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How much fertilizer and/or lime initally?

Posted by edweather 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 10, 11 at 6:32

My property is very wet, and space is an issue, so this year I'm planning on growing a couple of tomato plants in 5 gal. containers (not self-watering.) I know it's probably blasphemy to say this, but I'm most likely going to use a bagged potting mix/soil of some sort. I just don't have the time to build my own soil, as much as I'd like to. What, if anything, should I add to the potting mix initally, and should I mix it in or put it on top? I'm planning on using a liquid fertilizer regularly after planting. Thanks in advance.


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RE: How much fertilizer and/or lime initally?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 10, 11 at 13:25

You're asking what to add to the soil, which sort of means you'll be making your own soil. ;o) If you heavily amend a commercially prepared potting soil with fine pine bark and perlite, and add some perlite, you're good to go, other than maybe adding a small amount of additional lime. Adding only additional perlite will be helpful in that it will reduce the total volume of water a given volume of soil is capable of holding, but it won't do much for drainage/aeration/and the height of the PWT unless the volume of perlite added is very significant (which is where the pine bark comes in.

If you decide to do nothing in the way of amending your peat-based soil, you can read through these tips on dealing with water-retentive soils, which will help you squeeze the most out of your soil (a pun?) if it proves to hold more water than what is favorable.

How you fertilize depends on a number of variables, temperature, plant mass, the frequency with which you can or want to fertilize, what you're using ...... all factor into the equation.

I'd say a good starting point would be 1/2 the recommended dose of a soluble fertilizer (3:1:2 ratios [different than NPK %s] are a very good choice) every 1-2 weeks when temps are above 55%. You can adjust from there based on growth and foliage color.

Al


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RE: How much fertilizer and/or lime initally?

Thanks for the feedback Al. I really appreciate it. I read your excellent Water Movement and Retention post twice, and your Fertilizer Program post. It's a little early in our upstate NY season to start perusing our local garden centers, but I noticed online that Lowes has a couple of products that might work for pine bark fines.

http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=92118-66882-92118&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=1112345&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=sim&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1#

and....

http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=97822-66882-97822&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=1115223&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=sim&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1

One says pine bark mulch, and the other says pine bark mini nugget mulch. Do you think that one of these might work? It's hard to tell what the size is, but one of them looks to be in the 3/8" range. I'll probably have to physically go to the store and check them out. My main concern is not being able to find the pine bark fines, which is why I was initally leaning toward a commercially prepared soil. Thanks.


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RE: How much fertilizer and/or lime initally?

Actually, I found some even better stuff. It's called Greensmix Bark Mulch, sold at Lowes. I went to the Greensmix web site and the size of the mulch is stated as being 0-3/8". Sounds perfect. I emailed Greensmix to find out what type of bark it is, and they told me it's fir bark.


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RE: How much fertilizer and/or lime initally?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 11, 11 at 16:14

If it's pine or fir bark - it DOES sound like a great find. I'd be pleased, if you think there's anything else I might be able to help you with. ;o)

Al


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RE: How much fertilizer and/or lime initally?

The manufacturer told me in a subsequent email that it's 100% Douglas Fir bark. I'm psyched! Gonna try and pick up a few bags tomorrow am. Thanks again.


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RE: How much fertilizer and/or lime initally?

Edweather!!! Could you confirm on the Greensmix Bark Mulch? It's available at my local Lowes also (at a very cheap price). So i'll prob need to stock up on this product. thanks. :)


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RE: How much fertilizer and/or lime initally?

When I contacted the Greensmix people they told me that it was 100% Douglas Fir Bark. Unfortunately my local store didn't carry it. My local Lowes carries a Pine Bark Mulch called Gardenscape, and funny you should say, they are clearancing 2 pallets of the stuff for a very good price. The Gardenscape product according to their website, is 100% Southern Pine Bark. It doesn't look that great, but at the price they're selling it, I can work with it.


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RE: How much fertilizer and/or lime initally?

Thanks Edweather! I just went to pick up 3 Greenmix bags, at $1.89/bag and the size of the bark mulch look perfect for the 511 mix!!!


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