5:1:1 for SWC?

elisamamaApril 29, 2012

I purchased SWC troughs and self-watering container mixes from Gardeners.com. They fit my balcony perfectly (literally there is less than half an inch to spare!) so I am plan to order another set of troughs tomorrow. I am wondering if I should buy more mixes or whether I should use 5:1:1 or gritty mix. I plan to get the ingredients for 5:1:1 to repot other containers I have anyway, so I have to figure out whether I order the medium too.

Has anyone used 5:1:1 and/or Al's gritty mix in SWC? Would you recommend one or both for SWC?

Or could I add pine bark fines to the container mixes I have? If so, what proportion should I use? Would it be 5 parts bark fines, 1 part self watering mix?

Also, has anyone used the organic self watering mix from Garderner's Supply? Is it worth the extra expense?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

5:1:1 might wick enough for in a Garden Supply SWC, but only for low water requirement plants AND you will need a plastic mulch sheet to keep in moisture.

I grew plants in the Garden Supply SWCs for over 10 years and basically settled on a 50:50 peat:turface(or bark) mix.

Used Garden Supply mix once. It's good, similar to seed starting mix. Very fluffy, fine peat, & fine perlite mix.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 5:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you, emgardener. I tried some different searches and finally did find threads about this, with lots of helpful advice, and saw many from you too. Interesting how many different experiments and recipes there are. Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 6:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sprtsguy76(Santa Clara Ca. 9b)

I use the 5:1:1 exclusively in my swc's. But I do add one more part peat. Here is a pic just snapped tonight of some cukes in a swc in the same mix.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 9:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It seems like there are many options for a swc that work. I used standard Miracle Grow last year with ok results. The ok results had to do with my fertilization plan or lack thereof, not the mix. This year I am trying Raybos 3:2:1 with an extra .5 part of compost or vermicompost. I may try some mix variations, just have to remember to label which container has what mix in it. The great part about SWC experiments with mixes or wicks is that if anything goes wrong you can just water from the top. I hope I dont need to, I have quite a few containers, but its nice to have a plan B.

Damon, it looks like you are using concrete reinforcement mesh for your cage/trellis, I was planning on doing the same. Do you have any tips for installing it on the containers? It looks like that last cuke is about an 18 gallon, did you sink a little in the container and simply zip tie to the rim? I was thinking about removing a row of horizontal bracing or two, making "legs", drilling holes in lid, sliding "legs" through, and zip tieing similar to how it looks like you are set up, any thoughts?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 8:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sprtsguy76(Santa Clara Ca. 9b)

Those are actually 10 gallon totes. I just drill down from the top rim of the tote an inch or two. Then mount them with zip ties. In my opinion there is no need for more than this. The problem with these tote's or any totes for that matter in my opinion is they get fried by the sun and are only good for about 2 years. These toes are just left over from previous seasons and when they are gone I plan on investing in more durable pots.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 1:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That was one of my options, use the lid, poke a few holes, zip tie it down.

I am currently torn between form and function on this one. Raybo's cages are so sweet...but so pricey, not sure if its worth it for me. I was also considering pvc pipe and either a mesh net purchased, or stringing up my own with some nylon string.

I had a few 5 gallon buckets last year, they survived pretty well. I checked out some of the cheapo totes ( on sale as low as 5 bucks at the Depot ), and I can just imagine them melting in the sun! I used one for a worm bin and I can feel the difference in the thickness and what I would describe as the "quality" of the plastic between the cheapo job and the higher end totes I used for the other bins.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 10:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I use those cheapo $5 Depot totes for normal planting containers (non-SWC).

They don't melt in the sun and will last 3 years if you don't drop them and crack them.

UV resistance is what really matters. Even the thick totes will crack in 2-3 years b/c of UV rays. Even plastic planting pots crack b/c they are not UV protected.

My >10-year-old Garden Supply SWCs are UV protected and they are doing just fine in the sun.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 4:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sprtsguy76(Santa Clara Ca. 9b)

I havent looked into it but I'm assuming they make UV resistant pots too? I've noticed that even the standard pots found at OSH or Home Depot last 4-5 years or more which is twice as long as any tote.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 1:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I haven't been able to find any pot that advertises UV protection, except the Garden supply SWCs. Would really like to find one though. Yes my regular pots last 4-5 years, but that means they aren't UV protected, it just I haven't banged them around as much at my totes.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 4:45PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Soil for elephant ear plant?
I'm getting ready to plant an elephant ear plant in...
Wicking more water retentive soils
I was wondering what the disadvantages are when using...
Jacques (MP, South Africa) S
fertilizing cuttings ?
Hello - I have some fig cuttings in 60% perlite/40%...
What to plant in 4 1/4 Gallon Food Grade Buckets?
I was recently given about 20 4 1/4 gallon food grade...
Repotting into 5-1-1 soil. Questions about 511 materials.
Hey all! I am a newbie with 5 container citrus. Right...
Sponsored Products
2-Light Ceiling Regal Bronze
7'' Mesh Strainer
$11.99 | zulily
Laura Ashley Lamp Shades Classic 18.5 in. Cream Bell Shade Beige/Bisque SFL618
$51.00 | Home Depot
Harlow Cuddle Chair - SILVER
$3,399.00 | Horchow
Hydronic Chrome Heated Towel Warmer
Hudson Reed
Safavieh Indoor/Outdoor Safavieh Rugs Chelsea Ivory 2.5 ft. x 8 ft. Runner
Home Depot
1.7 Watt LED Wedge Base Landscape Replacement Bulb by Hinkley Lighting
$38.88 | Lumens
Jovi Home Sublime Hand-tufted Wool Rug (5 x 8)
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™