replacing peat

mahzMarch 29, 2012

I'm planning to grow a couple veggies in some buckets but I'm having trouble finding the correct ingredients for the 5-1-1 mix. I've been searching through the posts trying to find substitutes and have come up with a couple ideas. I have found two sources of fines. One is from Lowe's and it looks like the are have pictured from posts before. Another set of fines is a product from the company Coast of Maine. Their fines are really fine and are composted, like dust (double ground) but there are still tiny chunks. Could I replace this product with the peat and just use regular fines with the composted pines and perlite? 5 parts regular fines, 1 part composted fines and 1 part perlite. Any input would be much appreciated.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

What are the 'regular fines' like .... size-wise?

Al

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 9:42PM
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mahz

It would be like this but with all the big chunks screened off.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mulch

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 9:51PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

You should be ok going that route. I'd still keep my eyes peeled for a bark product you don't have to screen for the 5:1:1 and that doesn't have as much sapwood/heartwood in it.

Al

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 9:57PM
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mahz

I'll keep journal and keep you updated. Thank you again!!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 10:00PM
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DaMonkey007(10b - Miami)

Hi Mahz!
For what it's worth, I am one of the few proponents of screening bark for the 5-1-1. If your lucky enough to find the perfect bark, that's great, however; most people are going to have to "settle" on what they can find. My arguement is as follows.

The composition of bark varies so widely, even bag to bag on the same pallet, that you will never get the same product twice. This is in addition to the fact that most people's bark will not be perfect to begin with. If you have absolutlely no control over how much bark dust you are adding to your 5-1-1 (i.e. indescriminatly not screening), you very well may be essentially making a 4-1-2, or a 3-1-3, or anything in between. Of course, this is assuming that you have not found the perfect product. I screen because it makes sense to me, and because my product isn't quite perfect. Anywho, I'm an Engineer, uncertainty is not in my blood, but that's just me.

I've done the unscreened thing, it worked out OK for me because I used it for indeterminate tomatoes that suck up water like a shop vac...but to be honest, I wouldn't do it again. I don't particularly like the product that it yields. You get that unmistakable peat/bark dust crust on top for one thing, it drives me nuts!! LOL! Although, I am currently using a 5-1-2 (double peat) in a raised bed, and it's working extremely well. Take from that what you will.

I am also a proponent for replacing the peat altogether with Turface for my containers. The final product is a whole different ballgame. In a side by side comparison, just for 1 example, I have 2 identical pots - one with unscreened 5-1-1 w/ peat - one with screened 5-1-1 w/ turface - large tomatoes in both - they were made within 1 week of another. The unscreened mix has settled over an inch - closer to 2 now, while the turface mix hasn't barely budged. Just one example of the difference. I also find that the turface modified mixes....how do I say this....seem to hold water more consistantly. What I mean by that is, for me anyways, when the peat mixes get a little dry....they go very dry, very quickly. Whereas the turface mixes let water go at a more consistant pace. Again, this is just my observations in my personal environment...

The most important thing is to do what works for you, at your house, in your pots, with your plants. Everyone's experience is going to be a little bit different. Don't live or die by 1 methodology...find out which shoe fits you the best.

Have Fun!

PJ

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 12:30PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Well said, PJ! Good explanation of what you do and why you do it!

Josh

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 3:27PM
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TheMasterGardener1(5B)

I have to say I too found a really good source for pine right at lowes. I just picked up 2 bags and it is giving me a lot of product.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 10:06AM
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