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In the past when I have grown ginger indoors, I have started it in the summer in a pot of 100% peat moss. Ginger is very sensitive to changes in humidity and requires very moisture-rich soils (in the tropics, I have grown it outdoors in clay soils).

I am concerned about the sustainability of peat moss harvests and looking for alternatives. I don't think that standard potting soils will be sufficient. Are there any alternatives I can find, perhaps using recycled paper or the like, that will provide a more sustainable alternative?

  • Are you no longer living in the same place where you successfully grew it outdoors? – Daniel Bingham Feb 6 '13 at 16:35
  • Daniel: For the moment I am but I am looking at moving back to the states at some point and this is a question I figure I would want to have answer before I get back. – Chris Travers Feb 7 '13 at 1:41
  • @bstpierre, can you please post that as an answer? – Chris Travers Feb 7 '13 at 5:54
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Possibly of interest: What are some sustainable alternatives to peat for potting compost?, several answers there.

TL;DR: my favorite substitute for peat is fully-composted horse manure (with a wood-based bedding product), holds water a lot like peat.

Quoting my answer from that question:

My (peat-free) recipe for potting soil is:

5 gal sifted garden soil
5 gal sifted mature horse manure compost (we use a wood-based bedding product, and the compost has some of the desirable properties of peat)
5 gal coarse sand
"sprinkling" of equal parts lime, greensand, and rock phosphate -- strength depending on what I'm potting

Depending on what I'm planting and how much I have, sometimes I substitute sifted garden compost for all or part of the horse manure.

I arrived at this recipe because the major components are free, it uses what I have on hand (it's basically impossible to run out of anything but fertilizer), and it has been very successful for getting seedlings off to a strong start.

Based on what you have available locally (this is the essence of sustainability), experiment starting with my recipe or something similar and develop your own potting recipe. Nothing that comes from a Big Box is really all that sustainable.

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