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Pine bark too fine for 5-1-1?

Posted by Chelidon NC 7b (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 15, 12 at 10:47


I've been lurking here for about a month learning all I can about container soils, hoping to try my hand at 5-1-1 for my veggies next year. I brought it up with a neighbor who enjoys gardening, and she offered me a few bags of pine bark mulch that were taking up space in her shed to experiment with. I screened it through 1/2" hardware cloth, but I'm concerned that the leftover particles might be too fine and retain too much water. Can anyone with more 5-1-1 experience take a gander and let me know if it appears workable? If so, should I omit the peat and/or increase the perlite (if so, to what ratio)?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Pine bark too fine for 5-1-1?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 15, 12 at 11:16

I think you're in good shape at 5:1:1. Was it wet when you rec'd it?


RE: Pine bark too fine for 5-1-1?

Yes, it came in 2 cu. ft. plastic bags that were fairly wet inside. The bottom picture was taken yesterday just after screening, the top was taken this morning after it had aired out a bit. I'm glad to hear it looks decent, I was worried it might be too much on the dust end of the 5-1-1 spectrum. Now I have about 15 cu. ft. of the stuff, just need to mix it up and figure out what to plant in it this time of year.

On a side note, huge thanks to you, Al (and all the other amazing folks here who have created such a wealth of stored gardening knowledge). I had never grown anything before I started reading these forums, but in the last month or so I've put together about 20 containers of herbs and other edibles, and they're all thriving because of what I've learned here. Add one more to your long list of grateful students :).

RE: Pine bark too fine for 5-1-1?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 15, 12 at 14:29

That was very kind of you! ;-)

If it was stored wet for a long time, I'd have a little concern about a pH extreme on the low side. Usually, bark to be used in soils is packaged dry, or if it's wind-rowed the rows are turned frequently to avoid the organic acids associated with anaerobic composting. If you can, lime the mix and try a plant or two in it just to see if all is ok.


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