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Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Posted by goodhumusman (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 26, 09 at 12:44

I recently joined the forum and discovered Al's 5-1-1 Mix, but I had several questions that Al was kind enough to answer by email. I also found the answers to other questions in several different threads. I thought it would be useful to organize all of the info in one place so that we could have easy access to it. 98% of the following has been cut/pasted from Al's postings, and I apologize in advance if I have somehow misquoted him or taken his ideas out of proper context. The only significant addition from another source is the Cornell method of determining porosity, which I thought would be germane. I have used a question and answer format, using many questions from other members, and I apologize for not giving them proper credit. Thanks to all who contributed to this information. Now, here's Al:

Tapla's 5-1-1 Mix

5 parts pine bark fines
1 part sphagnum peat
1-2 parts perlite
garden lime
controlled release fertilizer (not really necessary)
a micro-nutrient source (seaweed emulsion, Earthjuice, Micro-max, STEM, etc,)

Many friends & forum folk grow in this 5-1-1 mix with very good results. I use it for all my garden display containers. It is intended for annual and vegetable crops in containers. This soil is formulated with a focus on plentiful aeration, which we know has an inverse relationship w/water retention. It takes advantage of particles, the size of which are at or just under the size that would guarantee the soil retains no perched water. (If you have not already read Al's treatise on Water in Container Soils, this would be a good time to do so.) In simple terms: Plants that expire because of drainage problems either die of thirst because the roots have rotted and can no longer take up water, or they starve/"suffocate" because there is insufficient air at the root zone to ensure normal water/nutrient uptake and root function.

I grow in highly-aerated soils with the bulk of the particles in the 1/16"-1/8" size, heavily favoring the larger particles, because we know that perched water levels decrease as particle size increases, until finally, as particle size reaches just under 1/8" the perched water table disappears entirely.

Ideal container soils will have a minimum of 60-75% total porosity. This means that when dry, in round numbers, nearly 70% of the total volume of soil is air. The term 'container capacity' is a hort term that describes the saturation level of soils after the soil is saturated and at the point where it has just stopped draining - a fully wetted soil. When soils are at container capacity, they should still have in excess of 30% air porosity. Roughly, a great soil will have about equal parts of solid particles, water, and air when the soil is fully saturated.

This is Cornell's method of determining the various types of porosity:

To ensure sufficient media porosity, it is essential to determine total porosity, aeration porosity, and water-holding porosity. Porosity can be determined through the following procedure:

* With drainage holes sealed in an empty container, fill the container and record the volume of water required to reach the top of the container. This is the container volume.

* Empty and dry the plugged container and fill it with the growing media to the top of the container.

* Irrigate the container medium slowly until it is saturated with water. Several hours may be required to reach the saturation point, which can be recognized by glistening of the medium's surface.

* Record the total volume of water necessary to reach the saturation point as the total pore volume.

* Unplug the drainage holes and allow the water to freely drain from the container media into a pan for several hours.

* Measure the volume of water in the pan after all free water has completed draining. Record this as the aeration pore volume.

* Calculate total porosity, aeration porosity, and water-holding porosity using the following equations (Landis, 1990):

* Total porosity = total pore volume / container volume
* Aeration porosity = aeration pore volume / container volume
* Water-holding porosity = total porosity - aeration porosity

The keys to why I like my 3-1-1 mix:

It's adjustable for water retention.
The ingredients are readily available to me.
It's simple - 3 basic ingredients - equal portions.
It allows nearly 100% control over the nutritional regimen.
It will not collapse - lasts longer than what is prudent between repots.
It is almost totally forgiving of over-watering while retaining good amounts of water between drinks.
It is relatively inexpensive.

Q. Why do you use pine bark fines? Bark fines of fir, hemlock or pine, are excellent as the primary component of your soils. The lignin contained in bark keeps it rigid and the rigidity provides air-holding pockets in the root zone far longer than peat or compost mixes that too quickly break down to a soup-like consistency. Conifer bark also contains suberin, a lipid sometimes referred to as natures preservative. Suberin, more scarce as a presence in sapwood products and hardwood bark, dramatically slows the decomposition of conifer bark-based soils. It contains highly varied hydrocarbon chains and the microorganisms that turn peat to soup have great difficulty cleaving these chains.

Q. What is the correct size of the fines? In simple terms: Plants that expire because of drainage problems either die of thirst because the roots have rotted and can no longer take up water, or they starve/"suffocate" because there is insufficient air at the root zone to insure normal water/nutrient uptake and root function.Pine bark fines are partially composted pine bark. Fines are what are used in mixes because of the small particle size. There will be a naturally occurring "perched water table" (PWT) in containers when soil particulate size is under about .125 (1/8) inch, so best would be particulates in the 1/16 - 3/16 size range with the 1/16-1/8 size range favored.

Note that there is no sand or compost in the soils I use. Sand, as most of you think of it, can improve drainage in some cases, but it reduces aeration by filling valuable macro-pores in soils. Unless sand particle size is fairly uniform and/or larger than about BB size I leave it out of soils. Compost is too unstable for me to consider using in soils. The small amount of micro-nutrients it supplies can easily be delivered by one or more of a number of chemical or organic sources.

Q. Do you use partially composted pine bark fines? Yes - preferred over fresh fines, which are lighter in color.

Q. I found some Scotchman's Choice Organic Compost, which is made of pine bark fines averaging about 1/8" in size, and, after adding all ingredients, the 5-1-1 Mix had a total porosity of 67% and an aeration porosity of 37%. Is that all right? Yes, that is fine.

Q. What kind of lime do you use? Dolomitic.

Q. What amount of lime should I add if I used 10 gal of pine bark fines and the corresponding amount of the other ingredients? @ 5:1:1, you'll end up with about 12 gallons of soil (the whole is not equal to the sum of the parts when you're talking about soils), so I would use about 10-12 Tbsp or 2/3-3/4 cup of lime.

Q. What grade of coarseness for the lime? Most is sold as garden lime, which is usually prilled powder. Prilling makes it easier to use in drop & broadcast spreaders. The prills dissolve quickly. The finer the powder the quicker the reactive phase is finished. Much of the Ca and Mg will be unavailable until the media pH equalizes so the plant can assimilate the residual elements. Large pieces of lime really extend the duration of the reactive phase.

Q. Does this mean that I need to make up the soil in advance? Yes. 2 weeks or so should be enough time to allow for the reaction phase to be complete & residual Ca/Mg to become more readily available from the outset .

Q. During those 2 weeks, do I need to keep turning it and moistening it? No

Q. Can I go ahead and fill my 3-gal. containers, stack them 3-high, and cover the top one to prevent moisture loss during the waiting period? Something like that would be preferred.

Q. The perlite I use has a large amount of powder even though it is called coarse. Do I need to sift it to get rid of the powder? Not unless it REALLY has a lot - then, the reason wouldn't be because of issues with particle size - it would be because you had to use larger volumes to achieve adequate drainage & larger volumes bring with it the possibility of Fl toxicity for some plants that are fluoride intolerant.

Q. What about earthworm castings (EWC)? I think 10% is a good rule of thumb for the total volume of fine particles. I try to limit peat use to about 10-15% of soil volume & just stay away from those things that rob aeration & promote water retention beyond a minimal perched water table. If you start adding 10% play sand, 10% worm castings, 10% compost, 10% peat, 10% topsoil, 10% vermiculite to a soil, before long you'll be growing in something close to a pudding-like consistency.

Q. Do you drench the mix with fertilized water before putting in containers? No - especially if you incorporate a CRF. It will have lots of fertilizer on it's surface & the soil could already be high in solubles. If you added CRF, wait until you've watered and flushed the soil a couple of times. If you didn't use CRF, you can fertilize with a weak solution the first time you water after the initial planting irrigation.

Q. How much of the micronutrients should I add if I am going to be fertilizing with Foliage Pro 9-3-6, which has all the micronutrients in it? You won't need any additional supplementation as long as you lime.
Q. Just to make sure I understand, are you saying I don't need to use Foliage Pro 9-3-6 until after the initial watering right after planting even if I don't use a CRF? And no additional micronutrients? That's right - on both counts.

Q. Do I need to moisten the peat moss before mixing with the pine bark fines? It helps, yes.

Selections from Notes on Choosing a Fertilizer

A) Plant nutrients are dissolved in water
B) The lower the nutrient concentration, the easier it is for the plant to absorb water and the nutrients dissolved in the water - distilled water is easier for plants to absorb than tap water because there is nothing dissolved in distilled water
C) The higher the nutrient content, the more difficult it is for plants to absorb water and the nutrients dissolved in water
D) To maximize plant vitality, we should supply adequate amounts of all the essential nutrients w/o using concentrations so high that they impede water and nutrient uptake.

All that is in the "Fertilizer Thread" I posted a while back.

Q. Do you use the Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro 9-3-6 exclusively throughout the life of the plant, or change to something else for the flowering/fruiting stage? I use lots of different fertilizers, but if I had to choose only one, it would likely be the FP 9-3-6. It really simplifies things. There are very few plants that won't respond very favorably to this fertilizer. I use fast soils that drain freely & I fertilize at EVERY watering, and it works extremely well.

If you are using a soil that allows you to water freely at every watering, you cannot go wrong by watering weakly weekly, and you can water at 1/8 the recommended dose at every watering if you wish with chemical fertilizers.

Q. What about the "Bloom Booster" fertilizers? To induce more prolific flowering, a reduced N supply will have more and better effect than the high P bloom formulas. When N is reduced, it slows vegetative growth without reducing photosynthesis. Since vegetative growth is limited by a lack of N, and the photosynthetic machinery continues to turn out food, it leaves an expendable surplus for the plant to spend on flowers and fruit. There are no plants I know of that use anywhere near the amount of P as they do N (1/6 is the norm). It makes no sense to me to have more P available than N unless you are targeting a VERY specific growth pattern; and then the P would still be applied in a reasonable ratio to K.

Somewhere along the way, we curiously began to look at fertilizers as miraculous assemblages of growth drugs, and started interpreting the restorative effect (to normal growth) fertilizers have as stimulation beyond what a normal growth rate would be if all nutrients were adequately present in soils. Its no small wonder that we come away with the idea that there are miracle concoctions out there and often end up placing more hope than is reasonable in them.

What I'm pointing out is that fertilizers really should not be looked at as something that will make your plant grow abnormally well - beyond its genetic potential . . . Fertilizers do not/can not stimulate super growth, nor are they designed to. All they can do is correct nutritional deficiencies so plants can grow normally.

Q. Should I use organic ferts or chemical ferts in containers? Organic fertilizers do work to varying degrees in containers, but I would have to say that delivery of the nutrients can be very erratic and unreliable. The reason is that nutrient delivery depends on the organic molecules being broken down in the gut of micro-organisms, and micro-organism populations are boom/bust, varying widely in container culture.

Some of the things affecting the populations are container soil pH, moisture levels, nutrient levels, soil composition, compaction/aeration levels ..... Of particular importance is soil temperatures. When container temperatures rise too high, microbial populations diminish. Temps much under 55* will slow soil biotic activity substantially, reducing or halting delivery of nutrients.

I do include various formulations of fish emulsion in my nutrient program at certain times of the year, but I never rely on them, choosing chemical fertilizers instead. Chemical fertilizers are always immediately available for plant uptake & the results of your applications are much easier to quantify.

Q. Should I feed the plants every time I water? In a word, yes. I want to keep this simple, so Ill just say that the best water absorption occurs when the level of solutes in soil water is lowest, and in the presence of good amounts of oxygen. Our job, because you will not find a sufficient supply of nutrients in a container soil, is to provide a solution of dissolved nutrients that affords the plant a supply in the adequate to luxury range, yet still makes it easy for the plant to take up enough water to be well-hydrated and free of drought stress. All we need to do is supply nutrients in approximately the same ratio as plants use them, and in adequate amounts to keep them in the adequate to luxury range at all times. Remember that we can maximize water uptake by keeping the concentrations of solutes low, so a continual supply of a weak solution is best. Nutrients dont just suddenly appear in large quantities in nature, so the low and continual dose method most closely mimics the nutritional supply Mother Nature offers. If you decide to adopt a "fertilize every time you water" approach, most liquid fertilizers can be applied at to 1 tsp per gallon for best results.

The system is rather self regulating if fertilizer is applied in low concentrations each time you water, even with houseplants in winter. As the plants growth slows, so does its need for both water and nutrients. Larger plants and plants that are growing robustly will need more water and nutrients, so linking nutrient supply to the water supply is a win/win situation all around.

You can tell you've watered too much (or too little - the response is the same - a drought response) when leaves start to turn yellow or you begin to see nutritional deficiencies created by poor root metabolism (usually N and Ca are first evident). You can prevent overwatering by A) testing the soil deep in the container with a wood dowel ... wet & cool - do not water, dry - water. B) feeling the wick & only watering when it's dry C) feel the soil at the drain hole & only water when it feels dry there.

Soils feel dry to our touch when they still have 40-45% moisture content. Plants, however, can still extract water from soils until they dry down to about 25-30%, so there is still around a 15% cush in that plants can still absorb considerable moisture after soils first feel dry to us.

Q. When you water/fertilize, do you give it enough that 10% leaches out the bottom each time? Yes, I try to do that at every watering. Remember that as salts accumulate, both water and nutrient uptake is made more difficult and finally impaired or made impossible in severe cases. Your soils should always allow you to water so that at least 10-15% of the total volume of water applied passes through the soil and out the drain hole to be discarded. This flushes the soil and carries accumulating solutes out the drain hole. In addition, each thorough watering forces stale gases from the soil. CO2 accumulation in heavy soils is very detrimental to root health, but you usually can't apply water in volume enough to force these gases from the soil. Open soils allow free gas exchange at all times.

Q. Should I elevate my pots? The container will not drain the same % of water if it's sitting in a puddle, but the % won't be particularly significant. What will be significant is: if water (in a puddle) is able to make contact with the soil in the container through surface tension and/or capillarity, it will "feed" and prolong the saturated conditions of any PWT that might be in the container. However, if water can soak in or if it will flow away from the containers, there's no advantage to elevating when you're not using a wick.

Q. I like a pH of about 5.7. Is that about right? That's a good number, but you won't have any way of maintaining it in your soil w/o some sophisticated equipment. I never concern myself with media pH. That doesn't mean you should ignore water pH, though. It (water pH) affects the solubility of fertilizers; and generally speaking, the higher the water pH, the lower the degree of nutrient solubility.

Q. How do you repot? Some plants do not take to root-pruning well (palms, eg), but the vast majority of them REALLY appreciate the rejuvenational properties of major root work. I'm not at all delicate in my treatment of rootage when it comes time to repot (completely different from potting-up). Usually I chop or saw the bottom 1/2-2/3 of the root mass off, bare-root the plant, stick it back in the same pot with ALL fresh soil, use a chopstick to move soil into all the spaces/pockets between roots, water/fertilize well & put in the shade for a week to recover. I should mention that this procedure is most effective on plants with woody roots, which most quickly grow to be inefficient as they lignify, thicken, and fill the pot. Those plants with extremely fibrous root systems are easier to care for. For those, I usually saw off the bottom 1/2 - 2/3 of the roots, work a chopstick through the remaining mat of roots, removing a fair amount of soil, prune around the perimeter & repot in fresh, well-aerated soil.

I find that time after time, plants treated in this fashion sulk for a week or two and then put on a huge growth spurt (when repotted in spring or summer). Growth INVARIABLY surpasses what it would have been if the plant was allowed to languish in it's old, root-bound haunts. Potting up is a temporary way to rejuvenate a plant, but if you look ate a long-term graph of plants continually potted-up, you will see continual decline with little spurts of improved vitality at potting-up time. This stress/strain on plants that are potted-up only, eventually takes its toll & plants succumb. There is no reason most houseplants shouldn't live for years and years, yet we often content ourselves with the 'revolving door replacement' of our plants when just a little attention to detail would allow us to call the same plant our friend - often for the rest of our lives if we prefer.

Q. Is there any rule of thumb as to how often to root prune? I'm going to answer as if you included 'repotting' in your question. There is no hard, fast rule here. Some of you grow plants strictly for the blooms, and some plants produce more abundant blooms in containers when they are stressed in some manner. Often, that stress is in the form of keeping them root-bound. I'll talk about maintaining a plant's vitality & let you work out how you want to handle the degree of stress you wish to subject them to, in order to achieve your goals. Before I go on, I'd like to say that I use stress techniques too, to achieve a compact, full plant, and to slow growth of a particularly attractive plant - to KEEP it attractive. ;o) The stress of growing a plant tight can be useful to a degree, but at some point, there will be diminishing returns.

When you need to repot to correct declining vitality:

1) When the soil has collapsed/compacted, or was too water-retentive from the time you last potted-up or repotted. You can identify this condition by soil that remains wet for more than a few days, or by soil that won't take water well. If you water a plant and the soil just sits on top of the soil w/o soaking in, the soil has collapsed/compacted. There is one proviso though: you must be sure that the soil is wet before you assess this condition. Soils often become hydrophobic (water repellent) and difficult to rewet, especially when using liquid organic fertilizers like fish/seaweed emulsions. Make sure this effect is not what you're witnessing by saturating the soil thoroughly & then assessing how fast the water moves downward through the soil. The soils I grow in are extremely fast and water disappears into the mix as soon as it's applied. If it takes more than 30 seconds for a large volume of water to disappear from the surface of the soil, you are almost certainly compromising potential vitality.

I'll talk about the potential vitality for just a sec. Plants will grow best in a damp soil with NO perched water. That is NO saturated layer of water at the bottom of the pot. Roots begin to die a very short time after being subjected to anaerobic conditions. They regenerate again as soon as air returns to the soil. This cyclic death/regeneration of roots steals valuable energy from the plant that might well have been employed to increase o/a biomass, and/or produce flowers and fruit. This is the loss of potential vitality I refer to.

2) When the plant is growing under tight conditions and has stopped extending, it is under strain, which will eventually lead to its death. "Plants must grow to live. Any plant that is not growing is dying." Dr. Alex Shigo Unless there are nutritional issues, plants that have stopped extending and show no growth when they should be coming into a period of robust growth usually need repotting. You can usually confirm your suspicions/diagnosis by looking for rootage "crawling" over the soil surface and/or growing out of the drain hole, or by lifting the plant from its pot & examining the root mass for encircling roots - especially fat roots at the container's edge. You'll be much less apt to find these types of roots encircling inner container perimeter in well-aerated soils because the roots find the entire soil mass hospitable. Roots are opportunistic and will be found in great abundance at the outside edge of the soil mass in plantings with poor drainage & soggy soil conditions - they're there looking for air.

3) When the soil is so compacted & water retentive that you must water in sips and cannot fully flush the soil at each watering for fear of creating conditions that will cause root rot. This isn't to say you MUST flush the soil at every watering, but the soil should drain well enough to ALLOW you to water this way whenever you prefer. This type of soil offers you the most protection against over-watering and you would really have to work hard at over-fertilizing in this type of soil. It will allow you to fertilize with a weak solution at every watering - even in winter if you prefer.

Incidentally, I reject the frequent anecdotal evidence that keeping N in soils at adequacy levels throughout the winter "forces" growth or "forces weak growth". Plants take what they need and leave the rest. While there could easily be the toxicity issues associated with too much fertilizer in soils due to a combination of inappropriate watering practices, inappropriate fertilizing practices, and an inappropriate soil, it's neither N toxicity NOR the presence of adequate N in soils that causes weak growth, it's low light levels.

Q. Is there any rule of thumb as to how often to remove and replace the old soil? Yes - every time you repot.

As always, I hope that those who read what I say about soils will ultimately take with them the idea that the soil is the foundation of every container planting & has effects that reach far beyond the obvious, but there is a snatch of lyrics from an old 70's song that might be appropriate: "... just take what you need and leave the rest ..." ;o)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

You are going to curse this forum's lack of an edit feature ;)

You wrote:

The keys to why I like my 3-1-1 mix:

It's adjustable for water retention.
The ingredients are readily available to me.
It's simple - 3 basic ingredients - equal portions.

There is a 5-1-1 ratio mix and a gritty mix which is a 1-1-1 ratio. There is no 3-1-1 mix and it can't be a 3-1-1 mix if the 3 ingredients are in equal portions :)

I think it is a great effort to distill much of the information into a single thread though.


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

THANKYOU!
Thanks for what you did!


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Good catch, justaguy. The whole thread is about one mix, so I hope no one will get confused.

YW, meyermike, but the real thanks go to Al.


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Thanks for clarifying that, justaguy2. I was a little confused by the 3-1-1 statement.

This was a good summary and helped me a lot. Thanks for taking the time to put this together. Today, I purchased the pine bark fines, perlite, & sphagnum peat. I'm going to use it for growing roses in containers, so I may not use the lime. I'm not sure the roses would like the lime.

And thanks to Al!!!

Randy


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 1, 09 at 0:13

Randy, unless you're sure your fertilizer includes Ca & Mg (most solubles do not contain these elements) or you're sure your irrigation water contains Ca/Mg in ample amounts and in a favorable ratio to each other, including dolomitic (garden) lime is still a very good idea.

You did a lot of work, Al (Goodhumasman). Good job!

Al


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Thanks, Al. Compared to your effort, it was like rearranging the patio furniture after you built the house.

A note about the Cornell method of measuring porosity: You do not have to use a garden container. I used a large styrofoam cup, and, when it was time to drain the water from the saturated mix, I just poked some holes in the bottom with a fork.

And in case there is any confusion about the Cornell formulas:

Total porosity = total pore volume divided by container volume
Aeration porosity = aeration pore volume divided by container volume
Water-holding porosity = total porosity minus aeration porosity

It's easier than it looks, and you get a definitive answer about the porosity of your mix.


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Al, thank you so much for your comment!
I will get some dolomitic (garden) lime and add it to the mix.

Thanks again!

Randy


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Now *this* is what should go in that book Tapla should write. :-)


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Can we use Al's mix for cactus in container also?


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 18, 09 at 15:20

The gritty mix would be far superior for cacti & succulents.

Al


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

From what I've had a chance to read this sounds like a simple formula (pine bark, sphagnum peat, perlite).

Can/should I use this for woody plants?

Also, can I buy the sphagnum peat in small amounts or does that come only in big bags?

Is this perlite the Miracle Grow stuff in the green bag? I've seen perlite in small bags at the local hardware store but never paid close attention.

I think we have some pine bark left over from our garden mulching but not sure how "fine" it really is. I'm sure it's not composted, just regular pine mulch in a big bag. I don't think we have any sphagnum peat or have ever bought any so I'll need that.

I sure have a lot of reading to do!

Margo


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 24, 09 at 18:12

The 5:1:1 mix is very good for woody plants, but the gritty mix is better if you plan on going more than a single growth cycle between repots. Sphagnum peat does come in small bags, but often it's screened so it's almost 'dust-fine' and a little texture is better. It's usually readily found in 1 cu ft bales for less than the small bags you find near the houseplant supplies.

Best: For the 5:1:1 mix, fine is dust to dime-size. For the gritty mix, fine is 1/8 - 1/4" pieces. Fir bark works very well in the gritty mix (what I use) and you might find it prescreened.

Al


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Correct me if i am wrong,you can use gypsum for calcium also and it won't raise the PH of the mix as i beleive it contains sulpher. Joe


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 24, 09 at 20:22

It's a little more complicated than that. We usually use dolomitic lime on soils with a low starting pH because it raises pH to a more favorable level and it supplies both Ca and Mg in a favorable ratio. (The ratio is important because Ca and Mg are antagonistic in soils and too much of one can cause a deficiency of the other.

In soils with a higher starting pH, it's probably advantageous to use gypsum as a Ca source because if its insignificant effect on pH. If you DO use gypsum, and since it contains only Ca and not Mg, you should add Epsom salts to your fertilizer solution whenever you fertilize to keep the Ca:Mg ratio favorable.

Al


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Al said that pine bark fines to be used are the same as in the picture at 12:00 o clock on top. I can find here what is at 9:00 o clock on the left. Can I use them instead and chop them smaller with 5 parts bark, 1 part sphagnum peat and 1 part perlite. Please confirm. I cannot find garden lime however can I use gypsum instead and do I have to mix them all and keep them for one week before potting my houseplants in?


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 25, 09 at 13:45

The bark you have will be ok if you chop it finer. If you use the formula you suggested, you may have some toxicity issues (Al, Fe, Mn, mainly) because the pH will be very low. You can try it, but I think liming this soil will be pretty important. You don't need to wait 2 weeks because gypsum is considerably more soluble than dolomite.

Al


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

+1 on this compilation thread. Great work Goodhumasman!

Tapla, I think the Q/A format works real well at the end of the summary. Maybe when you repost your master threads (Trees in Containers, Container Soils, Fertilizer Program, etc..) you slowly start to add in the most frequently asked question in a similar QA format at the bottom of your post.

I know it is tons of work and I think everyone here is already extremely grateful for what you do. I think it would be easier though for the newcomer to absorb. Also you probably would spend less time answering the same questions over and over again :)


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 11, 11 at 7:21

I'll make you a deal ....... if you start a thread and get everyone's input as to what the most frequently asked questions should be, in enough time for me to answer them before #13 tops out, I'll include them at the end of the next thread.

Photobucket

Al


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More Details - 5:1:1.gritty

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 11, 11 at 7:23

Oh - just thought of something ...... if you take it on, please try to make sure the answers aren't in the main text.

Al


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

In my experience, even though an FAQ or a detailed text containing the questions and answers exists, a portion of people will still bypass it, asking an already answered question anyway... it's just the nature of the beast... the beast being a message board.

It's not a bad thing, per se, because often a new thread will morph into more questions and answers, or information or situations not previously covered.

In short, I still think Al will be in high demand. :-)


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

I asked in another thread with still no answer do I'll try again here. I am going to do sweet potatoes in 34 gallon rubbermaid containers.

-is the 5-1-1 mix the best to use or is that too hard and make the potatoes form irregular shapes?

- Is there a cheaper alternative ratio such as 3-1-1 since pine bark fines are kinda expensive considering I will need to make 400-500 gallons of soil?

Thanks for any input!


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Big A: I don't know where you live, but pine bark fines are quite cheap in my neck of the woods. I just bought 3 cubic foot bags from Ace Hardware for $4. It was called pine bark mulch, but I was able to see that it was partially composted (probably from sitting out in the rain in damaged bags) and that most pieces were well under 1/2 inch in diameter. I mixed it with 5 gallons each of sphagnum peat (about $3) and perlite (about $4) plus about 1 3/4 cups agricultural lime for a total cost of about $12 for about 30 gallons of mix or 40 cents a gallon. That compares to almost a dollar a gallon for Miracle Grow potting mix with no additions, which can be big trouble in an outdoor container.


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 13, 11 at 14:25

I've grown Ipomea in the 5:1:1 mix many, many times & never had any difficulty with misshapen tubers - all perfectly normal - just like you would buy at the store.

I agree with Robin - it's hard to improve on the cost factor when making your own soils using pine bark as the base, and find you can usually make the 5:1:1 mix for less than half of what MG and similar cost.

I'd be looking for a supplier where you can buy the bark by the yard. 2.5 yards will yield well over 500 gallons of 5:1:1 mix when combined with the peat & perlite.

Al


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Thanks for answers. Locally, I get only from a local Nursery 2cf or 3cf bag of aged pine bark fines )sold as Soil Comdoeoo $17 per bag. Peat was much cheaper since it was avail, at Lowes, a big square (3 CF I think) for like $7


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

You must live in an area where many are mulching their front yards and companies at this time of the year.

My suggestion would be to approach anyone you see doing this and ask them where they got their mulch.

Happy growing

Mike:-)


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Exactly. Keep looking. I thought I was going to be skunked up here in the Syracuse area. I eventually grabbed the yellow pages and just started calling garden centers, feed/farm supply stores, nurseries, Ace Hardware stores, and top soil/mulch places. I eventually found it.


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

I intend to give my own-root roses a year in a container to grow larger before I plant them outside in the garden. The 5-1-1 mix was recommended to me for this purpose. I was concerned about the addition of garden lime to the mix. Roses prefer acidic soil. Would the 5-1-1 mix work for me?

Tapla's 5-1-1 Mix

5 parts pine bark fines
1 part sphagnum peat
1-2 parts perlite
garden lime ************* ???
controlled release fertilizer (not really necessary)
a micro-nutrient source (seaweed emulsion, Earthjuice, Micro-max, STEM, etc,)


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Mr. Tapla,

If you have answered the following questions in various posts, please forgive me as I could not find them.

You have stated "Sphagnum peat plays a secondary role in my container soils because it breaks down too quickly to suit me, and when it does, it impedes drainage and reduces aeration."

1. Then, why do you use sphagnum peat in you 5-1-1 mix?

2. Could worm castings substitute for the peat?

3. Would this mix be good for vegetable seedlings?

Thank you.
Anndi


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

What mix would best be used for growing citrus trees? And if so what type of ph do citrus trees prefer?


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

alexaflatooni: People use both mixes for growing citrus trees, but the gritty mix lasts longer.

Can anyone tell me if I can use the 511 for repotting a Pieris Andromeda? I apologize if this is the wrong place to ask this!

I'm trying to save the poor thing and not sure where to start. Also not sure if this mix would give it what it needs, so if anyone can help me out I'd be ever so grateful!


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 6, 12 at 16:13

DL - I have P japonica 'Little Heath' in the 5:1:1 mix and it loves it, so you'll be fine.

Alexaflatooni - Citrus prefers a lower pH in container media than it does in mineral soils, so the ideal media pH would be around 5.0-5.2. Unfortunately, the hobby grower has little control over the actual pH of the media, so don't frustrate yourself thinking you can control it. Fortunately, if you're using a soluble fertilizer, media pH isn't all that important - within reason. Essentially, if you put the nutrients in front of your plant, it will get them.

I like the gritty mix for all my woody plants. The reason the Pieris is in the 5:1:1 mix is, I didn't have time to repot it, and I didn't want to put it in the gritty mix until I had time (mixing dissimilar soils), so I potted up into a soil close to what it's in, which is the 5:1:1 mix. I'll repot into the gritty mix next spring.

Al


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Thank Al!

If you can take a look at the state of my poor Pieris it would be a tremendous help! (I attached a link below) I'm planning on repotting it today and would be interested in hearing your opinion on whether I should root prune it or not, and if I should start fertilizing it at every watering. I have FP for my citrus and wonder if I can use it on the Pieris.

I apologize if this is the wrong place to go on a tangent, so feel free to private message me if that would be better. Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: My SAD Pieris


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

This thread explains very well about 5.1.1. I like these questions and answers. I am just wondering are there any additional information to be added :))

Caelian


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

I think I just made a BIG mistake- I bought bare root trees: fuyu persimmon, Blenheim apricot, and sugar plum (prune). I potted them into 24" round plastic pots with potting mix plus perlite, plus 3yo horse manure (I was running out of mix!) this past week, so they are still quite dormant. UGH! Do I need to pull them all out and start over?!
I also need to upsize a violetta de bordeaux fig I've had 2 years in a #15 pot, into a half-barrel. I KNOW she will do better in a gritty type mix...


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Is this a good mix for Fig tree, blueberries (minus lime), tomatoes and peppers? Could Azomite be used with this mix?


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Azomite should be used in the ground or in raised beds.

But the 5-1-1 is excellent for Figs, blueberries, tomatoes, and peppers.
I am growing all but blueberries in this mix.


Josh


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

I have read some complaints from a few people saying peppers grew bad with the 5-1-1 mix. So I am a little hesitant about it. Maybe next year I will pot my citrus trees with the 5-1-1. But Should I skip the lime since Citrus like it a little acidic? How come Azomite is not good for containers? Is it because it gets washed out quickly?


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

PunkRotten,

It's possible the people that did not have much luck with peppers in the 5-1-1 didn't have the mix quite right.

I have grown them very well. Many plants in it.

Josh is one of the best pepper growers here! The mix works very well for them. If you have pepper questions he's one to ask. :-)

I will be getting blueberries for the first time next week.

JoJo


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 12:34

I grow lots of peppers for the table in the 5:1:1 mix - tomatoes & cukes, too. I've never had a problem. If someone DOES have a problem, it's much more logical to attribute it to grower error than what the soil is called. What someone else CALLS the 5:1:1 mix may not even come close to embodying the increase in drainage and aeration that are a large part of the reason we would go to the effort of making the soil, and may not offer much in the way of a reduction in perched water volumes the soil holds.

Soils that offer superior aeration/drainage and reduced volumes of perched water, within reason, offer much greater opportunity for plants to grow as close as possible to their genetic potential.

Al


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

O.K. Make that Al and Josh. ;-)
Al, I know your tomato's thrive !! I've grown cukes too. Peppers for the table? What, no fire peppers like Josh grows? lol..

I have very happy mint, just planted strawberries, and have chives making a comeback from being torn out and somewhat eaten by Javelina. :-/ Planning many more herbs and veggies for both the 5-1-1 and the Gritty.

Any pointers for the Blueberries?

JJ


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Al....Can you please take a look at this thread and help us out? Clear a few things up?

Sorry to bother you...

Thanks

Here is a link that might be useful: pH and 5.1.1 discussion for Jojo

This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 21:41


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

I actually was thinking of other reasons why some people failed with peppers in the 5-1-1 and I was thinking they did not fertilize. Some people forget you have to fertilize pretty frequently.


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Hey, guys and gals!

Indeed, I think the primary problem folks had with the 5-1-1 was a lack of adequate
nutrition at key points in the growth cycle. This year, several growers at the Hot Pepper
forum are going to try the 5-1-1 again, but this time with the proper Lime and consistent -
though not necessarily *heavy* - nutrition. Nutrition, overwatering, pH....these are
possible explanations for difficulties with peppers.

Last year, even I had a meager harvest...but it wasn't the fault of the mix. It was due
to the fact that I started my seeds too late for the long-season peppers I was growing.
My final harvest of yellow Bhut Jolokia was December 20th, for cryin' out loud! And I still
haven't plucked the pods from my two Black Pearl plants.

JoJo, Al sent me most of his hot pepper seeds, I believe ;-)


Josh


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

I'm new to the forum, but I've spent the last 12 hours reading about the 5:1:1 mix and Al's awesome and informative I, II, III and I skipped ahead to XIV - if there's XV I missed it. Here's my question.

How good is the 5:1:1 for vegetables? There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of talk about veggies - at least in what I have read so far. I see a lot of talk about roses, bonsai trees, peppers, herbs etc.

But not much about Kale, Spinach or Lettuce... Squash, Cucumber, Corn, Beans, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts... Beats, Carrots, potatoes... Etc. etc.

Can someone point me to the thread with this info or chime in with a detailed explanation here? This question is specific to growing in containers and what soil recipe to use.

I live in SoCal and I've got (50) five gallon buckets - peat, perlite, worm castings, gypsum, and fertilizer in hand. I'm looking to make a soil recipe that is best for veggies in my climate. Any advice?

Thanks in advance!


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Check out the thread I'll link to below. The subject is growing vegetables in containers. I posted photos from my vegetable container garden there. I've used 5-1-1 in containers for all my vegetables for the last two summers, and it's worked great. Lots if people on this forum have had great results growing veggies with 5-1-1.

Here is a link that might be useful: What container veggies do you grow?


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by drupmcp 6A - SE Michigan (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 2, 13 at 12:00

Al, and anyone else using the gritty mix, how do you discard your used mix? Trash, compost, or spread over lawn to amend the soil? Three years ago I read up on the gritty mix and was going to use it when repotting everything, but didn't have time to track down the ingredients because of life events. Now it's time to repot my plants and trees, and was just wondering how you discard it, and if anyone just puts it on the lawn or in their compost pile, how that is working out for you.

Thanks,
-Dru


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Dru, here's just the thread you are looking for:

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/contain/msg1100513428677.html


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Someone earlier suggested that Azomite was better in the ground than in containers. Could you elaborate?


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by drupmcp 6A - SE Michigan (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 8, 13 at 19:42

Thanks, marc5. I did some searches with different terms and just gave up on looking after I spent too much time. That post was exactly what I was looking for.


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Lori,
azomite is a long-term additive, and not suited for short-term container gardening.


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Howdy all. Happy Spring! Well, it's not so happy where I am being the temps are still in the 40's but at least the sun is shining & our skies are blue.

I'm confused on whether to use lime or gypsum in the gritty mix &/or 5-1-1. I'll be putting Plumeria in the gritty mix & Brugmansia in the 5-1-1. Both plants prefer slightly acidic soils. I will be using Dyna-Gro Grow as my fert along with Pro-Tekt. Do I still need to add lime or gypsum - & do I still need to add a CRF to the mix? Also, do I have to wet either mixtures & wait 2 wks before I put my plants into them? All apologies for being redundant as I'm sure these topics have been covered ad nauseam on other threads, including this one, but I'm a bit confused (what else is new lol) as to what's what & figured it couldn't hurt to ask for clarification before I go making a mess of things. I know it's not the most ideal time to repot considering my temps but my Brugs are really looking bad & I'm worried I'm going to lose them if I don't get my rear in gear ASAP.


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Never mind - just found redshirtcat's youtube clip explaining everything (a big THANK YOU to him for taking the time to post such). :)


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Where do I find pine bark fines in Houston? Finding the right size fines seems to be most painful.


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

That question just came up in the 17th version of Al's original post.

Here is a link that might be useful: Container Soils -- Water Movement #17


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Question about this Q&A:
Q. How much of the micronutrients should I add if I am going to be fertilizing with Foliage Pro 9-3-6, which has all the micronutrients in it? You won't need any additional supplementation as long as you lime.

I'm going to start using Foliage Pro 9-3-6 but I thought it already had to necessary Ca & Mg (and at the proper ratio). Why then would it be recommended to add Lime?

Sorry, this confuses me. I thought Foliage Pro was as close as you could get to an all-in-one solution. Thanks!


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 21:19

Liming the soil with dolomite not only provides a source of Ca and Mg, absent in many fertilizers, it also raises the pH of bark or peat-based soils to a more favorable level.

Al


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by Drew51 5b/6a SE MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 24, 14 at 9:17

"Liming the soil with dolomite not only provides a source of Ca and Mg, absent in many fertilizers, it also raises the pH of bark or peat-based soils to a more favorable level

It takes 6 to 9 months, so if you're plant is still alive you should be fine. And if the plant dies, it's your fault you made the mix incorrectly.


Since water is required for lime to react with the soil, effects of a lime application will be slower in a dry soil. It often takes a year or more before a response can be measured even under perfect conditions - Noble Foundation


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

The Lime phase reaction happens much more quickly in containers, as opposed to the ground - which is what Drew's sources are referencing. In a container, moisture and temperature are maintained differently.

Josh


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 24, 14 at 17:05

"It takes 6 to 9 months, so if you're plant is still alive you should be fine. And if the plant dies, it's your fault you made the mix incorrectly."

What takes 6-9 months? for lime to change the pH of container media? Baloney. The reaction begins immediately in moist soils, and if the amount of moisture is sufficient, the entire reaction phase can be completed in a few days - less than a week.

Cherry picking sentences and taking them out of context to make me look stupid isn't going to work very well. When you're being intentionally misleading, you're going to get caught. For the sake of clarity, mineral soils have extremely high bulk density and buffering capacity when compared to container media with their low bulk density and buffering capacity, so there is no question there could be significant variance between mineral soils and container media in the rate at which pH change is affected through liming.

Al


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Drew51,

I may be totally out of line here......but,
I think your negative posts are annoying as all get out!
I think you have learned a lot based on my reading of your archived posts and have shared some great info since you have been a member. However, your mission to discredit some members is very disruptive. There are better ways to explain your views. It's almost like you stalk certain members and pounce every time they make a post particularly when it comes to organic vs synthetic container gardening. I have actually learned a lot from you and value your opposing views when they are presented in a more reasonable tone of conversation along with fact based science that is germane to the topic. Again I appreciate and value your contributions but please tone it down a few notches.
Thanks,
Tony


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

I live in the 9b zone, Orlando, Fla and have been reading about the 5-1-1 mix. The way I look at it is that for the average home gardener just cannot afford the perlite and the peat.
I grow, tomatoes, about 6-9 different types, peppers, corn, bush beans, beets, onions, broccoli and other vegs. The only vegs I grow in containers are the tomatoes & jalapeno peppers.
Getting back to the soil mix I use, sorry to get off topic. I use 50-50 mix. That’s half pine fines and half compost that I get from the county land fill and it serves me well. I want my gardening to be fun and I have been quite happy with the results.
I am solarizing my soil right now 6/30/14 and in 2 months will start my fall planting. For my in ground planting I dig a 18 inch hole about 12 inches deep and put my 50/50 mix in the hole add some 6-4-6 fert with it and water it in for about 2 weeks. Then about the middle of Sept. I plant my transplants. I use a drip irrigation system and weekly fert. with peters very week solution of peters 20-20-20. After the plants a little mature I fert with peters 10-30-20 on the jalapeno and tomatoes.
I keep thinking that I might try a different mix, but if it isn’t don’t try to fix it.
Here are a few pics of last winters tomatoes, broccoli, and caulifouer and this springs tomatoes & corn.
I get the pine fines from Bollings Forest Products. I will post a link to their website.
Thanks for putting up with my rambling.
Bob
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Here is a link that might be useful: bolling forest products

This post was edited by Theiball on Tue, Jul 1, 14 at 18:20


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

I live in the 9b zone, Orlando, Fla and have been reading about the 5-1-1 mix. The way I look at it is that for the average home gardener just cannot afford the perlite and the peat.
I grow, tomatoes, about 6-9 different types, peppers, corn, bush beans, beets, onions, broccoli and other vegs. The only vegs I grow in containers are the tomatoes & jalapeno peppers.
Getting back to the soil mix I use, sorry to get off topic. I use 50-50 mix. That’s half pine fines and half compost that I get from the county land fill and it serves me well. I want my gardening to be fun and I have been quite happy with the results. I am solarizing my soil right now 6/30/14 and in 2 months will start my fall planting. For my in ground planting I dig a 18 inch hole about 12 inches deep and put my 50/50 mix in the hole add some 6-4-6 fert with it and water it in for about 2 weeks. Then about the middle of Sept. I plant my transplants. I use a drip irrigation system and weekly fert. with peters very week solution of peters 20-20-20. After the plants a little mature I fert with peters 10-30-20 on the jalapeno and tomatoes.
I keep thinking that I might try a different mix, but if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.
Here are a few pics of last winters tomatoes, broccoli, and caulifouer and this springs tomatoes & corn.
I get the pine fines from Bollings Forest Products. I will post a link to their website.
Thanks for putting up with my rambling.
Bob
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Here is a link that might be useful: bolling forest products

This post was edited by Theiball on Tue, Jul 1, 14 at 18:15


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 21:44

The 5:1:1 mix can't compete in the price arena with 'FREE', but it competes very favorably with mixes you have to buy - usually less than half the cost. It does, however, compete very favorably with or against mixes like you described. In a conventional container, a 50/50 mix of compost and pine fines is going to be extremely water retentive. Excess water retention is a limitation, no matter how you dice it. The question then really becomes, how far are you willing to go to deal with the limitations, or to what degree are you willing to accept them?

There ARE ways to make the soil you described work well in containers, and they're discussed regularly, but I've found that setting your jaw and dealing with the limitations never turns out as well as making them a nonissue from the outset.

Everyone is different, and as such orders their priorities differently. Everyone's perspective is a little different, too. I always look at things from the perspective of what's best for the plant. In some cases, I let costs win out over what I know to be best for the plant, but I don't allow costs to force me to stray so far my ability to keep plants really healthy is jeopardized. I might use the 5:1:1 in some cases, not because it's better than the gritty mix, but because it's cheaper and easier to make.

In the end, a good soil can never be determined by it's cost if the plant's well-being hangs in the balance. A good soil is determined primarily by its physical properties or how well the grower is able to manage those properties - how much water and air it holds, and for how long it's able to retain a favorable ratio of the 2.


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

Well said, Al.

I might also add that gardening in Florida allows folks to get away with heavier mixes, due to the favorable seasons. I could use a yard-dirt mix during the Summer....but I'd never dream of overwintering a pepper plant, for example, in that kind of mix.

Josh


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RE: Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

just wondering if al or somebody familiar could take a look at this:
planting knowns:
-Blazing sun
-4" topsoil silty loam 5% organic
-center of a round-about without irrigation and low maintenance.
-plant list is:
clethra
aster
asclepias
bouteloua
coreopsis
echinacea
liatris
lespedeza
penstemon
rudbeckia
soliadgo
andropogon
tradescantia
Proposed amendments:

-Topdress additional 8" of "potting mix" below, then till the 12" together.

8" mix is
· 2 cubic feet of double ground pine bark
· 1 quart vermiculite
· 1 pint peet moss
· 1/4 cup agricultural gypsum
· 1/4 cup dolomitic lime per M.13-02-Agricultural Ground dolomitic Limestone except
that it shall be non-pelletized and low in calcium
· 1/8 cup agricultural magnesium sulfate
· 1/4 cup of fertilizer per M.13.03-Fertilizer except that it shall be a 20-20-20 water soluble
fertilizer
· 2 tablespoons of agricultural sulfur
· 1-1/3 cups of grub control (Imidacloprid 0.5% Active Ingredient)


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