Help me formulate an organic, coir based outdoor container mix

filmost(8b)March 19, 2014

-- This was posted in the Soil forum before I realized there was a Container Gardening forum, so sorry for the cross-post. --

So I am looking to plant out my spring garden here in about another week or so. Mostly peppers with some tomatoes and other odd things here and there.

Many things are going to go straight into the ground, but I will also be planting some into containers (fabric and plastic) for easy over wintering later on.

I currently have at my disposal coir, worm compost (non-powdered), leaf compost, high phosphorus guano, and perlite. I can also easily acquire vermiculite, bark compost, and various manures.

What would make a good combo for use in outdoor containers?

I should add I am not interested in Mels Mix, or debates on peat vs coir.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

No need to debate peat vs coir, but you should be aware going in that coir has issues that make it generally unsuited as a significant fraction of container media. Commercial ops that use it generally limit it's use in media to Best luck.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 5:58PM
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That is interesting. I have been starting seeds in 100% coir w/o any problems and have never heard of it compacting. Also from what I understand the problem with high salinity has been addressed with modern production of coir. Do you have any recent sources where I can read more about it?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:42PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Coir is excellent, it makes a great medium. No need to check out of date sources. Most pot growers use it all the time. Someone is really out of touch.
Remember anybody can post in these forums. The coir of old is nothing like the present product.
I would not go higher than 25% compost,
I myself would use 1 part compost, 2 parts coir, 1 part bark, and 1 part perlite. I would add micro nutrients, beneficial fungi and bacteria. I would use all products mentioned as compost, a mix of them, Manure and leaf compost as the base, add small amounts of worm casting(this is a great product!) and guano.
The beneficial bacteria and fungi are not essential, but I have found they tend to help if any problems arise, and kick start the plant. I like Mycogrow, and Biota Max. I make a solution of both together, and dip plants in it before planting. But any method of application is fine. Use left over product as a drench or foliar spray for all your plants in ground, in the house etc.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 7:13AM
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Best container mix-1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculite.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 5:32PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

If the bark that you mentioned is pine or fir, then I'd suggest using that as the larger fraction with 10% to 15% perlite and 15% to 25% coir. That would yield a mix with very good water holding capacity, yet one that would also drain well enough to avoid a significant perched water table. It's probably obvious by now, but I'm steering you toward something like Al's 5-1-1 mix. It's worked very well for me and and a number of others, so I happily recommend to it anyone looking for advice. If you do decide to go with coir as the larger fraction, I'd be curious to hear back from you after you've tried it for a season.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 8:41PM
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"Best container mix-1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculite."

In my climate, that would be a swampy mess.

I do 5 parts bark, 1 part perlite, 1 part peat, or 1:1:1 bark:grit:turface

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 3:40PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

That would be a good soup recipe in any climate (equal parts of peat/compost/vermiculite).


    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 5:37PM
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