Return to the Container Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Posted by stropharia 8b louisiana (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 7, 11 at 17:18

Hello all! I recently received a 'Meiwa' kumquat as a gift. It's about 4.5' tall and was in a ~3 gallon container. A few days ago, I decided to transplant it into a ~12 gallon pot. I mixed up about one part of bagged topsoil with compost, one part peat, and a bunch (probably not quite one part) of perlite to make it airy, and top dressed with a bit of composted manure, then mulched with pine straw.

That was before I properly discovered gardenweb, the container forum, and gritty mix. I feel a bit foolish: though I researched before transplanting, I now feel like I used improper media for the job. It wasn't even really the best quality materials. Reading about gritty mix has made me want to go dig up the kumquat and replace the media!

So, though the plant seems healthy and appears to have grown more in the last week or so, I'd like to take care of this before it's too late. Though I know kumquats are pretty hardy, should I risk disturbing the rootzone to move the kumquat to gritty mix, or perhaps another medium?

Thanks so much for any help!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-M (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 7, 11 at 22:16

Not to promote the gritty mix, but I would. At least I'd change what it's in to something more airy; but honestly, it's hard to beat the gritty mix. I've been studying & tinkering with soils for 20 years and it's the best I've come up with ..... and it seems to please almost everyone else that's tried it, but ..... your call.

Al


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

I guess winter really slows these forums down a lot, huh?

I've been reading for hours about gritty mix and 5:1:1, particle size, PWT, etc. and have come to the consensus that my plant indeed needs to be retransplanted to a better-draining mix. Gritty seems to be the best bet.

Does the following seem like a reasonable course of action?
*obtain Turface and pine bark; screen
*mix 1:1:1 with perlite
*dig up and bareroot the kumquat (by rinsing? soaking? I'm not quite clear on this part...)
*transplant into gritty, spreading the roots out gently

My reasons for using perlite instead of granite are many: it is significantly lighter, allowing the container to be moved more easily; I already own an absurd amount of perlite; granite is just another thing to find, pay money for, and screen...

Again, thanks for any help!


 o
RE: transplanting

Whoops, guess we were typing at the same time there! Thank you for your response, Al. And no shame in promoting what works best! I've seen a few of your responses to others asking about replacing granite with perlite, and it seems like, "if you're going to replace something in gritty mix, perlite for granite is one of the less silly ones you could do." ;-)

Does that seem about right?


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Hello stopharia,
And welcome!

Yes, the forums do really slow down in the winter. :-)
It will start picking up shortly, you'll see. In the meanwhile there's plenty to read.

Al suggests a different ratio when using the perlite, but for the life of me I can't remember at the moment and my notes are buried.

But don't worry, he'll be back and let you know the amounts.
(and me too..in case I don't find my notes. ;-) ...

There are many here who love sharing and helping, so please don't hesitate to ask when you have questions. :-)

Best Wishes!
JoJo


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Hi JoJo, thanks for the quick reply! I somehow hadn't come across Al's recommended perlite ratio, so I look forward to his response.

I hope his recommendation is "use more of it." I really do have a lot!


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

LOL!

It will be. ;-)

We talked about it recently, and for the life of me I can't even remember where. (embarrassed)


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-M (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 8, 11 at 9:55

Hi - by the time I was done watching the Red Wings Spank Edmonton in a shoot-out AFTER regulation play and an overtime, I was too tired to come back to the forums and see what's kickin'. I didn't say welcome, Stropharia ..... I should have. I'm sorry. ;-)

It's hard to say what will work best for you. I'm assuming it's humid there, which will slow transpiration, so something along the lines of the water0retention of the normal gritty mix should be ok. Perlite holds quite a bit more water than granite. Both hold water only on the surface, but the surface of perlite is very irregular, so it has much greater surface area - thus, it holds more water.

Intuitively you would think then, that you would need less perlite than granite, but perlite holds considerably less water than screened Turface. We want to keep the bark fraction at 1/3 or less, which would mean if you decrease the perlite, you would have to INCREASE the amount of Turface to keep the bark fraction at 1/3. So, you add MORE of the less water-retentive perlite (compared to Turface) to compensate for deleting the granite.

I hope you got that. ;o)

Try:

4 parts screened perlite - rinsed (helps remove fluorine compounds)
3 parts pine or fir bark, 1/8-1/4"
2 parts of screened Turface MVP or Allsport

If you're using a fertilizer that contains Ca and Mg, don't add gypsum (Foliage-Pro 9-3-6 is an excellent choice). If you are not using a fertilizer that contains Ca and Mg, add 1 Tbsp of gypsum/gallon of soil, or 1/2 cup/cu ft; then add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Epsom salts/gallon to your fertilizer solution when you fertilize. If you don't understand this part, let me know. I'll try to find a thread that explains it, or I'll explain it myself.

Al


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 8, 11 at 10:55

I'd like to repeat... definitely screen and rinse the perlite!

I made the mistake of using some right out of the bag, and it contains a lot of dust and tiny fragments that clog up drainage and restrict air flow/aeration.

If Al were selling a product, or somehow profiting from spreading the "gritty word", I might feel differently about it... but I completely agree that there's no shame in distributing solid information on a method that's proven to work the best!

When it comes to container gardening, I don't think you can find a better, more workable idea than using a fast draining, aerated, grittier particled medium. The science is there... and the absolute proof is in all people who use the gritty mixes with success!

Once a gardener understands the vast differences between growing in the ground and growing within the confines of a pot, it becomes clear that organic materials that decompose quickly are best left to the garden... and a more inorganic approach should be taken for container growing.

Good luck with your new kumquat! I'm certain you'll be successful if you read and understand how and why the grittier mediums work, and you're not afraid to ask questions... this forum is filled with helpful "gritty growers"! :-)


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Yes Al, your description makes perfect sense, thank you!
As far as feeding goes, I have probably 30 lbs. of gypsum (!) and plenty of Epsom salts, but no water soluble plant foods. So, though I'm generally all for efficiency and recycling what I've already purchased, I'll have to buy the bulk of the fertilizer anyway, and $20 for 32oz of Foliage-Pro seems very reasonable. Plus, I like that it's a complete fertilizer.

Jodi, thanks for all the advice and kind words. I agree that the science behind better-draining mixes like gritty and 511 make perfect sense once you bother to research. Despite having taken plenty of plant-, soil-, and chemistry-related courses in my Biology curriculum, AND having grown veggies hydroponically, it would have never occurred to me that other container plants would do best in hydroponic mediums. But after reading Al's fantastic "Water Movement and Retention," I understand! How had I never heard of a perched water table before?!


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-M (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 8, 11 at 22:54

Many years ago I failed at bonsai because I knew nothing about soils. I started studying plant physiology and soil science and a bunch of other stuff I thought would help me in my bonsai endeavors. I also enrolled in a Master Gardener training program that I thought would really help me, but the best thing to come from that was a presentation by a geologist, during which he talked about water behavior in the earth. Well, a light really went on when he talked about how water can perch in strata composed of fine material that were situated above coarse material - like water perching in a layer of clay resting on gravel. We talked for quite a while after his presentation and I was left with the notion that I finally understood what was happening in the containers I was using bagged soils in, or soils based on compost/peat/other fine particulates. After a few experiments, I'd confirmed my suspicions, then supported them with more reading & research. It wasn't until several years later (maybe 10) that I stumbled on GW and started taking part in the soil discussions. At first, I was a laughing stock, but finally a few people started listening. Our own 'Justaguy' was a very vocal opponent at first, but he actually tried a few containers with what everyone now calls the 5:1:1 mix so he could report me as being nutts, but he actually found the idea is very sound and was impressed with how productive it was. The rest is pretty much history. Almost everyone that tries either soil mix loves it, and wouldn't consider going back where they came from.

Don't let anyone tell you that growing plants is all luck or that it's driven by experience. That isn't true. I think I can mention our Jodik as a prime example of someone with a lot of experience doing things in the best way she knew how, but still not realizing anywhere near her potential. Suddenly, she read something, just like you, and a light went on for her, too. Now, she is very pleased with her results and feels her plants are growing at much closer to their potential. That didn't hinge on her experience, and I suppose you might make a case that it could have hinged on luck, but if it was luck, it was the luck of stumbling onto the science she could apply to make the difference. My story is a little different because it wasn't all right in front of me, but the same light that went on for me as for Jodik and so many others that have learned to apply the concepts in that article to their crowing.

It's not the soils that are important, it's the concepts. The soils I mention are simply very good examples of how to effectively apply the concepts.

Almost time for the hockey game.

Al, out.


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 9, 11 at 10:51

I've come to look at the gardening/growing industry as any other... it operates to make profit. Therefore, it's not really all that surprising that the simplicity of the science of container growing isn't more well known. If you're trying to make bank, giving out information and products that allow the consumer more success and less visits to your store wouldn't be the smartest thing to do.

With that in mind, it's not a big wonder that the soils and other products that are sold tend to keep gardeners coming back for more.

Most of what I had previously read about the science of gardening seemed kind of complicated... and there are so many schools of thought, so many old wive's tales, so much misinformation and fallacy... it all seems a bit overwhelming.

And then we're told we need a "green thumb"... what is that? It's just more fallacy. A green thumb is nothing more than knowledge.

This is why I thank Al so often... because he took a lot of complicated information and simplified it. He wrote it in such a way that anyone can grasp the science of what happens under the soil, within a container!

I know! I had never heard of a perched water table, either! But it's so logical and it all makes so much sense! And the proof is in the health of the plants I now grow!

If I had known the basics when I was younger, I really could have avoided so many plant deaths, so much disappointment. But no one ever tells you that there are huge differences between growing in the ground and growing in containers, which means a different approach for each. And no one ever tells you that roots need to breathe, or that plants uptake water in vapor form, or any of the other very logical scientific facts about plants and how they grow. None of it is common knowledge, and it really should be, because it's not difficult to understand.

I don't think Al realizes how much of a service he's done for us simple growers... though, I hope he does... maybe it's just me, but his articles really opened doors and showed me how simple it all really is! They gave me a new lease on gardening life, so to speak! I'll be forever grateful that Al deigned to share what he had learned with the rest of a floundering bunch of hobbyists!

I'll be 50 years old this February. I've been trying to grow plants for longer than I can remember... and I say "trying" because it wasn't until that light bulb came on that I began to have real success! I can't believe I've limped along for so many decades, trying this and trying that, never quite satisfied with the results. I've got so much experience, it hurts! But all of it is for naught without that basic scientific knowledge.

And learning that basic scientific knowledge can seem incredibly daunting because of all the different information and misinformation out there!

Anyway... it's not luck, and it's not a green thumb, and there's not much help coming from the industry... I think the basics of successful container growing are all contained within that first article, "Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention".

Al is far from nuts... in fact, he's the smartest gardener I know! :-)


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-M (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 9, 11 at 13:15

There are a LOT of wonderful compliments in there, Jodi, thank you very much. It's always great to get a compliment, they always make you feel good inside. I don't get/take any pay for helping people, (except when I get reimbursed for mileage & expenses when I talk to groups, though they usually come up with a very nice gift card), and I don't do it for the compliments, or the attention. I just like to help people learn to garden more effectively - ESPECIALLY in containers. I enjoy sharing information with people because I remember my struggles and effort learning it. I even enjoy spirited debates. ;-) I actually welcome someone presenting an alternate view so we can discuss it. A debate is a wonderful venue for learning, as long as the debate remains focused on the topic and doesn't stray into personal effrontery.

I realize the soils christened the '5:1:1' mix and the 'gritty mix' aren't for everyone; and I sure don't suggest that everyone SHOULD use them; but I'm always ready to help those who do use them - to get the most out of their growing experience.

No one has ever tried to hide any negatives associated with either of these soils. They are all right out there in front of anyone considering their use, for their evaluation. There IS a trade in grower convenience for best vitality; and as we can see in my case and Jodi's case ..... and I can probably feel pretty safe in extending the number of others into the thousands, by now - the increase in the vitality/productivity can be considerable. The information and testimony is all readily available. For those that can't find the answers they need, all that's required is to ask a question and it will get answered promptly.

Occasionally, someone comes up with a negative comment about either of the soils (other threads). Sometimes the negatives are pretty convoluted, illustrating pretty clearly there is some ax grinding going on. Other times, the negatives are from the grower's perspective that the soils are not convenient enough - the ingredients need to be found and mixed, and in the case of the gritty mix properly made, screened. Here, we need to reconsider the idea that grower convenience and what's best for the plants are often mutually exclusive, as I alluded to above. Sometimes it takes a little effort to turn a bad or mediocre experience into something much better. I've often discovered too, after a little research, that many problems initially linked to using these soils aren't related to the soils, but to grower error. Finally, there is a small group of people, who for whatever reason, are so set against anyone trying either mix, that they will go almost to any length to prevent anyone from even considering it. I have literally seen people sacrifice their credibility and popularity in an attempt to diminish the work Jodi mentioned, the soils themselves, and those excited and enthusiastic enough about their results, they feel a need to share. There is something decidedly wrong with that. Fortunately though, there is more than enough enthusiasm and good will to allow us to fly through the ineffectual flack unscathed. ;o)

OK, Stropharia - we're waiting on your next progress report. Don't hurry though - we're just bored because it's winter. If we don't have enough plants to nurture, we start looking for people who GROW plants in their stead. .... seems normal to me! ;o)

Al


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

"I've got so much experience, it hurts! But all of it is for naught without that basic scientific knowledge."
Jodi, this is a perfect quote to describe how I've been changing over the last five years or so: I want to KNOW things, to find new stuff out, to understand how things work! Science has provided the best method I can find to learn and grow in my knowledge. I'm glad I've found a community that I can identify with in this regard.

Al, I've seen some of the attacks on gritty/511 and your own character around these boards, and I agree that the claims appear unfounded. The concepts you've presented in your articles are very straightforward and understandable; those who attack your ideas and mixes never seem to bring any useful information to the table. If the information is wrong, let's see some evidence!

It reminds me of a certain situation: in 1931, an article was published with the title "100 Scientists Against Einstein." At this point, Einstein had been famous worldwide for more than a decade, mainly because his theories on relativity were hugely supported by evidence and independent experiments. The article didn't provide any useful evidence to discredit his theories, and Einstein is reported as saying, "Why 100 authors? If I were wrong, then one would have been enough!"

Now don't let that comparison to Einstein go to your head, Al! ;-)

Current progress report: nothing! It's super rainy here for the last couple of days, and it being the weekend, lots of places aren't open. Not really "nothing," though: using the trusty internet, I've found two local suppliers of Turface, who will be open tomorrow. I've also ordered 32oz of Foliage-Pro. It might be too early in the season to find bark, but I plan to start with Home Depot, Lowes, nurseries, and John Deere. When I get everything in order, I'll share some pictures.

I'm so excited, I want to grow everything! But, "patience, young grasshopper..."


 o
barerooting!

Oh, and I forgot to ask!

Barerooting: spray the dirt off with a hose? Soak the root ball in water? Poke the dirt out with a chopstick? How do you guys usually do this? The kumquat isn't quite rootbound, but it had definitely filled the 3 gallon pot it was purchased in.


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Bare-rooting: yes, all of the above ;)

Sometimes it's a lot of work to bare-root a plant that's become root-bound.

Once the plants are in these new mixes, the subsequent re-pottings become
much, much easier - even enjoyable! ;)

Josh


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Great, thanks for your quick reply, Josh.

I'll keep this thread updated once I get more work done.


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Yep,
A little bit of everything, what ever it takes and is easiest. ;-)

One thing i've seen Al stress, is if it will take awhile, make sure to keep the roots moist. Spray/spritz them from time to time.

Will be looking forward to updates.
Best Wishes!
JoJo


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 10, 11 at 10:44

You know, in all the time I've been growing containerized plants, I've not gotten very much in the way of "how does it work" or "why does it work" answered. It's my own fault, I suppose, for not pressing the issues, but growing plants is a hobby. It shouldn't be that complicated or feel like a job. When that happens, it's no longer a fun hobby.

I think the interesting thing about the simplified science contained in Al's article is that once you have the knowledge about what's happening under the soil, how plants and roots behave, and the relationship between roots, soil and water... it becomes almost impossible to think of any commercially sold bagged soil as workable! It becomes glaringly obvious that a fine, heavy, silty soil can't work... not if you want healthy plants with healthy roots!

Any job worth doing is worth doing well... and this applies to our hobbies, too. If we want them to be fun, enjoyable and rewarding, we have to be willing to expend a little energy toward that end. If a person wants convenience, then they might want to consider container plants as disposable design elements, and not as living things that require our assistance to thrive.

I've thought a little bit about why someone, anyone, might have a negative attitude toward Al's work, toward his generosity, and toward him... and I've come to the conclusion that it must stem from jealousy, or inner misery, or perhaps the inability to admit error. Al is nothing but professional, honest, forthright... almost monotone in his delivery of information or debate. Honest debate is wonderful, because we all learn from a good exchange of thoughts and ideas and facts. Honest debate answers questions like why and how, which are things we need to know. But when debate isn't about the exchange of ideas and facts, and evidence isn't presented to support claims, or the questions don't get answered, it can't be called debate.

I don't think anyone would be so enthusiastic about the gritty mixes if there wasn't something to them, or more to the concept. Just the number of followers, and the numbers of compliments and thanks Al gets on a regular basis says something positive. I frequently compliment Al, but he's earned every single good word!

Yes... it's winter, and we're bored. I did begin receiving spring catalogs in the mail, so that's a good sign that our boredom will soon come to an end! But Al is right... when there aren't any plants to nurture, we're happy of an opportunity to nurture growers, instead! :-)


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 10, 11 at 20:01

I'm not paying her - honest! ;o)

I don't know what to say other than thank you very much, Jodi. I appreciate the compliments, but more importantly - I'm glad you're happy with how you're doing with your plants.

Al


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

This one is too...;-)

Don't forget were twins, you know how that goes. lol..

Hi TWIN!
JoJo


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Thanks for the advice, JoJo, I'll be sure to keep the roots damp.

I'm enjoying all the lively discussion, and I'm learning a lot, so thank you all!

I got in touch with one of the two possible Turface suppliers in town (couldn't reach John Deere--might be closed Mondays?) and they sell a 50 pound bag for $8.93. That's a dollar or so more than expected, but not a big deal. I'm hoping that John Deere has cheaper Turface, as well as the pine bark I need. I think I read somewhere on these forums that someone bought pine bark at a John Deere supplier. Anyone have experience with that?


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

I got my Turface and bark at our John Deere supplier.

The bark is kinda thin in my opinion, but I think it's working out good.

So far i'm very happy with my plants! I'm fairly new to using these mixes, but very happy all the same. :-)

I don't for the life of me remember what I paid for any of my stuff though.

I have heard of a few people saying their dealer didn't have what they need. So I hope you don't have any problems.

JoJo


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 10, 11 at 22:10

There are different Turface products, so make sure you get MVP or Allsport.

Thanks, JJ. ;o)

Al


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Cool, thanks JoJo!

Yes, the price quoted to me was for a 50 lb bag of MVP. Thanks for ensuring clarification, Al.


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 11, 11 at 9:39

Photobucket


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 11, 11 at 14:20

I never thought about it before... hmmm... maybe I should charge per compliment! ;-)

But seriously... you're funny, Al! It's only through the free exchange of ideas and honest debate that we learn... or teach, as the case may be... and you can't put a price on happiness or the friendships made!

Well, JoJo... I am adopted... so you never know! ;-) We could be twins... we're enough alike to call it kind of spooky! :-)

I'm glad your ingredients are coming together for you, stropharia! You're gonna have a ton of fun when spring arrives, I'm betting!


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

For some reason I knew that you Jojo and Jodi would hit it off since I saw a lot of simularities, so that is why I was persistant you meet each other. I am happy you did.

You guys have had so much to add to this forum and so many kind words to say to those whom have had an influence in your view of growing the most healthy plants possible.

I am grateful for my good friends that I have made here whom have stuck by me an do not question my ability to be loyal in the face of accusations and assumptions, especially towards those in whom I have always supported.. Especially in those that I have myself taken a personal interest in to see that they are appreciated in every way

Happy growing

Mike


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Whew! What a great, busy day.

I finally got in touch with the John Deere supplier, only to find that they sell Turface MVP for $15 per 50 lbs! I asked him if he knew the irrigation company right down the street sold it for only $9, and he disappointedly said "no."

So I went to said irrigation store instead, and purchased 300 lbs of Turface MVP. Mmmmm! "Too much," you say? I hope so!

I was going to check Home Depot for pine bark, but remembered a nursery a few blocks away, so I swung by there on a whim. Not only do they have what appears to be the perfect pine bark mulch, but lo and behold, they have CITRUS! Not just a few, but literally hundreds of citrus trees, in perhaps 20 varieties. I just couldn't resist. After a lot of hemming and hawing, I left with a 'Moro' Blood Orange, a 'Meyer' Lemon, and 10 cubic feet of bark. I may have to go back and rescue a satsuma, or a tangelo, or maybe a variegated lemon...

Anyway, after arriving home, I took advantage of the fading daylight to screen 50 lbs of Turface. What fun! Not really, but it's not so bad if you have goggles, a dust mask, and patience.

Now I've got to find some space inside for my new trees (uh oh...). It's going to freeze the next four nights.


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 11, 11 at 21:23

Lol! Rock on! You don't mess around, eh - you get right to it!! ;o)

Al


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Haha, well that's the plan!

Here's a picture of my three citrus, all snuggled up inside for the freeze:


That's the kumquat on the left, orange in the middle, and lemon on the right (and big fat Totoro leaning in at the far left). Orange and kumquat are about the same height (~4.5'), kumquat's just potted higher up.

More pictures to come!


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Totoro has taken a keen interest, methinks... ;)
Really nice trees.


Josh


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Ya think? Josh...

lol!

My cat chases me around like plants are sushi when I bring them in to work on them. lol..

Nice tree's yes! and beautiful cat. :-)

Boy, it's been along time since I've had a kumquat.

JoJo


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Very nice plants Stropharia. I give you an A on those..

Lol..Your right Josh!

Mike


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 12, 11 at 11:40

Talk about jumping in head first! Woo-hoo! :-)

I solidly concur with Al, when he says, "Rock on!"

Hey, you might as well grab the necessary ingredients while the getting is good! It never hurts to have a nice reserve supply on hand!

Beautiful trees... lovely cat... and it looks like you're planning on having more than just a little growing fun! Most awesome! More power to ya! :-)

Mike, I'm glad we ALL got to know each other... and I'm glad when more super people join our little group! It's so nice to have friends to bounce ideas and thoughts off of, and to have someone to learn from, and to compare and show off our successes to!

I'm more of a dog person, myself... but that doesn't mean she's any less interested in my plants and in anything new that enters my jungle! I catch her hunting for those little ladybug lookalikes in my plant area all the time! She's a goof! I need a more current picture of her... and I need to figure out PhotoBucket's new, more complicated way of doing things... why they needed all that extra junk and any changes is beyond me.

Anyway... have a great day, Ya'll! I'm off to do chores!


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Thanks for the compliments, everyone.

No kidding, Josh! He was taking a nap around the trunk of the kumquat soon after that picture.

I've been screening perlite for an hour now. Not as fun as the Turface...extra precautions to prevent inhalation of glass particles!

Here's a picture of Totoro, to tide you all over:

It's not off-topic, there're plants in the picture too! :-D


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 12, 11 at 15:07

Uhh - .... no such thing as off-topic when it's your thread. ;-) Good picture!!

Al


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

"GardenWeb's Official Kumquat Repotting/Adorable Animal Photos Thread." I like it.

How's this look?:


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Lookin' pretty good! ;)
There's a saying around here...plant your citrus where the cat sleeps in the yard...

Josh


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 12, 11 at 17:42

Yummy! :-)


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Scrumpteous!

Mike


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Man, that's some work! The Turface turns out to be by far the easiest to screen. The bark is probably the most laborious, because it has to be screened twice.

But I'm finding more and more efficient ways to do it, so hopefully I can make my mixes faster in the future.


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Looks great Stropharia!

It is a little work. ;-)

But the out come is worth it!

JoJo


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

To paraphrase Boromir in The Lord of the Rings,
*Many hands make light work...though lesser men with shovels might serve you better* ;)

Good helpers are a great resource...but the right tools for the job are priceless!


Josh


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Alrighty, here's what I've got to show you today.

First, a glimpse of my screening process. Not super advanced, but I already had this makeshift screen (1/2" PVC, window screen, zip ties); I use it for preparing grain spawn for mycology:

Note: this is more Turface than I can easily screen with this item. About half that much is more reasonable.
I use this screen for the perlite and bark as well. I also first used 1/4" screen for the bark, but that process is not as...refined.


Perhaps 6 gallons of modified gritty, about to be mixed.


As far as I was willing to take the barerooting process. I removed all the dirt and most of the bark, and got into the core to spray out the nearly solid clay/mud center (not kidding). All that's left are the biggest chunks of bark that the roots were penetrating.



Definitely want a screen at the bottom. Make sure the holes are completely covered, or you'll lose all your precious mix!


See?


Right after transplant on left, watered and mulched on right.


The last fruit of the season. I can't wait for more!


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

My goodness!!

I can't even tell you how much it makes me smile to see what you have done and the effort you are willing to put into making your trees do the ebst they can, and even better. And since citrus is my favorite and cup of tea, even better...

Just make sure you pushed all the mix in and around the roots thoroughly, which I use the point of a wooden dowel or chop stick, and water deeply so the particles can fill in around the roots too, and boy are your plants in store for a good growing journey.

By the way, your trees are just beautiful. You should visit the citrus forums too since you will have fun there also..

Fantastic..

Mike:-)))


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Wow!

Love the photos! Great job!!!

I need to take advantage our nice days here and get my tree's done.
They'll be growing again soon.

Oh,
Beautiful cat! and ornery written all over his face. LOL!
I know, I have one.. I've seen the look. LOL!

Jodi~
We are so much alike it is almost spooky.. But great too. ;-)

Hello to all and have a great day!

JoJo


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

That does look good! I agree with Mike on all points.
Filling in the root-ball is essential to eliminate any dry pockets, but I assume you were thorough.
Secondly, the pics will be a tremendous help to those consulting this Thread in the future.

Make sure to keep the trees protected from wind and strong sun after re-potting.
A recovery period of about two weeks is generally advised.


Josh


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Thanks for all the kind words and advice, guys! I did make sure to splay out the roots, and I kinda "mixed" the media around with them (gently!) as I filled the container up. And I flushed it out heavily with water, especially around the root-ball, to get all the particles settled into position.

Josh, thanks for the heads-up on recovery period. They'll be inside at least the next two nights for freezing, I'll be sure to put them in an appropriate spot once back outside.

And yes, I'm hoping the pictures will be useful to others. I like taking and sharing photos, so expect more as the garden grows!


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Not much I can add the others haven't. Strong work!!! ;o)

Al


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 14, 11 at 10:55

A wonderful and thorough job! Well done!

I agree with Josh... to keep stress to a minimum, you'll want to avoid full sun and winds for a little while... find it a nice protected spot with dappled shade/sun, and keep a close eye on it.

If outdoors, I usually look for a spot close to a building for wind protection, where my plants will receive only the earliest of morning sun, and are thereafter protected from the harsh sun of late morning to late afternoon... but I'm sure you're aware of what needs to be done. :-)

Indoors, I look for a bright spot that doesn't receive direct sun from a window. After I see the plant recovering, I move it closer to its permanent spot.

As time goes by, we find better, easier methods for putting together our medium mixes. It all eventually comes together... whether it's locating the various ingredients, setting up a screening process, mixing, and storing our final product(s). I actually find it kind of fun, not to mention rewarding, working with all the stuff... and when I see how happy my plants look and how they respond to the better drainage, aeration, and the controlled moisture and feeding, I know it was all worth the effort!

Before getting to know Al, I can't tell you how frustrating it was to find bulb after bulb just rotting away in its pot, with dead and rotting roots... and no matter how careful I was with watering, it didn't seem to matter. There were no little air pockets for the roots to breathe, and there was no way to relieve the continually soggy rootball area... I tried everything... bottom watering, coco coir, mixing in more perlite... nothing helped.

What helped was actually learning how all the factors of container growing related to each other... learning what was actually happening under the soil surface. And now that I know, it's so elementary I'm surprised it's not all common knowledge!

To make a long story short, my plants are happy and my bulbs no longer rot! I can't wait until spring arrives so I can transfer my deciduous trees into better medium!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words... and in the case of growing show-and-tell, they're worth so much more! The more photos we all share of our processes and our successes, the better the portrayal of how it all works!

Anyway... well done! We look forward to more pictures! :-)


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

Jodik!!!

Well said!

Do you realize that my mother bought these bulbs for 5 friends and all but one of them are having rot issues with their bulbs?

Two started their's in coir that came with the boxed bulbs, and the others potting soil mixes were used.
They are not doing so good. The leaves are flimsy and the flowers never made it even in strong light.
Looking at the roots to one of them, they were shrunk and brown looking.

I do not want to loose any of mine when I finally get some. I am getting an ORANGE one from someone here and I am excited, my first second for me.
The first is not doing good. I put it in pea pebbles because I ran out of gritty mix. Time to make more.

I am even more excited to see all the great advice you are giving Jodik on how to get the best flowers possible, since I have seen how beautiful and vibrant yours are.
I thank you for that and for encouarging many to use the gritty mix too!

Guess what I am going to use for mine as soon as I get it?
I can't wait and I will post a picture for you expecially since I know you love these plants and you have been a great big help.

And yes, it comes full circle to Al, for showing you, then you to us. Your kindness is appreciated. I can't wait to get started on my mix again and my new plant I am expecting!

Mike


 o
RE: kumquat: repotting, gritty mix?

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 15, 11 at 10:43

Thanks, Mike... all I'm really doing is reinforcing Al's message, which is simply learning the basics of what happens within the confines of a container. Once we learn the relationship between the various parts of a potted plant, it becomes obvious that there's a lot of external noise inhibiting us from optimal growth and enjoyment of potted plants.

I think if we look at the bulb kits sold around Christmas time from a commercial point of view, we see that it's to the industry's advantage to sell you a product that you'll dispose of and buy again the following season... as opposed to realizing that a Hippeastrum bulb can be cared for and re-bloomed for many, many consecutive years. Of course, that only happens if we know the basics of container growing, as mentioned above.

I don't want to hijack this thread to discuss the care of Hippeastrums, but if we apply the basic knowledge Al teaches, we're on track to numerous years of enjoyment from our Hippeastrum bulbs.

I've had a single H. "Minerva" bulb for over 10 years, and she happily blooms every February, late in the month. In 10 years, she's only skipped 2 bloom seasons, and if you knew how much strife I've put her through, you'd understand why! She sits happily in an east facing window, planted in gritty mix, and she's never looked better! I also have her daughter bulb, potted separately, and she, too, is quite content in gritty mix.

I may be partial to the grittier mediums, but it all has to do with what I've learned about the basic science of container growing... and I encourage everyone to learn the basic facts. It's not complicated, at all... and with a little expended effort on our part, we can all grow optimally. We just have to cut through that external noise and decide what the facts are.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Container Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here