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What potting mix for carrots?

Posted by 1dahlia4me 7a (NoVA) (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 4, 12 at 7:03

I've searched here and elsewhere, and I can't find a "recipe" for a good potting mix for carrots. Could you recommend a mix?

Stuff I have: ProMix, perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, compost and Vegetables Alive fertilizer. (Would prefer not to rely too heavily on the ProMix for this as it's expensive and I'll need a deep container.) Will be getting pine bark fines too, and can of course pick up other things if needed.

Also, can I assume whatever mix is good for carrots is good for radishes too?

Kid wants to grow carrots, and I'd like it to be successful this year. No luck last year in the ground.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

I just planted some radishes in pots. I used MIracle gro potting mix, peat, perlite, lime. It would be fine for carrots. They say radishes need 6 inch deep of growing space but mine only have 4 inch so I will see how it goes.


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 4, 12 at 14:08

First, do you think you'll be able to site your container so it's partially buried in the ground - at least the bottom couple of inches? I think that will make a big difference for you in terms of success. If not, we can still come up with a useful strategy. Tell us more about the fertilizer too, please. Slow release granular? Organic in nature? NPK %s?

Al


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

Al, do you mean cut out the bottom? I could probably do that, but my soil has a lot of clay. I think that might be why my carrots didn't do anything last year.

The Vegetables Alive fertilizer is organic. Has bonemeal, bloodmeal, pulverized limestone, kelp meal, tankage, poultry manure and soybean meal. It's 4-3-1 ... hmm ... that's not a good ratio for carrots, is it? I also have Miracle Gro granules.

I went looking for pine bark fines today and didn't find them, but picked up a bag of potting mix that the local nursery uses. It's peat and perlite.


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Soil for carrots

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 4, 12 at 14:55

Where I was headed was, partially burying your containers turns them into raised beds (from a hydrologic perspective) and would have eliminated the worry about a soggy soil ..... if it wasn't for the clay. Darn.

Any chance you could find a BIG bag of perlite so it's not so expensive? It often comes in a 4 cu ft bag for $15-20. Mixing perlite and Promix 50/50 still isn't the best, but it's better than just Promix or another similar potting soil. In either case, using a wick will be very helpful.

Keep looking for the pine bark, too. That has proven the key for soo many others who have in the past had difficulty with heavier, peaty soils.

Al


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 4, 12 at 15:01

Where I was headed was, partially burying your containers turns them into raised beds (from a hydrologic perspective) and would have eliminated the worry about a soggy soil ..... if it wasn't for the clay. Darn.

Any chance you could find a BIG bag of perlite so it's not so expensive? It often comes in a 4 cu ft bag for $15-20. Mixing perlite and Promix 50/50 still isn't the best, but it's better than just Promix or another similar potting soil. In either case, using a wick will be very helpful.

Keep looking for the pine bark, too. That has proven the key for soo many others who have in the past had difficulty with heavier, peaty soils.

Al


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

"Mixing perlite and Promix 50/50 still isn't the best, but it's better than just Promix or another similar potting soil"

Wow!!!!!?!?!?!


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

Thanks. So the pine bark wouldn't be too coarse for root vegetables? I'm pretty sure I'll be able to find it somewhere. Assuming I do, what mix would you recommend for this, including fertilizer type and amount for a 5-gallon container? Sorry to ask for such hand-holding here, but I just really don't know about how the nutrients work out in something like this.


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

You can not go wrong with Miracle gro all purpose fertilizer. If you can get the pine fines, make the 5-1-1, it is the best mix. You can reuse it longer all through the season for your summer crops and it will be good for a long time. Plants grow fast in the 5-1-1. I use 1/4 of what the directions say on fertilizers and water more often.


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 4, 12 at 22:53

No it wouldn't, 1D4M. Hopefully you'll find a bark product that has almost all it's particles in the <1/2" size range. If you CAN find it, then the 5:1:1 mix should work very well. I think a 2:1:2 fertilizer ratio would be best for root vegetables, but if you mixed a little potash into your soil when you made it and went with any of the 3:1:2 ratio soluble fertilizers, it will work as well. MG, Peter's, and others make a granular soluble in 24-8-16. In liquid, you'll find MG 12-4-8 easily, too. I like Foliage-Pro 9-3-6 becaquse it has everything in it, but since you'll be adding a little lime if you make your own soil, the Ca and Mg are covered.

Don't worry about the hand-holding. Almost everyone that participates in the forums is here to help/learn/both.

Best luck to you ..... and don't be bashful about voicing your questions/concerns.

Al


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

Hi 1D4M,

Try checking Behnke's Nursery in Potomac and i believe there is one in Hyattsville MD.
301-983-9200

Also check Fairfax Remington Mulch
703-560-2275

Wolftrap Nursery
Vienna Va.
703-759-4244

Hope this helps.. Others have found Pine Bark Fines at these places.. : )

Laura

Here is a link that might be useful: Behnke Nurseries


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

Great, thanks everyone. Al, those details are very helpful! Laura -- awesome ... I drive past Wolftrap often. Hope to get these planted this week.


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

One more question -- never used potash before. Quick search seems to indicate that I can use wood ash. Is that correct, or do I need something different?


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 5, 12 at 9:44

I'd skip the wood ash. In order to get any of the good (potassium carbonate), you have to take a lot of the bad (sodium carbonate), which could easily create a toxicity (of Na) and would drive pH unnecessarily higher. Potash is cheap & can be had in small bags (Espoma products). If you'd like, or can't find it, I'll send you a little potash.

Al


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

Thanks for that kind offer, Al. I found pine bark fines! But I couldn't find potash. Stopped at two nurseries and Lowes (plus another nursery that turned out to be closed for the evening). Got a lot of "Pot ... what? Hey, have you guys heard of that? I don't think we have that ..." I THINK I was pronouncing it right. :)

I have everything I need now except the potash ... wish I could find it locally so I could go ahead and plant. I'll try to leave work early enough to stop at the nursery that was closed tonight. Would the bag say potash or would it say something else?

Thanks again!


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 6, 12 at 7:36

If you call around to nurseries, greenhouses, plant stores, ask if they carry Espoma products. If they do, they will almost certainly have potash, and the bag will be labeled as potash. Your success isn't going to turn on whether or not you can find potash. I'm sure you can do well w/o it. It was just a suggestion that would be helpful, but I think the main factor that will contribute to your success is getting you to where you're working with a soil or methods that offer an increased margin for error and getting your watering habits down.

Any grain elevators that have farm stores and sell fertilizers would also likely have potash, but in 50 lb bags. It's not that expensive, but I still have more than half a 10 lb bag I bought maybe 10 years ago. Want some? ;-)

Al


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

Well, sure, I'll take you up on that. Thanks! All three of the places I went yesterday had Espoma products, and there was no potash. Strange! My email is enabled. Please let me know what I can send you.


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 6, 12 at 13:15

Your address? ;-) I promise I won't show up on your doorstep.
Photobucket

Al


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

I sent it to you. You can show up and help me set up my containers! :) Thanks again.


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

Al--
You suggested a 50/50 mix of Promix and perlite for carrots and radishes. Would I also want that light a mix if I am using smart pots sitting on a concrete patio?
Would you also suggest lightening up the mix for my tomatoes, squash, lettuce, etc that are also in smart pots? If so, what percentage og perliye should I use with them?
Thanks for your continuing great advice.


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

How many containers do you have, it sounds like a lot. Using 50% perlite would be very expensive. Making the 5-1-1 is economical and has great drainage. I would not suggest using 50% perlite and I think tapla said that to show even 50% perlite cut with pro mix still would not be as good as the 5-1-1. If cost is not an issue then you can use 80% perlite and water/fertilize more often. I grew 2 cherry tomato in about that, 75% perlite 25% peat no lime because I did not know better. They thrived but I would never want to spend that kind of money on perlite for my main garden.


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

I have 24 smart pots requiring 120 gallons of medium. I also already have 5 3.8 cu. ft. bales of Promix B X which is 133 gallons of medium.
Is the Promix by itself too heavy for smart pots sitting on concrete?


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 6, 12 at 21:48

1D4M - Got it. I've got the potash bagged up & I'll get it in the mail tomo from work. ;-) ..... and it wouldn't be the first time I helped someone put their containers together.

Delaware - I really didn't suggest a 50/50 mix of perlite and Promix as a first choice, I suggested it as a way to reduce the water retention of the Promix to make it more grower/plant friendly.

What way are you leaning when it comes to soil - making or buying?

Al


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

You have 5 bales of promix, your set!!! Go for the pro mix HP next time. You know to let time in between watering then you are ok. And you have a good basic fertilizer because promix has nothing in it.


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

Hi ID4M,

I am so glad that you found some Pine Bark Fines in your area...Do you mind if i ask which nursery that you had success? Im planning a trip up there soon to Wolftrap to see their trees and wanted to find my fines there...but if you found them at another place, please share!!!

Can u post a pic of your fines? I'd love to see what you found!! It is sometimes hard to find these fines, so if you wouldnt mine sharing, i would really appreciate your help!!!

Thanks,

Laura


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

im in va beach, i went to mcdonalds nursey on independence, they have sweet peat for like 15$ a truck load. its mostly composted forestry products. may want to give it a shot...looks pretty good, i cut the peat content down a smidge when mixing it for the new bed and containers i filled.


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

Laura, I got them at the Meadows Farms across from Reston Parkway. The one at Baron Cameron didn't have them, and neither did Blue Mount Farms in Ashburn or Abernathy & Spencer in Lincoln, where I had to go to get my ProMix (love that place even though it's quite a drive). I haven't managed to get to Wolf Trap before 5:00 yet.

The pine fines are not quite as fine as I expected -- some bigger pieces mixed in. I should probably sift out those pieces. But I mixed up a first batch (minus the potash for now), and the mix is so light that I think the roots won't have any trouble pushing through. I'll try to take a picture and post it, but might not be able to do that until tomorrow.


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

hey virginia ladies! A couple of other sources for Al's mixes (Hi Al, glad to be back on the forum!)- the espoma products are available at the Strange's Garden Center in Short Pump, if that is convenient. Also, Southern States will order items for you if you are very specific about what you need. Also, I've had great luck working with the guys over at Griffin's Nursery Supply on the other side of Richmond. Alternatively, I discovered a wholesaler called Wetsel in Harrisonburg that carries everything - turface, perlite, pine bark fines, peat, AND Al's fave fertilizers. The only drawback is you have to be a nursery to order - so give their info to your local nursery and they can place the order for you (in theory). Hope these are helpful :)


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

Hi Gunnersm,

I have also gone to the Nursery (Mcd) and when i describe to them what i want, they look at me like i have three heads. Now, if they would let me go to the back where they have all of the different mulch..i could have a field day!!!

I do have good luck at the Feed and Seed for my Turface and Gran-i-grit, but finding a good source for Pine Bark Fines has been a challenge. I did have a source from a friend who grows Bonsai in Yorktown, and he has told me that his Nursery stopped carrying what he needed too. The local Atlantic carries bagged Bonsai mix which has all we need plus shale, but its way to expensive to buy for such a little bag. I would rather make my own. I do use Reptibark for my Gritty. But i really want to find a good source for my 5-1-1 mix. Thank you for the direction on Mcd on Indep. I will check again as they are stocking up for spring. It is certainly nice to see someone else here from VB (757) : ) Our temps have been crazy lately eh?

1D4M,

Thank you for the info on the nursery up in your area. It seems like you can find more things up there than in the southern area as far as fines. We have the Granigrit and Turface and you have the Fines... : ) I cant wait to visit Wolftrap either. A friend who live up there checked and he found another nursery. I will hve to check my email and then post for you. He said they had what i was looking for a few days ago. I always screen out the large particles. So you can try that next time. Sounds like you are coming along. Happy for you!!! Thanks again and im looking forward to your pics. I will let you know where my friend from NoVa finds his Bark. This will help both of us!!!

Take care,

Laura


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

  • Posted by DWD2 10a, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 12, 12 at 6:21

1dahlia4me, You have been offered a lot of advice in the previous posts apparently along with a very generous gift of materials. Possibly I can suggest a different approach for you to consider too.

First, you may find this video clip helpful.
http://www.territorialseed.com/product/video_root_crops_2010

I routinely, successfully grow vegetables in containers. My inclination is to think that root vegetables that need to be directly sown would not do well in a bark dominated potting media but I have never tried and do not know for sure. What I DO know works is using potting soils that I can get at nurseries here in California. I use either Sunland Natural and Organic Potting Soil or Gardner & Bloome Potting Soil. Per 1.5 cubic feet of potting soil I add 1 quart of an All Purpose fertilizer (a 4-6-4 or 4-6-3 or 4-6-2), 8-10 crushed egg shells, 2 cups Fish Bone Meal (3-16-0) and 2 handfuls of worm castings. I put them in plastic storage boxes I got at Target that have a bunch of drainage holes drilled in the bottom. For carrots, I would get one 1.5 to 2 feet deep. But any type of pot you have with enough depth and good drainage should work well. I wet the potting mix, watering reasonably thoroughly 3 times with a 15 minute or so rest between waterings a day or two before planting. Sprinkle the seeds on the surface like you are a chef on one of those cooking shows salting some recipe that looks so easy, but rarely is. You are trying to get ~1 seed per square inch of surface. Cover with 0.25 to 0.5 inches of your potting soil by gently sprinkling it over the seeds. Gently water, a mist spray attachment on your hose works well for me. If you want to be extra careful, you can cover the seeded areas with Saran wrap. Check daily for germinate. If you used the Saran wrap, remove it the instant you see any germination. I fertilize my veggies ~weekly with worm casting tea. You may have noted by now that I choose to grow organically but you can substitute nonorganic components in this approach. The most important component is a good quality, relatively light potting soil. As the seeds sprout, thin out the ones that are too close together. You can eat the carrot greens which at that stage will taste intensely of carrot. Your son will probably get a kick out of that!

You have not mentioned what carrots you want to grow. Several companies with really good seed selections are Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Renee's Garden Seeds, Johnny's Selected Seeds and Territorial Seed Company. You might have fun trying several varieties of carrots. Kids love purple carrots in my parts!

If you'd like, one way you can test different approaches is to do a tester with radishes. They take ~3 weeks from sprouting to harvest. In my experience, if your radishes do well, the same approach will work well for carrots.

Good luck with your carrot adventure!


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

Al, the potash arrived! Thank you so much!! First container of 5-1-1 is made and planted.

DWD2, thank you for the additional advice. This mix in my first container seems light -- and would have been better if I'd screened out the bigger pieces of bark -- but I plan to start several containers of carrots over the next few weeks, and I'm open to trying more than one method. Question -- one QUART of fertilizer? That's so much -- what kind of fertilizer is that?

As for what kinds of seeds, in our first container, we have a ring of radish seeds around the outside, and a mixture of colors of carrot in the middle, including purple. With plastic wrap on top. :)


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RE: What potting mix for carrots?

  • Posted by DWD2 10a, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 12, 12 at 18:41

1dahlia4me, I personally use one of two organic fertilizers, either Sustane 4-6-4 or Down to Earth 4-6-2. Gardner & Bloome has a 4-6-3 for veggies too. I am sure other companies like E.B. Stone, Dr. Earth and several more have similar, organic products. They all act functionally as slow release fertilizers. If you are using a nonorganic, water soluble product, you are looking to add roughly the same amount of N-P-K over the grow period or use a slow release nonorganic fertilizer.

By the way, those little radish sprouts that you thin are tasty too. They make great accents to salads. Sounds like you & your son will have a lot of fun with this.

Good luck with your garden!


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