I just mixed today my first bucket of 5-1-1, I have plants that needs to be repotted ASAP. Can I transfer the plants right away to the new soil mix? If not how soon can I put my tomatoes/cucumber/zuchini in this new soil?
Yes, you can mix and pot the same day!
The Dolomitic Lime will continue its reaction over the next couple weeks,
but you shouldn't notice any detriment.
A note of caution... be prepared to change your watering habits. The gritty mixes will require a little more effort, but once you get used to the new needs of your plantings, the results will be worth any extra effort.
In other words, these mixes drain a lot faster and don't hold the amount of moisture regular potting soil does, which is a good thing... but you'll want to keep a close eye on things until you adjust. It took me a little bit to adjust to new watering and feeding "schedules".
A good reminder from Jodi, and if these plants are on bottom heat the need for more frequent water is even more dramatic. Al
Great guys! Thank you for let me know right away because I really need to transfer these plants really quick. I will do that today then.
I did use the lime in the mix, will that be a problem using any fertilizer? or since I added the lime I need a specific fertilizer?
For now I am using the bonnie fertilizer that I bought with the tomatoes and some fish emulsion.
The 5-1-1 holds a fair amount of moisture, and even supports a bit of perched water,
so there's a little more leeway than with the Gritty Mix, proper...but, yes, keep an eye on
the moisture levels, particularly with those thirsty vegetables.
Tropicalia, I personally mix a bit of Osmocote into the soils from the start.
Al recommends a fertilizer in a 3:1:2 ratio, which could be Foliage Pro or Miracle Grow, etc.
Generally, you'd want to avoid organic fertilizers because they don't deliver consistent nutrition -
the temperature and moisture fluctuation in the containers lead to "boom and bust" cycles of the
microbes that break down and make available the organics. These organics and microbes will also
hasten the deterioration of the soil mix itself, although this isn't a major concern with single-
season plantings (such as vegetables).
What is the ratio of the Bonnie fertilizer?
I agree with Josh... it's my understanding that organics don't work well within the confines of containers, due to availability issues. I'd stick with a liquid all purpose plant food, and leave the fish emulsion for the garden beds outside, where the microscopic army of critters can break it down into usable food.
I'd prefer to use Foliage Pro, which gets consistent high marks from Al and everyone who uses it... but I'm stuck finishing my bottle of Miracle Gro first, to which I add micro nutrients.
Yes... I would imagine the addition of bottom heat would cause the gritty mixes to require even closer watching for needed moisture, heat being so drying. I hadn't thought of that, Calistoga Al, thanks for reminding me! I was going to employ my heat mats shortly to grow some items... good that you mention it! :-)
I am planning to get that(foliage pro), I have in order but I wanted to finish the stuff I have. The Bonnie fertilizer I have is not the ratio Al told us to use. It is a little high in Nitrogen the values are 8-4-4(bottle says Herb and Vegetables) but until now the plants are fine with this combination, some tomatoes and cucumber are already fruiting! Squash zuchini lots of flowers (male only). It is that green bottle that is close to the bonnie vegetable plants @ home depot/wallmart etc... I wonder if with them fruiting should I continue with this same fertilizer since they seem to be happy and healthy. Wondering if I keep this bottle unitl I finish, it will hurt the veggies?