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Facts of Life

Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 23, 12 at 15:39

I was posting on another forum where people aren't as friendly as they are over here at 'containers', and I realized that some of the things I mentioned would present a good opportunity for anyone who wants to to agree, disagree, or expand on what I consider ....... well, It's safer here, so just see what you think. I'm not asking anyone to add more topics, only to offer thoughts on any one or all of my great truths (rolls eyes).

* Grower convenience and what is best for the plant are more often than not, mutually exclusive.

* You don't/cannot become a proficient grower by accident or by experience alone; you have to work at it, body AND brain.

* The phrases "It works for me" might be fine if you're trying to help someone else, but it's worse than useless in a debate or disagreement.

Al


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Facts of Life

Your three great truths seem to be very similar. Here are some quotes I found that I think express similar sentiments. I especially like the last one.

"The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt."
- Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

"Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact."
- George Eliot (1819-1880)

"For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice - no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service."
- John Burroughs (1837-1921)


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RE: Facts of Life

I will say after reading some of your posts I have become a better container gardener. Some people just want to stay doing it their way. I am not like that, well for the most part ; ) That 5-1-1 is working well on my house plants and can't wait to give it a go on a few plants this year.

Thanks Al for everything!!!


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Hi Al. It amazes me that you are getting anyone to disagree with any of these points.

My wife and I have had these discussions. She is a person who does things by feel, and usually gets pretty proficient at things by trial and error. But it takes her a long time, and she doesn't do as well as she COULD do if she also did some technical study on subjects.

I am the opposite to her. I have a lot of interests, but want to learn very quickly. When taking on a new interest (such as container gardening last year), I study as much as I can, get the right materials etc., then I experiment to find out what works best for me. I never figure I have it all figured out, and always strive for continuous improvement. I drive my wife nuts at times by my constant study and learning, but I have surpassed her in many things that she has been doing for years by doing a combination of both study and experimentation.

In order to improve on what you are doing, you need a new perspective. If you are just doing what you have always done, you don't get any new ideas or things to try. Knowledge is power. Experience is putting that power to work for you. But if you have experience without knowledge, you will hit a wall that you will never overcome.


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RE: Facts of Life

"* Grower convenience and what is best for the plant are more often than not, mutually exclusive."

This is wrong.

I consider the methods Al encourages to be extremely convenient.


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RE: Facts of Life

Al: Please don't be discouraged because a few people feel a desire to challenge you. I visit several forums here and have been struck by how each seems to have a different personality. Some are full of excitement and mutual support, like this one. In some, there seems to be a battle going on to establish dominance and challenge anyone who presents evidence based on science.

I have been particularly surprised by those people who have suggested that your ideas spoil the fun. They want great results from little effort. That rarely works in this life.

Human beings are a lot more complicated than plants. You bring great gifts to the table from decades of study and experience. Some will partake, some will reject your offerings and some will feel threatened. You can't change them. I believe that hundreds of us have learned from
you, including me. Don't waste your time trying to pry open closed minds.


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RE: Facts of Life

This is pretty much human nature. I'm on a bunch of dog training forums, and rather frequently someone will post a problem they're having but be daunted by the recommendations for solving it. They were looking for a quick, magical fix (like they see, courtesy of editing and no follow-up, on TV) when the real solution takes time, effort, and possibly a change in thinking. "I don't have time for all that" is not an uncommon response.


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RE: Facts of Life

I wonder if the same people that don't agree with the science are also the same ones that believe in "intelligent design"?


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The weird thing about gardening is, is that it's not as complicated as some may think. You just have to know what a plant needs, and give it what it needs. Not more, not less, but in the range of it's needs. One condition out of place, and you will not get the best results.

The hardest thing about this for me, is that all plants have slightly different requirements, and trying to remember or meet all these needs are the big challenge when you grow many varieties. Also, not all information is consistent even from scientific sources, the reason you need to do some experimentation to find what works for you and your situation. People who are closed minded and think that one way of doing things will work for all plants are misguided. Many do think this way.


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RE: Facts of Life

The gardening industry is part of the problem. I was trying to figure out what was in a soil mix sold by the Scotts Miracle-Gro company the other day, and I was stunned to see that they make a huge number of soil mixes, mulches, and fertilizers, each with slightly different formulas. But when it comes down to it, there is little difference in Miracle Gro Organic potting soil and Scotts Professional Mix. If you believe everything they say on their website, you'd get a different soil mix and fertilizer for every plant. Ironically, I have a friend who is a scientist who works for the company. He doesn't use a single Scotts/Miraclegro/Osmocote product in his huge greenhouse, where he grows some of the most beautiful tropical plants I have ever seen. Instead, he uses Dynagro fertilizers and a soil mix very much like the gritty mix.


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RE: Facts of Life

That is the beauty with Al's soil mixes. They are basically inert, and the air space provided works well with most plants. That then lets you concentrate on other factors that vary more between plants, including nutrition, pH, water, temperature and light. It's one less thing to worry about.


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RE: Facts of Life

Capoman,
just a word to the wise: not everyone fits neatly into this camp or that.
When I study the physics of water movement, I observe the logos in the design.
As it is said, The worthy visitor sees much.


Josh


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RE: Facts of Life

Josh, you are correct. It is not easy to be a truly objective observer, and I'm not sure it's even possible. We are all influenced by our experience and beliefs. But, I think we should always strive to find evidence for our beliefs, and not be blind to reality.
I do have an issue with some groups that put out beliefs as evidence though, and do not seek truth. Al is running into similar mindsets, even if on a different topic. That is why I rightly or wrongly drew a parallel.


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 24, 12 at 14:11

..... lots of interesting comments so far.

I think my OP was misinterpreted. I wasn't complaining or looking for sympathy because a few people don't agree with anything I ever say - that's just the way things are, and I accept that. There was nothing really buggin' me, and I'm not discouraged, I just realized as I was writing a reply that some of the things I had on my mind would stimulate some musings if posted over here.

In most cases, I look at some of the things others come up with as an opportunity. In disagreeing, when I do, I realize there is a learning opportunity (hopefully) to be had by anyone who cares to evaluate the varying positions; so, it's all good.

The day to day disagreements are fine. I've never been a person who wanted to shout down the opposition or shred their character and introduce a lot of confusing cross-talk to shift focus from the topic; and to be honest, that used to be a severe problem at this forum and houseplants, until GW finally realized what was happening and stepped in to stop the H&H (hunt & harass) type behavior; and it's been friendly & quiet since then. A disagreement between two polite and respectful conversants offers a lot of opportunity for others to learn from the intercourse; so in that light, I welcome disagreement. Other types of behavior are simply too disruptive and ruin every one's party. Once or twice I even observed that if I suggested you should leap that particularly deep chasm in a single bound, I could count on person X to insist you should do it in 2. ;-)

Anyway ..... this is one of my favorites: "The destroyer of weeds, thistles and thorns is a benefactor, whether he soweth grain or not." ~Robert Ingersoll

I don't know if I have the next quote exactly right, and I'm not sure who to credit, Mark Twain perhaps, but I try to live by "Sometimes it's better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and erase all doubt." It sounds like something Winston Churchill might have said, too.

I didn't mean for this or the other thread to turn into a soil discussion, but I was thinking about analogies this morning while I should have been trying to make a buck (@ wk). A lot of people are quite incredulous at the idea that 'out of the bag' soils are generally poor soils. They can't wrap their mind around the idea that Miracle Gro, Scotts, Jungle-Grow ...... a long list, would EVER produce a soil that wasn't perfect or close to it. So many are fond of endowing plants with human traits that I started to think about things that companies make that we use for the sake of convenience that are not good for us.

The first thing that popped into my mind were fast foods and processed foods. We readily admit and accept the fact that a steady diet of fast and processed foods limits our potential to be healthy. Yet when it's pointed out that a soil too water retentive has the potential to limit plant health, it is very often taken as personal effrontery. It's just a simple fact, rooted in science & sound reasoning. Once you understand the importance of the soil:water:air relationship, how you choose your soil simply says something about how you order your priorities - and no one passes judgement on that. When I tell you, if you put low octane fuel in your car it won't accelerate quite as fast and you won't get gas mileage as favorable as if you'd used a higher octane - do you act like I just ate the last of your young? Lol I don't get it.

Al



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RE: Facts of Life

Wow. Comparing fast and processed foods to bagged soil is such a good analogy. I've always made my daughter's food, even when she was an infant. I cook/prepare as many of her meals as possible. She loves food! She eats her fruits, nuts, lean meats, and veggies every day...and loves every minute of it. This is not to say we are health nuts...I make my fair share of chicken parm or mac n' cheese or bacon cheese burgers...but I know every ingredient that goes into everything, and it's always fresh, and wholesome (as possible..lol..I mean c'mon right)and it's always of the highest quality. She just turned 3. She's over 40" tall and weighs 35lbs...a lean mean eating machine. Her hair and skin and teeth are all beautiful, and she is in excellent health. I see some of the little ones that she goes to pre-school with that are force fed garbage by their parents who also consistently eat the same garbage, and my heart aches for the struggles they will go through in their lives, both physically and emotionally. Certainly genetics play a role in this observation, very much like plant health....but eductation and practical application - or the lack thereof - are truely to key to the puzzle for parents and gardeners alike. How does it go "You are what you eat"...and I think we can all say that plants that live in Al's wonderful mixes eat pretty darn good....Amen


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RE: Facts of Life

It comes back to belief systems again. If people believe marketing or hype without doing due diligence, then they will be set in their ways and not listen to alternative ways of doing things or to science. I know Josh didn't like my reference to "intelligent design", but it's a perfect example about how people justify their beliefs with pseudo science, rather then looking at actual facts. This applies to all areas of life, and when you say to some people that commercial soil mixes are not the best for plants, you step on some belief systems, and will get some angry responses, as people get offended when their belief systems are questioned. Gardening is no different. It is a religion to some, and as such will not accept anything that conflicts with their belief systems.


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RE: Facts of Life

We readily admit and accept the fact that a steady diet of fast and processed foods limits our potential to be healthy. Yet when it's pointed out that a soil too water retentive has the potential to limit plant health, it is very often taken as personal effrontery.

But just look at the vast number of people who know the inherent dangers in eating fast and processed food and choose to consume them anyway. ;)


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Very true. Convenience often trumps quality.


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OK. This is not, and should not be a discussion about religion or personal beliefs, but...you insist. There is absolutley nothing that science has discovered or proven that rules out what you deem "intellegent design". To say that the possibilty does not exist that there is something out there that is so much larger than us, so much more complex, so much more powerful...is just ignorant...and to say the science and religion cannot co-exist is equally so. What is more likely...that everything we see is just a series of randon events completely devoid of "design" defined by a series of equations? Or that there is some force, some entity that bonds everything together far beyond our understanding? And who are YOU to say that if this force does exist, that it is NOT intellegent? Humanity's brightest minds search for this "Theory of Everything" we search for the "God Particle" we look to the "Big Bang" and ask how is this all possible? How could things be so closely related, so intertwined, that are so far apart? Our brightest minds look for what binds everything, they look for your "Psuedo Science", and I dare say that if they ever find it....whatever it is, will look an awful lot like a Creator. AMEN!


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DaMonkey, I don't disagree with you about possibilities. We don't know everything, and probably never will. But if we think we already have all the answers, we will never learn.

My issue is when creationists put forth pseudo science to "prove" intelligent design, when none of it proves anything, and the fact that the huge evidence for anything they don't believe in such as evolution is totally ignored.

Difference is: Science is always trying to disprove itself, and update as new information comes in. Creationists think that they already have all the answers, and their attempts at debunking science is almost laughable, with some of the logic they come up with.


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 24, 12 at 17:07

"But just look at the vast number of people who know the inherent dangers in eating fast and processed food and choose to consume them anyway."

Yes, but at least even the marginally educated freely allow that there is substance to the idea that junk food is a junk diet. I just want it to be clear that I'm not campaigning to convince anyone who doesn't want to change, to change; and I'm not in the business of trying to lay a guilt trip on anyone who orders their priorities in a way that requires the use of something for it's convenience. I just try to make sure facts are fairly presented and not obscured by smoke & mirrors.

I don't really have much of a gripe, but if I did, it would be levied at those who have difficulty admitting that the price of 'soil from a bag convenience' is often paid by plants in the form of lost growth and vitality. Simply ignoring or not accepting the reasoning that illustrates there can be a price for that convenience, over and above the cost of the soil, is like refusing to acknowledge all the negative factors associated with a poor diet.

It's a free country and no one cares if we eat a poor diet or use a poor soil. The folly comes in the form of denying there are potentially negative effects associated with either choice, especially in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Al


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RE: Facts of Life

Capoman,
what I didn't care for was the implication that those who see a "Design" are the same people who refuse
scientific principles. In myself, "Design" and science certainly aren't in opposition. I observe the same principles
that others observe, but I see the principles as the intelligence in the design.

Moreover, my earlier comment was a gentle way of saying that such comparisons might alienate participants
in this discussion. One could substitute "Global Warming" for "Intelligent Design" and accomplish a similar
alienation among the audience. These examples are inflammatory topics, which don't tend to yield much light
but rather reveal personal axes to grind.


Josh


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RE: Facts of Life

Increase in the partical size of a potting mix will increase air in the medium. No matter what material you use, pine fines, coco, ect... if it is fiber or large partical it will make a good medium.


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RE: Facts of Life

Back to your original post Al, I think a litte change in wording might be best. If a plant is perfectly healthy, then less work is needed. This just makes sense, but a lot of people do not grow healthy plants and so require more work, and less convinience.
Learning requires the acquisition of knowledge. Mastery requires us to draw from as many sources as we can. To learn, we only need basic knowledge from failure, or experience. To master, we need knowledge form both failure, and other experiences.
"it works for me" should never be uttered. "It works for my situation", or "my environment", or "my species" can be understood.
It seems that this is common sense, but it is hard to see obvious thing (I am guilty of this quite often).
Just my two cents, bob


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Some other forums are rude

I frequent the container, Florida, tropical fruit, and tomato forums, they are very nice. Some other forums are very snide and rude, I am amazed. And even more amazed at the orchid forum. I always thought of orchid growers as very rude and self assured jerks, I recently posted over their to express my interest in getting in to orchids, and I was amazed to find that they were incredibly warm and inviting. Just strange.


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RE: Facts of Life

Well, if we're going to call out some friendly forums, let me give a shout out to the hot pepper forum. These people are passionate about pepprrs and generous with information and support. I haven't grown or eaten many varieties of peppers, but I do like to cook foods from around the world. I recently developed a yearning for southwestern food, and decided I wanted to grow a "land race" chili I'd read about and asked for information about it. I soon had two members offering to send me free seeds.


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I agree. I also frequent the hot pepper forum which is quite friendly.


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The best thing anyone could say to me is I cant tell you how to grow your plant. The worst thing anybody could say to me is this is how you grow your plant. There in statement lay the middle ground of what plant it may be.


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 25, 12 at 22:57

Hmmmm - interesting, that. What middle ground?

I wrote a rant a while back about "It works for me." I recently changed computers & can't open my old files, but when I get it figured out, I want to post it for Bob. ;-) I'll try to remember.

Al


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I welcome it Al.
mrlike2u, that is the best way I have ever heard that stated and it is so true. If someone could tell anyone anywhere how to grow their plants, than what would they be doing on a forum? They should have millions of dollars!


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I don't understand the point of what you are saying. This is a forum for sharing knowledge and experience. No one is dictating what you should do with your plants. I come here to learn and share. If the answer to every question is "do whatever you want," I don't see any value in that. I wouldn't rear a child or train a dog without seeking advice from those who have studied what works and what doesn't. I wouldn't start a new job in a field I had no expedience in and refuse to listen to those who had experience.

I'm here to learn from those who have had more experience than me and to share my own failures and successes.


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Ohiofem: I agree with you totally. If a person is not here to learn from others, what are they here for? Debate can be healthy, but only if it's the result of a healthy discussion and is civil. It should not be someone's primary goal for being in the forums.


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I think what we're saying is yes we are all here to learn and share knowledge, but saying that there is only one right way to do something is not learning. Furthermore if the person believes that there is only one way, there will be no further enlightenment, no research, and no sharing of new knowledge and experiences. Most people on this forum share the way that works best for them, we learn from it and adapt, then they discord something new, and share starting the process all over again. This is good, but there are a few on here who will say, for example, that a 100% peat mix is the only correct way to pot plants, and that nothing else works. This is not good because they will not contribute much knowledge except for possible misguided blind faith. At least that's what I meant.


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RE: Facts of Life

Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that gardeners, like everyone else, have a wide range of opinions on what is optimum performance. We have all had the experience of being asked to comment on(favorable of course)a friends garden. Studying the plants condition, we are hard pressed to find something worthy of congratulations. Perhaps that explains the general acceptance of bagged potting soils, most casual gardeners think it is good enough. We all remember the old comedians joke where he asks"hows your wife?" where you reply "compared to what?" Al


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Very true. I think we can all agree that we are here to become better gardeners, and learn from our peers.


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The fact is that there are better ways of growing plants and worse ways of growing plants. Some ways are much more successful than others. Some people who contribute to the Gardenweb forums have opinions that are much more valuable than others.

The idea that everyone's opinion has equal value is a strange concept that seems to have grown out of the Western idea than "all men are created equal." Do the opinions of freshmen in a college math class have equal value to those of the professor? (I work at a university, so I know there are freshmen who think so. But they're wrong.)

Everyone on this forum has the right to an opinion about what advice is worth listening to and what advice is not. But everyone's opinion is not equally valuable to me.


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Every time I try to explain that idea to someone I get a look of "how dare you, of course my opinion matters!" then I try to explain that it does as long as there is evidence and it is logical. I tend to make an a** out of myself because of the way I phrase things so I just don't try to argue the fact that some opinions are more important than others (I don't ever judge based on age or position, but I do judge on relavence, logic, and evidence).
That being said, I do welcome all opinions, I just sort through them afterwards.


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 26, 12 at 15:34

I really had a hard time deciding if I should post this, because I don't want to come off as a malcontent or whiner. I do have some really strong ideas about people who afford themselves the luxury of an opinion w/o the inconvenience of thought, or the ability to see to what degree some offerings might be harmful. The two things that really bother me though, are when people use their GW-given right to an opinion to antagonize others, and those who offer opinions only to make themselves look good or sound smart, w/o regard for accuracy, veracity, or the negative impact their ego trip might have on some one else's growing experience. I think the first is cowardly & the second selfish in the extreme.

Lol - lest I turn this into a rant ........

I love to teach and I love to learn. Most of the people I hold in high esteem are either people I have helped to learn something, or people who have actively taught me something. I think to both, I'm grateful. To the teacher for the gift of knowledge, and to the student, for the gift of knowledge. I only said that because I thought it was clever, though true. I'm always grateful for those who want to learn for selfish reasons. It makes me feel good to think I've helped.

Perception is a funny thing. I suppose I could take the high road & say that the reason I'm here is to help others, and I DO say that often, but I know inside the real reason is that it pleases the self. Not so weird I suppose, if you dwell on it for a moment.

Al


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I forgot which psychologist said it but we care for our needs before others. It sounds selfish, but on deeper thought it makes sense.
Al, I have always found that teaching others, teaches you more than you ever would have. I am a musician, I write, perform, and teach, by far the most pleasurabl, rewarding, and joyful to me is the latter, the rest is for the paycheck.
P.S. we're all selfish at some leval, and I don't think I'd like meeting someone who isn't, they would probably be really boring.


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Ohiofem: The point you don't understand is the point that isn't there for you to understand, there is nothing I can do about what you don't understand

Side note for Al: what was so difficult(or hard) in saying(or typing) hey guys I(you) got this new computer and it seems I(you) cant find some files that I (you) wrote and saved on the old computer but I'll keep trying to look for them. When and if I find them I'll be repeating something you may of already read. It seems you wanted to start a different subject regarding how nobody/everybody/somebody doesn't listen and followed it with some words of quoted wisdom. Don't be offended but maybe the reason they don't choose to listen is because you might be changing the subject with out everyone understanding a point that they just cant or don't want to understand. Just as a reminder
The phrase is
If it works don't fix it.


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Potting soil works, nuclear weapons work, grand theft, etc. but there are most definitely better ways of doing things. Sorry but I hate that phrase.


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The best thing anyone could say to me is I cant tell you how to grow your plant. The worst thing anybody could say to me is this is how you grow your plant.

If the best thing anyone can say to you is "I can't tell you how to grow your plant," I don't know why you are here. I am here to learn how people with experience and knowledge think I can do a better job of growing my plants.


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 26, 12 at 21:06

I have no idea what he said ..... probably just as well, though.

Tongue in cheek: I like 'If it don't work, fix it' - it implies a certain dynamism and enthusiasm for the task at hand. I wonder if 'If it works, maintain it' works for anyone - just as a compromise?

Let's keep it friendly - ok?


Al


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I second that Al, I like continually improving things, along with researching about plants, these are the two things I like most about gardening. Yeah there are times that "if it works, maintain it" suffices, but not for long.
Friendly is a good idea before I make myself out to be more of a jerk.
Al, I left a question on your other post "anything you want to talk about", still don't know how to embed hyperlinks.


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If it works, maintain it, or if it's working don't change what actions have/are already been/being exercised or words to this effect. I think your right on the part of bombs shouldn't really the focus of discussion on a garden forum simply not all of them worked, some where dismantled and none of us or the plants we pride ourselves upon would be here if we where to find out.

As was in the past is also now or the best thing someone can say to me is, I cant tell you how to grow your plant.

When to say (Al) nobody listens. Might I suggest that listening doesn't always require a response from the person(s) who is/are listening.

Aside from a small focus somehow becoming the best thing someone can say to me et.. Is the same as saying I cant tell you how to cook a tasty burning and well composed Mexican/ South East Asian dish. (Unless of course you want to make one to my tasting satisfaction.) Point now is that I am not your objective. Cook the food and/or grow the plant(s) to your likings.


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My Dad taught me that anything worth doing is worth doing well... so, when I've tried and tried and not succeeded, I try, try again... this time armed with rational, vetted knowledge... because knowledge brings success.

"It works for me" is a discussion/debate ender used by the person who has neither the answers nor the honesty to concede that fact. This person usually picks up their toys and goes home because "the other kids won't play fair"... translation: "the other kids won't play my way".

Internet message boards are usually the same the world over... they consist of a similar, typical, and often predictable set of personalities... the majority of which are decent, normal folks... but they also contain such personalities commonly known as trolls, baiters, passive aggressives, projection-ists, perpetual victims, stalkers, drama kings or queens, and those who gain power by making others feel lesser... you name it, and it's a personality type found on the typical forum or message board. They're loaded with "game players"... it's just the nature of the beast.

Don't let it get you down, Al... ignore works exceedingly well when other methods fail... like being decent, honest, and helpful... as I've always known you to be. :-)


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I wonder if 'If it works, maintain it' works for anyone - just as a compromise?

Sure. Every decision involves compromise, whether we are discussing Swiss watches, German automobiles or hand-crafted container substrates. Decisions are based on our personal objectives, priorities and values. "If it works, maintain it..." can mean that based on my objectives, priorities and values my "way" is good enough. I, too, strive to do my best at most everything I do - but only within the context of what's important to me. Growing superior plants is just one of my goals. If it were my only goal I might use the gritty mix/synthetic fert combo for all my containers. However, I believe that synthetic fertilizers do more harm than good and, used in combination with a free draining substrate, cause excessive pollution by way of nitrate and phosphate leaching. I place greater value on environmental stewardship than I do on growing the best-looking plants in the neighborhood. So, I "compromise." I use a variation on the 5-1-1 mix along with a sustainable fertility regimen. The results "work for me." They align my success as a gardener with my other objectives, priorities and values.


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On the other hand, Fortyone, an argument could be made that by using a synthetic fertilizer
in a ratio very close to that which plants actually use, one could provide just enough nutrients
to keep the plant vital (without excessive nutrients running down the drain).


Josh


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 30, 12 at 13:10

It's all about perspectives, priorities, and ideologies .... plenty of room in the sandbox for all to play.

Jodi - what makes you think I'm 'down'? LOL

Al


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RE: Facts of Life

I think more or less the average gardener is not going to waste their time away tracking down pine fines :)

Peat moss grows plants very well. The partical size of peat moss is not too small. Why do you think pro mix HP is used so much? It is economical and works fine, thats what I look at gardening like. Not only that all the plants I put in the 5-1-1 are dieing from desease, the desease was in the mulch I used to sift out the fines, so when people say just go and get some pine mulch and sift, it is not that easy. I must of did somthing wrong because plants that are in the peatmoss are drying out quiker. ;) The plants the I had the 5-1-1 had perched water at the bottom of the pots where the peat based did not. And now that I got rid of that pine all the fungus gnats are gone.

So glad I tested this mix before using it in the garden.

I know there is a good amount of people that have results with the pine but Why do you think they do not make pine based mix's?


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RE: Facts of Life

MG, are you unaware of Fafard mixes?

Are you unaware that many nurseries use a bark-based mix?

Secondly, peat moss particles are not only small...but the particle is pre-collapsed.

Thirdly, no one that I know says that bark/mulch is easy to find. Quite the opposite.
We all say that sourcing the bark will most likely present the greatest challenge.

I would agree with you that you must have done something wrong, since your results
are so far out of line with the results that others experience.


Josh


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RE:Facts of Life

"MG, are you unaware of Fafard mixes?"

I am aware, ask the average person to pick up a bag of Fafard from Home depot on the way home ;)

Fafard can be found but just like pine fines it is not at lowes or homedepot, which have run every other garden center out of business so there is no choice but to go to them. If I wanted to drive an hour or order online then yea I could get Fafard.


I for sure did somthing wrong and had bad fines or somthing. I am not the only one having a perched water table problem so I wonder what it could be?


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RE: Facts of Life

BTW Fafard is the only company that sells a mix that 100% peatmoss and says it is for: hanging baskets, planters, veggies,ect...... Never seen a 100% peatmoss mix before untill looking at Fafard!!! ;)


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RE: Facts of Life

I didn't mean to infer that you WERE down, Al... I only thought to remind you that we can all get to a place of frustration now and again... but when you know how message boards in general operate, there's no need to let it take you anywhere you don't want to go... up, down, sideways, or out! :-) Oh, you know what I mean! :-)

Yes, the sandbox is quite huge... it's just a shame when you happen to be the one that finds the spot the cats are using. ;-)

Josh, I could probably write a book on why fir bark based mixes are not offered bagged, consumer-ready, at retail... the main chapter would be on corporate/industry greed, and how offering a quality made, lasting product does not contribute much to that quarterly report stockholders want to see... well, you know the drill... I've gotten up on my soapbox a time or two. ;-) And that would only be the first of many chapters!

I'd love to contribute more to this conversation, but I'm late for a very important date... my dogs do not like to be kept waiting! :-) Hopefully, I can return later and continue.

Have a lovely afternoon, all!


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RE: Facts of Life

MasterGardener1:

I guess you "for sure did something wrong" if all your plants in the 5-1-1 are dying of disease already. Just last Thursday, on the Hot Pepper Forum, you said:
"I have a small batch of 5-1-1 that I will give a go. I just can not get pine fines where I am for good price, maybe I did not look hard enough."

So did you already have a disaster in three or four days? Why don't you post some pictures so we can see what's going on?

One of the problems with these forums is that we have some game players who will say anything to get a rise out of the rest of us.


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RE: Facts of Life

Hey everyone ,
I post more on the fig forums , but have been following this forum for the last year or so I think.
fortyonenorth brought up a good point that has been a question for me when thinking about the fast draining mixes , that is the effect of more frequent watering of the fast draining mixes and the possible greater leaching of nutrients. My situation is, as my name implies , most of my pots/containers are on a driveway and any excess water I give them drains straight to the street and a nearby storm drain. Years ago I decided to go with sub-irrigated containers , mostly 5 gallon buckets or 25 gallon pots, to save water and to avoid too much excess water running down the driveway. If I had lawn or some soil space where the drainage would go , I don't imagine it would be much of a concern.
What I am wondering is are the amounts of dilute fertilizer you are using at watering so completely used by the plant that not much comes out in the drain water ? Is there a rule of thumb to use on how small an amount of drainage you want to see as a clue as to when to stop watering ?
I think I'll try a fig in a pot of 5-1-1 to compare it to my typical subirrigated mix.
fortyonenorth, could you share the sustainable fertilizer regime you are using with your modified 5-1-1 ?
Thanks,
Kerry


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RE: Facts of Life

The leaves are getting these curved lines that split the leaf. I tranplanted a plant into peat based mix and it is thriving and the disease is gone.


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RE: Facts of Life

MG: I am sorry, but I can't take anything you say seriously. Near the top of this thread, you said: "That 5-1-1 is working well on my house plants and can't wait to give it a go on a few plants this year."

Can you please show us a picture of any plant you have grown in 5-1-1 that is dying?


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RE: Facts of Life

I thought the disease was just from when I got the plant so I did not think it was the mix this is why I said plants are growing well in the pine mix, they are growing fast and the new leaves have a bad splitting going on. The one that is trans planted in peatmoss has showed today new growth that is not diseased. Again, it was my source of pine fines.

How could I turn someone from using pine based mix's if they are the BEST mix in the world according to what I read on here ;)


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RE:Facts of Life

Was on another forum and this is what was stated by someone.

"but they do not in any way, shape or form welcome a heretic into that forum (Container Gardening). Even when I posted pics of my tomatoes and explained I only needed to water once every two week, they said it was just luck!"


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RE: Facts of Life

MG: I was on the hydroponics forum, and saw your Dec. 16 post called "Ph lime peat" about the Container Forum. I am sharing this because I want others to know a little more about you before they make a decision about whether to spend time trying to answer all your questions:

"Hi all. I would have asked this in the container forum but I could geuss that someone or a few are going to tell me that I cant use peat as a primary medium (pro-mix?) and tell me how pine fines are better, and dont use peat. So there is no reason to even ask in the container section, I will just be told that peat holds too much water and pine fines are better and then give me a link on water retention as if I dont know, as if I can find a cheap source of pine fine, as if I dont pay 1 dollar a Cu Ft for peat where it costs 4 dollars a Cu Ft for pine fines. ;)"


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RE:Facts of Life

O yea just to clear that up it is 2 tb sp of lime per gal. of mix ;) So if anyone is wanting to know.

Thanks Ohiofem

:)


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RE: Facts of Life

Everthing I stated was 100% true. If I were to ask that I would be told you can not grow in peat and the question would never get answered. :)


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RE: Facts of Life

I disagree MG, you can grow in peat if you want. I think what Al and others are getting at (some with less finesse than Al), is that there are better options. Al himself even pointed out that peat has the ideal characteristics of a potting mix for a very very short period of time. The problem with peat is that it decays very fast, and once it has it can be harmful to plants.
I grow my short season vegetables in peat based mixes, but anything that takes more than a few months goes in my own mix (similar to gritty mix, but no bark or turface, I am trying that for the first time this season).
One should never be ashamed to disagree with some one, the problem comes when people don't ever fight the established norm, or believe every thing that someone says without question. There are almost none of those on this forum (that I have met), but sometimes people can come across as harsh even if they don't intend it (I am very guilty of having a condescending, pretentious, and arrogant tone in my speach even though I do not mean it, sometimes things don't always come out the way we want).


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RE: Facts of Life

"I grow my short season vegetables in peat based mixes, but anything that takes more than a few months goes in my own mix (similar to gritty mix, but no bark or turface, I am trying that for the first time this season). "

Yes I know people that have potted citrus they use mix's that are like the 5-1-1 or the gritty but they too would never ues it for their veggies.

I guess I should change my name to the "thepennypinchinggardener", or how about the "thecheapgargener" ;)


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Peat is ok, gritty-esque is better

Well, the mix I use is easy to sterilize, so I bake it for a while, then leach out any left over salts and reuse. I use it for my toms (I grow them through summer so my season is jan-dec, a long time) and my rose, herbs, anything that I don't repot often. I use no peat in most veggie mixes, only the really fast ones.
There is nothing wrong with frugality, just greed :-)


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RE: Facts of Life

I am not against or for any type of grow medium but what is available to me, in my case it is peat moss so that is what I will use.

If I did not understand that the 5-1-1 or gritty is better then peat, then I would not be aware of how fast hydroponics grow plants.

If I was going to help someone be a better container gardener I would not say " go find pine fines and untill you find them I will not help" (Note: I dont need a mix that can not be overwatered because I dont over water.)
Then when the person did not find them I would not say "too bad, you just will never be a good gardener untill you find pine fines" ;)

See my point?


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RE: Facts of Life

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 30, 12 at 18:08

I've long seen a dual you. Sorry to say that, but I mentioned a long time ago that you're wrecking your credibility. What you just said is in your imagination. No one here would allow you, me, or anyone else to say what you suggested was said. I can say with certainty that I would correct anyone that spoke in such a manner - no matter what forum it was on. I'd really like to see you support your claim.

Al


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RE: Facts of Life

MG: For the record, I have never seen anyone tell you they wouldn't help you if you didn't use pine fines, or even that you cannot be a good gardener without using pine fines. On the contrary, you have been one of the most prolific posters on this forum and the amount of kind, thoughtful advice you have been given could fill a book.


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RE: Facts of Life

"but they do not in any way, shape or form welcome a heretic into that forum (Container Gardening). Even when I posted pics of my tomatoes and explained I only needed to water once every two week, they said it was just luck!"

Trust me I would not lie.


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RE: Facts of Life

O wait, just type "but they do not in any way, shape or form welcome a heretic into that forum (Container Gardening). Even when I posted pics of my tomatoes and explained I only needed to water once every two week, they said it was just luck!" in your search engine everyone, you will see it was stated not by me at all :)


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RE: Facts of Life

I am flooding this forum with nonsense and am sorry. I will never post on this sight again so do not worry this will not keep going on.

Thanks for everthing.


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RE: Facts of Life

No, don't leave! Please post some pictures of the plants you have in 5-1-1 mix.

Come on, man, you've avoided every request to show pictures of your plants or your mix.

Let's see it!



Josh


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RE: Facts of Life

On the other hand, Fortyone, an argument could be made that by using a synthetic fertilizer in a ratio very close to that which plants actually use, one could provide just enough nutrients to keep the plant vital (without excessive nutrients running down the drain).

I was just addressing Al's question (about whether "works for me" is ever o.k as a compromise) by making the point that "compromise" is a matter of personal choice, can be influenced by many factors, and isn't inherently a bad thing.


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RE: Facts of Life

"However, I believe that synthetic fertilizers do more harm than good and, used in combination with a free draining substrate, cause excessive pollution by way of nitrate and phosphate leaching. I place greater value on environmental stewardship than I do on growing the best-looking plants in the neighborhood"

I, too, take an ideological position when it comes to excess fertilizer dumped into the environment.
It might have seemed that I was disagreeing with you, but really I wanted to demonstrate how I compromise -
which is to use lighter, more regular doses, that don't lead to such excessive waste. I think of this as
environmentally and economically wise.


Josh


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RE: Facts of Life

For my containers, I allow about 10-20% of the water run off, but I catch the water and reuse it for other plants, or use it the next day. I use very low continuous doses of fertilizer, so the TDS is relatively low, that way when I reuse it, there is not a substantial build up of salts. I also flush them once a week so that at least 50-60% of the water runs off.


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RE: Facts of Life

Getting back to the original post Al wrote...

It occurs to me that "it works for me" can also pertain to a person who does not take into account that the composition of such a message board encompasses growers in numerous and varied climates, micro-climates, growing conditions, environments, material usage, methodology, and all other manner of variables. So, what they're doing may very well work for them, but that's not to say it will work for anyone else they're trying to advise.

However, the context I've normally seen the 4 word epithet used in has more to do with not being able to win an "argument", and being unable to admit they may lack a bit of knowledge necessary to the debate, or are, unfortunately, of the closed minded persuasion already possessing all the knowledge there is and ever will be.

And, here... with the title of your thread, Al, I thought we'd at least be discussing sex, or something just a little bit outrageous! ;-)

And...

I, too, am interested in seeing some photographic evidence of what you're talking about, MG1. I don't post over here that often, but I do read when I have the time... and the word "inconsistency" comes to mind. A picture is worth a thousand words... and would help a little in the credibility department, truth be told.

It's not the exact ingredients listed, or the precise recipes, that are most important, though they do help... it's the CONCEPT and understanding it that will net the best results.

Good thread, Al. :-)


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RE: Facts of Life

Master writes: I am not against or for any type of grow medium but what is available to me, in my case it is peat moss so that is what I will use.

I'm not against you using peat either but when you say only peat moss your also saying you have no other resources where other items are available than can also be used with peat? If you are accepting and not against any growing media then your one up on some others if all you use is peat. BUT they are also one up on you as they have several souses in which they use to get items other than peat and in some cases peat it's self. Luck is for the lottery just as soil is for a plant.

If a pic is worth a 1000 words then there are several pics of plants scattered though out the entire GW forum of plants that grow in MG peat based soil and some postings claim that they have reverted back to peat from a gritty mix.

Enough pics for me to think, if all us so called gritty mix users do not want to see the pics then we they just wont but what if some do look and not comment is because ( in my opinion) if a plant does grow in peat it could be unexplained in a lot more than 1000 words of why they should of grown the plant(s)in a custom soil

However there are also a lot of pics of plants growing in the more custom mixes known as gritty mixes that also get no comments from peat based soil users. perhaps for the same reasons the best thing some of us can say " I cant tell you how to grow your plant."

But if you want to grow it better do you want to LISTEN.


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RE: Facts of Life

mrlike2u, you make a good point about the prejudice on some of the forums here: there seem to be peat people, and gritty mix people. It is good to have various views on a forum like this, that way we can all find what works best for us, but if you are unwilling to even consider an alternative view, that is not good for the healthy debate that takes place on these forums. I have seen a few pics of MG's plants, and never thought about posting a response because they look healthy and are growing well.


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RE: Facts of Life

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 1, 12 at 17:32

My experience has shown me that you CAN grow nice plants in heavy soils, it's just more difficult and the margin for grower error greatly reduced. It gets easier to grow in heavy soils when the planting has matured, because the planting uses water faster then, but soon after the planting is mature, growth is being reduced by tight roots.

Those growing in well-aerated soils seldom go back where they came from, but a considerable number of those growing in heavier soils might not wish to consider a change for a wide variety of reasons that don't necessarily have to do with plant performance. We all prioritize differently .... part of what makes us individuals.

Out of time .....

Al


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RE: Facts of Life

"Those growing in well-aerated soils seldom go back where they came from, but a considerable number of those growing in heavier soils might not wish to consider a change for a wide variety of reasons that don't necessarily have to do with plant performance. We all prioritize differently .... part of what makes us individuals."
I guess that would be "it works for me", and "if it works, maintain it".
Seems we've come full circle, trapped inside this octavarium (sorry, its a dream theatre song).


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RE: Facts of Life

Like I said, I am sorry for the many posts. I transplanted the plants to other potting mix so I will see. It could of just had the disease when I got it.


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RE: Facts of Life

No pics at all?

Josh


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RE: Facts of Life

I don't see any, Josh.. which could be construed as a tad bit dubious... though one never knows the real story unless it's told.

The most workable phrases I've come across, having to do with tackling most anything, including successful growing, are... knowledge brings success... and, we'll never know unless we try.

The advent of the internet, combined with a little rational thought and common sense, not to mention a huge grain of salt, can and has netted us more knowledge than we've ever before had at our fingertips.

All the trifling arguments over nothing, truth be told, do tend to chase away those who truly want to learn something of value. I post over here less and less because there always seems to be at least one fly in the ointment, and it's frustrating.

I give Al, and you, Josh, and several others a lot of credit for sticking around, wading through the frustration, ignoring or pointing out that fly in the ointment, and moving on so those who want to learn, can.

Once you learn a few very basic ideas, and you take into consideration your individual growing environment, attaining optimal growing success is not that difficult. Just look at Mike's plants, or yours, Josh... or Al's... and several others.

You just need to understand a few easy concepts. A green thumb isn't luck or magic... it's knowledge... plain and simple.



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RE: Facts of Life

jodik writes: You just need to understand a few easy concepts. A green thumb isn't luck or magic... it's knowledge... plain and simple.

Well spoken we also need to apply what we understand a very nice neat way of saying if it works maintain it.


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RE: Facts of Life

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 4, 12 at 10:21

When I proposed "If it works, maintain it", it wasn't in the context that you should necessarily be happy with 'the way things are'. When you offered the idea "If it works, don't fix it", and I replied, "How about: If it works, maintain it", I was thinking more about an automobile or a piece of machinery. Your phrase can be read to imply a sense of complacency, where what I said implies a little more dynamism.

"It works for me" says only that I'm willing to accept things as they are. It says nothing about the comparative value of what's being discussed - whether it's a container soil or driving directions. We can chop a cord of firewood with an axe, which is a lot better than a steak knife, and announce that 'it works for me', all the while thinking you have this firewood thing in the bag ...... until you hear your neighbor fire up his chain saw and saunter over to investigate.

To be fair, the axe method may STILL 'work for you', if all you want from the wood chopping experience is the exercise; but if you're looking to maximize yields for the least amount of effort, the chainsaw starts looking pretty darn good. It also relegates 'it works for me' to the heap of sayings that are comparatively meaningless. Additionally, if we consider the axe operation to be the status quo, it makes little sense to maintain it after we see the chain saw in action; so in a high % of instances 'it works for me' can mean 'I accept the current state of affairs because I don't (yet) know of a better way'.

I find most people that argue against a highly aerated and durable soil have never used them themselves, so have no way of knowing what they are arguing against; and that when they do argue against these types of soils, their motive for argument is never from the perspective of what's best for the plant, or even what is best for the grower who asked the original question. It's always from the perspective of what is best for ME, and in terms of grower convenience.

Al


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RE: Facts of Life

I think grower convenience is a big issue, as with a lot of things that we think of as convenience. For the most part I find the following scenerio true in everyday life, not just in the garden: a peat based soil is convenient because of it availability and the fact that it works (fro a very short time, but it does work if you want to repot every few months), but of you invest your time that would be used on repoting to finding, and building a well aerated soil, you will find that it makes the plant healthier (so less work making the plant happy) and it will last for quite a long time (less work in the long run). In essence, you can do your labour up front and very little afterwards, or you could do little labour up front and a lot of continuous labor that does not yeild as desireable a result.
I was wondering if anyone here was familiar with the four-hour-work-week. Basically, with careful planing, and specific, diligent work, you can get rid of what you don't like to do, and focus on what you do like to do, in the end you get good productivity, and you enjoy doing it. That's why I like to chop wood with an axe, but if I lived up north, hello chainsaw, my old friend.


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RE: Facts of Life

Well said, Al...

Maybe a more precise way of saying what I said would be: "A green thumb is nothing more than applied knowledge." And by knowledge, I mean understood concepts related to vetted science, simple physics, and grasping how plants grow and why you are using the materials and methods you apply.

There are many varying degrees of satisfaction when growing plants... some persons may be happy with average growth and a bloom or two, or the fact that the plant is even alive at all... while others are not satisfied unless they've done everything within their power to achieve optimal growth and blooming.

For some growers, convenience is the number one objective, or goal... while other growers will expend any effort necessary to attain their goal, which is usually the best in success.

So, we are only limited by our own level of knowledge, and the expense of time and effort we're willing to put in.


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RE: Facts of Life

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 5, 12 at 10:22

I agree, Jodi. I've said sooo many times that experience is way overrated. There are many, many parts of the growing experience that experience alone can never teach ..... or it would take half a lifetime to figure it out, with experience as our only teacher. I mean, who would ever figure out on their own that an over-application of P can cause a deficiency of Fe or Mn? or that the purple foliage you often see on plants in the spring is a cold soil induced P deficiency?

The point is, those that apply themselves and acquire information or knowledge have much greater potential to develop those green thumbs, especially when they become secure in that knowledge after validating it through their own practical experience. Growers that insist on relying only on their experience are often left standing in the slipstream of a neophyte who has applied himself.

The experience of 20-30-40 years of doing the same thing over and over is probably not going to be very valuable at all, because if you actually LEARNED anything during those years, you undoubtedly wouldn't be doing the same thing over and over, unless of course you've reached perfection. Einstein said doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. We can soften that idea by paraphrasing it to say, in doing the same thing over and over we shouldn't expect much in the way of improvement. Obviously, improvement implies that you are indeed doing things differently.

Whenever someone says 'I've been doing it this way for 30 years and it works for me', I can be almost certain that person is not going to be open to the possibility of embracing a concept new to them - to learning anything. My best hope is that from our intercourse, someone else might learn something.

Al


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RE: Facts of Life

As I said, I am very sure the plant had a disease from the start, anyone ever have this issue?

I will plant my starts all with 5-1-1 and when I see that they are growing very nice, I will grow in it. I would rather take some pics of plants doing well in the 5-1-1 so this season I will do my first journal, it will be a container pepper grow.

Could I not of used enough perlite? That could have been it.

Again sorry for the absurd posts.


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RE: Facts of Life

Nope.

Pictures of your problem plants and the mix they were in would be far more helpful at this point.

Did you use 1 part Perlite? If not, why didn't you?
Did you measure ingredients?


Josh


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RE: Facts of Life

I am more or less saying sorry for blaming a mix for somthing that was my fault or a different source. I will show some pics this season.


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RE: Facts of Life

Master writes: As I said, I am very sure the plant had a disease from the start, anyone ever have this issue?

I'm sure some of us have( brace to hear) how you should buy/ grow only healthy plants that are free of disease Yet we/I will still get our wallets/hands to buy/get some of them....

It's best to keep diseased plant(s) away from the non diseased plants (isolation) until it has chance to recover. A varying time frame of isolation depends on what kind of plant what disease and some other things. Sometimes the plant with a disease or virus would be best disposed of after a reasonable recovery effort.

However as Josh has asked for a pic ( May I ? ) Hmmmm it would be more ideal to post a pic sooner over later this way someone may/can help you determine if it's a disease or not. If it is a disease then there are some steps you can follow for the plant to recover or the suggestion to discard it.

Assure you no custom mix I use has caused any plant I have to become diseased even when it grows in 5-1-1, 3-1-1 or some other off the common ratio of mentioned basic ingredient mixes, nor have any plants gotten diseased in not mentioned ingredients that follow the same principles of the basic gritty mixes that you've been reading about.

I don't know who said this but GW forums of growing information:
It only works for you if you let it, or no-one can help you if you don't let them.
Meaning you can help someone and yourself by posting pic(s)


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RE: Facts of Life

I've said this before, many times, but it seems to me that if the more commonly held notions and circulated information within the growing world weren't so filled with misinformation, myths, fallacies, or half-truths and incomplete bits of flotsam, we might all have a better chance of attaining growing success a lot earlier within our "careers" as gardeners.

And, as we're starting to learn, the industry, itself, isn't going to help us because its focus is not on grower success, but wrapped up in the world of achieving financial gain, profit for shareholders and upper management. And this is often done at the expense of product quality, our health, and our planet. At least, that is to say, any of the larger businesses that deal in gardening supplies or mass produced plant materials. And most of these big box stores or large companies have put the smaller, more specialized businesses out of business... because they simply can't compete, price-wise.

And then, we have the world wide web, the internet... in which anyone can write anything they like, be it truth or not, fact or fallacy, opinion or just personal experience, and it's our job to sort through it all and pick out the information that's practical, rational, factual, and makes common sense. It's a daunting task, to say the least! And it's made even more difficult because half of what's written is an attempt to sell you a product, and the other half is a mixture of advice written by novices who follow conventional, corporate circulated information and/or methodology, designed to... again... sell products. Or, data collected and published by facilities that... again... are paid to find new ways of pushing products on consumers.

And while most fellow growers and gardeners are well-meaning in their attempts to help... the needed facts simply aren't there, or simply aren't whole. And even if they are, how are new growers to know the difference? Or the information imparted is so technically written that newbies give up, unable to grasp all the scientific jargon and make sense of it for practical application.

It's incredibly sad that our world is so wrapped up in making money, whether ethically or not, that we've become conditioned to accept or excuse moral bankruptcy as a normal part of our culture, our society.

I've often lamented the fact that if I'd just learned a few basic ideas steeped in truth, verified fact, and common sense from the very beginning, I'd be decades beyond where I was just a few short years ago... and I'm no spring chicken, and have been attempting to successfully grow plants in containers since I was fairly young. It's not that I've had no success, at all... it's that most of my growing simply hasn't been as prime as I would have liked.

As an example of what I mean by commonly circulated information... or lack thereof... you never hear anyone mention that there are vast differences between growing in the ground, and growing within the confined space and much different environment of containers. But when you think about it, it makes total sense... the two environments are virtually nothing alike, and do not have the same variants at play.

Most novice growers tend to think of their potted plants from the plant down... and not from the roots up, as we should. Any plant needs healthy, properly functioning roots in order to maintain a healthy, properly functioning plant above the soil surface.

And, as I maintained above, we tend to trust the industry and the products offered retail for our use, grabbing the bagged or pre-packaged products off the store shelves without a second thought. After all, they're dealing in pretty flowers, lawn and garden "care", and things that are supposed to help us.

Our mental image of gardening in general may be of Grandma with her straw hat and pocketed apron, her rose clippers or shears in hand, happily tending her flower and vegetable gardens.

What we don't envision are all the chemicals used, seeping into our ground water supply and harming us in ways we still haven't figured out completely, the genetically engineered seeds and plants, grown in more of a lab environment than a field, and all the gimmicks advertised and shown, packaged in enough plastic to choke half the animal population to death, etc...

As example, all these coconut husk, chunk, or cocopeat products thrust as us recently, extolled for their "green-ness", for being ecologically responsible to our planet... but what most people never think about is the fact that only a very, very small area of our own country can grow this product, and the rest is processed in saline baths using huge motorized machinery, and shipped halfway around the world, burning fossil fuels just to get to us! Does that sound "green" and eco-responsible to you?

It doesn't to me, but then... some people aren't given to doing much homework on the items they spend their hard earned incomes on.

My point? What was my point... ah, yes. My point is that whether we're a consummate grower or not, we've been and are still being conditioned socially, or culturally, to accept ideas and products that don't necessarily get us from point A to point B... which would be from beginning, or novice grower to skilled gardener, thinking realistically about the planet our progeny will inherit from us, and the knowledge and skills they'll want or need... quite possibly to survive.



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RE: Facts of Life

"Assure you no custom mix I use has caused any plant I have to become diseased even when it grows in 5-1-1, 3-1-1 or some other off the common ratio of mentioned basic ingredient mixes, nor have any plants gotten diseased in not mentioned ingredients that follow the same principles of the basic gritty mixes that you've been reading about. "

Ok thanks. I promise this season you will see pics of healthy growing plants in the 5-1-1, I understand I could never achive such drainage with peatbased mix and drainage is the most important thing. The mix works best for me if I do not use any peat moss at all as after a few waterings the peat goes to the bottom and causes the bad water table. I found when I use no peat it will not do that.

I think the gritty mix is for me.

Thanks.


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RE: Facts of Life

What is it when someone does the same thing over and over again expecting a different result ? Insanity.

Note how someone ( two people)are asking for pics but both get the same result.
What is it when someone does the same thing over and over again and get the same result ?

I guess it could be many things , from redundant or not concerned with what might happen if they made a change or laziness depending on how one wants to see it or read it as they can.

It can also become any result one may want to an absolute pleasure of being satisfied with the results of what ever they are doing that they don't have to or feel any need to change.

If it works for them then so be it however if it is working by all means don't fix it. If one where to fix it then they would be changing things to an out come they don't /cant foresee or suspect A better out come has yet to be determined by the beholder as being better or worse.

I think there is a lot of street to cross when a steak knife is compared to a chain saw if both are used to cut a log

Basicly we dont need to question or compare either method of productiveness to either of the users of these tools for all we know the steak knife user is content with there working method. Until the steak knife wood cutting person ask how can I do it faster/ better or more productively then we should suggest if it works then change it.

If it works maintain it can also read to suggest changes have to be made. Regretfully for some change is fear and is why change is usually suggested to change for a better result to the person willing to make a change.

Second question what is it when you do the same thing over and over again and gets an unexpected result Example if a coat zipper works all the time as it should what is it called when it one day randomly get stuck in material it was intended to close? Dumb Luck


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RE: Facts of Life

Note about pine bark fines. I have bought some composted pine bark mulch before that had bugs and fungus gnats in it. A bit of time in the microwave is usually all that's required to rid of them. Not practical for large amounts, but works for smaller batches when needed. This was only in a batch I bought from a small vendor that probably sat for a long time. The same brand I've bought at a farmer's coop didn't have this issue.


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RE: Facts of Life

Yea mine some how were infested with them. Once you water, they come. I thought peat moss was the one with the fungus gnats?

Anyway outside it should not matter. I am doing one 3 gal pot this year with the 5-1-1 mix and it will be my pride and joy plant!! I do keep an eye out for a better source.


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RE: Facts of Life

I want to say as hard is it may be to get these pine fines like many said if you do the work up front then the hard part is over. I am really sorry for what I said above. I know now how you feel because today I was trying to explain to someone it is way better to grow in pine fines and not only did they not agree with me they said some plants like different things. I could not explain anymore but then I made a example: All plants grow well in cactus mix, cactus/succulents will die in basic potting mix. Point made.

Again I wont really post untill this year and show my plants in the 5-1-1.

I am really happy with my mix that leaves out the peat all together so now it is way different. My mix is 5 parts fines and 2 parts perlite. Will the lime get washed out with not using peat?


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RE: Facts of Life

The phrase "it works for me" has been maligned quite a bit on this thread. In my view perhaps a bit too harshly. I liked the knife/axe/chainsaw example. However, you might be taking it a step too far.

If I use an axe 4 times a year to chop wood for an occasional fire, and I say, "it works for me", I might not be ignorant or closed to new/better ways of doing things. I may well be aware that a chainsaw exists that can make my 1 hour job a 5 minute job, but since I only occasionally chop wood, it's not worth the effort and money to purchase the chainsaw, make sure the blade is sharp and oiled, make sure there is fresh gasoline, make sure the spark plug is good, etc.

I'm not sure I've ever used the phrase "it works for me", but if I did, it would mean that I realize that my method is not perfect and may have some limitations. I may even know some or most of the limitations. But the results I achieve with my current method are acceptable and right now I don't want to try to invest in or learn a new method. At the same time, I'm acknowledging the fact that you may wish to do it differently, and may well achieve superior results, but that doesn't bother me.

Personally, I probably would never adopt this type of attitude, since I am always looking for a better way to do anything I do (even make a PBJ sandwhich :). But if someone says it to me, I'm going to respect their opinion and move on, and be glad they've found a little tiny slice of peace in this world.

Rob


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RE: Facts of Life

Rob, most of us agree with that.
The problem arises when the "It works for me" crowd then dispenses advice to others,
as though "It works for me" will "Work for you, too." That's where the contention arises.

None of us would chastise a grower for following his or her own path....


Josh


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RE: Facts of Life

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 11, 12 at 15:18

It's important to remember it's not the phrases that's maligned, but how it's used. When 2 people disagree on the best course, "Well, it works for me" is a very poor supporting argument. It only means that the person making the statement has accepted the product of a particular method or mindset as good enough to suit HIS purposes, without considering or allowing an alternative may very well be far superior.

.....reminds me of a story about a good friend I had awhile back - called hisself Joe Pye. Now Joe was kind of a stubborn sort, but at least sometimes he'd listen ...... if you caught him on a good day. Well lemme git back to my story ..... ol Joe had a peculiar habit. See, every mornin he'd commence to banging his head against the wall for 15 minutes or so before he went to work. When I'd ask him, "Why o why do you do that, ol Joe?" His answer would always be, "It's how I git woke up inna mornin."

I says "Joe! What about a alarm clock, 'r some orange juice, 'r a cuppa joe (no pun intended)?"

Ol Joe, he jus scowls & gits his back up & says, "IT WORKS FOR ME!"
Now I been around the block a time or two, and I was real sure there was a easier way for ol Joe to wake hisself up inna mornin .... sides banging his head, so I timed it to when I figgered ol Joe would be in one of his rare 'listenin' moods, and sorta half whispered a suggestion to him - putta bug right in ol Joe's ear. Had to do it more'n a coupla times - even got some other folks agreein with me to sorta help Joe along.

Well by God, through the very power of multiple suggestions, ol Joe starts in to huggin & kissin on his wife ever mornin before work, instead of pursuin his other long time & right hurtful habit. Stubborn as he was, Joe recognized right away he was better off - he just lacked the benefit of experience to see it at first. His wife was quite pleased with the change as well. Ol' Joe never ever did go back to bangin his head against that wall, neither.

There's a moral t' this here yarn: If yer real happy with how things is goin, please maintain the status quo; but at least allow it may be possible there just might be a better way .... if you'll at least consider it. ;-)

Al


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