Mulching 5-1-1

Phildeez(9b)May 17, 2011

I have a lot of pots with peppers in them this year, my climate is very hot and peppers already have trouble in the ground with the heat in mid summer months. For a medium, I am using 5-1-1 with 5 parts Redwood compost, it is very dark, nearly black and gets extremely hot. Last week a couple days hit low 90s and the wood seems to have scalded the base of some of the smaller peppers, even though they have been outside for weeks.

I want to, when the weather heats up, mulch my pots with whatever will provide the maximum protection from heat and still allow the medium to breath. Something white or light colored and also light-weight that will allow air movement but also help the pots not to dry out, which can be a big problem.

Would coarse perlite or turface work as a mulch layer? Being white, it would help with heat, but it holds a lot of moisture and I don't want to steam my plants. On the other hand maybe it could actually help the plants stay watered in arid heat? Has anyone experimented with this?

Thanks so much!


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To be clear, I have a very small in-ground garden that has no space, thus I will be keeping many plants in pots over the summer.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 6:46PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

For containers I used shredded paper. Run the newspaper or regular paper (do not use the hard glossy colored paper ) thru your shredder,put in a bucket of water and let it soak up until it is limp and pulpy ,put in your container about 2 or 3 inches thick and one inch from the stem of your plants . At the end of the season gather up the used paper and till it into your soil garden.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 11:17PM
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That seems like a good idea as long as the paper would not dissolve into the medium and clog up the drainage. What do you use as a mix, Dickiefickle?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 1:19PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I have two buddies that mulched their containers with a layer of large Perlite.
Didn't seem to hurt anything, but might have added a bit of reflected light to the
trunk and lower branches/leaves.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 1:35PM
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Good point about the reflections, Josh. I am most worried about soil temperature once it heats up, but that is something to consider. Maybe I could use Pummice, being more of a light beige.

I will have to work over this summer a good amount and I cannot water twice a day religiously, so I am looking into mulching options. I could run a drip-line setup but I dont have any materials and I move out in 5 months...It would hurt to install a big watering setup at this point.

Appreciate the help!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 3:47PM
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