HELP Friends on Al's soil mixes.

dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)April 25, 2012

New to this great forum. So much unselfish folk here it is so enjoyable. Now, I am asking for some help in my new endeavors.

First, got snookered by a local, prominent garden center, into using agricultural lime vs garden lime for Al's 5:1:1 mix. I did it and now, just less that a week after transplanting, Irealized my

mistake. What would you suggest to correct this mistake?

Second, can I scrape some sheetrock to get the gypsum as I only need a few tbls of it for the few plants I will transplant in the gritty mix. Don't need a 50# bag. lol Thants everyone!!!!

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calistoga_al

A fifty pound bag of Dolomite here is about $6 and if kept dry will last forever, but I have never seen it in smaller bags. Al

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 9:32AM
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mandarin1

Can get 5 lb. Bags of gypsum here, same with garden lime...purchased at Agway, brand is Espoma. Still more than you'll need, but small bags.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 9:55AM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Thanks calistoga. I found the garden lime for the 5:1:1 but was curious if it was okay to scrape some sheetrock to get the gypsum for the gritty mix. I only need a very small amount. Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 9:57AM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Thanks mandarin1 but I cannot find any small bags of gypsum, only 50 lb bags which would be a big waist. All of the Ag suppliers here stock products for big production and Lowe's, HD, etc don't carry these in small bags. sigh!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 10:02AM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

AFAIK agricultural lime is the same thing as garden lime. You just want to make sure that you have a dolomitic lime which contains magnesium, as agricultural/garden lime may or may not.

As for the gypsym, drywall may be a safe source, but I wouldn't try it as I don't know what other substances may be included. Also, the gypsum is only necessary if you are using a fertilizer that does not contain Ca/Mg. People using FP or similar fertilizers have no need for gypsum in the gritty mix. FWIW, I found small bags of gypsum at a home brew shop.

-Chris

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 10:22AM
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TinaMiB(8B)

You can buy smaller bags of gypsum at Home Depot, Lowes, and also on Amazon.

I thought this size was big, but have found that I am making more and more of the gritty mix. The size batch I make each time uses 9 Tbs a mix. I just made my third batch so am going through it faster than I thought.

Here is a link that might be useful: HD gypsum

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 10:53AM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Thanks everyone. I am not versed on the chemical makeup of additives so need to ask if I am doing the right thing. I do have some "Hi Yield" agrricultural limestone that contains 21.60% water soluble calcium, 13.03% magnesium, 53.94% calcium carbonate, 45.36% magnesium carbonate, and 109.03% calcium carbonate equilalent. The "Espoma" garden lime has 21" calcium, 10% magnesium, 29% calcium oxide, 17% magnesium oxide, 52% calcium carbonate, 35% magnesium carbonate, and 93 calcium carbonate equivalent. Now, I have no clue what that means or if it will substitute for the gritty mix or do I need to get gypsum. Thanks for you patience

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 11:11AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Your garden lime and agricultural lime are pretty much the same, so use whet you have. But the lime is only for the 5-1-1, partly to supply calcum and magnesium and partly to counteract the acidity of the bark. Do not use lime of any kind in the gritty mix. It is already close to neural and if you add lime, it will be too alkaline (high pH). If you can find a fertilizer that includes calcium and magnesium, you don't need to add gypsum to the gritty mix. You could buy Foliagepro, which has calcium and magnesium, on Amazon if you can't find it anywhere else. Many complain about the price, but a quart will last for years. Another possibility is to find a tomato fertilizer. These days most of the good brands include calcium and magnesium. I wouldn't use the sheet rock on my plants, especially any I plan to eat. I encourage you and everyone else to try to find independent garden centers. They are all over the U.S., have knowledgeable staff and more variety. The big box stores sell a lot of stuff that will hurt your plants in the long run. Being cheap now can cost more in the long run.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 8:01PM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Thank you Ohiofem, very good information for me to learn from. I do appreciate it. There are so many products on the market aimed at only selling their product that it makes it difficult for someone like me to know if it's good or not. A question, how much calcium and magnesium should I look for on the label? That may be a loaded question but I don't know what to look for with all the products on the market. Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 9:26PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Calcium and Magnesium may be obtained by the use of Epsom Salts added to your water

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 2:43AM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

"A question, how much calcium and magnesium should I look for on the label?"

Any dolomitic lime will be primarily calcium and magnesium carbonate. The Ca:Mg ratio can vary, but generally there should be around 2-4 times as much Ca as Mg. I think most dolomitic limes will fall within or near this range. "Calcium and Magnesium may be obtained by the use of Epsom Salts added to your water"

Epsom salt is MgSO4. It provides magnesium and sulfur, but no calcium.

-Chris

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 3:09PM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Chris, I must have posted my question wrong so will ask again. I see responses that say to add Epsom salt for the calcium and Magnesium but no referance as to how much or how often. Would appreciate your thought on this. Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 10:26PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

As I said above, epsom salt does not contain any Ca, but it can be used with gypsum which does supply Ca. I believe Al's recommendation is 2 tsp gypsum per gallon of soil + 1/4 tsp epsom per gallon of water if given weekly, or 1/2 tsp if given less often. If you're using the 5-1-1 mix, however, you would want to use dolomitic lime instead of gypsum + epsom. The pine bark and peat that make up most of the 5-1-1 mix are quite acidic, and the lime raises the pH to a reasonable level in addition to providing both Ca and Mg. Peat based bagged soils contain lime for this very reason. Lime is mixed at 1 Tbs per gallon of soil.

To summarize:

Gritty mix - Use fertilizer containing Ca and Mg, or use gypsum + epsom

5-1-1 mix - Use dolomitic lime

-Chris

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 1:13AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

As Chris mentions - what you do about Ca/Mg for the gritty mix depends on how/if they are represented in your fertilizer. If either/both are missing, you need to supply them for normal growth. When you determine if either/both are absent, you'll include them in your supplementation program. Just follow the recommendations Chris outlined.

Al

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:47AM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Thanks Chris and Al. I now finally understand and will be making both mixes this afternoon. Appreciate it!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 11:40AM
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