miracle grow and issues

lizgyrl(7)December 13, 2011

I have a few indoor soil issues. I have been using miracle grow and I have had mushrooms, and some sort of fine neon yellow mold or moss? It is not the moldy stuff called dog vomit. I got rid of the mushrooms but not the yellow funk. I also noticed I have tiny bugs in one of my really healthy plants but it is in one of my sickly plants (cilantro) Is miracle grow my main problem? The bugs I can't identify, look like tiny gnats but they don't fly, and they don't hop. They crawl very fast and stay under the surface of the soil. What do I do?

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TheMasterGardener1(5B)

Thats to bad about the soil. A hint for using those bagged soils is to let the plants dry out before watering so the roots get air, you may find 2 to even 3 weeks somtimes more or less depending on size of pot in proportion to plant size.

"What do I do?"

Take bar soap (organic would be good but reg bar is ok) and carefully break a small .5-.75 cu inch chunk, put in about say 2-3 cups of water. Shake the solution untill soap is disolved and the water is really full of soap, add more if you feel you need more soap as the soap will not hurt the plant. Spray and lightly drench top of the soil.

Do you feed them in-organic fertilizer like highly recomended Miracle-gro all purpose water soluble fertilizer as it is easy to use, and very effective when used as directed.

How did you take care of the mushrooms?

Hope this helps. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 3:44PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

simple your soil is too wet , just let the soil dry more,and for now dont spray
are they getting enough light ?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 8:19AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Oops, sorry, I forgot to post the link for you Liz

By the way, letting your soil dry out more often is more trickier than one might think. Here a few precautions for you.

Make sure your mix does not dry out to the point of leaf wilt, most plants must be watched carefully if you should decide to just water less frequently.

Watch out that your mix does not get to dry so as to repel water.

Make sure you watch your plants closely since less frequent watering will increase your chances of salt burn within the root zone unless you flush at least once a month thoroughly with fresh water. It will also decrease vital gas exchange at the root level. Roots must breath often to increase yield.

Your pests will not disappear watering less often, so you will need to take action for this.

Here you go, here is the link:-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention XIV

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 9:25AM
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calistoga_al

Your comment that the bugs are only found on the sickly plants, may lead you to think it is the bugs that made the plant sickly, when in fact most times it is because the plant is weak, it is attacked by the bugs. Humans are attracted to healthy plants, but bugs are attracted to sick plants. Al

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 12:00PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hi, Liz - Plants live in harmony with thousands of species of fungi - most of them harmless and some beneficial; and of course, a few harmful. I would be more concerned about the conditions that might be PROMOTING the growth of the fungal visitors you described.

Miracle-Gro does have some inherent issues that leave the grower with very little wiggle room when it comes to watering habits that quickly turn limiting. The best thing to do, if you're serious about improving your abilities, is to fix the soil issue by adopting something that is fast-draining/well-aerated; but there are some tricks I can help you with that will help you to do better with what you're working with. First though, can you tell me how large the pots are that we're talking about?

Al

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 5:31PM
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lizgyrl(7)

The two plants effected by the bugs are very much different, one is sick, and one is super healthy with lots of growth. The healthy one is in front of a window, and the sickly one I recently moved to a grow light. I do use miracle gro water soluble fertilizer. The healthy plant is in a container that holds water in the bottom and a wick comes up to the roots. The sickly one is in a regular plastic pot with a built on drain pan. I have sprayed insecticidal soap and still the bugs continue, I also bombed the house for bugs when the weather started cooling off due to country living and spiders... still the bugs survived (I may have created super bugs) I am wanting to switch from bag soils to coconut coir, but I wasn't sure what else is supposed to be mixed into it. I have bat cave guano (my brother is a bit brave and coocoo) I do have a respirator for when I finally use it (how to use it?... the guano not the respirator) I also have unlimited manure in the event I need that instead :-\ I also have smartpot type pots I have been wanting to try but I am thinking that will be an outdoor project. Thanks for the replies and the link.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 5:40PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Well, obviously many words go unnoticed here or even a thank you.

Anyhow, I thought I had posted the mixes I use, exactly what Al says, but you no longer need my help. Good luck and with Al's help

Mike

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 5:48PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

And by the way - I suggest you don't use a solution of dissolved water and bar soap on your plants. Not only are there certain to be phytotoxic (poison to plants) ingredients in the soap, but extremely alkaline hydroxyl compounds are use in the saponification of soap that will raise pH quickly while also adding a LOT of unwanted Na (sodium).

Al

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 5:56PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

OooPPP..lol

The first sentence on my last post was for an e-mail to a friend about my work! I must of copied and pasted by accident. What the hey..?

Anyhow the sencond part of the post was itended for her and disregard the first part...
" Anyhow, I thought I had posted the mixes I use, exactly what Al says this am, but it never posted I guess. Al has only repeated what I intended to say.. Good luck and with Al's help "

Mike:-)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 6:02PM
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lizgyrl(7)

Oh I forgot the mushrooms, I picked and tossed and they eventually quit growing. I do thank you again for the link Mike as I have just gotten to read it, very good stuff and answers to my soil questions. I have been without internet since my first post so I am just getting to reading. I have several plants I would bet others have some bugs, my marigolds and banana plant do not :D (I only tested 4 with the potato test, I think I saw a mite) Yes I have marigolds in the house; I felt bad and brought my outdoor plants in... even the tomatoes that are shockingly still producing in crappy conditions. The size of the pot for the sickly one is a bit bigger than it should be b/c they were outdoors and from seed so they died off a bit and no longer fit (Cilantro 6" pot). The healthy one is in major need of a replant (Pothos ridiculously tiny pot)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 6:14PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Hey Liz!

Yes, I know you do appreciate this..

I worked so hard at posting you so muuch about the mixes I use and how to avoid or prevent future issues rather than treat the symptoms this am, and it never posted as I realized tonight!

But it seems that Al has taken an interest in you and he will do a far better job than I could, since after all, I am still learning from him.

I would however throw those marigolds and any other annuals away ASAP since they are HUGE spidermite and pest magnets for sure. I only brought in two marigolds because they were so pretty, and they ended up devoured with spider mites within just a few short weeks which almost devesated my indoor plants. Throw them away for sure.

Good luck and welcome to this site. You will learn so much.

By the way, I will be up front with you and tell you that MG is the culprit for many of your woes and that link I provided for you will help you to understand why.

Mike:-)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 6:54PM
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lizgyrl(7)

I thought marigolds repel insects lol, maybe just garden pests? I haven't seen anything in or on the marigold pot, I have been saving the seeds from it for my yard in spring. The tomato I didn't toss at the time b/c I had over 100 tomatoes when the cold hit. I am still waiting on the rest to turn red but some are still small (honey cherry tomatoes) They bloomed really late. I believe I will stop using MG soil. The fertilizer chart I didn't quite understand... I don't know a lot about feeding, how much, or when. I just use some on occasion. I am thinking it is a wonder I have so many good looking plants LOL

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 7:52PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

You're doing a fine job, Mike - Carry on. ;-)

For some basics, I'd suggest that Liz reads the link below, too.

While you're reading, Liz, pay particular attention to the benefits and wider margin for error you get with fast draining, well-aerated soils.

BTW - I meant to mention that Al (Calistoga) made a good point about insects (diseases, too) finding it easier to breach the natural defenses of already weakened plants.

Al

Here is a link that might be useful: Lots of info here

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 8:32PM
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TheMasterGardener1(5B)

The use of organic bar soap like I use contain no additives. I never have a problem with ph when I use soap treatments even though soap is basic. I use the soap and watch the bugs jumping for their lives. The bugs that don't get away are dead in their path and are stuck in place. I have been using this technique with only results. I have used reg. bar soap and the same thing, the bugs die in their path.

Again let the plants get dry untill the point of wilting like a lot suggested. Remember that It is good for plant to be watered before treating them with soap.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 9:01PM
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lizgyrl(7)

Okay I am not done reading, but before I forget. Al, I see the stress in how important a balance of air and water drainage are. I will say that is my number 1 problem which I am sure you already knew (20 years of plants and container gardening WOW :D) Instead of using a cloning bucket, just a glass and water, how does cloning work in just water? Don't the plants lack water and nutrients? As for the soap thing, I am reluctant to try it, I wouldn't cry if I lost my Cilantro but my other plants I would. I don't know what a regular bar of soap is, I have zest (scented with scrubby beads I believe)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 9:54PM
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TheMasterGardener1(5B)

"As for the soap thing, I am reluctant to try it, I wouldn't cry if I lost my Cilantro but my other plants I would"

There is no way soap can hurt a plant. I have watched pure bleach being dumped in house plants (plaease dont ask why!!!) and nothing happens. Harsh chemicals wont even hurt plants, why would bar soap?

I dont buy pestisides because every time I use soap it works, any bug.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 1:16PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

"Again let the plants get dry untill the point of wilting"

I think you meant to say, NOT to let the plants wilt:-)

Never let your plants do dry to the point of wilt. Only a few if that can handle this kind of treatment.

Mike

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 2:34PM
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lizgyrl(7)

Im thinking my best bet is to repot the plants in the suggested soil mixtures?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 2:46PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It will sure make life easier. ;-)

Al

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 2:49PM
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nandina(8b)

Yup...make up a pail of soapy suds using a bar of Ivory soap. Apply with a large, soft sponge squeezing this over each bug infected plant. Works well on aphids. Learned this method back in the days of Victory Gardens and have used it every year since then when needed, especially on roses. An old time method. Remember when Gramma used to toss the soapy dish washing liquid on the garden every day. Due to difficult growing conditions here I grow a large number of vegetables in pots and have never had any problems using soapy water as a control for bugs.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 3:01PM
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lizgyrl(7)

If you soap your plants, do you rinse them afterwards? I didn't grow up around my grandparents or garden/plant people so this is all just winging it haha.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 3:46PM
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TheMasterGardener1(5B)

You are better off repotting them in different soil like suggested.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 7:55PM
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lizgyrl(7)

So I have gotten all my stuff for the 5:1:1 but I had issues finding the lime. All I found was pavestone brand pulverized lime, will this work?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 11:35AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Nope - You want the lime you spread on your garden or lawn - dolomitic lime. It should have a Ca:Mg ratio somewhere around 3 or 4:1.

It should be about $7-10 for a 50 lb bag. If you have a dealer near you that sells Espoma products, you can get it in 10 lb bags for about the same $.

Al

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 2:38PM
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lizgyrl(7)

I have not had any luck finding it(I live in the BFE). The pulverized stuff says
Calcium 38%
Calcium Carbonate Equivalent 95%
Magnesium less than 2%
Relative Neutralizing Value 83.63%
Could I just add Epsom salt? I found this one of the forums.
Epsom salt recipe: Dissolve 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1 gal. of water. For healthy nightshade plants (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants) water just as flowering starts. Or use this mixture as a foliage spray in the garden and on house plants.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 3:40PM
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