OT- soil for summer containers

kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)April 25, 2012

Not for seed starting, but for containers of summer annuals.

ProMix is usually my mix of choice, and it works well in containers with added fert. But in the heat of summer, if it drys out, it really dries badly. I've tried adding Soil Moist crystals but sometimes I think that's worse- they seem to suck the moisture from the soil as it gets really dry.

I water daily but, if we go out of town, gets to be a lot to expect from my neighbors to watch all these pots.

I'm wondering about MG moisture control potting mix. I know many of you are MG fans. Have you used the moisture control soil, and were you happy with it? Does it retain too much moisture? I don't want things to rot.

Any thoughts appreciated.


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Karen---I use the reg. MG for my annuals and never had a problem. I think I tried the moisture MG once and didn't like it. Went back to the reg. MG. Just my opinion.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 9:24AM
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You can use soil with moisture crystals as long as the containers have good drainage, otherwise the soil appears to get too moist after a hard rain.

Another thing you can do is move all your containers into one spot, part shade is nice is you can do it, and set up a hose with timer on the spigot programmed to water for a couple of hours each day. Test it out for a couple of days before you leave so you're confident in its working to your desire. You can then get away without any worries.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 9:31AM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

The MG moisture control doesn't contain moisture crystals. The moisture retentive component is coir. This is what I got from their online chat
Karen: thanks
Kokouvi: Components Weight %
Kokouvi: Sphagnum Peat Moss 60-70
Kokouvi: Peat/Forest Products/Compost 30-60
Kokouvi: Processed Coconut Coir Pith 5-10
Kokouvi: Perlite 10
Kokouvi: Calciumphosphate, 0.1-1
Kokouvi: Ammonium nitrate, 0.1-1
Kokouvi: Potassium sulphate, 0.1-1
Kokouvi: Ammonium phosphate 0.1-1


    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 9:41AM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

I've found that the problem with the MG with moisture control is that mother nature doesn't like it.

In other words, it works fine as long as you don't run into weather problems, too much rain, not enough rain and then a deluge of rain from a thunderstorm, etc. or if you overwater the container as well.

A friend tried it a few years ago and was satisfied with it for about a month, then she got daily thunderstorms for about 3 weeks and the soil was so wet the roots of her plants started to rot.

She was able to save some of the plants by repotting them in the regular MG potting mix and never used it again.

Another friend tried it by mixing containers with half regular MG potting mix and half with the moisture control. That proportion didn't work either, the soil got way to wet and stayed that way and she lost several containers full of plants.
She went back to the regular MG potting mix as well.

I've never had any problems using just the MG potting mix for all my containers.

I cover the top of the soil with a layer of potting mix also. I water them well and being on a permanent water restriction in my town, only able to water every other day, I soak them well on the days I can water and they've all been fine for several years now under the water restrictions.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 12:38PM
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Also, I usually add extra perlite to MG potting mix.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 1:30PM
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I use promix with fertilizer like you Karen, because I have bales on hand from all the WSing. But thanks to those who have chimed in, I am going to try to "top" my containers with potting soil. Makes sense to at least have the top 3-4 inches be soil that doesn't lose it's moisture as fast.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 7:24PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

I bought and used a big bag of the MG moisture control. It filled 2 big pots that sit in hot spots. I didn't have enough for the third pot I wanted to do, so I used some ProMix mixed into that one, too. Still didn't have enough so I have to go out and get another big bag of ProMix tomorrow.

That moisture control mix looked and felt like it contains a whole lot of coir. Doesn't look or feel like it can hold a plant in a pot. Odd.

I used my regular ProMix and moisture crystals in my bloommaster baskets. They don't get much direct sun so don't dry out so much.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 7:50PM
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When we go away in summer . . . my daughter has outgrown her plastic kiddie pool, but I held on to it. I place all my containers in the kiddie pool, and then fill it with about an inch of water, all under a tree. Then I have one of my girl friends drop by every 2-3 days and add another inch of water to the kiddie pool. It's alot easier to get someone to dropr by and fill the pool then to get someone to come water 30 different containers daily!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 7:50PM
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Hi Karen. :O)

I used the moisture control last year but it wasn't the MG brand, more like a chain store brand. It was really good and I also mulched. I think PV was the one who told me to try the mulching.

I owe you an e-mail. I haven't forgotten.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:18PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Hi Girlfriend! So good to see you.

This moisture control stuff if really odd-feeling. Very fluffy, feels like straight coir. I only tried that once for inside plants and came close to killing everything, so time will tell how I do with this stuff. If anyone should know potting mix, it's PV, so if she likes it, that's saying a lot.

Thanks, Everyone, for the input.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 6:19AM
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Mulching on top of pots is just something I'd never think to do and it makes so much sense! Thanks! I am going to try it. What kind of mulch is best for this?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 3:12PM
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Well, you all know me - cheaper than dirt. :O) What I used to mulch was pebbles I had to do mosaics with - like a small sandy coloured beach stone in some pots, and in others I used small black stones. I even had glass beads in one. Just use what you have. :O)

My pots grew Lantanas, Verbenas (annual), Milkweed, Buddleia, Petunias, and Hostas.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 9:56PM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

Nan, I used to use the mulch that I had delivered to spread in my beds, but have not had any delivered in about 10 years now. Neither hubby or I are able to do that kind of shoveling anymore, so I've just bought the cheapest bags of pine bark mulch I can find in either kmart or walmart.

I use about an inch or so on top of all my pots, including all the veggies I grow in pots, tomatoes, peppers, cukes, lettuce, carrots, beets etc.

Not only does it help to keep the moisture in the soil, it helps to keep the weeds from growing in their as well.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 1:19AM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

I use mulch on my pots, but don't add it until summer heat arrives. In a wet spring, my containers tend to be too cold and too wet anyway. I haven't bought mulch yet this year but, like Tiffy, I use whatever I have. I really like pine fines to top a pot and if I have any, I use it.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 7:18AM
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PVick(6b NYC)

Hello all! 'Specially to tiffy!!

I've never used the MG Moisture Control mix, and I've given up on MG potting mix in general. Used to use it exclusively since it was the easiest available in my area, but the last several years I've been very disappointed with it. Found a nursery where I can get Fafard, so that's what I use now.

Depending on what's going in the pot, I might add some moisture pellets, but everything gets mulched. I like pine fines too, but pine bark is what I usually get around here. But I've used stones, crunched up newspaper (!), whatever. These days I'm using cocoa shells, bought in error a couple of years ago - 2 cu. ft. of the stuff lasts a l-o-n-g time.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 8:43AM
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