Gardening class mentioned dissolving the lime in water before adding it to a mix to hasten absorption. Any downside to this method of adding lime to 511?
I feel that the Lime is spread more evenly throughout if I sprinkle the powder over the moist mix as I turn it.
Are you interested in lime's properties as a base (to neutralize the pine bark), or as a nutrient?
I always thought that one of the advantages of lime in 5:1:1 is that it dissolves very slowly. Every watering will only dissolve a tiny fraction of the lime that is mixed throughout the container, thus it is acting as a slow-release form of Ca and Mg. If you get it all dissolved and add it as a solution, then you're using it more as a like a CalMag fertilizer (albeit a very concentrated one). It will adsorb onto the medium to the extent that the medium is capable of cation exchange, but the rest will wash through. During subsequent waterings, the amount that is adsorbed to the medium will also be washed away rather quickly.
In other words, if you apply it as a solution, you'll get more rapid pH adjustment, but you won't have a long-lasting source of calcium and magnesium. I would think that the negative effects would outweight the positive ones. Keep in mind that the pH of the medium is not nearly as important of the pH of the water used to fertigate.
Dan, It depends on the type of lime you are using. If you are talking about dolomitic lime, it will take a fair bit of acid to dissolve it into solution. You want the lime in your mix to buffer the acid of the pine bark and peat moss. As Alex points out, it also serves as a source of Ca++ and Mg++. But most of the Ca++ & Mg++ would pour through after your CEC is consumed. So, you would lose 2 benefits. You may find this paper on liming materials helpful: