Baccto Growing Medium


New Member
I have many chestnuts in my fridge that are beginning to germinate, I am in need of a good growing medium for them, persimmons, acorns and hazelnuts. I am having trouble finding fafard/sungrow and pro-mix hp. I called a local greenhouse and he said he used to be a fafard dealer, but hasn't been for years. He recommended Baccto products ( They are a small family run business in Michigan apparently. Has anyone had any experience with there products? If so what medium of theirs do you prefer for my application? I will be starting indoors in RM18's under 4' LED light fixtures with heating pads.
How many rootmaker cells do you plan on putting growing media in? If it is a small number 18 to 54 cells, I would suggest you mix your own growing media. Three parts - 1/3 perlite (the white stuff), 1/3 mini pine barks (Lowes sells them in my area), & 1/3 Growing Media (potting soil without water retention properties). I have mixed my own and the mini pine bark helps drainage and give room for the roots to fill in when they develop.

If you are interested reply back and I will post a couple of photos if you have an interest.

Good luck - I am a chestnut grower in Zone 7 on the TN / KY state line. I have never used a heating pad - imagine it helps with germination.

I have 12 of the 18 cell trays. I would be interested in seeing some pictures. I may have to go that route if I can’t find the right stuff. Especially knowing that method/mix has worked for you in the past.
Check the Rootmaker website

Dr Carl Whitcomb describes his growing media in detail for the RM18s and all sizes of containers

All ingredients are easy to find at Home Depot,Lowes if you are interested to make your own blend

I have 12 of the 18 cell trays. I would be interested in seeing some pictures. I may have to go that route if I can’t find the right stuff. Especially knowing that method/mix has worked for you in the past.

The potting soil you buy is your choice - it has to be with Zero water retention properties - the water retention potting soils are sold for people growing vegetables and some flowers. The potting soil is 1/3 of your mixture by volume - not weight.


Pine Bark Mini.JPG

Perlite weights nothing - it is light. It helps keep the growing media mixture lighter. The mini pine barks add acidity and help create pockets of air in the mixture. Air gives the roots Oxygen which is necessary for a healthy seedling.

You need a good size tub with a smaller container to dump each item into to get the proper volume - then it goes into the large tub. Mix by hand - the three items have great contrast by site - potting soil is darker, perlite is white and mini pine barks are chuncky.

After I get this mixed properly then I add water and mix again to spread the moisture adequately. I put wet (not soppy) growing media into the rootmaker 18s.

In my area I purchase these two products at Lowes. The potting soil could be at Walmart or Lowes depending what is on their self. Walmart's price comparison usually beats Lowes.

Hope this helps.

After your chestnuts have germinated and you see one scaffold of leaves - even thought they are small leaves, I add Osmocote Plus to the the top of the growing media in the container. It is important to purchase the Plus version of Osmocote because it provides the extra nutrients. This product is a slow release fertilizer that doesn't burn the seedlings. Here is a photo of this product.

Osmocote Plus.JPG
The rootmaker container is small and you will have to either 1) move the seedling to a larger container, or 2) plant the seedlings in its final destination.

Once the seedlings has been moved from the rootmaker it will have many scaffold of leaves. I use the following product as my fertilizer at this point and it is purchased at Walmart as a rule. I mix this in 5 gallon buckets with water. I like to fertilize on Wednesday - you pick a day of the week that suits you. I am retired so my options are wide ranging.

Orchid Food 4 Chestnuts.JPG

The key words are "All Acid-Loving Plants" and Water Soluble. As the photo shows, I had purchase two boxes that year because I had plenty of chestnut seedlings to feed.

I will get some of these ingredients at Home Depot or Walmart and mix some up. I do have some Osmocote Plus already. Thanks for taking the time to explain your method in great detail Wayne!

I will also take a look at Dr Carl Whitcomb's article on the rootmaker page, Thanks Bill!
You are welcome

i read the baccto mix ingredients on their website.
They mention "water retention properties"......Agree with Wayne on this

AVOID !!!!!!

I've used the Baccto sphagnum peat moss for at least 3 years and it works great for me. Mixed as follows - 95% peat and 5% perlite. Also have been using the osmocote for 10 or more years. The peat used to be dried and now it has some moisture in it. Mix peat and perlite in a wheel barrow, moisten with water (spray hose) - mix some more until it is moist - sounds like a sponge when you squeeze a handful, no water runs out. Plant seeds/nuts are your "good to go". It is very light and spongy, holds oxygen, retains water well. I only water when signs of dryness appear in the leaves. These are outside. If it rains excessively, so be it. I am growing oaks and chestnuts in rootmaker bags with 99% success rate. I like it - YMMV...