commercial potting mix

luv_figsFebruary 9, 2010

so i give up. i've looked everywhere for the composted fir bark and can't find anything like it. thus i can't make the 5-1-1 mix that al recommends.

as a result, i'm just going to buy commercial potting mix, maybe miracle grow moisture control for my outdoor plants (tomatoes primarily). i read some reviews om miracle grow and will mostly likely use 50/50 with perlite.

given my limitations in finding the good stuff, is there a recommendation for a good easy potting mix that i can use, without having to scavenger hunt for materials?

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Can I ask you something?

Do you have a greenhouse supply company that supplies bagged soil to local greenhouses, such as "griffins green house supplies"..Do you have any company locally that sells big cubic bags of soilless mix?

How a bout a nursery?

I will explain why later..


    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 9:51AM
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I am not sure of your location but there should be a landscape supply in your area. They mix up potting soil for the commercial nurseries who grow and sell plants to the retail nurseries. I have purchased from several asking for the "Number One Potting Mix". Some will sell in as small a quantity as you want, others will only sell in 20 yard truckloads. In every case the mix is the same. Based on "forest products" with course sand and "volcanic rock". All have added what they call a "fertilizer package", which is all the fertilizer needed for the first 3 to 4 months. The PH is about six and a half. It sells for about $45 a yard. Al

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 9:53AM
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I am NOT any expert, so just take my comment for what they are worth. I do use miracle potting mix. I do not like the moisture control one. I mix about 20 percent perlite with it. One year I found Ace hardware (made in Denver) potting mix a few cents cheaper and I think I liked it bit better.
I am an old guy and it just keeps thing more simple for me.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 10:17AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Luv!
Buy a bag of fine grade Orchid Bark (not Orchid mix), and don't screen it.
That'll give you your bark base. The other two ingredients are easily obtained.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 10:28AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'd avoid the MiracleGro stuff, too. You wouldn't believe the negative comments we see, just in this forum, about that stuff! Find something different.

By adding the orchid bark and plenty of perlite, you'll have something you can work with.

You can then keep looking for the conifer (I don't use fir bark and never have...pine bark has been terrific and easily found) bark fines, and Turface over the growing season if you wish.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 11:49AM
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hi guys,
thanks for all your comments. i live in orange county, so i'm sure i can find some nursery nearby. i will look for griffins green house supplies and follow up with you mike.

Calistoga: regarding the Number One Potting Mix, anything with this mix of ingredients is good? (forest products, coarse sand, volcanic rock, and some fertilizer). What if they donÂt specify that its "fir" forest products, is that still ok? Because I can find "composted forest products" but not "composted pine fir bark".

Josh/Rhizo: I do have fine grade orchid bark, but I think that is the size for the gritty mix, not the 5-1-1 right? That type of bark looks quite different than the composted fir bark, do you think its ok to use in the 5-1-1 still?


    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 12:05PM
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If you want composted fir bark you can buy a few bags of ReptiBark (reptile bedding sold at local pet stores nationwide) and soak them with water and let them sit for a few months. This might start the compost process?

Not sure but at least a possibility!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 12:08PM
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If worse come to worst, you can make it as simple as possible..

Buy a bag of professional growers mix,and if you can read the ingredients, see what bag has the higher percentage of bark base. Bring it home.

If you have any sort of strainer, small enough holes to allow the peat only fall through, sift it out.

Then with the bark left over in one bucket or pile, and the peat in another, take 5 parts bark, and only 1 part of the peat. Most bagged mixes tend to have too much peat in them. So you get to control how much you want by sifting it out. Besides, you won't even have to add lime, it is already in there.
Depending on the kind of drainage you want, you could add more perlite if you have too, less peat, or more.

That is what i do..;-)

Don't get confused or make it difficult for yourself..It is east to alleviate most peat out of any bagged mix, if you sift it out. Only think in terms of what you asked for, the 5.1.1. mix..

The bark you want for the gritty mix is entirely different and will only confuse you further


    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 3:53PM
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Hi neighbor, I'm in Orange County as well. Armstrong Nursery has fir bark fines, but I don't recall the brand name, sorry. I believe it's sold as a mulch, it's in a white bag with green lettering.

Here is a link that might be useful: Store Locator Link

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 8:25PM
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Buzzsaw: OMG i can't believe they have it, and i totally overlooked it! i am going to buy it this weekend, that totally solves my 5-1-1 dilemma now.

thanks guys!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 10:28PM
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Almost all the lumber harvested in California is Douglas Fir or Ponderosa Pine. This is the source of the bark used as "forest products" in the commercial mixes available in California. Both will work well in your mix. Al

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 8:42AM
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