5-1-1 substitute

nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))September 2, 2012

I have a buddy with very sandy soil. He is growing most of his vegetables in containers in a so-so compost mix. He then takes the spent soil each year and amends the garden with it. Since his sandy soil would benefit from the addition of calcined clay, I was wondering if he could make a 5-1-1 with turface instead of perlite for his containers? I know the turface holds more water, but we are in L.A.

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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

I'm thinking maybe a 2:1 of composted wood:turface.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 2:11AM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

I'm thinking maybe a 2:1 of composted wood:turface.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 2:22AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

That would work fine. We used to have a contributor (Justaguy) that grew in pine fines + Turface - no peat or perlite. I think he was using about a 5:1 ratio, but the ideal ratio is going to depend almost entirely on the size of the bark you're using.

Al

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 9:50AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Josh too uses no peat at all in most of his 5.1.1 mixes. In fact, I think he hates peat, right Josh/ :-)

Mike

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 1:05PM
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greentiger87

Count me in as a peat hater. Btw, my hydroton + bark fines is doing really well. I'm getting worried it might be too fast for the smaller containers I chose this time :D

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 1:58PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey guys!

I've used straight bark and turface, and didn't care for the results so much.
I've used bark, turface, and perlite, and enjoyed the results much, much more.
I've used bark, red lava rock, and perlite, and I probably prefer that compliment
of ingredients for my growing conditions - slightly less moisture retention in the
Summer, but healthier for my plants during the Winter.

Peat has a place, certainly. I think it's a better choice than Coir in a mix, as well.
However, I avoid Peat in mixes that are meant to last longer than a single season.
For my peppers and my deck tomato, I do use a *peat-based* potting mix in lieu
of the peat fraction in the 5-1-1.

Josh

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 3:53PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

Great thanks everyone. We are going to give it a shot.

Greenman, that extra moisture retention sounds good to me. We are in SoCal.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 8:43PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Give it a try.
At first, I found that I underwatered the bark and turface; then, I found that the mix
was holding moisture for longer than I wanted. Also, I wasn't as consistent with fertilization
then, and so the plants would become chlorotic, then I would have to catch up. Thus my caveat.

If you are diligent with with watering and fertilization, give it a try.

Jos

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 7:25PM
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