I believe that Steubers is the only convenient place to buy bales of Sunshine #1 or any of the SunGro mixes. But I have wondered if Ace in Anacortes might be able to order them. Not sure. I have used it many years and it is truly good though I have stopped using it and I will explain later in this message. I am curious though about your bad experience with consumer products. I often wonder if people go wrong because the bag they chose is one without a “charge”- that means fertilizer. This is not uncommon with potting mixes- they may not have any or enough. but this is a murky topic.
I am, once again, attempting to eliminate, as much as possible, plastic, and PEAT, from my plant growing endeavors. This is not so easy but there are some ways. Regarding peat: we really and truly must stop using peat. Somehow the momentum for its elimination, on this continent, stalled and then vanished years ago. I don’t know the reasons but peat extraction from Canadian peat bogs continues and we don’t need to use it or import coconut fiber. The various mixes of potting media from other sources, plastic bags unfortunately, such as the ones they sell at Browne’s here in FH, G&B? Garden and Bloom or something like that, have less peat, at least some of them, and they are charged with organic (they even say OMRI certified) fertilizers and mycorrhizal inoculants. I have had fine success with them for seed starting and propagation, plus potting on. I haven’t gone into too much research or trials with other non-peat materials lately but I wonder if there might be more forest product based media out there. I think so as the anti-peat movement is gaining momentum once again.
This is spurring me on to look deeper into the new products available without peat moss. Colleen Howe, here on SJ, used to make her own organic potting soil for her nursery. I believe it was coir based. I wonder if she would share it. I will ask.
I am finding that late autumn and winter sowing of all kinds of seed, as was traditional before the advent of lights and greenhouses and bottom heat!, as nature intended, sown into seed flats or open beds, again, with a lot sand or only sand, is not a bad way to sow many things. We are used to fast growing, bulky, and fleshy plants- we have been trained by the nursery and garden center business. That is not how plants actually are more often than not. Remember the old adage, was it Alan Chadwick who brought it back?: “breakfast, lunch and dinner”. seedlings don’t need a big feed. soil microorganisms.. they need and real life. oh.. but things are not always so simple.. more sharing opportunities. 😄