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Big Tent Container Gardening

Posted by johns.coastal.patio USDA 10b, Sunset 24 (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 12:08

I've said:

The constellation of potting mixes is very large. At the other extreme from synthetic mixes, we have whole families of organic and permaculture styles.

As I've said, I think the fact that all these styles are used by commercial growers means that they can and do work, and provide useful ROI.

There are commercial growers of greenhouse crops using synthetic mixes, and people using compost as well.

Whatever your interest, you can probably find a model that works.

I've also noted:

We should also be aware (self-aware) that the internet is great for spawning social groups which rapidly adopt group beliefs.

Permiculturalists reinforce each other on hugelkultur and tree guilds. Hydroponics groups follow their own trends. Followers of a particular garden book may trust very shallow "raised" beds. Trust in a particular potting soil recipe may become a cultural value.

I think a lot of these things work, and across "cultures" provide healthy food for many.

But there are many ways to skin the cat.

That's not controversial, is it?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

I will be the first to agree with you. What works for one person in a particular geographical area may or may not work for someone else. I go with what works well for me, discovered thru much trial and error.Just my 2 cents worth on the subject.

Rick


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 16:13

I don't agree that there are many commercial growers using compost. Partially composted bark sure, but compost as in finished compost, no. They are certainly not using it as the nute source for the plants. Now there are some outliers that use mineral soils and compost, but their plant stock is terrible. But then I just deal with about a hundred different wholesale growers in California.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

nil13, I'm happy to share my sources. For instance:

Potting Mixes for Certified Organic Production

UMassAmherst - Effects of Growing Media on Water and Nutrient Management

From that second one:

While most growers use soilless peat-based growing media, there is a growing interest in using composts as a substitute for traditional soilless media, especially for organic crop production. Compost-based mixes can be purchased just as soilless mixes are, or growers can compost organic waste and create their own mixes. See section on organic waste management for details about composts.

Research has shown that organic materials that have been properly composted can be successfully used in potting mixes. However, when used as a component in a potting mix, most of the time, the compost cannot supply enough nutrients and additional fertilizer must be applied.

While it is possible to use 100% compost for container grown greenhouse crops, the commonly accepted recommendation is to use compost at about 30-40% by volume. Most composts are too heavy, hold too much water or drain too much, or have too high a starting EC to be used 100%.

I'm particularly attracted to that "research has shown" line. I wouldn't dispute that compost can work, and I agree that it doesn't eliminate the need for fertilizer over the long haul.

There can be cultural beliefs that certain things do, or do not work, but research is better.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 16:48

Organic production is an incredibly tiny share of the horticulture container market. They are outliers and the nurseries that I have gone out to see have terrible stock. I was consultant on a project and the designer had ordered a bunch of native shrubs from one of those 'organic, native' nurseries that were in that ATTRA classic soil mix. I told her to send them all back and get a refund. The rootsystems were crap. I even showed her the difference between cogenerics from one of the major growers that she had also ordered from and the differwnce was night and day. She didn't listen to me, planted the junk, and they all died.

Are the numbers looking at compost growing? Sure, but that's because nurseries are scrambling for any marketing advantage they can. These organic growers succeed despite producing junk because people feel good buying from them. I have yet to see good nursery stock come from one of those types of growers. I won't buy from them unless I absolutely have to because no one else offers the desired species.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 17:05

Note the first bit in that qoute, 'most growers use'. Most is being polite. Itt should read, "damn near all."


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

So, you nil13 have never seen organic container production work.

I wonder whether successful organic growers feel welcome, and make a place at GardenWeb, or whether they are off in another internet group (possibly casting aspersions on chemical growers)?

See, these things do bring feedback. Over time, if the Tent is not Big, the population will reinforce a more narrow value set.

It becomes a mono-culture, if you will.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

So far we've had ATTRA and UMassAmherst, here's University of Vermont Extension.

Potting Mixes for Organic Growers

It really is hard for me to believe that these researchers can be propping up bad practices. Why would they?

I would think that they are helping people with a certain orientation reach their goals.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

I personally think there's plenty of room in the Tent for different methods of gardening. I use both inorganic and organic methods. In my smaller containers (5-gallon and less), I happen to prefer the ease of inorganic gardening.

In my larger containers (15-gallon and half-barrel) and in my garden proper, I use only organic methods. My container tomato (15-gallon) is in a bark-based mix, but I fertilize with Fish / Kelp, and I've even added alfalfa in small amounts in the past. In the garden, I never use synthetics because I do take an ideological position on the dumping of excess chemicals into the ground.

Josh


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 19:35

I have never seen commercial organic container production work well. I don't think there is a huge demand for it on the horticulture side of the industry. On the vegetable side there is demand, but even then what I see from what are really small time operators are highly chlorotic stock. But then I don't really have much use for that side of the industry so my experience is limited.

This is not to say that it is impossible. Those universities are obviously having success and figuring things out. There is definitely a growing demand for organic best practices amoung your average gardeners and that is why you are seeing extension services studying that. I think you are absolutely right that they are helping people of a certain orientation reach their goals.

What I specifically took exception to was the statement that many commercial growers were using compost. Those growers are few and far between and the results that I have seen have been poor.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 19:39

Josh, you are dumping excess chemicals into the ground regardless of whether you use organics or synthetics. Commercial growers have been studying leaching for quite some time and try to minimize it as much as possible because it is quite literally throwing money away.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

I think most people who come to the Container Gardening Forum are looking for a fairly simple entry into growing successfully in containers. Many have had bad experiences with potting mixes they bought from big box stores and want to learn how to have a better growing experience without a huge learning curve. They don't want to have to figure out how to formulate a complex mixture of organic components that meet all the needs of their plants. Other people, a minority, come here with a lot of experience and a sophisticated understanding of things like CEC, pH, the difference between urea and nitrate, feeding the microherd and things like that. Everyone is welcome. What I think most of us find most useful is sharing personal experiences with trying one method or another. What I find less useful is philosophical arguments about other people's chosen growing methods.

If you have had success with organic methods in containers, tell us what you tried and what the results were. We can take what we find useful in our own situations and leave behind the rest.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Well said, Ohio.

Nil, you are right...there is some excess. I suppose I should say that I attempt to *limit* the excessive dumping of chemicals into the garden. What I do is composting and layer mulching, as well as cover cropping, during the off-season to improve my soil. During the season, I do use Fish Emulsion....so I guess that's my big splurge. I water and mulch in an attempt to conserve moisture and get the most out of the nutrients I do add.

Josh


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

In the past, I've been hard core organic using General Organics line of nutrients -- grow, bloom, kelp, humice, etc. It's really impressive. I grow 10 gal tomatoes in commercial potting mix and they're incredible, far more than I could ever eat. But the soil only lasts for six months.

I don't think one could keep a peat and compost mix in a pot for more than six months without bare rooting the tree constantly.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Ohiofem seems on target. Certainly, her description applied to me when I first began growing in containers. I literally had no idea there was ANY difference from in ground. Fortunately, I learned from this and other forums that growing organically in containers can be more complicated.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

My big take away from the modern internet is not that my method works, it is that many, many, methods work.

That frees me to use plans, or select elements from plans, from all over the place.

I guess what's really strange is that some of you hear "everything works" to mean "you must try organics."

I did a compost based mix because it was what I had on hand ($0), mixed with left over sharp sand from another project ($0), fed with inexpensive fertilizer ($4), admittedly on "expensive" drip ($33) and found to my amazement that my tomatoes were growing like gangbusters.

It works, but if I were in other circumstance (in particular, with different materials on hand) I wouldn't exclude any other plan.

I wouldn't let my focus become too narrow.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

It definitely is not that I think my 2014 method should be anyone else's "always do."

It's that yes, I've heard my method as a "never do" in GardenWeb Container Gardening.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

I completely agree with Ohiofem on this. Her post was spot on. Most people, including myself, start out with mixed success with container plants using bagged potting soils. Some flowers and veggies don't mind the peat-based bagged soils, while other plants decline quickly in them. I cannot tell you how many times I've cleaned out old containers and found nasty, soggy muck in the bottom of them. I see why roots don't generally do well in that type of growing medium.

The way to avoid those disappointments is to come here and join in the discussions. Find out what others are using with success and try to emulate that success in your own containers.

I don't think there is any one "perfect" soil since different plants have different needs and each plant owner has only a limited amount of time and money to use on soil building. There's a delicate balance between what works best for the plants and what works for the plant owner.

So in terms of organic or inorganic soils we should use what is available in our local areas and what our budgets and free time allows. The cool thing is that some people love to tweak their soils and conduct experiments with drainage, pH, fertilizers, types of containers, etc. Based on those results I think everyone reading this forum benefits.

TYG


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

I like your finish, TYG, but your rather strong skepticism of peat comes on the same day that rickman posts of his success with Larry Hall‎'s rain gutter grow system.

I thought those systems were peat based, and successful even so.

(This might be an illustration of where I see a system not like my own, and say "fantastic" rather than saying "shouldn't work.")

Update: If you'd like to post some more pictures of happy 5-1-1 tomatoes, I will say "fantastic" just as I have in the past.

This post was edited by johns.coastal.patio on Sat, Jun 7, 14 at 13:14


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

I'm not saying you cannot grow good plants in peat. It's been done millions of times by people all over the world. Greenhouses are full of peat-based containers. I just don't think they hold up as well as bark or inorganic-based soils do.

If you don't mind replacing your container soils each year then bagged peat soils might be perfect. They are easy to find. Just add plant and water. But I've seen too many trees and veggies at nurseries and big box stores planted in unhealthy waterlogged peat-based soils.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

It sounds then like there are roles for peat, which is good because it is widely available, inexpensive, and (when Canadian) sustainable.

Still, for those of us with a household source of good aged compost, we have a similar component, at much lower cost.

The Soylent Green of gardening ;-). "It's plants!"


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

I'm still experimenting with mixes. But compost works well for me. I find these posts quite ironic as what turned me on to compost was commercial producers. All the commercial growers I know use compost, and none of them are organic growers. Either am I. I like my chemicals. But I'm just a backyard grower.
John your tomatoes look great! They do love compost!
I'm in Zone 6 , I'm about a week away from my first tomato.
I've been harvesting strawberries, and my raspberries are about to pop.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 9, 14 at 11:03

I have to wonder what kind of stock these growers are producing in compost. Annual plants in quarts or smaller? Shrubby perennials? Trees?


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

I think one answer to the "compost question" has to be a reminder that it is not a binary choice. Even a skeptic of compost might accept that there are harmless levels for any potting soil. After that, it is fine tuning.

The compost for peat substitution in 5-1-1 is only 14% compost.

I'd think that unlikely to ruin things, even in small pots.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 9, 14 at 16:07

I only ask because it seems like compost gets used by those growing vegetable starts that will remain in a quart for maybe a month and not be around a year later. This differs from the shrub grower that is going to keep the plant in tthe container for a year or until sold and then just pot up the next season with the previous season's media still intact.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

I saw a guy post on another forum that he got booted out of this forum years ago because he disagreed with what can only be described as the "party line." He seemed to be a real successful container grower.

This post was edited by suncitylinda on Mon, Jun 9, 14 at 20:05


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

I have to wonder what kind of stock these growers are producing in compost"

The ones I know are producing vegetables and fruits. Seems to work well with them. I would not use it for trees, or any type of houseplant. Exceptions may exist, but in general we want to control growth of trees and houseplants.
We want fruit and vegetables to grow crazy wild.
In nature the only fertilizer is compost.Millions of years of growing and extracting from compost is why it works so well. You act like it's unnatural, that is will cause weak growth, it's the other way around, chemical fertilizers cause weak, fast growth. Compost or organic fertilizer, which is really ah...compost, makes strong healthy plants.
I grow both house plants and vegetables in pots, so need multiple types of media, as my goals are different.
Some larger tropicals I want size control. I really wouldn't want much compost in those. Although they would love it. I need to minimize growth.
Cacti are used to a poor soil, so soilless mixes work well with them. As they are lifeless, nutrient poor media. So the gritty or 5-1-1 work with them, although I would never use either of those mixes for anything. To each his own.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Drew I find just the opposite where I'm from. We have large scale growing around here, wholesale nurseries, in ground growing, above ground, greenhouses, plastic covered rows of berries and flowers, you name it and I think we have it. My friend owns a nursery, I've been to many others with him and I haven't seen one that uses compost in their mix. The ones that use compost around here are all in ground growers, or the organic greenhouses selling lettuce and such, and maybe a few small organic growers that sell at the farmers market, and really they are growing one season crops that won't be staying in those pots long.

Before you all get on my case and call me a compost hater, I'm not at all. I use compost tea, chicken manure, blood meal, bone meal and all that great organic stuff, all in ground. My avocados love compost, but those big growers couldn't afford to take a chance like that, compost is to unpredictable in its nutrient level, structure consistency, pathogens.

Other than my veggies I wouldn't use compost in my long term container plants, we're talking long term, not a season or two. Compost in a long term container wouldn't be any different than having a peat based soil, except nutrients for awhile. I wouldn't put my bonsai in a compost mix, it would muck it up, just like peat. Gritty mix is basically a big bonsai mix, and compost really shouldn't be put in it I wouldn't think because it would clog it up over time.

So, compost is great, but I bet if I potted a citrus tree in gritty mix and one in a mix with compost, put them out on my patio for years, they would both do great for awhile but eventually the one with the compost would start going down hill much faster.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 9, 14 at 22:37

Drew I don't think growing in compost is unnatural. I think growing in containers is unnatural. I love compost, in my backyard.

Control the growth of trees and houseplants? That is insane. I don't know any commercial grower that wants to slow the speed at which a plant reaches sellable size.

This post was edited by nil13 on Mon, Jun 9, 14 at 22:43


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Container gardening may be "unnatural" nil13, but it is also as old as human civilization. Had pot practices not "worked" to some degree for a few thousand years, they would have died out.

I guess the tension with history that we see now comes from a suspicion that what "worked" then isn't good enough now, across the board, be that for pot herbs or pot trees.

Consider the 1986 work, "Potting soil label information is inadequate."

Should we really discard "Excellent" or "Good" results as no longer excellent or good? (I say no, and suspect that "Satisfactory" soils still are. The world did not change that much since 1986.)


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Estimating from the photo, they were growing 5 foot tomato plants in 12 inch pots, in 1905.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

John, were you trying to make a point with those two articles? Cause i couldnt see what they had to do with what you were saying. The first one said the soils were all over the board concerning quality and nutrients, the labeling was very "unsatisfactory".

The second one i didnt see anything surprising about tall tomato plants in 1905. People still prune tomatoes like that, they grow taller with fewer but bigger fruit. It was just all on prunning.

I thought reading them was really a waste of my time.

I have to agree with nil, he never said that growing in containers couldnt be done, he said it was unnatural, which it is, plants by nature dont grow on their own in containers, i think what he meant was that you cant treat container plants the same as ones grown in the ground, they are two different enviroments, one being made by evolution and one man made, of which man has been tweeking for thousands of years because we are always trying to do better. We're human, we're bored, its what we do.

If there was a point you were trying to make I'll check back to see, but im moving on cause im not really getting the point to this thread or learning anything.

Jerry


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Both works discussed the composition of their potting media. In the first, the composition of "excellent" media varied, which would support the view that there is more than one way to skin the cat.

The Tomato book was centered on the picture on page 10. Yield was discussed on page 9. Media on page 4.

I think that those results are still respectable. A 12" pot is pretty much a 5 gallon bucket. 6 pounds of fruit per plant would be considered success by most beginning to intermediate gardeners.

Commercial greenhouse growers certainly do better today, with 20 pound yields, but I don't think many patio growers are hitting that level.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Other than that, if your argument is that "pots are not the ground, therefore nothing found in the ground can go in pots" ... you are being selective.

Many things you put in pots are also found in the ground.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

"Commercial greenhouse growers certainly do better today, with 20 pound yields, but I don't think many patio growers are hitting that level"

Probably true, but I have a few times. I use bigger pots though! Some cultivars are better than others. Some new open pollinated varieties are awesome. I really like what Wild Boar Farms is doing. Some really nice looking tomatoes, and some are super productive. I like Amos Coli, Pork Chop (wow is this productive!) and Sweet Carneros Pink.
Next year I'm going to try a few others. Impressive new varieties.from this breeder.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Wow John, you have a way of twisting things around and putting words in peoples mouth. Where did i ever say that plants cant go in pots, or do well in pots? I said the nature of plants in ground and plants in pots are different, the environment they grow in is different.

And we'll just have to disagree on those articles and there purpose. Cause the first ones sole purpose was in analyzing for labeling purposes, not on what makes a better soil mix. The second one was all on the pruning practices for tomatoes, the growing conditions were incidental, the soil was only referenced as to what was already there, they said it was not the scope of the study.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

The way I read a study is to look at the "methods" section, and then draw conclusions from those.

A simple (and for many people free) soil based on decomposed sod, loam, and (oops, horse manure) was certainly the method.

And after that yes, they differentiated yield by pruning method.

But to say it's all pruning is pretty silly.

(When you said you agreed with nil13, I thought you were taking up his argument that compost can't ever work in pots because pots are "unnatural." That too is silly.)

This post was edited by johns.coastal.patio on Wed, Jun 11, 14 at 11:53


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Wouldn't it be terrible if a free potting soil worked?

Oh wait, no it would not.

This post was edited by johns.coastal.patio on Wed, Jun 11, 14 at 12:16


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

John your the one that posted the article, pruning method was exactly the whole point to their study. They say it a few times.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

I guess I should have done a better introduction then, I'm sorry. I'll take that as a lesson for next time.

For what it's worth, in chem, I was taught to read the abstract first (what they thought they were doing) and then the method (what they really did) and then the conclusion (to see if those matched).

In this case they thought they were testing pruing techniques, but their method was to use what was probably the then current technique of sod/loam/manure in containers.

The fact that they used coal heated greenhouses is quite the mental image, and quite distanced from our age. I mean, that probably wasn't automated. Some guy probably had to shovel coal depending on the temperature.

Kind of interesting too that they could get 30 cents a pound wholesale in the winter of 1905. People really wanted their tomatoes. Beef, Porterhouse roast was .10/lb and people bought Tomatoes, .09/can


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 11, 14 at 13:57

Woah woah woah, where did I ever say compost can never work in pots, John? Stop putting words in people's mouths.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Sure you did, nil13

Are the numbers looking at compost growing? Sure, but that's because nurseries are scrambling for any marketing advantage they can. These organic growers succeed despite producing junk because people feel good buying from them. I have yet to see good nursery stock come from one of those types of growers. I won't buy from them unless I absolutely have to because no one else offers the desired species.

Now, if you would have made a nuanced post in the beginning, that there were appropriate uses for compost in containers, it would be different.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Or this:

I don't agree that there are many commercial growers using compost. Partially composted bark sure, but compost as in finished compost, no. They are certainly not using it as the nute source for the plants. Now there are some outliers that use mineral soils and compost, but their plant stock is terrible. But then I just deal with about a hundred different wholesale growers in California.

I guess it's a game now to say "you are putting words in my mouth" when I actually just read what you say.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

From the Wikipedia entry for "Straw Man"...

The straw man fallacy occurs in the following pattern of argument:

1. Person 1 asserts proposition X.
2. Person 2 argues against a false but superficially similar proposition Y, as if that were an argument against Person 1's position.

This reasoning is a fallacy of relevance: it fails to address the proposition in question by misrepresenting the opposing position.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Seriously, step back and read the top post again. It was about how lots of things work. This was the big message:

Whatever your interest, you can probably find a model that works.

You came in nil13, with push back on that, throwing around words like "junk" and "terrible" to attack a segment of growing that you don't like.

Notice that I've never done that. I said to Jay-Part-Shade "I think I understand, and I support your goals" in his quest for a "100% Synthetic Potting Mix."

I also said above "If you'd like to post some more pictures of happy 5-1-1 tomatoes, I will say 'fantastic' just as I have in the past."

There is an asymmetry here. It comes from those of you who want to say that some methods aren't good enough.

I'd say reserve that for methods that are actually failing.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

But neither of those quotes say that compost can never work in pots. The quotes say that stock grown in compost at commercial nurseries isn't up to the standard that Nil expects for purchase.

Josh


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

I'm not sure if it was a straw man, or just a story made from whole cloth, to claim:

Organic production is an incredibly tiny share of the horticulture container market. They are outliers and the nurseries that I have gone out to see have terrible stock.

That is straight up a claim that few growers are organic, and those that are, fail.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Again, josh, look at the focus of this thread.

It is not championing a single method. It is asking for a openness and acceptance of varied methods.

Why on earth would nil13 bring "terrible" and "junk" to such a thread?

It certainly isn't to say "I think I understand, and I support your goals"

(as I said to Jay)


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Oh, and another direct quote:

Drew I don't think growing in compost is unnatural. I think growing in containers is unnatural. I love compost, in my backyard.

That sure looked to me like "compost, but not for containers."


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

I guess this is an example of internet psychology. Josh got "wrong sided" in this debate. He and I grow with similar methods, but he sees me as an outsider.

nil13 is an insider, even when he attacks the very methods Josh uses to grow.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

As long as people keep arguing with John, he will keep making his point that our tent isn't big enough for people like him and this mostly useless topic will keep rising to the top.

I will say it again hoping he will listen: People who use organic methods are welcome to promote them here. Period. Full stop.

That doesn't mean that people who have experience and evidence that convinces them that organic methods don't work as well in containers as nonorganic methods must give up their beliefs and practices just to make the naysayers feel welcome.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Ohio, the thread is actually proof that people do push back on organics.

But you are right that without push-back the thread would have faded quickly.

It is kind of willful to give "terrible" and "junk" a free pass.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Reminds me of religion, you have to have faith, as the science just ain't there!


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 11, 14 at 15:26

Saying that the commercial growers that use compost produce junk stock is not the same as saying compost cannot work. Saying that I prefer to put my compost in the ground is not the same as saying that compost cannot work.

Shazaam has it right. You are arguing a straw man. Do I think using compost is the best way to go about constructing a container medium? No. Does that mean it is not possible? No, in fact I said as much upthread, "This is not to say that it is impossible. Those universities are obviously having success and figuring things out."
But you are conveniently ignoring that bit.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 11, 14 at 15:32

People push back on organics? Um last time I checked, bark and partially composted bark were organics and very commonly used ones at that.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Btw, I have never once criticized you methods, Ohio.

You only see me as a "naysayer" because this year I am doing something different.

Internet psychology.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

What are you saying, nil13? If you endorse Drew's path to garden happiness, we're good.

The point here is to help everyone achieve their goals, by whatever path they choose.

Drew can be happy, and Ohio can be happy too.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 11, 14 at 15:55

I have never argued with anyone saying that it is possible to grow plants in compost based mixes. I have argued with people saying many commercial growers use compost based mixes. There's a big difference there. If someone said many growers are using gritty mix or missouri gravel beds, I would take exception with that as well. Commercial growers just use the best mix that gives them the best return for the money. They do not represent the set of all possible growing mixes. However if you want cheap and effective they are a good starting point. When commercial growers fail with a certain mix, there is something to be learned there as well. Their failure doesn't mean that the mix is impossible to grow in. It means that the mix is more difficult to grow in than other alternatives. Commercial growers can't provide the attention to each individual plant that hobbyists can. It is much easier for a grower to use a very well drained mix and use extra water than to carefully adjust the amount of water delivered to the plants based on how damp the mix is on any given day. Some hobbyists like to micro manage their plants, but that takes quite a bit of knowledge and skill. I have grown plants in containers in soil from the backyard, but you have to be a lot more careful than with other media or use plants that can deal with it.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Nil13, you tell me not to ignore the bit where you acknowledge that the Unis must be working out some viable methods.

And yet you want to finish with an argument that they are not working out viable methods.

We could have avoided this whole thing if you had not asked me to reject all their research, in favor if your opinion.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 11, 14 at 16:10

I endorse Drew's and Ohio's pursuit of gardening as a way of making them happy. But I'm not going to suggest to people that they emulate their methods. I'm also not going to suggest that people become Amish and drive buggies around although if they choose to do that I'm not going to complain about them going too slow on the road. I miht suggest to them that a car is a more effective form of transportation but if they tell me that goes against their ideology well then let's find them someone that shares their ideology and knows something about buggies. What do I care that they want to choose what I see as the more difficult path?


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 11, 14 at 16:13

I never asked you to reject their research. There you go again with the straw man arguments.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

You just want it both ways, nil13. You want to call compost "Amish and buggy whips" while saying that you accept the research.

From above:

Research has shown that organic materials that have been properly composted can be successfully used in potting mixes. However, when used as a component in a potting mix, most of the time, the compost cannot supply enough nutrients and additional fertilizer must be applied.

Nothing there about accepting poor results.

The word was "successfully."

Ah well, this is really old. Maybe I will look for a Big Tent that really is.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 11, 14 at 16:48

That's not having it both ways. A horse and buggy will get you where you want to go. Compost will retain moisture. I think there are more effective forms of travel and I think there are more effective ways to retain moisture. I don't have to deny the efficacy of either the horse and buggy or compost to supoort either of those positions. You seem to be working under a very dichotomous worldview. Just because a horse and buggy is slower and more cumbersome than a car doesn't make it bad. In fact it can be quite enjoyable. I have many fond memories of driving a horse cart. Making compost and digging up soil and then growing stuff in that can be quite enjoyable too I imagine, but that doesn't change the fact that their are alternatives that can more easily give better results.


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

"Wrong sided"? How so?

And I'm not exactly sure how you arrive at this: "[Nil] attacks the very methods Josh uses to grow." Has there been an attack? I haven't seen one if so.

Josh


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RE: Big Tent Container Gardening

Well John you seem to have the ability to push peoples buttons...But like I said before there are many ways and many mediums people use to garden. I don't think there is any set practice or medium when gardening. I use what I feel works best for me. I like to experiment... in ground, container, hydroponics, vertical to name a few. I use about 35% compost in my container mixes. The biggest reason for me is I get it free so it cuts my cost, but for me it also works extremely well. So with that said.. I agree with your original post...yes there is more than one way to skin a cat.


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