The lazy man's soil mix

drew51 SE MI Z5b/6aOctober 18, 2013

I have made 5-1-1 before, but I seem to always have to search for ingredients. Often I find some suitable if screened. I grow so many plants, it's too much work. So I would rather buy a soil mix for pots. I settled on Fafard 52 pro mix.
60% pine bark, the rest is peat, vermiculite, and perlite.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Fri, Oct 18, 13 at 10:31

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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

A photo of the mix.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 10:21AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Here are results. No fertilizer is in the mix. For my cacti I use a mix of two fertilizers and rainwater. Notice this years growth in the middle of the plant. The duller green is new growth this year. PH and fertilizer is just as important or more so than potting mix. This mix is not ideal for cacti, but I can make any soil work. I don't mind the clover weed in the pot, it's a nitrogen fixer! Plants will be brought in soon.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Fri, Oct 18, 13 at 10:30

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 10:27AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

That's Oxalis in the pot...a very common weed. Colonizes virtually all of my outdoor containers :-)

Josh

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 11:23AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Darn, it's not a clover! Not only pots but my garden too! They are hard to remove too. Luckily a small species is in the garden. Looking at the genus most are a lot larger. We do have one with white flowers, hopefully it is a clover! Removes fairly easy. I grow a clover inside. Large leaves, hard to kill. You can neglect it pretty much. I often forget to water it. It comes back even when drooping badly. It's been the same size about 15 years, maybe longer?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 12:16PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Oxalis stricta in the pot with cactus, don't know the other one.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 1:00PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yep, not a clover in the pot indoors, either. I have the large leafed white and purple Oxalis varieties growing in my yard. The white one is blooming right now.

Josh

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 3:52PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Slightly blurry pic...I have this growing beneath an Incense Cedar (Calocedrus) in the company of Dryopteris ferns.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 5:47PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

The one in the house is a nice plant. Thanks for the id's!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 8:38PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

I have used the 52 mix with good results. I recommend it to anyone who does not have the means or want to make their own.

mike

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 1:54PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Looks good. But off the bat i FEEL that 60% pine bark is too much.

Another thing that I have noticed in this forum, nobody uses COMPOST as in ingredient in their mix. Is it a NO NO in container potting mix? I think a 25% compost should help to improve the quality of mix.. I am thinking about adding some compost/manure to my potting mix: THEY ARE ALL GOING TO BE OUTDOOR PLANTS.

PEAT MOSS, PINE BARK, COMPOST/MANURE, PERLITE. maybe some VERMICULITE.

This post was edited by seysonn on Sat, Nov 2, 13 at 6:42

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 12:18AM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

It sounds like you haven't read the following:

Container Soils - Water Movement and Retention

I'd suggest doing so before proceeding -- you'll find it to be very informative.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 2:00PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Seysonn,
the 5-1-1 is 70% Bark, 15% Peat, 15% Perlite. Given the number of folks who've successfully grown in this mix, I'd say 60% isn't far off the mark at all.

Re: compost and manure. Both ingredients are fine particulate and will increase moisture retention and decrease the mix structure and durability. Manure, itself, should be composted to prevent seeds, weeds, and pests (to an extent) - this is especially important for plants that will be brought into a house or into a greenhouse. Also, fresh manure poses other issues if it is too "hot" still.

That said, I do occasionally talk about adding compost to make the 5-1-1 mix. The key is to replace the Peat portion with the Compost, which will behave similar to the peat by helping to "bind" the other ingredients and increasing the moisture retention of the mix. Keeping the Compost portion to 15% or less of the overall mix is what I would do. Also, I would not include any Vermiculite.

Josh

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 3:06PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Thanks shazaam and Josh

Josh ...I agree about manure for the reasons you explained.

shazaam ... I have read that writing. I find it verbose and too academic. But about water movement and retention, coarse compost is not a deterrent to that concept. In fact, in my mind, compost is better than peat moss. So I agree with Josh that we can use some compost in place of peat moss. If you don't want too much fine you can lightly screen the compost through 1/4" mesh to use only the coarse part. .

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 7:29PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I mentioned the mix, because I am lazy, well I have so many garden chores. Container plants is a small part of my growing. I like the 52 because it is very useful, and one can make a 5-1-1 with it, just add more pine, lime, and fertilizer.
It saves me a ton of time. Everybody has to find what works for them.
Speaking of growing I just planted a Weeping Santa Rosa Plum tree today. I like to grow fruit trees, and I'm very happy to add this ornamental, yet excellent tasting fruit tree.
A good pollenizer too!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 5:04PM
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MittenGirl(5 NW MI)

Drew51 can I ask where you found the 52 mix for purchase?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 9:42AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

"Drew51 can I ask where you found the 52 mix for purchase?"

You may! :)

TellyâÂÂs Greenhouse & Garden. Center
3301 John R Road
Troy, MI 48083-5656
248-689-8735

Go to fafard dot com and use the store finder, then call to see if they carry 52 mix. A store may be closer to you.
Call Telly's too before you make a day trip! Not cheap! Worth it! Make sure they still have it. Only a few miles from my house. I would add...ANY fafard plant mix is excellent, and if you can't find 52, go with the others. i have used them, and they are great! Also Happy Frog is a decent mix too. But it is even more expensive.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 10:31AM
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