Soil, Watering, Fertilizer and questions for Al (tapla)
Hi, Al and all the friends that following Al's theory.
First I just wanted to say thank you very much for sharing the knowledge of growing plants in container. Especially the soil - I am very new to growing in-house plants and I never owned any plants before. I was so excited to grow some plants in our soon-to-move-in new house - I did some research on this topic before I start and oh man, I was swimming in the Ocean of knowledge. I have to admit how ignorant I was before reading your posts/articles of soil, watering and fertilize - I was thinking either the mix from store or the garden soil is good enough for the plant - somehow the soil will magically generates nutrients that plants need, I thought using fertilizer is so un-green /un-organic, and as long as I provide enough water and light, the plants will thrive. At a first look on your soil - it just against the intuition - how can a plant grow in such media? well, if that works, why in the nature we do not have many plants growing in sand - they always growing in soil? But as I read along I understand the theory behind it and saw so many friends testimonies (experience) on GW. Further more you explained the scientific reason for that and I believe Science. :)
Ok, enough for my retrospective. I have not read all your posts yet, but I read most of the posts regarding Soil, Watering and Fertilizer. I wanted to get started and with my hands get dirty more questions will come up, but here here are the questions for me to get the mix ready:
1. I saw in different places you mentioned different media to use for the soil - the theory is to water the plant copiously and to lower the water table. One option is
Turface : Pine bark : Granit = 1:1:1 , sometimes playball, Fur bark and perlite also mentioned. Can I category them as below based on there water retention ability? (> means the better choose if you can get the media)
Group one (hold more water)
Playball > Turface > vermiculite
Group two (hold less water)
Pine bark > Fur bark
Group three (does not hold water)
Granit > Perlite > #2 cherry stone?
What is the rough particle size? Arounf 1/8 inch? I never say any of those stuff in my life :( - so even somebody put them in front of me - I would not know which is which.
And what is the purpose of bark here? As it will be slowly collapse - if I do not want to change my soil for the life of the plant - can I use Turface and Granite only?
2. I also saw 5:1:1 mix
5 parts pine bark fines
1 part sphagnum peat
1-2 parts perlite
What is the difference between this one and 1:1:1 one? Or they all work for house plant? Just because some places we can not get Turface then we will go with 5:1:1?
3. I live in RI, I think I located John Deere dealer for the Turface. (do they have different type /size of turface, what model/type should I ask?) But I have not find where to find Pine Bark or Granit yet. If anybody knows please let me know where (in RI or MA) I can get them.
4. Dolomitic (garden lime) or gypsum needed to add into the mix, where can I find them (does Home Depot or Lowe's carry these?)
5. I do not think I will have a lot of time to tender the plants. Most likely watering once a week. Do you think the 1:1:1 mix will work on this schedule. How about watering once every two weeks? The plants that I wanted to have are Spider Plant, Peace Lily, Jade Tree, Rubber Tree , Weeping Fig , Potho , Umbrella tree and Succulent (most common and easy ones)
6. Most likely I will flush the soil everytime. Water, wait for water come out the pot, then water again. Do you think the first time I need to add the fertilizer in the water, or just the 2nd time cause the purpose of first water is to flush the salt out?
Sorry for the long post and hope you still have patient with me for my newbie questions (I believe you already answer these stupid questions thousands times), I tried to read as much as possible but since the information scattered everywhere and they all are long posts. I think I'd better to ask before I am more confused. And I hope I am start it right with my plants (I have not got any plants - I wanted to get prepared before I invited them into my home).
And although this post address to Al, but it is actually to all the friends here who follows "Al's soil" practice, so please chime in with your experience /alternatives. I will be very appreciated with any help.
Thanks a lot