Is this pine bark fine mixture OK for the 5-1-1 mix?

LIG-LifeIsGood(8)May 7, 2013

I am wondering if the composted pine bark fines mix shown sifted into different piles in the picture is alright for the 5-1-1 mix or does it have too much material that is smaller than insect screen - ie. dust?

If it has too much dust could I use it as is but mix in less peat so that I do not have too much water retaining material in my final mix?
Thanks - Connie

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fireduck(10a)

C...nice job on the screening work. This whole 5-1-1 and 1-1-1 idea has consumed me. I think you want to get rid of dust and all sapwood (if any) and super-small material. I found my osmocote Plus today! It was a great find. As I suspected...Scott's told my retailer they are discountinuing it. I had to drive out of the county to get it. I suspect it is that good (time released/"complete" fetilizer). PS I am wondering when you transplant into the gritty...you might have to totally hose off the old organic potting mix first???

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 5:14PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Wow, that looks like nice stuff. You are exactly right. Depending on how much water retention you need, adjust accordingly. I use a double ground pine bark that has plenty of fine stuff in it, and is usable, as is, without peat. I actually found out after some experience that I had to add even more fine stuff to increase my water retention......so mine is actually something like 4-2-1, or 5-2-1. Your experience will dictate how you adjust your mix.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 8:19PM
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LIG-LifeIsGood(8)

Thanks for your nice comments - My husband just finished making my 1/8" screed/sieve and now I finally have the ability to sift just about any size material-very exciting!

Good point edweather. This is my first time trying the 5-1-1 mix and I have many different plants I need to accommodate in it - Tomatoes, Peppers, Lavender, Blueberries, Fig tree, etc. I want to eventually try out the gritty mix for the fig tree and blueberries, but right now I am going to start them out in the 5-1-1 mix as I have all the necessary ingredients at hand.

Any thoughts on the differences between the 5-1-1 mixtures needed for the plants listed above? I have spent a lot of time reading past posts about the 5-1-1 mix and I vaguely remember Al(tapla) saying that the fine dust should not make up more than 1/6 of the total mix. I don't remember if that was in reference to a particular plant or if that is a general rule.

One more question - After I make up a batch of the 5-1-1 mix can I use it right away or do I need to let it sit a while because of the lime?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:30PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I grow alot of tomatoes and they get full sun. Let me tell you, they can drink some water!! With a pure 511 mix (approx 1/6 fine stuff), they can dry out a container in a few hours during the height of the growing season, which is why I had to adjust my mix. If your tomatoes are in alot of sun I can almost tell you now that you will probably have to increase the water retention unless you want to be watering alot. And, yes, you can use the mix right away. Also it depends on the size of the containers. Obviously a 5 gal container will dry out much faster than a 15 gal.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 2:11PM
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