Organically fertilizing a 5-1-1 mix (lengthy with pics)
Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone on this forum. I've been lurking for a bit and reading a lot of Al's threads and related spin-offs. I've learned a great deal in a short amount of time.
I just made my first 5-1-1 mix and I know from reading aforementioned threads that it's difficult to organically fertilize containers as effectively as with synthetic fertilizers.
As I'm growing vegetables (mostly tomatoes/peppers) almost exclusively, I'm trying to keep it as organic as possible. I'm aware of the fact that ions are ions and at the end of the day the plant doesn't care but I'm going to give it a try anyways. Has anyone been successful using a 5-1-1 mix without synthetic ferts?
I know that organic fertilizer has to decompose and be consumed by microbes before it's available to the plant. Obviously, it's not instant and more of a time-released kind of deal. Yes microbe populations fluctuate and therefore all of the nutrients are not necessarily available when the plant needs them but can it work with say using multiple avenues like azomite and/or granular organic fertilizer and frequent (and more diluted) applications of 5-1-1 fish emulsion? Not necessarily the optimum ratio but I can't think of an organic source that is.
I haven't quite figured out exactly how I'm going to go about it but I've started with adding granular azomite. The size looks good (drainage/aeration-wise). Without any real scientific reason for the amount and completely guessing I used a 1/4 part (making a ration of 5-1-1-.25). What the hell, it looked good in comparison to the small test batch I made. The package says 0-0-0-0.2; Soluble Potash 0.2%, Calcium 1.8%, Chlorine 0.1%, Sodium 0.1%. The actual analysis.
I have an organic granular fertilizer, Espoma Garden-tone (3-4-4), that I bought a while back. I'm not sure whether to incorporate this or not. I thought I remembered reading that it could burn the roots? It says it has among other things, "pasteurized poultry manure." If so, maybe use it more as a top-dressing in a band around the plant?
Total N 3% (0.2 ammoniacal, 0.6 soluble, 2.2 insoluble)
Mg 1% (0.7 soluble)
Also contains "Bio-Tone", "895 Colony Forming Units (CFU's) per gram" of 7 different kinds of "microbes" I suppose.
Thoughts on using this product in a 5-1-1 mix anyone?
Then there's always the trusty 5-1-1 fish emulsion. I'll probably apply this pretty diluted at every watering. These plants will be outside so they'll be getting some rain water too.
Sorry for the lengthy thread. Part of this is asking questions and part of it is documenting what I've done/am doing. I'm hoping to hear of others attempt on this subject. I'm not really anti-synthetic fertilizers but since I'm growing edibles I guess I like the peace of mind and am willing to give it a try. Whatever transpires discussion-wise, I'll post updates on how it's working out. Thank you for any advice.
This post was edited by ka0ttic on Mon, Nov 4, 13 at 19:58