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

 o
5-1-1- watering questions

Posted by queenskitchen 6B/7 (NYC) (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 12, 12 at 14:02

To go along with all the dowel discussions, I think i have an issue with my 5-1-1 mix (my first batch) and watering. When watering, as the water is soaking in, it also loosens up the top layer of soil and acually almost spills over the top of the pot (making a soupy soil mix on top). There is about 3 inches of room on some of the pots. Is that a symptom that my mix is too fine? It drains out of the bottom within 30 seconds maybe 20.

I probably should have cut back the peat fraction even more, however for some of the pots, i had been screening through alumimum before giving up screening the bark (based on recommendations here).

Also, i did not cover the screen holes in a few plastic windowboxes and the bark keeps blocking up the holes. Should i use drywall tape over the bottom to try and hold it in. When watering these, i loosened up the plants before i realized that the whole planter was full and soil was spilling over.

Yes, i was watering with a hose to save time.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: 5-1-1- watering questions

Usually you get perlite floating to the top as it's lighter then water. Just water more slowly. It doesn't hurt anything and will settle back down when it drains. Fast draining out the bottom is normal and is a "feature" of 5-1-1, the reason it aerates so well, and avoids salt buildup. Just water fast enough to fill the space without overflowing, and only have about 20% of pot volume come out of the bottom. Any more and you are essentially flushing your plant.

5-1-1 is totally different then peat based soil, and requires some changes in habits. Once you see how plants grow in it, you won't go back.


 o
RE: 5-1-1 watering questions

Don't worry about bark blocking the holes. I don't use screen, and even when bark is there, as long as it drains freely it's ok. I would only screen the holes if they were extremely large. My pots have up to 1" holes in them, and I lose very little bark once it settles in.


 o
RE: 5-1-1- watering questions

I actually was worried it wasnt draining fast enough. Seems like it should go through quicker. The problem is that everytime i water at least one of the 4 window boxes doesn't drain until i poke my finger in the hole in the bottom.

Also, a lot of the floating soil looks pretty dry. I am really soaking the plants because i have only watered maybe 3 times and want to make sure the peat is getting saturated.


 o
RE: 5-1-1- watering questions

The problem is that dry pine bark is hydrophobic, in that it repels water. When you apply water to the top, the dry bark repels the water, and basically is making the water float atop the soil. It will eventually settle in, but make sure you check that the middle is watered. I had problems last summer with the top of the soil looking good and wet, only to find out that an inch deep, it was bone dry. I either let it sit, and reapplied the water from the tray when the bark soaked up a bit of water, or I plugged the drain holes and let the pot sit there, filled with water, then drained it out after an hour or two.

Joe


 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