Another 5-1-1 mix with pictures

kosherbaker(LA CA-10)April 13, 2011

Hello.

I figured I'd start this thread to show these products to the community as well as get feedback from you folks on it's quality and suitability. And last but not least to say a huge Thanks to the GW forum at large and of course Al. :)

Here goes:

First a picture of most of the ingredients (Missing is the Espoma Garden Lime):

Next is the picture of what I used for Bark. It is Earthgro Groundcover Bark, and it smells amazingly good :). Sorry I forgot to include an object for reference :

Next is the Perlite. I was pretty happy to find this product from NorCal as all others seemed much much smaller/finer grained.

I used MiracleGrow Organic Soil mix (not the Container mix). The soil mix is finer and resembles peat moss more. Couldn't find any other organic brand.

And last is the finished mix. I did no screening or sifting. Just measured out 5 parts bark, 1.5 parts Perlite and 1 part garden soil. Once the mix was in the container I sprinkled the called for portion of Garden Lime on top.

Thanks again to all of you great folks on all the forums of GW.

Rudy

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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

Funny, I have the same thought about the barks smelling good. When it comes to watering time, sniff sniff, lol. :)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 1:11AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Rudy!
So glad to see you on the Container Forum! ;-)
What you read/learn here can be applied to all container growing - whether Hot Peppers or Plumerias.

Great job getting the mix together. I think you'll be very pleased over the Summer....especially
down south where you're growing.

My only advice would be to incorporate the Lime throughout the media, although I don't think you'll
have problems necessarily. I just prefer to distribute the Lime evenly.

A good set of kabob skewers or chop-sticks to leave in the containers will be the best way to tell
if the mix needs to be watered.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:58AM
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Karly30

Looks Great! Kosherbaker, will you share where you found the Earthgro? I'm also in the Los Angeles area and looking to make this mix.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 6:27PM
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kosherbaker(LA CA-10)

Thanks Josh. Can you explain to me why you feel the lime should be worked into the mix? I thought that it is there to counterbalance the acidity of the bark.

Hi Karly. I can absolutely share, since this was the primary reason I posted. :) As it took me a while to find all the ingredients. I got the Bark at Home Depot it's $4 for 2 sf. I also got the garden soil there it's $7 for 1.5 sf. The Espoma Garden Lime was purchased there as well for $4. The Perlite I bought at Anawalt Lumber it was $17 for 2 cf. If memory serves me correctly Anawalt also carries Pumice, but I think they were out of stock on that. I also saw the Peat Moss there but it was Alaskan one and not the Canadian. I'm not sure what the difference is.
Lastly Home Depot carries 2 types of Perlite one from Miracle Grow in small packages like 8quarts for I think $4 and another one in a light green plastic bag that claims OMRI certification that's $16 for 2cf, however, both had far far smaller granules that the one I found at Anawalt.

Let me know if you have further questions.
HTH
Rudy

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 12:45AM
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gman68558(z10 So Cal)

For those in California you can get Perlite at OSH for about $11 for 2 cf. They have the Earthgro there also.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 3:44PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Rudy - the lime serves both to raise pH and to act as a source of Ca & Mg. It acts somewhat 'locally' because of its insolubility, and for that reason is best when incorporated thoroughly throughout the root zone.

FWIW - if I had my druthers, I would have chosen either peat or a peat-based potting soil as a replacement for the 1 part peat in the 5:1:1 ratio. Not trying to be critical - just helpful. ;-)

Al

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 4:48PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Thanks, Al!
Hey, Rudy, Al nailed it. I try to mix the Lime as thoroughly as possible....
I sort of dust and stir, dust and stir, until it looks as though the Lime has lightly
coated all the bark.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 10:09PM
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kosherbaker(LA CA-10)

"For those in California you can get Perlite at OSH for about $11 for 2 cf. They have the Earthgro there also."
Thanks Gman. How have you found the OSH Perlite so far? I visit the store near me often. It's the one on Bundy but they never seem to stock the large Perlite bags, also things tend to cost more there. Is the Perlite itself very fine? This Perlite seems to have the highest ratio of large granules that I have found so far.
"Rudy - the lime serves both to raise pH and to act as a source of Ca & Mg. It acts somewhat 'locally' because of its insolubility, and for that reason is best when incorporated thoroughly throughout the root zone."Ahhh. So then that makes perfect sense. For whatever reason I thought it was minutely water soluble.
"FWIW - if I had my druthers, I would have chosen either peat or a peat-based potting soil as a replacement for the 1 part peat in the 5:1:1 ratio. Not trying to be critical - just helpful. ;-) "Are you kiddn' you're so nice I don't think it's possible to be offended by you. Besides I'm clearly a noob. :) Now I purchased Gardening soil instead of Potting soil for this exact reason. This product contains Sphagnum Peat Moss in it and its texture resembles peat moss much closer than the potting soil. Home Depot does sell Peat Moss also from Miracle Grow, as I can't seem to get away from this brand. :O But it is augmented. I also found some peat moss at the store that I purchased the Perlite from but it was from Alaska and not Canada, so I got cold feet, not knowing if it was any good. Can you explain, or point me with a link to an explanation, why you prefer 100% peat moss to a soil mixture that contains it?
"Thanks, Al!
Hey, Rudy, Al nailed it. I try to mix the Lime as thoroughly as possible....
I sort of dust and stir, dust and stir, until it looks as though the Lime has lightly
coated all the bark. "
Hmmm this makes me a little nervous. The Espoma Garden Lime I purchased isn't in the powder form. It looks like tiny round balls, some bigger some smaller. But all of them smaller than a grain of rice.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 6:43PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Using a peat-based potting soil instead of juts peat is perfectly fine (but an unnecessary expense), but different than using a 'garden soil' like you alluded to in your post above. That term suggests a significant fraction of mineral soil (topsoil or sand) that when combined with the peat is sure to encourage compaction and lots of water retention. If it happens NOT to contain a significant fraction of mineral soil, kindly disregard what I said. ;o)

The 'prilled lime you bought is actually the came lime Josh is using .... except: a slurry of pulverized lime and a binding agent is mixed with water and shot from tall 'prilling' towers. It forms small spheres on the way down and hardens. This is done to make the pulverized lime easier to broadcast in fertilizer spreaders, but it also makes it easier to incorporate in our soils. When the lime gets wet, the prills quickly break down into pulverized form, so the 'prills' are much more soluble than unpulverized limestone of the same size would be.

Al

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 9:46PM
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newgen(9 Central California)

I appreciate the photos, worth a million words! Now if anybody can point out where to obtain the ingredients for the gritty mix (I like it more due to it lasting longer before I have to repot).

Thanks,

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 1:06AM
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malibu_rose(z10CA)

Thanks to Rudy, I purchased all my ingredients at Home Depot last night. I want to know how much of the Lime mixture to add. Somewhere I read 1/2 cup dolomite lime per 15 gallons. Is that correct?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 1:58PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

1 tablespoon per 1 gallon....

Josh

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 3:09PM
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malibu_rose(z10CA)

Thanks, Josh! Now I am going to start mixing! Got two hibiscus that I rescued from Lowe's's sales rack last night to start planting with in the new mix!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 5:10PM
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kosherbaker(LA CA-10)

Sorry about disappearing there for a few days. :) Had to frantically prepare for Passover, as I always seem to be late. :O
Anyway, thank you Josh and Al for all of your help. I just realized that I never mentioned what I'm growing. My containers are #15 and I'm using them to grow peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, Cucumber and Brussel Sprouts. I also have a few herbs in smaller containers. All fruits (i.e. trees) and melons go elsewhere. Namely my mom's back yard in San Diego, along with a copy of everything I grow for myself.

I have a new questions that I've been wanting to ask for a while and haven't seen it covered yet in this forum. Maybe, I didn't look right. In any case, I live about 3 miles form the beach and theoretically I could go there in the morning and gather up the Kelp that washes up on shore. What do you guys think about its use in the containers? And if it is advisable in what form? As in cut up in pieces? Used as tea? Pulverized with water and added as a mush? I appreciate the photos, worth a million words! Now if anybody can point out where to obtain the ingredients for the gritty mix (I like it more due to it lasting longer before I have to repot).
Hi newgen. Maybe if you post where you are in Central Cal. Like what city, someone may know something in your surroundings. Josh is in Central California as well. In the meantime here's a link to a thread on this very forum that lists suppliers for Al's Gritty Mix by state: Gritty Mix Suppliers by State
Thanks to Rudy, I purchased all my ingredients at Home Depot last night. I want to know how much of the Lime mixture to add. Somewhere I read 1/2 cup dolomite lime per 15 gallons. Is that correctHi malibu_rose the thanks is definitely not to me. Thanks to Al and of course Josh who has you pretty well covered. I went ahead and included the link to Al's thread down below, as I should have done in the original post. BTW if you are in Malibu you are really nearby. I'm in Santa Monica. :)

Rudy

Here is a link that might be useful: Al's Amazing Container Soils Thread

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 12:23AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Rudy! A joyous Passover to you, sir!

The kelp will best serve in the yard or raised beds, but not so much in the containers.
The fine particles/mush will impede drainage and aeration, which is what you've carefully
built into your container mixes. Composted kelp would be excellent for in-ground gardening.
You might want to rinse the kelp, though - I'm not sure what the actual salt content is.

Lastly, I'm in Northern California ;-)

Josh

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 1:10AM
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kosherbaker(LA CA-10)

Hey, Rudy! A joyous Passover to you, sir!:) Thank you. It's my favorite holiday. Although it's almost over. Tonight starts the last day.
The kelp will best serve in the yard or raised beds, but not so much in the containers.
The fine particles/mush will impede drainage and aeration, which is what you've carefully
built into your container mixes. Composted kelp would be excellent for in-ground gardening.
You might want to rinse the kelp, though - I'm not sure what the actual salt content is.
What about the "Kelp Tea" with the solids strained? Or Kelp cut up into larger chunks, the size of the particles in the mix? I'm basically curious if the plant can derive any benefit from the Kelp/Konbu plant harvested directly from the sea shore and not composted.
Lastly, I'm in Northern California ;-) Doh! Boy do I feel even more foolish than usual. :) You are actually north of Sacramento. Sorry about that. Momentary brain freeze? Perhaps. :)

Thanks.
Rudy

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 1:09PM
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