Comments and questions on Al's Gritty Mix
I am relatively new to gardening, (I am 18) and to this forum, so I am sorry in advance about posting on a subject that has been discussed a lot already. After reading more pages than I can remember, the confusion about Al's (Tapla) soils was enough to make me start a new message here. I am also sorry to be posting another message about my gardenia and coffee plants so soon after my other message, so here we go. I have read a lot about the Gritty mix and the 5:1:1 mix, and have been getting quite helpless in my search to understand them. I read that nearly everyone uses them, and so I gave it a try (I respect all that you guys do, really it is amazing)especially Al for your expertise in this subject. I am new to growing most plants in a soil that is not miracle gro. I had attempted to make the gritty mix for my gardenia, coffee and citrus plants, and made the terrible choice to re-pot them now, especially my coffee plants. They had not been repotted in three years(previously grown in our nearly pure sand native soil pH 4 and black soil pH 6.5 that had been brought in), and were very root bound. First,I would like to say that when I made Al's mix, I must have combined the wrong materials. I do not know what had me thinking that I needed to combine sifted floor dry, sphagnum peat moss, .75'' bark and perlite together in a 1:1 mixture for all of them. I also forgot to add gypsum to the soil and now realize that I have sadly killed all of the plants that I re-potted. I have not been this frustrated with myself and gardening for a long time. These are my questions.The plants that I want to try are: citrus, gardenia and coffee plants, however I will also be trying to grow vinifera grapes as well for my Biology project, but that is a whole new topic.
1.For which of these plants do you recommend the gritty soil?
Which of these do you recommend the 5:1:1 soil?
What are the correct products in each?
I have read that repti-bark works well; as does pine bark fines, but none of these are available to my knowledge here. I will keep searching for them, it is possible that I can find them only in summer. I think I had taken on more than I could handle. I want to set this all straight, so that I can start feeling confident in my future planting efforts! Once again, I am sorry for posting on a topic that I know has been talked about a lot already. Your wisdom and help is more appreciated than you know! Thank you to everyone for helping me through this challenge!