511 for dummies...simple question about Al's mix

alderdwellerFebruary 28, 2011

Hi all,

I am an extreme novice to gardening. I have in the past couple of years tried a few tomatoes and pepper plants on my deck with somewhat good results with just plain old potting soil. My problem is that I didn't want to worry about my plants drying out if I'm gone a day or so.

I came to this forum looking for ideas about self-watering containers and low and behold, before long I found myself intrigued with Al's 511 mix. (I think that's it, although I get confused between that and the gritty mix).

I would love to give it a try, *if* I can find the ingredients.

My question is this....can you or would you want to use the mix in self-watering containers?

Thanks very much!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Many use a slight variation of it. What will work best will depend largely on how fine the bark is, but something around a 3:2:1 ratio of bark:peat:perlite will give the extra wicking needed in a SWC.

Al

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 5:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alderdweller

Thank you sir!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 6:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Al

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 11:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
colokid(5)

Pardon me for jumping in (for my own use) but how close to the 3:2:1 mix would be 5:1 of commercial potting mix and perlite?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 9:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

When you use a ratio of 5:1 potting soil and perlite, you'll get exactly the same amount of wicking and aeration as if you were using only the potting soil. It's only when you start getting up around a 60% perlite component that you would notice any significant change. Perlite reduces the o/a VOLUME of water the soil is capable of holding, but that is of no value in containers with an unlimited water supply because it doesn't change the wicking potential until you increase the particle size of the predominant ingredient(s).

Does that make sense to you, or should I illustrate further?

Al

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 12:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jodik_gw

Quite honestly, I try to avoid using any bagged potting soils, at all. I rely on the larger particled ingredients, building my own medium, and I tweak the mix to suit my purpose and environment.

I suppose growing for a single season in a bagged mix wouldn't be the end of the world, but it surely puts my longer term plantings on precarious footing, health wise. I've lost too many plants to ever go back to using what the gardening industry retails to us. But then, to the industry, it's all about profit, not healthy plants.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 3:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tivo532(9B)

Not sure if this has been discussed, how do you compare 511 versus Mel's Mix? Which one is better for raise bed and for containers? Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 8:06PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
zone 9 or so best roses for containers
what are your best roses for container gardening
zippity1
Question about too much dryness in my container garden
I have several Behlen food-grade stocktanks (1x2x6)...
catherinet
Help! My slash pine seedlings in containers are turning yellowish
I have several hundred slash pine seedlings I put in...
Florida Native
Trying Petunias indoors
I thought that I would try to grow some Petunias indoors,...
nopets
meyer lemon tree leaves yellowing
I have a meyer lemon tree and I brought it in for the...
mlmib
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™