Gritty Mix Questions
Last November, I received 10 young trees for joining the National Arbor Day Foundation. As I was potting them, I began contemplating something which I had thought about numerous times before, but only in passing. Namely, "This potting soil can't be the best for my trees." I don't know a lot about horticulture, but I know enough to know that plants don't like constantly being in soggy soil and they do like air reaching their roots. Regular potting soil just didn't seem right for containers. I thought about various alternatives, including simply planting in coarse sand or small gravel. But alas, I knew very little about things like pH and fertilizing and how plants take up nutrients and biota, and I was sure there were plenty of other things I didn't know and didn't know I needed to know them.
But this time I was prompted to jump onto my computer and search. Someone, somewhere on the World Wide Web surely has thoughts on a planting medium that would make more sense to me. It took very little time at all before I found the Gardenweb site and specifically "Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention". I was SO pleased to find someone who not only had the same basic idea I had, but actually had the knowledge to explain why it works and how to make it work best.
So, thank you, thank you, thank you, Al, for all that I have learned over the past several months. And thank you, too, to the countless others on here who have also shared their knowledge and experiences and, just as importantly, have asked the questions. I have read so many posts, some going back 5 or more years. It was pretty exciting to become familiar with some of the names of people answering questions today and then reading questions from a while back being asked by these same people.
Despite the 100's of posts I've read, many more than once, I do have a few questions. I made my first batch of the Gritty and, as per the instructions, added gypsum to the mix. I have 3 of my trees repotted in the mix. A couple of days later (of course) I came across a qualifier: if your fertilizer includes calcium and magnesium, you can forgo the gypsum and Epsom salt. I'll be fertigating with the Dyna-Gro Foliage-Pro. I'd really rather avoid having to dump my first batch and I'd also rather not have to make separate batches of fertilizer. Assuming ANY of the following are OK, which would be best?.....
A) Add gypsum to the new batch and include Epsom in the fertigation (despite using Foliage-Pro),
B) Don't add gypsum to the new batch and don't include Epsom in the fertigation (despite the old batch having gypsum added),
C) Don't add gypsum to the new batch, but do include Epsom in the fertigation (despite the new batch not having gypsum).
I'd like some clarification on when to begin adding fertilizer. I've read "2 weeks" and "once there are signs of new growth". 8 of the trees are deciduous and came to me as 8-12 inch sticks with roots attached. Some are showing what I think would be termed "bud swell" and some (hopefully still alive) are not. Is bud swell my sign of new growth or should I be waiting for branches to emerge or should I just wait about 2 weeks and leave it at that?