Newbie questions

JonOklahomaJanuary 5, 2014

I'm planning on doing about 25, 5 gallon pepper containers this season. Say i need about 4 gal soil mix in each one more or less. so 100 gal total mix.

grit mix = 33 gal each
1. reptibark 6 gal = 18.99 @ amazon = total 114$
2. safetsorb 9 gal = 5$ @ atwoods = total 20$
3. grower grit 9 gal = 15$ @ ? = total 60$
grand total = 200$

511 mix = 14gal per part
1. reptibark 6 gal = 18.99 @ amazon = total $228
2. perilite 1gal = 5$ = total 10$
3. peatmoss 9gal = 15$ = total 30$
grand total = 270$

This doesn't count the lime / gypsum and/or other ferts..

Does it really cost that much? am i doing something wrong?

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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

You are probably shopping the most expensive sites possible. Look for bulk providers in your area where no shipping is required. You may have to buy more material than you need, but still save money. Al

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 8:43AM
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JonOklahoma

i have a couple nurseries in my area otherwise don't know where to look.

i should look for farm supply places?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:28PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yes, farm supply, turf supply (sports fields, golf courses, et cetera), and landscaping supply.

Repti-Bark is far to expensive to use on the scale you're considering, especially when you account for the product loss after screening the bark for the Gritty Mix.

If you're doing annual or vegetable gardening, I strongly encourage the 5-1-1.

Josh

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:41PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Jon: Forget the Reptibark. The particles are actually too big for the gritty mix and partially composted fines are better for the 5-1-1. I agree that 5-1-1 would be better for your purposes.

Look for pine bark fines at a nursery, garden center, landscaper or a big box store. Sometimes it's sold as a soil conditioner or mulch. There are at least a couple nurseries in Oklahoma that people have mentioned as having them in past threads: Marcum's and Springer's.

You need about 14 cubic feet of mix. It costs me less than $50 to make that much 5-1-1. Two cubic feet of coarse perlite cost $17 and two cf of peat costs about $8 from Home Depot. I pay less than $4 for a 2 cf bag of pine bark fines from a local mulch company, or about $20 for the 10 cf you would need need.

Follow the link below for a discussion of making 5-1-1 on the Oklahoma Forum. Maybe someone there can give you more info.

Here is a link that might be useful: Oklahoma forum

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 4:33PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I am also planing to do about 20 pepper plants in pot.

Just consider another way/option to cut your costs down: I have come to the belief that 5 gal. container for most pepper plants is unnecessarily too big. In average 2.5 gallon container should do : some might need just a ONE gallon pot. Only a very large variety MIGHT need a 4-5 gal. container. I will keep my average pot size at 2.5 gallons. This should save a bunch on potting mix, container cost and fertilizers.
JMO

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 5:18AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Keep in mind that the "gallon" in nursery pots is actually 0.7 gallons. And, assuming again that you are in Oklahoma with long hot summers, the smaller your container, the more often you will have to water and the more vulnerable your plants will be to being knocked over by high winds.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 9:45AM
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OKgrowin

Thanks Ohiofem, i was going to check ace hardware 50 mins away, or local nurseries (on limited winter hours). I will read that thread and see if there is another place close to me.

I thought about just going for the 3gal bags as they are a bit cheaper so i bought some of those as well to see how much difference there is, certainly going bigger doesn't hurt the plant just makes me have to make more mix lol.

i'm probably going to line them up along 80ft of south facing privacy fence so i don't think they will knock over.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 10:12AM
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JonOklahoma

I found Happy Gro 2cu for 6.40$ is that a decent product / price ?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 6:07PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

There were some discussions about Hapi-Gro pine bark mulch on this forum, one of which is linked below. Notice the post by ltruett in Houston. The photo at the top of his message is not a very good product but the one at the bottom is. You could use either product, but you might want to cut back on the peat moss if you used the first one.

You need to look at what's in the bag before you buy it. Mulch products sold by big box stores vary widely from location to location and even bag to bag.

Here is a link that might be useful: Is this good for pine bark fines?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 6:24PM
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JonOklahoma

found a thread after searching about a nursery that carries it in my area, i'll ask that guy / call that nursery

thread

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 7:27PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I agree. The Happy Grow mulch sown in Ltruett's top picture has too much sap wood. You want bark not sap wood. Keep in mind that all of these nuggets are sold as mulch in landscaping not for potting. That is why they are inexpensive ( $4/ 1.5 cu.ft) and not quite consistent.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 9:27AM
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OKgrowin

So the 3 places around me all have the hapi grow composted pine fines, looks good as a soil amendment in my flower beds but not what we've been talking about for pine bark pieces (lots of fine material).

I did find another place an hour away that has rexius Douglas fir bark 1/4-1/8 in pieces they are pricing that for me atm.

the search continues

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 4:46PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I think sometimes people confuse the two mixes. It is OK to have lots of fine material in your composted pine bark for the 5-1-1 mix. You do not need to screen out anything. The Hapi-Gro pine bark in the photo on that thread (attached here) is acceptable, if not ideal:

I don't see any significant amount of sapwood. I have used PBF like that for my summer container vegetables by leaving out the peat (so it's 5-0-1), and in some cases, doubling the amount of perlite (5-0-2).

Seysonn: I wish you would make it clear that you are offering an opinion that has no basis in experience with the 5-1-1 mix or growing vegetables in containers. It makes it difficult for new people when you chime in on every discussion as if you were an expert.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 4:58PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Seysonn: I wish you would make it clear that you are offering an opinion that has no basis in experience with the 5-1-1 mix or growing vegetables in containers. It makes it difficult for new people when you chime in on every discussion as if you were an expert. (Ohiofem)
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I don't know what are you talking about ? You did not quot me !!

I don't consider anybody an "EXPERT " here, that includes me and YOU. This is a "forum". I hope you know the meaning of "forum". What everybody says in most part is his/her view based on his/her experience, knowledge and understanding.

So take it Easy Lady !

BTW: To my knowledge, the medium pictured in your last post is NOT bark and as far as I know it is not what intended for in 511 formula.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 10:52PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Seysonn,
the 5-1-1 mix actually does call for *composted* bark for the best results. As Ohio mentioned, the product in that image is "acceptable" but not "ideal," given how composted it is. The more composted or aged the bark, the more moisture retention - thus, one might need to reduce or eliminate the "peat" component entirely, and increase the perlite fraction.

I use *uncomposted* bark in my own 5-1-1, and that probably confuses people. I just prefer something more durable, longer-lasting, less moisture retentive, and with greater structure.

Josh

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 6:36PM
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JonOklahoma

i think thats a decent idea, i can just get the composted pine bark and not use peat instead using some perlite / napa dry stuff

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 7:46PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Hi Josh,
I have seen most people (here, CG forum) are chasing and use barks that is about 3/8" size. But isn't the purpose of using bark for good drainage?
If I wanted more moisture retention, just would add more peat moss.
Here is a quote from Al's description of 5 -1-1 mix

>>>> The 5:1:1 mix:

5 parts pine bark fines, dust - 3/8 (size is important
1 part sphagnum peat (not reed or sedge peat please)
1-2 parts perlite (coarse, if you can get it)
garden lime (or gypsum in some cases)
controlled release fertilizer (if preferred) .

EDIT:

One more thing I should clarify here.
I am not into potting perennial house plants My application is for outdoors container planting, MOSTLY peppers. In my opinion there is a major difference between those. Say, I pot my pepper in mid April. They will expire by mid October. That is about 6 months. So I don't fuss too much about it as I would with perennial house plants.

This post was edited by seysonn on Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 19:55

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 7:20PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

The bark should be from dust size up to 1/2 inch, with a healthy range of particles in between. The purpose of the bark is mostly as a relatively inexpensive filler which *also* happens to have structure, durability, a favorable pH, et cetera.

Josh

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 11:06AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Hi Josh, I agree. The barks that comes in the bag is not consistently one size. It has particle sizes ranging from dust to 1/2" nuggets( though more nuggets than dust). I have also found some pine bark mulch that is very very fine, with less than 25% piece of it about 1/4" max. So I will mix the two to get a more finer structure.

So, anyway. I am just a nubie to this(511) but I think that I understand the logic behind it. I do not like the commercial potting mixes(like MG) they are costly and either stay soggy or get dry and cake up.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 1:18AM
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vanman23(6b/7a - OK)

Jon, I'm new to this as well. I'm in the Tulsa area and just mixed a big batch of 5:1:1 using Al's big batch recipe. If you do the math it is closer to 3:1:1 to 4.5:1:1. I bought my supplies at HD (pine bark mulch $3/2CF, peat moss $10/3CF) and Southwood Nursery (perlite $25/4CF). So for 100 gal (13CF) it would cost about $31-35 with sales tax (10%) for just he mix.
The fertilizer is not cheap. I bought a 50lb bag of Osmocote Pro at Southwoods for $125 plus tax. They had smaller bags at 10lb for $27. The lime costs $4 for a small bag at Southwoods or $5 for a large bag at Southerlands (Ag store).
Hope this helps.

Van

This post was edited by vanman23 on Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 10:59

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 10:52AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have a question:

What if I just skip the perlite ?

For annual outdoor plants a bark based mix should have enough drainage and aeration. I find perlite a bit to expensive.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 6:09AM
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