactus, etc. and my daughters and I enjoy looking at them (with a magnifying glass at this point), together. It's so exciting to see them sprout. I think I might get them a bag of mixed cactus seeds of there own. A seed has been planted in my mind. Thank you!

    By Blogger Kelly, at March 30, 2008 8:14 pm  

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