Scotts organic potting mix and drainage

chihuahua6(8b coastal SC)March 20, 2009

I notice when I water my plants that were potted with this mix the water pools on top and I have to wait for it to drain and then repeat several times. This doesn't happen with the regular Scotts mix.

Here are the ingredients in the organic mix: Formulated with 50-55% composted bark, sphagnum peat moss, pasteurized poultry litter and an organic wetting agent.

Regular Scotts potting mix: Forest products compost, Canadian sphagnum peat moss, perlite, wetting agent, fertilizer.

Yesterday I tried mixing one part pine bark fines to two parts organic potting mix and it still didn't drain well. Perhaps I should add more or add some perlite? Or sould I return the unopened bags I have left? Or is this normal and it will improve over time?

Amanda

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chihuahua6(8b coastal SC)

EDIT It's Miracle Grow oganic mix vs Miracle grow mix not Scotts.

I didn't know how to edit my original post.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 9:09AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

IMHO it's the amount of peat in there. The peat has to wet first before anything happens. In the long run this improves your water holding capacity.

Dan

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 9:49AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Both peat and bark tend to become hydrophobic (water-repellent) as their moisture content drops to and passes below 30%, so it's advisable not to let that happen. That can be problematic though, when you're using a water retentive soil, because though the soil looks dry on top, there is often (if not usually) a layer of completely saturated soil at the bottom of the container that destroys aeration and wreaks havoc with root vitality/metabolism.

You wonder why a little or even a lot of pine bark doesn't seem to reduce water retention much, but if you compare your fine-particled soil to pudding and ask yourself how much perlite or pine bark it would take to make the pudding drain well, you'll begin to see that adding disparately large particles to the fine soil doesn't help drainage much unless you almost completely change the mix to a particle size that is predominantly much larger than those in your water-retentive soil.

If the pine bark is of appropriate size, why not mix it @ 5:1:1, pine bark fines: your bagged soil: perlite?

Al

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 10:10AM
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chihuahua6(8b coastal SC)

That much pine bark fines? Well you learn something every day.

BTW it is labeled as potting mix, not soil. I don't even know exactly what that means. I just remember reading here that mix is better than soil.

Thanks for the info.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 2:52PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Mmhmm - sometimes, if the consistency is right, I skip the peat altogether & use only PB fines and perlite.

Al

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 3:14PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I looked at that mix in HD when I was costing out potting mix this year, and it looked like it would retain too much water for what I wanted (SWCs) and I didn't feel like purchasing perlite, but bark fines are cheap around here this year (lots of pine beetles around here)...

Dan

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 3:42PM
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justaguy2(5)

I don't use prepackaged mixes anymore, but I have noticed in my web travels Miracle Grow Organic mix seems to see more than it's fair share of negative reviews.

No idea why, just have noticed this.

Pine bark is superb in container media and there are oooodles of science and grow out trials supporting this, but for whatever reason the MG Organic seems to be getting slammed this year.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 3:54PM
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chihuahua6(8b coastal SC)

I think maybe I should return the unopened bags, replace with the regular non-organic mix and then add the pine bark fines and perlite to that. This should make it drain very well since the regular mix seems (to my little experience) to drain well already.

Once I move I plan to have many more container plants so at that point I will mix my own as per the recommendations here.

Amanda

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 4:38PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I do the same as jag, and I mix my own after purchasing bags (this year supersoil was the best price and got stuff added to it), and you'll be a lot happier that way, Amanda.

Dan

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 5:16PM
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chihuahua6(8b coastal SC)

Okay I decided to return it for large bags of the MG regular mix and got a bag of perlite as well. I was able to get the big bags of potting mix which was a lot more economical than the smaller organic mix that I had.

I already have the pine bark fines. Tomorrow will be a fun day mixing and planting. I'm going to put Bougainvillia in a large pot and surround it with something to spill over the sides. I also got some of those 3 for $1.00 Impatiens from Home Depot for the pots on my porch. I can't wait : )

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 9:10PM
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chihuahua6(8b coastal SC)

I just realized that I could have just purchased a bag of spagnum peat moss instead of the MG. Duhh. It's coming to me, slowly. I get it now ; )

Mixing my own potting media seemed a bit too detailed to me initially but since I have a wheelbarrow and already have a full bag of pine bark fines on hand there is no reason not to do it.

Since I already opened one of the new bags of MG mix I'll continue to use it but I guess I'll be heading back to Home Depot to exchange the other bag.

BTW I mixed it up with the pine bark fines and perlite as per the ration Al recommended and then planted a 20" pot with annuals. I watered it well and liked what I saw. The water did not puddle on top like the organic mix did. It had a great consistency while mixing too, nice any airy and loose.

One thing I did not add is lime (just found out about this today) or additional fertilizer. How can I add this to the pot that is already planted?

Thanks for all your help Al and Dan.

Amanda

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 7:06AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

You can dump the whole pot out & incorporate it evenly w/o much additional trauma to your bedding plants, or sprinkle it on top and scratch it into the soil surface. The former is better, but the latter will work ok, too.

Al

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 10:28AM
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Yazan(5)

Scotts sucks! Its horrible and just about the only things that grows well in it is tomatoes, never trust scotts, there mix is low quality!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 5:49PM
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