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Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Posted by olympia_gardener 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 9, 12 at 10:55

I saw many discussion/confusion/misundertanding going on in the forum about Al's 511/gritty mix and store bought peat based potting mix. I may just open a can of worm post this thread, but I would like to know what are the Pros and Cons of using or not using Al' 511/gritty mix.

Just through in my two cents. IMO, Al's 511/gritty mix provide a opportunity for ontainer plants to reach their full potentail. But Al's mix may not be suitable for everyone.
Many of us many grow container plants for years in regular soil or peat based soil. Plants may survive every year but may not thrive every year. We may not know plants potential untill we put it into different medium to let grow stronger, healthier root system. But this come with scarifice... I used to water my plants once a week, sometime, 10 day or more depends on the soil moistry level. The plants I have in gritty mix, I have to water every two days...
Some plants are more tolerant of overwatering, maybe these plants are better off grow in regular soil so that you can cut the maintenece time down?

Some annuals that only need one season of good soil, maybe there is no big growth differences between using peat based soil and 511/gritty mix for veggies and annuals?

Regarding the cost, it is about the same as common commercial peat based potting soil. I buy pine bark around $3-4 per 2 CF only half can be used in the mix so bark is $3-4 per CF. Perlite is about $24 per 4 CF so it is $6 per CF. Peat is about $10 per 3CF at Lowe's so is about $3 per CF. comes down to about $3.5 per CF ( $24 in 7 CF) for the 511 mix which is about same as MG potting soil with fertilizer which is about $7-8 per 2 CF I bought. With MG rebate, MG is much cheaper.



Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Quite difference between $3.5 and $7-8. Not sure what the rebates are.

That being said, this subject has been covered quite a bit, and boils to down to what Al has said all along about balancing convenience for the grower as compared to what is best for the plants. If you are satisfied with a little less performance and health in exchange for convenience, then maybe peat based soils is best for some people.

The exception that I've found, is that I've actually found peat based soils to be more inconvenient due to their finicky nature. Yes, you may water less, but you have to be much more exacting of your watering in amount and timing, and also having to do flushing of salts and dealing with more pests and disease. I will admit, I find peat much more troublesome indoor then out due to the longer periods between watering, and the fact it takes longer for the mix to recover from overwatering. I've also found salt buildup tends to be more prevalent indoor as well.

So what is really more convenient? If you using wicking or other self-watering techniques, then you negate any potential disadvantage of 5-1-1. Personally, I like watering a bit more often, as it gives me a chance to take a good look at my plants. If I go away for a weekend or something, I will just stick a wick in water for the plants that tend to use the most water. I do tend to pot up plants when they seem to require excessive water frequency. For someone who is on the road alot, not sure peat is the answer. Probably best to find another hobby that requires less maintenance, or go all the way and set up a self watering or hydroponic system.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Light soilless mixes:

Pros- High Air Porosity, Higher yields. Easy to move around.

Cons- Like hydroponics- the grower has to be direct with fertilizing,Need frequent watering, less ph buffer.

Soil mixes:

Pros- Hold water and ph. Easy to grow in because of the buffering abilities. Top heavy plants wont fall over in winds.

Cons- Less yield due to less air porosity. Large containers are hard to move and soil compacts even quiker. Must fertilize light. Must water light.

These are what I can come up.

Just search pros and cons of soil vs hydroponics to get a better idea.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 9, 12 at 13:52

The 5:1:1 mix and gritty mix aren't about what you should or shouldn't do, or about right or wrong. They represent an option that has proven to be easier and more fruitful to almost everyone who actually grows in them. No one cares what anyone else grows in or how you order your priorities, only that people get good information so they can make informed decisions.

If you take note, you'll discover that most of the disagreement or dissent you might find usually comes from a few individual posters more intent on producing heat than light. As of the last year +, that hasn't been the case because the trolls have been largely absent.

A good case can be made for or against MG soil, simply by changing your perspective. If someone places high priority on convenience, it's easy see why they might balk at a fast draining mix you have to make and water more often. On the other hand, if a grower places a high priority on plant health/yields and an easier time of growing, it's easy to see why the gritty mix and the 5:1:1 mix are so attractive

There's room for everyone, and no reason to fight. You'll notice that the infighting usually revolves around someone's misrepresentation of facts (often intentional) to start the pot boiling; but again, it's been quiet around here lately, which is a GOOD thing.

Al


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Hummmm...Very good topic!

I must start with saying that I am BLESSED beyond believe to be armed with the concepts, science, and understandings about how soil mixes work in containers!

Having this information freely dispensed here has given me the opportunity to choose what I want to do for any of my plants.

I can use well airated mixes, or those that are anything but great depending on the plant, their needs, or mine, how long I care to grow them, or how I want them to look, if I care, or not. Fun, actually, having these options.

Using mixes such as the 5.1.1, gritty, or a variation of, have been worth every moment I spend with my plants! I may spend much more time with certain ones in these mixes and yet at times, not as much watering as frequently as many may think, but I choose to enjoy that.
I do spend much less time with my plants in very heavy mixes that seem to aquire my attention more so in winter when the fungus gnats take a grip, but what fun is that to me? Sure it gives me freedom from watering, but not freedom from worrying about other disadvantages.

I have found that MOST of my plants growing in anything but the porous mixes have more con's and do not fare as well as the ones in well airated mixes. So on that note, the, 'I don't care about that plant' falls under this catergory, usually annuals and common houseplants.

Therefore, you can only imagine what mixes I have decided to choose and the benefits I truly find worth it for my highly prized ones, being most of them.

Really, when you think of it, I have seen plants growing at Disney World suspended on racks in the air in which the huge roots masses are totally exposed to the air,being sprayed with nutrients and water 24 hours a day. They are flwless, HUGE, loaded with fruit and vegi's much bigger than usual, and yet who has the time to do that, what I feel is best for those plants?

My second best choice whould be growing in a meidum that almost mimicks that, but in which the roots can anchor themselves into something and that does not force me to water my plants 24 hours a day.
I figure that if I don't have the time to water as often as I should, then it would be a good choice to not have as many plants to attend to, right?
You see, it is all a mtter of choice. How many plants can I afford to spend time with? Which ones do I choose to water more frequently? Will I have the time, or do I cut down on how many I should have?
Do I want certain plants, or all, to grow to their FULL potential, or just so so.
Am I satisfied with my old way of growing things? NO
Do I want plants to continue to move forward in good health? Yes, or decline at a moments notice, NO?
Is watering more frequently going to cramp my lifestyle?NO
If I do choose a more water retentive mix, am I willing to except its disadvangatges and learn to work with them? NO

These options, only we can choose for ourselves.
I have personally found there are much more pro's than con's when it comes to the 5/1/1 Gritty in comparison to peat based mixes.

Being armed with the concepts of well airated mix such as Tapla has taught us, has given me a great opportunity to work with and do what is best for my plants first, then me of course, for the rest of my life!

Mike


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

What convinced me to try to move to something other than bagged mixes was the bag of mix that I bought this spring that had composted in the bag and parts of it were basically gray ash. I tried to use some of it to pot up some vegetable seedlings, and they drowned and I had to start over. So if you aren't careful, even for annuals it might not be the best thing.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

I had my two scents in the pot. I just answer Capoman's question here.
"Quite difference between $3.5 and $7-8. Not sure what the rebates are."
The $3.5 is 1CF, and the $7-8 is for 2CF. Without any rebate, the cost of 511 and the potting soil roughly the same. I am using regular retail store price for the comparison.

The MG potting soil I bought cost $7.99 2CF/bag. The rebate is $5. This was offered through True Value hardware store. The restriction is 2 bag (4CF) each household per rebate. So for these 4CF I only paid $1.5 per CF.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Good find olympia gardener. ;)

Yea and now I see Hyponex in Walmart for only 8.75 for 2 cuft. It is not the old hyponex either. Now it is in a new green bag and is full of forest products,peat,perlite. It is really light now. My friend used it this year and it worked great! ;)


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Thanks for the clarification, however you aren't comparing apples with apples. If you watch for sales, especially at end of season, you can often get 5-1-1 components at half price as well. If you compare normal pricing, 5-1-1 is cheaper almost every time. About 50% or so where I live. Even if it was the same price, I'd still do 5-1-1 over peat any day.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

A newbie's take on the pros & cons:
Pro: gritty mix seems to protect the plants from my biggest vice, overwatering. And it doesn't form an inpenetrable crust like potting soil can.
Con: I found it was a lot of work, going different places to get the ingredients, and sifting and measuring everything. I think it is worth it, but still, it's not as easy as just dumping some dirt out of a bag.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

"Pros- High Air Porosity, Higher yields. Easy to move around. "

It is very clear that both the gritty mix and the 5-1-1 are perfectly designed to offer optimal conditions for plant roots. With the right source; it can be made for next to nothing. With the 5-1-1 there should not be any watering problems. Bark holds water and much air as well, making it one of the best choices for a grow media. I have used the 5-1-1, and made some mixes with larger bark. I found it really is a great primary component to a good mix.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Hello Everyone,

I totally agree with Tomatotomata and Mike.

It was difficult at first to find these ingredients, but it was my decision based on what i read and learned. I wanted to try and make the best mix for my trees/plants. Cons can be made for anything..

I will adnmit to starting off with the bagged soil. Most beginners do.. But when you search and want better, we seek out what is best for me and my trees. I put forth the effort into making my trees healthier and grow to the best that they can be. The bagged soil worked alright, but i wanted more. SO i searched and found the Gritty Mix and i can't say enought about how i love this mix.

The Pros totally out shine the cons as far as i am concerned. I love to mix, It is very easy to have the ingredients available and just add when im ready to pot up or root prune a tree or plant. I don't worry about over watering and i know they can handle my work schedule as far as going three and four days while i am away working. I have to be out of town alot for my job, but i know that i will still have healthy trees when i get home and they will not be drowning if it rains for mulitiple days in a row. This mix allows them to drain properly and the tropical trees that i grow cannot handle wet feet at all. They are very particular to fast draining soils (mix) and i have found that they just thrive in this mix. Some of you all know that my passion is growing Plumeria. They like to be on a certain watering schedule and are very particular ... My trees have done so well .. I just cannot say enough positive things about this mix.

Everyone has their priorities and can either decide if it is worth the effort to make or buy... I know that my mix is far better than anything i can purchase and my trees would say "thank you" to AL if they could, but they can only show their beauty to me and others when i post pictures of what becomes of them when i have changed their growing enviroment.

So here are a few picture for Al to say "Thank YOU" for making me understand why they love this mix...

Leela
Photobucket
Desert Sunrise
JL Metallica
Jeannie Moragne

I hope that everyone can be kind and just try and understand why we have these discussions. We all want to learn and do what is best for our trees.. That is why we are all here. We love our trees and are always searching for making things better for us and our trees.

Lets keep this thread an interesting place to visit...

Mahalo!!

Laura


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Well I'm a newbie to the forums and the 5-1-1 mix and I concur with all the pros. I get such satisfaction from providing something that is naturally healthy to my plants and watching them respond with new leaves and bigger leaves and vibrant color.

What some cite as cons are not cons to me. There is a 'cost' associated to achieve any purpose. One must count the cost to see if one is able/willing to pay that cost.

I love to mix also. I so look forward to the time when I go to my garage (mostly in the evenings) and pull out all my supplies and make a batch of mix according to what plant(s) I'm working on. I love 'tending' to my plants. (Sometimes I think it must be the mother in me. My children are not babies anymore so maybe I need something to 'mother') :-)

Anyway, I think it comes down to what is most important to you and the degree you feel you want to 'give' of yourself to achieve what you desire- The degree you want to give to anyone(people,family,relationships), to things(plants,lawn care, veggie gardening) etc.

I don't mean to gross the fellas out here but as I read this thread I thought about the decision new moms face after giving birth to either breast/bottle feeding. One option takes MUCH more effort, many sleepless nights, exhausting days and giving of yourself more than you ever have but a healthier baby with the natural antibodies passed to it from mom is definitely worth the sacrifice.

The other option is more of a convenience to mom who can still have a healthy baby but may not know for sure how healthy this formula is in the long run.

I've done both. With each child came more experience and so some things came easier. Also, different things were important to me with each child and in each stage of life. With the last child sleep and rest were more important what with having other children to tend to so I didn't last long with going "au natural".

To each his own. For those who are still making the decision if they want to switch, read all you can and gain some understanding. Know what is most important to you at this time and go with that. Or you could just choose one plant and do a test drive with that one, putting that one plant in either the 5-1-1 or gritty mix, if you are curious enough. To those who are satisfied with what they have and with their plants, then go with what you have and hopefully we can all co-exist and get along and encourage one another toward whatever goals we have towards our plants and remain open to when/if we ever need each others knowledge or expertise no matter what soil we grow our plants in.

By the way, I love this mix!!! (did I convey that already?)


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Technology or science:
Disney world plants growing in the air. Who has time to do this 24 hours a day? A machine with some finely tuned electronics is watering them. To keep the grounds of growing grasses greener they use timers and irrigation. At least if you saw flower beds growing from the ground you can rest easier knowing someone did take time to plant them in the ground.

If you want to see a lack of a custom mix in use in an indoor container garden nightmare visit Smithsonian Museum Gardens.

Pros and cons over anything
I dont see or read trolls asking someone to go out and spend money on a machine type device to grow a plant over bagged soils as a preference but that they sometimes express how they and you enjoy growing plants to the best of there ability and also express how plant growing can expand.

* Trolls Make believe creatures that sometimes live under bridges attempting to scare three hairy chinned goats, or an insult to a person or persons who has a different opinion that isn't common to others.



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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Ok, here we go ;)

The name of this Topic is:

"RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat"

"Lets keep this thread an interesting place to visit... "

Lets only talk about the 5-1-1 on this thread you mean? If anyone says that potting mix is ok to use, lets call them a troll?


This just about says it all.

"Probably best to find another hobby that requires less maintenance, or go all the way and set up a self watering or hydroponic system."

No, I will just grow pounds of fresh produce in containers every year using potting mix so if I do leave for 3 days my plants will not die ;)


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

olympia_gardener,


"Peat is about $10 per 3CF at Lowe's so is about $3 per CF"

It expands to 6 cu ft. So it really is 1.50 a cu ft.

I mix peat with potting mix ;)

I even mix peat moss with garden soil and make a almost free mix ;)

These plants are in garden soil from the ground. Nothing like paying $0.00 a cu ft for soil ;)
Photobucket


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Lets only talk about the 5-1-1 on this thread you mean? If anyone says that potting mix is ok to use, lets call them a troll?
Not really if the potting mix soil was in your container would you want someone calling you a troll because you grow a plant in a soil that others dont preference growing a plant in ?


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

I don't understand mrlike2u,

The name of this post was called :

"Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil"

So I listed them, both the pros and cons. Then someone suggested that "If you take note, you'll discover that most of the disagreement or dissent you might find usually comes from a few individual posters more intent on producing heat than light. As of the last year +, that hasn't been the case because the trolls have been largely absent."

If you will take note, you'll discover I say how much the 5-1-1 and light mixes are great, then I say some advantages of potting mix vs soilless mixes.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 11, 12 at 12:27

So THAT's what this is all about ..... I think Mr Like's perspective is somewhat skewed. The original poster said, "I saw many discussion/confusion/misunderstanding going on in the forum about Al's 511/gritty mix and store bought peat based potting mix", which is true. I simply wanted to make it clear that if you look back through the posts where there was dissent and arguing, it was almost always coming from the same small number of malcontents whose sights were centered on anything but a positive contribution. Intentionally sowing misinformation to set the pot boiling actually IS trolling or baiting, but no one ever linked someone's soil preferences to their being a troll. GMAB. Actually, the inference that anyone might have said or suggested that is inflammatory in itself.

Al


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

A Troll? How about the definition of Nuts?
Nuts: No useful thing said!

Mike


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Hey, I just listed some pros of potting mix. It holds water longer. That is not good for the plant, but the grower. As Tapla suggested about convenience vs plant health, which I found very interesting and true.

I feel like if I dare mention some good things about potting mix, or even understand why people may find trouble growing in a soilless media, I can asure you I just really am giving my advice, thats all.

I have said this so many times- Tapla has showed me tons of info that has helped.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

We definitely need to qualify how something is better when we make a 5-1-1 versus potting soil comparison. It can be better for the plant or better for the gardner in some way and the better for the gardener aspects are going to be more subjective as we can measure plant health in a number of objective ways.

I am new to container gardening and returning to vegetable gardening in general after many years away. I used to grow vegetables in the ground but a herniated back disc makes it tough for me to do so now. So I built raised container tables and after suffering through the soreness of the construction phase I now have an easy time with my hobby gardening and I rarely have to bend over to do so.

I am using the 5-1-1 now side by side with other mixes. The 5-1-1 definitely has appeal. It is lighter to move and it does not noticably compact outdoors in containers versus potting mixes and compost which compact terribly. Lighter is great for my back and not compacting is great for the plants and for vegetable yields.

I see these as some worse-for-the-gardener aspects of 5-1-1:

1) It does cost more than ready-to-go mix when you consider fertilizer. What's missing from the cost calculations that I usually see is the routine fertilier requirement. Try 5-1-1 without fertilizer and see how far you get. The ready-to-go mixes at $3-4 / cu ft contain enough fertilizer for a vegetable cycle or two.

2) It's a hassle to assemble the ingredients especially when the pine bark fines must be sifted and/or created in some way. Thus far I have had to buy soil conditioner at Walmart and sift it which produces maybe 50% fines and 50% dust (which I am now experimenting with as a medium for sprouting seeds indoors but that otherwise goes into my compost tumblers). And actually there are more than pine bark fines that remain behind after sifting this soil conditioner but it's pretty close and I haven't found a better option yet.

Finally, here's a downside for both ready-to-go mixes and 5-1-1 if part of the pleasure you derive from gardening is the feeling of self sufficiency. You must depend on outside resources and continue to buy something to garden. Granted, I acquired a bunch of stuff and spent a fair amount of money to establish my container garden, compost tumblers, rain barrels, etc. But my hope has been that once I get back into the swing of things I can save seeds, rotate containers, and fold in fresh compost and be able to garden without brining in any more outside resources. If I manage seeds properly then I should be able to trade them. For me at least I get a great deal of satisfaction out of growing fruit and vegetables in this way.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 12, 12 at 11:27

I find that the 5:1:1 mix costs less than half what most prepared mixes cost when you buy the peat and perlite in large quantities (large bales of peat and 3-4 cu ft bags of perlite). The fertilizer is insignificant as an added expense. I bought a gallon of 9-3-6 2 years ago ($40 @ that time) and I still have 1-2 quarts left. I actively maintain about 300 containers of widely varied volumes (a few ounces up to >30 gallons) during the warm growing season, and 100-125 plants indoors over winter.

It can be a pain to locate ingredients, but over time it's likely you'll find multiple sources for appropriate size bark. I have at least 5 reliable suppliers for appropriate PBFs, and often discover others that have it intermittently, so I don't need to screen anything for the 5:1:1 OR the gritty mix, since the fir bark I use for the gritty mix comes prescreened.

Al


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Hello Al. Hope all is well!)

Favor? Can you post a picture of the bark you use for the 5.1.1 and thfe brand name? Where you get too?
A picture of the bag and exactly what it says.

Many think you are using bark mulch straight from the bag, the type used forvlandscdping , which is one of the easiest products to get for most but still are not quite sure.

Thanks friend


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 12, 12 at 14:30

Here's a picture of a bagged product I consider perfect for the 5:1:1 mix, and the gritty mix after screening out the fines.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 12, 12 at 14:31

Here is the bag, torn open & with some common items so you can get a perspective as to the size.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 12, 12 at 14:34

Another look at the bark in a small dish. That's a .177 pellet, a small wooden match, black oil sunflower seeds and a pencil.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 12, 12 at 14:36

The 5:1:1 mix as I like it - nothing was screened


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 12, 12 at 14:38

A closer look.

Al


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Rehashing Mike M question..... where to get. I'm not certain sure where Al gets his but I find it easy to pick up at a certain bonsai store at 5.00 for each same size bag in Als Pics

I use to pick it up at 2 different area Bonsai stores but one of them made a change to metro mix. Any shipping cost would be way to pricy for anyone to budget any plant What I do is continue to ask (More so I insist ) any garden center I go to that they find a way to stock and offer the valuable/invaluable pine fine product to all they're customers.

Gaddha love them trolls sometimes they sell us things for us to fix lol


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Wes, which Bonsai shop do you mean? I could use a couple more bags since the local Agway doesn't sell then anymore.

I appreciate it!

Mike


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

I hangout at some online haunts for gardeners (Reddit r/gardening in particular) and also in real life. Sometimes I'm unsure whether or not I should introduce peers to the Container Soils thread. I worry that thrusting that level of information on a novice will overwhelm them, and be discouraging. It can also seem pushy or off topic at times.. but it's hard not to say something when I *know* they'd have a better experience with 5:1:1 or gritty. It's also not always clear what level of time/effort they're willing to invest in their plants.

Anyone else run into this dilemma? If you know someone just wants a pre-bagged, easily available mix, what do you recommend? I vacillate between Miracle-Gro Moisture Control and Pro-mix, depending on the willingness of the person to go to a specialty store, as oppose to the big box retailers.

I'm curious, when people use soil from their yard in containers... what do they fill in that hole with? If I tried to do that, I'd have a bunch of mini-ponds all over the place.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

I don't want to be accused of being a troll for having an idea outside the box but here goes. I think that the MG mix performs OK except for the compacting and it does have time released fertilizer in it that's good for a few months. To help ease compacting one could add perlite but then the cost climbs and convenience drops.

Perlite seems to be a necessary ingredient no matter what mix I use to help ease compaction issues.

Holes in the yard... composting is what I do to get zero cost soil so I don't dig holes.

I am getting back into the swing of things with vegetable gardeningand I am new to container gardening. It's a lot harder without the help of worms and an abundance of microbes.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Al, I just wanted to thank you for posting them pictures!

I just found out that Agway! of all places sells these bags! Do you have any idea how many Agways there are? What a relief for all those searching for these fines.
I called them and asked if they didn't have it in stock if they would order it, and they said yes.
Well, it so happens that they have a few broken bags mostly full they are going to sell me at half price. They also said that 'Southern Pine Bark' is much better than the local pine bark. I wonder why?

Thanks again Al!

P.s Al,

There are some bags that have a lot of tiny pieces, almost like peat itself mixed in. Do you add peat anyway when you find a bag that has a lot of tiny pieces?

Mike


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Greentiger! I had this problem with my Nephew and Niece..lol

It seems that many of my family and freinds want their plants to look like mine around here, but are still content on thinking using MG since to them it is the easiest route to go. I have no problem with that, and I also have no problem with helping them succeed anyway if they should fail.

I find myself walking into nursery's all the time noticing that people are so clueless in the care of the plants they are picking up. Many pick up hard to grow plants like gardenia, citrus, and or orchids.
I'll watch the workers explain how they should care for them and be so off the mark so many times. I will usually interject what I know is the most important thing for their plants, usually the mix, and they are always so appreciative. They ask if I work there.lol. I have been offered part time jobs at some of these retailers.
That is when I usually tell them to get the 'nursery' mix sold there and to amend it with ingredients to make it more porous. The nursery usually makes a buck on my dime.
When they want to 'really' know what I use, I'll explain and then they will ask me how to make it and where to get the ingredients.
Some as where to get a pre-made mix close to mine. That is when I direct them to the 'Fafard Mixes'.

Mike


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Good morning, Mike, I agree with you...if someone wants an almost comparable bag of mix off the shelf,
then I recommend a couple of the products from Fafard's "Heavyweight" line of mixes, which have a considerable amount of bark.
I've never personally used these mixes, but you and Al introduced them to me as acceptable - although more pricey - alternatives
to mixing up one's own batch of media. I have recommended these mixes to others, and they have had great success, so I am comfortable with the quality of the product.


Josh


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Mike: Pine fine bags NE Bosnia on Rte 126 Bellingham also there is Black and Red pumice at 11.00 or 13.00 per five pound bag.
Pre mix 5-1-1 in medium and large zip lock bags are still being offered at the one in Littleton Rte 2A a bit more pricy than making your own at 3.00 and 7.00 per bag

On a personal note thanks for helping and attempting to re direct the customer(s) at the places where we get our citrus and other types of soil growing plants.

NUTS: Keep in mind some of the garden centers have been growing in a different peat based mix a long time, as many as 110 years now ?


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

"NUTS: Keep in mind some of the garden centers have been growing in a different peat based mix a long time, as many as 110 years now ? "

Peat based soils are bad and kill plant roots. You cant water everyday in peatbased soil, like beginners like to do.;)

Posted by meyermike_1micha 5 (mikerno_1@yahoo.com) on Sat, Aug 11, 12 at 13:01
"A Troll? How about the definition of Nuts?
Nuts: No useful thing said!
Mike"

Thanks for contrubiting to the OP's question Mike?

*"No useful thing said"*


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

No, that's an unqualified statement and not true.

Peat-based soils are more difficult to use, and will often hold too much moisture which is a common
cause of root-death and, thus, plant death.

Let's be specific with our statements and try to deliver good information, rather than needlessly
shallow and disputatious sound-bites.

Further, MG, why promote a mix (the 5-1-1) that you do not seem to understand?


Josh


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Master: You make me laugh:-) By the way, I love that pepper plant! I just may hold my favorite over the winter, but not sure how it will hold up in the mix I used. There was a lot of peat, but we shall see if there is any con's.

Hello Josh!Hope life is treating you well! Yes, the Fafard makes a great mix for those who like pre-made mixes!

Thanmks a lot Wes. I shall have to check out that shop! I miss Glenn there at Bonsai West.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

"Master: You make me laugh:-) By the way, I love that pepper plant! I just may hold my favorite over the winter, but not sure how it will hold up in the mix I used. There was a lot of peat, but we shall see if there is any con's."

I am happy to hear that :) A good laugh is always great! :)

"but not sure how it will hold up in the mix I used. There was a lot of peat, but we shall see if there is any con's."

Yea they should be fine, that plant I showed in 100% topsoil :)

Greenman,

I have grown soilless drain to waste, all the way to flood and drain indoor growing cherry tomatoes. I UNDERSTAND air porosity and what makes the 5-1-1 work, trust me :)

After growing hydroponics, I can see how soil mixes have advantages over soilless mixes. Thats all. If I was helping someone get started I would tell them to use potting mix and understand plant nutrition, then go for a soilless mix. In a soilless mix it is up to the grower to give 100% of the nutrients. The ph buffer is way less in soilless mixes.

Trust me, I understand growing very much Greenman. Take a look at my glog in the pepper forum ;)



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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Unfortunately, your posts do not demonstrate that you understand drainage or nutrition;
and coupled with your unqualified and overly simplistic statements, I strongly wonder just
how much growing you've actually done. I think I've made it clear that I'm not interested in
what you're growing, nor have I any interest in having my good name associated with yours when
it comes to the 5-1-1. The only reason I've addressed you directly, rather than ignore you, is
because I am concerned that others are receiving inaccurate, garbled, misinterpreted,
and incomplete information from you - therefore, the correct information must be added lest
new growers become confused by your contradictory statements and incoherent presentation.


Josh


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Indeed Mike M you can visit Glen at the MCC&S show and sales 3rd Sat of Sept.

I've noted your comment on Agway and will use this as a resource for others seeking 5-1-1 information in the where to get post to come, also Agway has other potting products to make a 5-1-1.
If you want I can grab two Al's sized bags at NE Bonsia and a pumice if wanted then bring them to the Chevy dealer near you Hmmm Wed or Thurs after 3 PM before 8PM is best for me Your pick.

MG and other bagged soils Note to all plant growing enthusiast,meaning no longer are there trolls. As plant growing enthusiast who may be asking for information even for a future time with a goal to growing healthier plants.

Please attempt to amend the mentioned bagged soils of your preference to provide your plants with better drainage. In comparison amending MG will add to bagged MG soil cost but will still help the plant health slightly toward better.

I cant count the number of small water blocking dams I've seen built by my changing out and root rinsing or bare rooting a MG growing container plant to a 5-1-1 on the side of a yard. The sludge and sands in MG is thick and deep on the yard as it would also be in a container. Conclusion MG soil in container growing is muddy sludge getting more compacted every time it's watered.

Fafard mix: I cant really speak of a product I dont regularly use or replace but if I can say to Josh and Mike and others of positive and sound influence on this forum if we are to suggest farfard to those who may need to use Farfard as an alternative to 5-1-1 would it also be better to suggest amending Farfard mix well ?

GMaster: I understand that some plant growing enthusiast are not here to impress others with superior knowledge of growing certain plants or a lack of knowledge of the same. Point being is folks on this forum still try to tell you and others even though you are under no obligation at any time saying thanks is a reason to remain humble. In the future make sure you know what people mean before you re-quote them. Like Josh tried to say to you if you dont know what is meant then ask.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

I had luck with promix bx mixed with compost.

I am offering my advice- some "are wondering just
how much growing I have actually done"


Photobucket

Photobucket

Small harvest early in the season.
Photobucket


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

I'm not one who wonders who grows how much by chance numbers just dont impress me I'm just someone who is interested in a plants health. I'm glad you have an interest and hopeful that you do move forward to a healthy plant growing goal even if it's just one plant

Not to be rude GM but if I may ask someone else a question it would have to be Ms Nancy..... she has the dog bones in her pics.
Question Ms. Nancy Hows is that NBC ?


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

I grow under a fairly strict organic program that works best with compost added to the peat moss based growing mix. I grow seasonal fruits/veg only.

Peat based mixes may require more work/surveillance than 5-1-1 especially before the plant's root system is established. Obviously you don't water a plant as often while it is establishing a root system. Maybe once every 3 to 5 days. Most novices water daily and then wonder why their plants are sitting in water. Once established more often. For example, toms more often, carrots less often.

I am not familiar with a lot of gardening scientific principles that are espoused on this bd. However, I have done some trial and error in my time so I have a pretty good idea what works for me.

Now if anybody wants to get their panties in a wad because I use and like peat based planting mix, be my guest.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

No one will be upset by what you prefer, Greengrass :-)
We're not fanatics here - we encourage everyone to make the choice that works for them
and satisfies the balance between grower convenience and plant health. No one is going to
tell you that you should grow in this mix or that.


Josh


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Good morning, fellow plant lovers and gardeners! Due to health issues, I haven't been around nearly as much as I'd like to... but I simply can't sit, lay, or stand too long in one position without crumbling. Unfortunately, I have a very uncomfortable computer desk chair that isn't helping matters very much!

First... Laura, I always love to see the wonderful Plumeria photos you share! They are so very lovely! Your beautiful yard always reminds me of a tropical oasis that I'd love to visit and vacation at! I have visions of a Bed & Breakfast with a catchy name containing the word "Plumeria"! :-)

Second... it's always good to actually see photos of the types of ingredients we include in the various renditions of the 511 and Gritty Mixes many of us use. So, thank you for that, Al... it's always helpful to those just learning.

Hey to you guys, Mike and Josh! Long time, no see... at least here! I get to talk to Mike and Mom every once in a while, and it's always such a lift to my spirit to hear their voices! :-) Josh, I haven't emailed in a while, and I really should... I've got some great photos to share!

Anyway... I can't fathom why there's an argument or any sort of tiff every time Al's medium concepts are introduced as subject matter. There's no law stating anyone must follow any technique in growing they do not choose to.

But the idea is to keep clear of perpetuating any myths or bits of misinformation that may confuse those who are trying to learn.

Anyone with the desire to learn knows that there are usually various sides or angles to a story, knows they will encounter myth, fallacy, and untruths along the way, knows that anything can be published on the internet, including misinformation, and knows that it will take reading more than one source to gain a clear picture, or plumb the depths of the information they seek. This is nothing more than logical thought, common sense, and includes using problem solving skills and decent research methods.

One reads, and one gathers information. One then keeps the logical or rational ideas, takes a lot of what they encounter with a huge grain of salt, employs common sense, leaves behind that which is unusable, and comes to a workable conclusion.

While some books and scientific information on plants and growing read like rocket science, it's not really all that complicated, as Al shows us in his first article, written some years ago and still playing a relevant part in many a debate and discussion.

"Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention" shows us the basic physics and science involved in container growing, which differs greatly from growing directly in the ground or garden. It takes a lot of rather complicated scientific information, and breaks it down into simple to grasp information and concepts for the layman, or the beginner.

I read it a few years ago, during a time when I was struggling to keep several plants and bulbs alive and thriving in containers, and it was like seeing the blue sky for the first time! Everything began to make sense... my failures, the reasons for them, and how I could begin to correct them.

I've been growing plants in pots and gardening ever since I can remember, and I'm now a grandmother to three wonderful little ones! And throughout those many decades, I struggled along, reading and listening to people and an industry that I would have thought would be honest and on my side. But like any other, it must be remembered that it exists to profit from consumerism.

In any case, it must be remembered that in many situations, there are trade offs to the choices we make. Certain products are designed for convenience, and not necessarily for the top shelf in plant health... while deeper research and experience show us that a more inorganic, aerated, grittier medium will give us exactly what a containerized plant requires in a soil, remembering the purposes a medium serves a plant to begin with.

The trade off, in this case, is a little more care, a little more often... but there are also benefits. It allows us to keep a closer eye on our plants, noticing things and correcting them before they can become problems... like insects, for example.

We also have to remember that no two people grow in the exact same micro-environment. So, to be quite blunt, there is really no "one size fits all" when it comes to growing plants in a containerized environment. That's why bagged mixes make little sense to me... especially when the same product is sold coast to coast. Think about that... is growing the same in Southern California as it is in Minnesota? Most assuredly not!

I could go on and on about the various reasons I've deduced that mixing my own mediums is a much more workable idea than simply accepting what the industry pushes, but I think people need to research, read the information provided, and make up their own minds, based upon how much interest they have in growing, how much time they wish to devote to it, and how healthy they want their plants to be, from the roots up... because a plant's health begins under the soil surface where we can't see... and eventually affects the plant parts we CAN see.

Happy Gardening!



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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Good discussion!. Here is some of my inputs about the discussion. Some provided date, some didn't . For thoes who did not provide date, please provide it. Facts speak louder. It is what it is. No need ot hide.


--I would like some quantitive measurments. We all know that the per CF cost differs at totoal Qty you buy... ie. buy a bag or two from retail store is very different by a truck load from whole sale. So please specify and use regualr price , not on sale price.

-- Please limit the discussion to the facts only.

-- Please not to use pictures as proof of the soil is better. I love to see the pictures , but it is exclusion facts, IMO. I know it is a good soil when the plants can grow so big, lushes and fruitful, but I or someone else can post a picture of plant grows in other medium that grows equally big, lushes, and fruitful.

-- Please keep such thing as look forward " to mix a batch" etc. off this thread. When I read these type of sentences, I am not sure I am dealing with a phychologically disordered person or who has no other life but enjoying mix a batch.

At end of discussion, I hope to comprehensive enough to post a comparison chat or sort so we can compare apple to apple based on the facts. I am thinking about classify into three categories : 1)cost, includes cost of soil material, cost of fertilizer, cost of time which includes the time to accquire material, time make into usable soil, time to pot the plant, time to maintain the plant's growing condition, time for any other maintenence , etc.; 2)plant grow, includes Plant root growth and healty, pests and disease, and overall plant growing condition and health. 3) Durability and doability whcih will include type of plants are best suited for type of soil / condition; how long each type of soil can last; how many pots of plants one can keep to make it doable. I limit it to 2 hours max a day to work on any plants related activities. I think it is a reasonable hours for a person who has family ,full time job, and other life. For those who are retired, or grow plants professionally, you are welcome to have you input but I can't expand hour to 8 hours a day to take care the plants. This is a garden web site, is implied most of us are ameture growers. if any of you have suggestions , Post it. I will incorporate good suggestions into where it fits.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Good discussion!. Here is some of my inputs about the discussion. Some provided date, some didn't . For thoes who did not provide date, please provide it. Facts speak louder. It is what it is. No need ot hide.


--I would like some quantitive measurments. We all know that the per CF cost differs at totoal Qty you buy... ie. buy a bag or two from retail store is very different by a truck load from whole sale. So please specify and use regualr price , not on sale price.

-- Please limit the discussion to the facts only.

-- Please not to use pictures as proof of the soil is better. I love to see the pictures , but it is exclusion facts, IMO. I know it is a good soil when the plants can grow so big, lushes and fruitful, but I or someone else can post a picture of plant grows in other medium that grows equally big, lushes, and fruitful.

-- Please keep such thing as look forward " to mix a batch" etc. off this thread. When I read these type of sentences, I am not sure I am dealing with a phychologically disordered person or who has no other life but enjoying mix a batch.

At end of discussion, I hope to comprehensive enough to post a comparison chat or sort so we can compare apple to apple based on the facts. I am thinking about classify into three categories : 1)cost, includes cost of soil material, cost of fertilizer, cost of time which includes the time to accquire material, time make into usable soil, time to pot the plant, time to maintain the plant's growing condition, time for any other maintenence , etc.; 2)plant grow, includes Plant root growth and healty, pests and disease, and overall plant growing condition and health. 3) Durability and doability whcih will include type of plants are best suited for type of soil / condition; how long each type of soil can last; how many pots of plants one can keep to make it doable. I limit it to 2 hours max a day to work on any plants related activities. I think it is a reasonable hours for a person who has family ,full time job, and other life. For those who are retired, or grow plants professionally, you are welcome to have you input but I can't expand hour to 8 hours a day to take care the plants. This is a garden web site, is implied most of us are ameture growers. if any of you have suggestions , Post it. I will incorporate good suggestions into where it fits.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Welcome back, Jodi, and well said!

I do hope you'll shoot me an e-mail and share some of those pics ;-)
By the way, I just saw your post in Al's Container Thread, regarding the video of the 5-1-1.
Thanks! I don't have a video of the Gritty....that would be quite a production. Maybe in
the future I will put together a demo....once I have Turface again.

Josh


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

"Please keep such thing as look forward " to mix a batch" etc. off this thread. When I read these type of sentences, I am not sure I am dealing with a phychologically disordered person or who has no other life but enjoying mix a batch."

olympia_gardener,

What does this mean? I looked back and could not see anyone saying "mix a batch"?

I showed already how much peatmoss cost- 1.50 per cuft.....


-- "Please not to use pictures as proof of the soil is better. I love to see the pictures , but it is exclusion facts, IMO. I know it is a good soil when the plants can grow so big, lushes and fruitful, but I or someone else can post a picture of plant grows in other medium that grows equally big, lushes, and fruitful. "


I thought loveplants2 flowers looked very healthy and was a tribute to show just how well the 5-1-1 works...

I showed pictures of plants grown in promix.

I showed pictures of plants grown in topsoil just to show a plant can grow in topsoil but it is ideal to use a lighter media.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Hello Laura! I meant to tell you that your plants are amazing!!!!:-)

Josh! Yes, your videos are appreciated!

I am with Al on cost! For example, I just picked up 2 CUBIC bags of perfect bark size for only 4 dollars a bag!
I bag of perlite, a 40 lb. bag for 11 dollars
! bag of peat for 3.99

Total : 22.99 plus tax.

Now this is enough to make me at least 50 bags of the size MG bags they sell at Home Depot for 6.99 a bag.

Lets see, 6.99 x 50 = 349 dollars and tax. That is not including how many times I have to repot due to compaction and not including the extra cost for ingredients to amen it for porosity.

Now, two bags of Fafard mix, the only one that I will use instead of my 5.1.1 mix costs 44.99.

Now dirt from my back yard and compost are a heck of a lot cheaper, and I might even use that too for just annuals, but I find I get better yields and larger plants in mixes are more porous that this.

Hey Wes, you are kind for your offer. I really appreciate that. I was lucky and fell upon the bark close to home. By the way, maybe I will see you at the next meeting:-)

Al, thank you for your pics! Wonderful. I have had many thank me in private for what you did and run out and get that bark..lol. Now they ran out!

Jodik! Welcome home! I am so sorry you are suffering in many ways. You are strong and very kind to spend time with us through it all. Thank you for always saying something positive. Well said!


Mike


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Hello Guys!!!

Especially to Jodi!! I have missed you and i hope you both are feeling better.. Josh...HI there!!! Mike,,I love all of you comments..

Thank you for the kind words about my pics, however it seems that the OP wants to keep these pics off of her thread and lets keep the main interest in what the gritty and Five 11 are all about and priced vs storebought products..

SO.. Olympia Gardener,, i apolized for posting pic to your thread.., I though that i waould just show only a fraction of what i grow......... in the gritty Mix, but it seems that you would rather me keep them off of your thread. So.. I will. Please forgive me fo posting... They were for Al to see the diiffference anyway. I wont post again (pics.)

Take care everyone...

Have fun with this thread...

See YA!!

Laura


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Thanks, Laura! I'm doing about as well as I can, all things considered. It's not easy when your body betrays you with health issues and chronic pain, but I keep pushing forward, trying to remain positive! :-)

Josh, as soon as I can get to my camera and get everything off it and uploaded, after resizing and whatnot, I'll shoot you the link. The roses and perennials were spectacular in spite of the heat! :-)

Mike, you're too kind... but that's one of the things I admire most about you. :-)

Well, I can't say that I keep exact track of medium ingredient costs. I buy what I need, when I need it, and I usually only need to mix small batches at a time, meaning less than a 5 gallon pail's worth for a few small plants. I'm using the Gritty Mix in my own rendition for my own personal plants indoors... or a small amount of my rendition of a 511 mixture for a small tree or two, or a few gallon to 2 gallon sized pots outside.

I think it's when you get into the bulk mixing and using that cost might be a factor. Personally, I don't really care that I spend a few dollars more to get exactly the medium I want, though I do keep an eye out for sales on the various things I get. The health of my plants and their root systems means more to me than keeping exact records of how many dollars and cents I spent to make that small amount of medium.

If a person is ultra-budgeted, I could see the need to keep searching for the most cost effective bargains. But to me, a grower with only a small indoor collection of personal plants, it's not that important. The small bags I get last quite a while.

And since I've drastically downsized my indoor collection of plant materials, and they only require a re-pot every couple of years, it's not really that costly.

Any stock we keep potted for sale is not placed into any kind of specially made medium. We just use a decent quality wholesale bagged mix, since most folks will plant the perennials directly in their gardens once purchased.

I couldn't even tell you what I paid for my last bags of ReptiBark, Manna Pro Poultry Grit, or coarse perlite. I'm always broke, but I get by...

As my health deteriorates, I find myself working for shorter stints in the gardens, and thanking Al silently for giving me the wherewithal to keep from having to constantly re-pot everything! :-)


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Laura

I just wanted to say that I for one really like seeing photos of your plants & garden too, and I think there is many other members who enjoy them too. Many other threads would welcome them...
Especially being in zone colder than yours and also being quite new to this forum. The beauty and health of your plants tells me that you are doing something right, and I am sure the soil mix you use has lots to do with it.

Al has explained pros & cons of well draining mixes in great detail, I think. He explains not only how to but why, and I find that his posts are clear and easy to understand. Anytime I need reminder, I just re-read his numerous postings, which I have saved to 'my clippings'.
Obviously, anybody has a choice to follow, or to use them as guide, or to do anything they choose.

So many other members here (only reason I am not mentioning names is that I don't want to leave anyone out!) contributed or are contributing with their experience with these & similar mixes and with peat-based mixes. Some of them are minimal time spent gardener, some are retired (didn't know that means nothing to do all day...). I am interested to hear about their experiences, regardless how much time I have to spend on gardening. Those can be applied to 5min/day or 8hrs/day gardening IMHO.
That's why I am here, and I am only hobby-type gardener.

Sorry, Olympia, that I am off the subject and do not have anything worthwhile to say on this thread...will keep off it too.

Rina


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Sorry..Correction

2, 3 cubic bags for 8 dollars !
................................
Laura, keep posting pics, please! You know how I feel about seeing your beauties! By the way, pictures speak a thousand words! Your pics show the pro's of the gritty mix you use!
I suppose if you had pics that showed the con's, you would post them. But I personally know you only grow your plants in the best:-0)

Mike


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

  • Posted by whip1 z5 ne Ohio (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 16, 12 at 15:47

OG,
You mentioned durability. limiting myself to facts, one of the great pros of the gritty mix is it's durability. When I repot, I save the old mix and replace the bark fines. The grit and turface can be re-used over and over. This saves me time and money.

Jodi,
Hope your feeling better soon!

Mike and Josh,
I hope all is well with you guys.

Rob


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

So please specify and use regular price , not on sale price.

Agreed as it is we all know any sale price isn't the same price as an original "value" price.

Note: the word value is being used for reason.

5-1-1 price and value:
Mike M said he paid 4.00 for the same sized bag of aged fines I pay 5.00 for. I also know that neither of these bags will not go on sale and never go on sale this year and both bags have a very good chance at being sold at the same price point all of next year.

Comparing Mike M 4.00 bag of aged pine fines to my 5.00 a bag Mike wins 1.00 for company overhead and more fines on hand than the place I get mine from for at 5.00 a bag.
( No problem Mike I might give you that dollar at the show lol)

He and I also inadvertently said, Aged pine fines has a stable price and value that doesn't decrease nor increase though out one year.

4.00 Vs. 5.00 per bag of aged fines I dont think anyone would bicker over a penny per container price. I'm glad to know that there are more resources for locating aged fines for container and garden growers than the one source I knew of.

This statement is also true to any costume mix item I/he/ we/you may pay for. The price of a any common 5-1-1 item and it's value doesn't change, both price and value remain consistent year round. Including: MVP turface Aged pine fines fines All sport turface and perlite

Bagged soils price and value:
In an example lets agree that a 15.00 bagged soil goes on sale for 11.00 today. I would ask why did this bagged soil suddenly loose 4.00 in price and value ?

Answer: (In my nuts mind) Perhaps the bagged soil wasn't ever worth 15.00 if it was, then is it really worth 11.00 at sale time. As it already lost 4.00 in value in a short amount of time with out being used. My nuts mind tends to favor that an 11.00 bagged soil that was 15.00 in price has questionable value at any time.

Bagged soils and when to buy them:
I'll make an exception and repeat a familiar GW phrase. When in doubt dont.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

mrlike2u,

I agree 100% That made a lot of sense.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

I understand that sale price should not be used when comparing peppers to peppers. However, everybody should be encouraged to buy cheaply as possible.

The best time to buy any item whether 5-1-1 or cow dung is at end of season.

I love buying my 40 lb bags of cow dung for 50 cents. Last yr bot 20 of them for 10 bucks.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

  • Posted by nil13 z21 Mt. Washington L (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 17, 12 at 11:15

End of the season? What's that? ;p


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

  • Posted by nil13 z21 Mt. Washington L (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 17, 12 at 11:16

End of the season? What's that? ;p


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Granted comparing peppers to peppers is one thing as is comparing bagged soils with costume mixes is another. We really cant compare mushrooms with mushrooms because not all mushrooms will cause an elicit effect and reminding someone of a late 1950's early 1960's type trip.

Reminder: We're attempting to compare bagged soils with 5-1-1 custom mixed soil. Cow dung which is more commonly used as a fertilizer isn't really a soil. I'm sure there are others though out GW forum and my local/close distant area gardening buddies, in common with them I wouldn't consider any unknown aged cow dung for use in any part of a viable container soil at any price including free cow dung.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

OK I may have technically strayed off topic but I was merely suggesting that money can be saved buying gardening supplies at end of yr. You seem to have zeroed in on cow dung and then felt a need to express your displeasure with it.

You refer to manure as if it were a contaminant to potting soil. Maybe to you but not to me. I set up my initial containers with 2o% or more compost or cow manure whatever you want to call it. Each subsequent yr I add a little more and I have never dumped initial mix.

I understand that 5-1-1 is preferred mix on this board but not for me. I grow org as mentioned before. Chances of growing successfully is to incorporate some sort of compost to ensure proper cation exchange.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

I realized (for the 3rd time) one definite disadvantage of the gritty mix vs. a peat-based medium. --two times were my own experience while watering and one time was a kid who was dusting and moved a plant.

The gritty mix, if you happen to be a pot-tipper if you are sticking a plant under the kitchen faucet for a supplemental fertilizer-free watering, will simply pour out of the container.

I wonder how many times I'll do that before I learn to not be a pot tipper.

(I might duplicate this post because I thought I had hit "submit" earlier - maybe I didn't follow through)


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

You refer to manure as if it were a contaminant to potting soil.

Ummmmmm no I didn't but like you did I too can intentionally reword what I read too.

I refer to manure as an organic fertilizer and is not commonly used as a viable soil mix ingredient for use in a container I'll add dung certainly isn't a bagged soil.

Rewording what I read
I did in a scene attempt to reword someones opinion regarding trolls to become plant growing enthusiast this was intentional rewording for a reason:
Reason:
In common to yourself I think and agree that you and others who choose to use bagged soils should be on the topic of this subject as nobody can compare 5-1-1 to anything if all we/they are to read is 5-1-1 information from those who use it.

Am I wrong when I see a bag of bagged and marked manure do I also read potting soil ?

If read was 5-1-1 VS bagged soil in comparison with price VS value comment you could also notice bagged cow dung late in the year is also lower in price and value with zero use.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Obviously cow dung chicken manure etc are fertilizers. When it comprises 20-25% of container mix then I consider it as a component of the container mix just as I would peat moss or perlite. Furthermore I add a pellet fertilizer to the mix that is as you may have guessed, the fertilizer.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

mrlike2u.. I honestly find it very difficult to follow your train of thought on your comments at times. Something about your phrasing or punctuation just becomes frustrating to read. Please don't take this personally, I'm just being honest. No personal insult is intended whatsoever, and I apologize if any is taken.

Another disadvantage of 5:1:1 that I was thinking about today, is the potential for nitrogen tie up. If you use bark that's not composted long enough or contains a lot of sapwood, nitrogen tie-up can cause serious problems. This is especially true if you try to use CRF as your only source of nutrients. Colder temperatures in spring can hamper fertilizer release, compounding the issue. If you fertigate with soluble fertilizer, there should be no significant problems.

This has caused problems for me a couple of times, but I was able to fix it because I knew what I was looking at. A beginner might get really frustrated with it.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Only if there is a lot of sap wood it will break down quik. Otherewise, it only takes a little N to get things back on track. The break down is so slow.

There are many many pics of healthy plants in the 5-1-1. There are few that dont let them age and use them right out the bag with good results.

There is a chance to get higher results with soilless mixes/hydroponics, only if the grower gives 100% of nutrients just perfect and the ph has to be perfect for nutrient uptake. One wrong move with hydroponics- your plants can have issues. Soil or mixes that have compost are more forgiving to grow in as far as ph and nutrient uptake due to perfect ph. The light soilless media like the 5-1-1 has chance to grow much more healthy plant then soil or mixes with added compost, ect.. But the mixes with soil or compost are easy to grow in.

I understand that the composted manure is a HUGE ph buffer. I look at compost like a great ph buffer, I would never use compost for house plants or plants that will stay in the same container a long time.

I do list the advantages of using rich potting soil- ph buffer is a huge thing!!! Or like my promix mixed with compost. I just picked a huge harvest of peppers and had to water them a lot! I use promix bx mixed with compost and they get so dry!!!If used promix hp or the 5-1-1, the plants would really be dead due to lack of watering. So am I going to now never grow until I get a auto watering system and use a light high porosity mix? The very advantage of rich mixes is the grower convenience. Again- just look up advantages and dis-advantages of hydroponics to get a better idea. Lime is a ph buffer, but compost adds much more of a buffer!

I am not just for one as there advantages to both.

I do understand the 5-1-1 is a perfection or a masterpiece of a mix!

Hope everyone enjoyed!! :)


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Yep,
nitrogen binding or nitrogen immobilization isn't much of a concern if fertilizing appropriately.
I've used uncomposted bark exclusively and haven't had issues. As noted, the ingredient ought
to be bark - not sapwood. If using a product with a high inclusion of sapwood, you've already
strayed from the recipe and introduced a 'wildcard' as it were.

As always, let's keep in mind that the 5-1-1 is a "Starting Point" - it is ultimately
adaptable to your particular zone and gardening situation. The recipe, as is, will yield excellent
results - but in Arizona, for example, might require more watering; and so the individual grower
may opt to add more peat to the mix, or employ larger containers, et cetera.

"All Gardening is Local"


Josh


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

You know, this question has been asked so many times, and posted thousands of times, that just a search can answer your question.

It's the same old, same old.

Have a great day all. Hello good friend Josh!

Mike:-)


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Hey, Mike! Great to see you, buddy :-)

Josh


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Something about your phrasing or punctuation just becomes frustrating to read.


I know and no offense taken at all even after I read what I post I too see errors in what I type,grammar and composition wasn't my thing in schools.
Disadvantages to cow dung if it where to be used as a container soil for me are:

1) Limited container placement for reason of smell and attractions of the things that might enjoy the smells more than I do.
Decks, rails of decks, steps patios and walkways would not be the best places for me to place containers with cow dung soil housing a plant.

2) There are very few container grown plants that are annuals grown here

Cold storage is one I could handle but storing out of zone plants in the living areas of my house would arouse certain questions regarding odors.

If I could say something about the N from you.My response came from another person. Even if the N responses is wrong from them my plants are very much alive in 5-1-1 soil and or any other 100 % cow dung free custom mix I use

Encourage buying at lower prices I agree it is something we all should encourage. Sometimes we only get what we pay for.

You also said: A beginner might get really frustrated with it.

You where also saying something about being frustrated by my GW typing.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

In my own humble opinion, I WOULD refer to any overly organic materials, such as manures, as a contaminant in my container mediums. And I would do so remembering the idea that growing in the ground or garden is infinitely different than growing within the confined space of a receptacle, because Mother Nature is not present helping me to maintain any balances of microbes or creatures and PH. Therefore, any fine or quickly decaying matter are saved for organic use within my gardens... while I maintain a more controllable inorganic environment with my pots.

As a veteran canine breeder, I realize that if I'm going to play god, I have a responsibility to do it the right way, as Nature would do, to emulate Mother Nature. And in gardening or growing, I would equate breeding to container growing, while I would equate Mother Nature to the gardens or growing in the ground outside.

In my many years of experience, I have found that mixing the twain rarely works out as one would like it to... and sometimes it's better to sacrifice that convenience for healthier roots.

In breeding, I must carefully walk that line, balancing between compassion for my dogs, and dedication to doing the right thing in terms of genetic health and stability... and with gardening, I must realize that I cannot accurately duplicate an outdoor garden and its nuances within the small space of a pot.

But then, all of this depends on what outcome I expect, or am happy with.

With dogs, am I doing it for a paycheck? No. I'm doing it all to create or maintain a better, healthy, stable animal, a clean gene pool... with plants, I'm doing it to grow a healthier plant, which begins by growing healthy root systems.

I can't tell people what they should do... heaven knows way more shelters and rescues exist than should. There should be no such thing as "pet quality" animals, as they should all be bred with top quality in mind. And yes, we do have the technology and genetic knowledge, all freely available, to maintain better animals. Form always follows function, and a breed is only a breed if it has the genetic wherewithal to reproduce itself true to type every time, consistently, throughout every litter.

When you apply a little science and physics basics to growing plants, you see that Mother Nature in the garden is a totally different environment than we can provide and maintain within the confined spaces of pots.

Save the manure for the garden... use sturdy, more INorganic ingredients within containers. That's my advice.

Happy Growing!


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

I am very interested this 5.1.1 and I'd like to try it. So I need a bit more information.

Before I read this thread I was wondering about the complication of the preparation, mainly the screening, selecting the uniform size of the ingredients and regular fertilization.

In this thread Al mentioned that without screening this preparation is OK. So I think I can do this preparation. I like the preparation to be simplified as much as possible otherwise people may hesitate to use it or blindly refuse to try it.

Since last few weeks I have been looking for the necessary ingredients for this mix. Now I found decorative pine bark (not composed but look like Al's pine bark picture), perlite small size, sphagnum and garden lime (not dolomite lime). I am going to prepare this mix without screening. Now I need more information about the regular fertilization, how often should I fertilize and what kind of fertilizer should I use? Should I water the plants until the water dripping from the container hole?
It will be very kind of you if someone answer these questions of fertilization and watering.

I am sorry I cannot give any pros and cons of this 5.1.1 now.
Thank you for this thread.

Caelian


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Potting mix containes 55% composted forest material. So really, bagged potting soil is not peat based, its compost based. That compost gives a higher ph buffer allwoing nutrient uptake to be more effective. The high porosity soil mixes are inert and high porosity and will (if fertilized just right) have higher yields but less ph buffer.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

This is an old thread but it answers many of my unanswered questions :-) sometimes something goes wrong I consider it is my weakness but it is not the whole truth.

I like this thread and very useful on so many ways.

Caelian


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Interesting thread, to say the least.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

The thread is over 2 years old but the subject is still fresh and interesting.

With respect to pros and cons of 5-1-1 , there are several issues:

1) Its effectiveness, as far as plants are concerned. An I am considering annual plants like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants. NOT house plants.

2) Cost Effectiveness:

3) Growers' convenience.

I am a pro on (1) and (2) but con on (3). Since 5--1-1 does not come in ready to use form, it requires some efforts to procure the ingredients, quality check, mix, add calcium/magnesium (Lime), store your mix ... In this respect, it is not for everyone.

On number (2) , cost effectiveness, It all depends where you are, what your sources are. Currently I make my own mix for under $3.00 per cf. Even if ready mixed potting soils like MG or Pro Mix cost about the same (which is unlikely) , I still prefer my own 5-1-1 mix for its EFFECTIVENESS in drainage and correct moisture retention.

I have to mentioned that, I have been studying container media for the last 4 months of my gardening winter break. And with my past experience with media like MG, I have come to the belief that the bark based 5-1-1 is a better option. I might even try to modify it to some extent to better suit my application and climate. But it will remain basically BARK-BASED.


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 18, 14 at 17:02

One thing that has always surprised me is how much interest something as seemingly mundane as container soil can generate. It's been a topic discussed nonstop here, no matter whether I'm around or not. The reason for that is clear - soil choice has a tremendous influence in what most growers are able to take from the growing experience - what they get in return for their efforts or how big of a bang for their buck.

...... and to think that 10 years ago I thought I was the only one that thought it was fun to talk about container soils and soil science!

Al


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

Here's my dilemma. After reading the Container Soils post and hearing how well the gritty mix works for most people, I would like to pot-up my container fruit trees (nectarine, cherry, peach and apple) into it. However, I don't think I have the time to water and fertilize as frequently as they will need, especially during the summer. My trees are on the roof deck, where there is no faucet, and I have been hauling water up in buckets for them. And I will be going out of town for a week in July and then two weeks in August ... a common occurrence for me in summer. I potted up when I bought the trees last year, but I don't think the new pots were big enough, and I would like to get them into some 15 gallon fabric pots, with room for some PlantMinder watering bulbs (think ollas for container plants), but I still worry that the gritty mix will dry out too quickly. I may therefore add some coconut husk chips (I know Al's not a fan) for water absorption/release as needed by the plant. What to do, all? ... What to do?


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RE: Pros and Cons of 511/ Gritty mix and peat based potting soil

A couple thoughts, Nicole.

Fabric pots are not ideal for fruit trees - I find that the root system requires something more solid, stable. Fabric pots also "breathe" more, which dries out the potting mix even faster. If you add coco chips to the mix, you'll have altered the composition of the mix significantly.

I don't think watering bulbs will get you through two weeks in August, unless you live in a gloomy sunless location. I would arrange with or hire someone to come water my plants, and certainly I would go through a test watering with them and leave explicit instructions in writing.

Josh


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