are my 5-1-1- pines fines a bit too fine?

njitgradMarch 27, 2014

Per recommendations from others in various threads I decided to screen my first of four bags of Agway pine mulch prior to making my first batch of 5-1-1.

I used a 1/4" screen and when all was said and done (1/2 hour later) , about 1/3 of the mulch made it through the screen, leaving me wondering what to do with the remaining 2/3 (other than using it in my landscaping).

See the pics below taken before and after the screening process. Does 1/4" screening give me something that's a little bit too fine, or is this what its supposed to be like? If it's the latter, then it's going to cost me some serious paper to fill all of my containers.

Could I perhaps replaced the "5" in the 5-1-1 with "4 parts screened, 1 part un-screened" to at least make some use of the remainder?

Any suggestions for a first-time 5-1-1 mixer are appreciated.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

Your 1/4" screened product looks good. That said, you can "bulk" it up by running some of those bigger chunks through some 1/2" screen to add back into the 5-1-1. This way you're not wasting so much...(by 'wasting' I mean not using it for its intended 5-1-1 purpose...I still use 1/2" plus size chunks all the time for various secondary applications such as mulch, helping to build up low topsoil sp ots out in the yard, composting, donate it to schools/bio classes for their reptile tanks, etc). Getting only 1/3 usable material out of a bag, no matter how cheap the bag, is not good bang for your buck (and time/effort spend sifting), so you need to find a use for some of that extra 2/3.

Aside, but related -- if you ever want to make Gritty, your 1/4" stuff is the perfect bark ingredient for that mix minus any dusty fines.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 2:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
njitgrad

Thanks for the advice. I knew I should have bought the 1/2" screen when I got my sifter a couple years ago. Looks like I'll have to make my own 1/2" sifter now. It should be pretty easy to make a DIY sifter now that I have the exact dimensions I need from the sifter I purchased.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 2:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lunar_owl (7a / Long Island)(7a)

If you want to stay at the

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

That is some beautiful bark.....
I bet it smells great.

Josh

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Well, 1/4" probably is fine to use but most of what did not make it through the sift seems to be still usable for potting mix. You can make your own 1/2" sift from wire clothe . Nothing to it . Make a frame from, say, 2 by 3 and fasten the wire cloth to one face of it.

I would use the bigger piece as filler at the bottom of container, for better drainage from the bottom

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 4:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

No, don't put differently sized material at the bottom of the container - that will impede drainage. Better to incorporate the larger material evenly throughout the mix.

Josh

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 10:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

My thoughts too, Josh!!

Nice looking ...

Great find!!!!

Laura

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 10:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
njitgrad

Last night I ended up making my own identical 1/2" screening frame which cost about $20 in materials and about an hour's worth of time to make.

This morning I re-screened the leftover from the other day using the 1/2" screen and was far more pleased with the results. Rather than only yielding 33% of the bag as usable, I now yielded at least 80% use.

What was left was tossed into my landscaping. I then used a shovel to thoroughly mixed the fine 1/4" screened material from the other day with the newly screen 1/2" mix. Since the former was still in my wheel barrow it was easy to mix it pretty uniformly.

I guess I'm set to go!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 3:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Good work!

Josh

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 4:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Way to go, njitgrad,

Your original UNSIFTED bark looked pretty nice. Now we know it just had about 20% bigger than 1/2".

If Josh speaks against using those big pieces at the bottom, How about on the top, AS MULCH ?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 5:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yes! The big pieces make a nice top mulch, indeed.

Josh

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 5:58PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Help with 1:1:1 - weight and sourcing in the UK
I've just clicked that weight is going to be an issue...
containergardenerbeginner
Need help identifying a few plants from a photo
Can someone please identify the plants used in this...
Merci Ava Maria
Help! My kumqat is dying
Hello everyone, I am hoping to get some help related...
bashchelik
Type of kale... Also, shiny metallic flakes?
Hey, my friend gave me some kale seeds from her plants...
Josie Murray
Can anyone predict future of this coconut tree?
its been around 6 months since I have potted this local...
amriteanukul112
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™