imitation 5-1-1 mix?

susieqzJune 10, 2013

ingredients for al's mix are impossible to find in the hinterlands. [90m to the nearest garden center]
but, i can get miracle
grow potting mix and perlite.

altho this is heresy on this site, it seems to me that mixing the 2 in some proportion should yield the same soil consistancy as 5-1-1, even if the mix is mostly perlite.

is this not so, or am i missing something?

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Not heresy. Hey, we have to work with what we got. Yes adding perlite to the MG potting mix will improve it.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 4:12PM
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susieqz

thank you. as so many people here have found the porosity of 5-1-1 yields superior results, i'd like to duplicate that if i could.

but, i've never seen 5-1-1 in person. it's therefore hard to figure out the correct proportune of MG to perlite.

100% perlite drains instantly; 100% MG drains slowly. fine for indoor tomatoes, but kills jasmines.

so, does anyone know how fast the 5-1-1 mix drains?

1 part perlite to 2 parts MG seems to work, but, i'd like the optimum ratio before i kill any more plants experimenting.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 4:43PM
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bitzppa(11)

I drove 50 miles each way to get a trailer load of bark, still cheaper than buying heaps of perlite.

BZ

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 6:06PM
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spaceman13(6b)

Actually mixing perlite and miracle grow might slightly improve the mix, but the issue is the difference in particle size. The MG is 70-80% peat which has too many fine particles that will migrate to the bottom of the pot and will eventually defeat the capillary action retain too much water for long term potted plants. I'd strongly suggest reading the link at the bottom CONTAINER SOILS - WATER MOVEMENT AND RETENTION.
It's really long and kind of boring in spots, but great info!

If you are growing annuals and veggies Miracle Grow is not too bad, especially if you use a wick or pot in pot method to drain of any excess perched water.
If you are growing anything indoors that will be in a pot for several years, you will have problems.

I would call the garden center and see if they could order the necessary ingredients for you, you might be pleasantly surprised! The ingredients are fairly inexpensive (cheaper than MG), so If you stock up you couldget a years supply in one trip.

Here is a link that might be useful: CONTAINER SOILS - WATER MOVEMENT AND RETENTION

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 9:42PM
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susieqz

i surrender. i am doomed to be a bad mom to my beloved plants because i am physically unable to drive a round trip of 200 miles.

i have spent hours looking for pine fines online with no results.

if i could find a source, i'd pay whatever shipping costs are involved.

the help i need is either an online source or a substitute.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 11:36AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Where do you live?

You won't make a comparable soil with MG and Perlite.

But if you mix Perlite to MG, 3 to 1, that'll improve the MG.

Josh

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 1:10PM
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susieqz

thank you josh. that's very helpful.

meanwhile, i guess i'll post another question about online sources for fines. i get perlite online, so somewhere there must be someone who would ship fines. but, i looked and looked without success.

i live in the new american desert, formerly cow country.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 1:24PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I agree that 3:1 is a good ratio, and hopefully it won't break your bank with the perlite. MG potting mix isn't cheap either. Happy growing. Your plants should grow fine. Sometimes mulch suppliers will carry ground pine bark and deliver bulk loads. It'll keep for a couple of years if you don't use it.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 1:28PM
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susieqz

thank you, ed.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 1:55PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Bark will be expensive via typical shipping methods, so I'd look for bulk as Ed suggests.

As for the new American desert...I am no closer to understanding where you live. I have no idea what that means. I live in northeastern California, foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Josh

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 2:39PM
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gardengal48

Go online to PetsMart.com......look for ZooMed Reptile bark. Free shipping plus a $15 discount with orders of $75.

This is exactly what you need - add this to the MG plus perlite and you are good to go!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 6:08PM
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susieqz

oooh gardengal, you are an absolute doll! i've ordered some per your suggestion.

please give yourself a hug from me, the one i'd give you if i was there.

susie

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 8:48PM
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sharonrossy

There is also Pro Mix BX or HP. I also couldn't find bark fine, just nuggets which were too big. I also used hemlock mulch, but was worried it was too fine. Anyways all that to say I used mostly pro mix, hemlock mulch, perlite, lime and a slow release fertilizer. So far so good.
Sharon

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 10:34PM
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susieqz

i want to thank everyone who replied to my question. not only was the info invaluable, all of it, but the fact that so many nice people took the time to help me truly warms my heart.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 11:53AM
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