Potting mix in bales

pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)December 27, 2010

I have read where Promix comes in bales and somebody else mentioned using a bale of Fafard potting mix. I didn't know that Fafard comes in bales too. What size would that bale be?

I just needed this clarified. Their website doesn't mention anything about it coming in bales, unless I missed it.

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gardenweed_z6a

The bale is 3.8 cu. ft. (107L).

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 12:42PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Thanks, that clears it up. How do you mix up a bale of potting mix? Wheelbarrow? Can't take the wheelbarrow into the kitchen so guess I'll stick with smaller bags. Have some MG left over from the summer so will start out using that first, but really want to try Fafard or Promix this year. A nursery that has been in our area since about 1930's and is first class, is pushing Espoma potting mix. Their horticulturist has been using it and they like it.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 3:07PM
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gardenweed_z6a

I brought a bale of Fafard professional growers mix inside the kitchen back at Thanksgiving before the weather turned really cold. It sat in a corner until the solstice when I cut it open on the top, started digging out the mix and putting it in my containers. The compressed mix isn't hard, just firm. I crumbled it with my fingers. I find it doesn't absorb water too readily right from the bale so I fill a deep bucket with mix, add a little regular potting soil and just stir really well with my hand trowel. That seems to loosen it enough to where it absorbs water faster when I fill the gallon milk jugs.

I don't mix up the bale, just a bucket full at a time. I've got 74 containers done and the bale is about half used up. I'm filling the containers right up to the cut this time. Last year I was a little stingy with the growing mix because I only had one bale. This year I bought three bales back in August so I'd have plenty when WS season rolled around. WS sprouts have the most amazing roots, I wanted to give them plenty of soil/mix this time. I had inch-tall sprouts last time that had 6" long roots!

I don't know what you normally use for fertilizer but if you can find it, pick up a bottle of seaweed extract. I made up gallons of my own witches' brew of seaweed extract and worm poop tea last year and you've seen the pictures--my plants were amazing.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 3:54PM
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adamark

Gardenweed - when do you start fertilizing? I didn't do it last year at all.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 7:11PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

seaweed extract and worm poop..what do you do with it; make compost tea? Explain for me and others how you use it, when, and what it's suppose to do for the plants. Where do you buy this stuff;online or locally?

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 7:42PM
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gardenweed_z6a

I don't like using all those chemical fertilizers that line the shelves of the big box stores. Seaweed extract and fish emulsion are both available at a local garden center which is where I get them. A woman at work has a worm farm and she gave me a large container of worm castings last year as thanks for the seeds I gave her.

Seaweed extract encourages foliar growth (leaves) and fish emulsion encourages root development according to the labels. The way I keep that straight in my head is, seaweed floats on the ocean's surface and washes up on the beach while fish swim below the water.

Worm "castings" are gardener's gold. Lasagne gardening draws worms to the soil as does cardboard and mulch. The more worms you have, the healthier the soil. Everywhere I dig in my garden there are big, fat, healthy worms so I know the soil is healthy. My plants also tell me they're growing in good soil when they bloom so beautifully. Another good indication is my lupine flopped over while the ones growing next door in rocky, sandy soil were upright with strong stems even after a powerful wind storm. Lupine does best in rocky, sandy soil and has a tendency to flop if grown in good soil.

I did not fertilize the sprouts or seedlings in the containers but once they were planted out, I mixed up the seaweed extract & worm poop tea to water them over the long, hot, dry summer months. I use milk and cat litter jugs for watering--poke a pinhole an inch from the bottom of the jug, fill with water/fertilizer and set the jugs near the plants. Water comes out the pinhole in a thin, gentle stream and the plants get watered right at the base. No water or nutrients are wasted on foliage or the surrounding mulch. Whatever's left in the jug when the level falls below the pinhole holds the jug in place.

A bunch of white plastic jugs set out here and there in my garden is not visually appealing. It ain't pretty but it's practical. The drought lasted from June to October, so it was either water with the jugs or lose all the WS sprouts I planted along with many other garden treasures.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 2:56AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Your milkjug technique works wonderfully for hydrating trees too Gardenweed! This is how we keep our 200 year old red oak healthy at church - about 60 of your watering devices through the water root lines for some slow, deep dripping. Sometimes you just gotta employ whatever method works best even if it isn't the most visually appealing!!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 1:19AM
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jodie74(6)

I may have to try the milk jug watering system too! I am curious.... how long do you leave the jug by each plant or in other words how much water do you give each plant? 1 whole gallon?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 12:03PM
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gardenweed_z6a

jodie74 - I use more cat litter jugs than milk jugs for watering because they hold more, 2-3 gallons. I leave the jugs by each plant until the stream of water through the pinhole stops, then move the jugs to the next set of plants. That way I know each one got a good soaking. I kept one set of jugs on the north side of the house and another on the south side for convenience.

Sorry--I didn't take any pictures of the set-up. I was too busy filling jugs all summer for 2-3 hours every day. It got real old by the end of August.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 12:46PM
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jodie74(6)

gardenweed- 2-3 hours EVERY DAY! OUCH! Guess I'll stick with my sprinklers & pay the water bill. :( I think I'll have enough on my plate this summer making my beds & planting my seedlings!!!!!

On a positive note, my kids enjoyed running through the sprinklers as they were going last summer! LOL

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 3:07PM
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gardenweed_z6a

Yup. Get home 4:30-ish, haul the hose to whichever area was due to be watered and start filling jugs. By the time a few were empty I was just filling the last jug so I'd move the first few jugs to different plants and fill them a second time. Usually took me until 6:30-7:30 p.m. to water everything that needed it. If it weren't for my watering every day I'd have lost an awful lot of plants, including astilbe & hydrangea that are just 5 years old. In addition to the jug watering I had plant nannies set close to them as well. It was just so horribly dry they needed the extra.

I'm glad your kids enjoyed the sprinklers but for the plants, most of that water is wasted on the foliage & mulch, neither of which need it. The jugs water directly at the base of the plant with none wasted.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 3:21PM
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