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Messed up 5-1-1 mix

Posted by avepico 5 (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 22, 10 at 4:35

I read the guide to making the 5-1-1 mix and missed any reference to screening the pine bark fines. While I do have several issues to deal with, the mix is not draining well because of the finer particles and I am thinking that I need to address that first. I made a large batch, have about 20 gallons prepped and wonder if I can salvage it. I am concerned that if I screen it at this point that I will lose the other parts of the mix since they are much finer than the fines.

Is it worth the effort to try and get the current batch working or should I just go for a new batch?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

Screening the bark itself isn't required for the 5-1-1.
However, if you are using Perlite or Turface, I would recommend screening/rinsing those ingredients.

Why not screen a good portion of your mix over a 1/16 inch screen, and then recombine the screened/unscreened?
That should find you a happy medium, with less work involved.


Josh


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 22, 10 at 10:16

Hmmm - most bark products aren't too fine for the 5:1:1 mix. 'Too coarse' is a much more common problem. The only thing I've seen that is finer than I like is Fafard's aged pine bark - it's ground very fine, but still works reasonably well. What are you using in the soil?

Al


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

Thanks for the responses.
I am using 5 parts Greensmix soil conditioner (aged pine bark) for the fines, 1 part sphagnum peat moss, 1 part perlite, and 1/2 cup dolomitic lime per 15 gallons. I am using Foliage Pro 9-3-6 at 1/4tsp per gallon at every watering.

I was watering every day, but noticed that it was just staying too wet, almost boggy. At every other day to every third day the media appears to still be quite wet and clumpy.

I am also looking in to ph, my local water report shows a ph of 6.8 to 8.2 which should be a decent range for my peppers, they should be doing well with ph between 6 and 8 from my research. I am going to be do my own testing of the water ph to verify the number in the report.

The reason for my concern is that when my mix was ready, allowing time for the reactive phase of the lime, I repotted half of my plants into the 5-1-1 and left half in the original Miracle grwo potting mix. I started watering with the FP fertilizer when I repotted. That has been about a month and a half to two months and the plants I repotted have just stopped growing. The ones I left in the MG potting soil have flourished with the FP. Having the one difference of media between the 2 sets of plants leads me to believe that I have somehow erred in my mixing of the media.


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 22, 10 at 15:38

Hmmm - I would expect some balking if you removed most of the soil from the roots, but if you only potted up, it's a little puzzling. I'd guess you're watering too frequently. Use a sharpened wood dowel stuck deep into the soil to test for moisture. The dowel should come out clean/dry before you water - especially with peppers. They don't like wet feet.

The 5:1:1 ratio is a starting point. The actual ratio that will work best depends on how coarse/fine the bark is. Really fine bark might need no peat & more perlite, while coarser bark might need more peat than 5:1:1.

Al


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

My peppers have done very well in MG mix. I'm still getting peppers and it has gotten quite cool in NY. I notice we are in the same zone. What are your other growing conditions?

The bark is probably holding too much water.

Jane


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

Thanks for all the help Al, this should give me information to work with. First frost will be upon me soon, and I will be overwintering some of these indoors. LED with flourescent supplement in a cabinet with airflow and heat. Hopefully I can get the basic kinks worked out before next spring.

This has been my first year growing and I have learned so much, mainly from these forums, that I hope to be able to be much more productive next year. Then I get to play with some more exotic plants/herbs that I just cannot get around here.


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 23, 10 at 11:51

You're welcome - and your enthusiasm is refreshing. Keep learning.

For perfect plants,
Don't trust to chance;
because ....
The more you know,
The better you'll grow!

Al


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

Good luck, please post back and let us know how the LED'S work. I've been interested in exploring them.

Jane


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

I was mixing up my second batch of 5-1-1 yesterday, in the barn, away from my computer, where the recipe resides. I was making a 'small batch' and as I threw in 1/4 cup of lime and 4tbsp of CRF I got an uneasy feeling that I was messing up. So I trotted into the house to check the recipe, and sure enough, I got the measurements backwards. Damn! Quick google search to see how badly I was off and how I would have to remix and 'dilute' to get back on track. Had to laugh at myself when I realized that 1/4 cup = 4 tbsp! Ah well, good lesson learned: 5-1-1 gets lime and CRF in equal amounts. cheers


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

Zippelk brings a point to mind. Since it looks like I may be mainly running into an overwatering issue and I am getting my fertilizer from my water in the Foliage Pro; am I going to run into an underfertilization problem with decreased watering. Logic tells me that the nutrients will still be there as long as the water is, but my logic has failed me a few times this summer.

It has been a trying first year. I have fought white flies, fungus gnats (a sign of overwatering I have learned), aphids, blossom drop, and quarter sized hail. Through it all I have learned how to prevent most of them and recover from the things I do not prevent. I just remind myself that for every obstacle I encounter I am gaining more knowledge and better productivity in the future.


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 24, 10 at 23:14

A positive attitude is a major plus. ;o)

It's funny ...... I often comment that enthusiasm is contagious. Well, today a friend and I traveled many miles to south lower MI to visit an other rather well-known friend and his wife, and to view/discuss his bonsai collection. During our visit the conversation turned to people just entering the bonsai artist's ranks. It made me smile when Jack mentioned how contagious enthusiasm is. We both agreed how much more fun it is to be around enthusiastic people.

Al


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

""Jack mentioned how contagious enthusiasm is. We both agreed how much more fun it is to be around enthusiastic people.

Al""

So True.. ;)
JJ


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

A quick follow up, I repotted one of my Thai Basil plants in an ammended mix. I added another part perlite/vermiculite mix so that it is now closer to a 5-2-1 Bark-Perlite-peat. I am using a perlite/vermiculite mix because I have both that I need to use up and they seem to perform the same functions from my research.

With a more cautious water regimem and the new mix this plant is really prospering. It is not getting any taller, but the new leaves are at least triple the size of the old tiny ones I was getting.

I am also trying some SWC containers with my peppers in a mix of half of my prepared mix and half MG potting soil. I am testing several different designs and have seen little to no difference at this point. I am only a week into that experiment so it is way to early to tell. I do have one hybrid jalapeno plant that I have brought inside and put under the LED's. At this point it is doing exactly the same as when it was in its original mix outside. I am hoping that it is having a touch of shock from the repot and will flourish even better than it was.


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

I don't know where you live, but in zone 5 its getting too cold for peppers outside - at least where I am. We've had frost and my peppers and beans were killed a few days ago. I covered my tomatoes and they are hanging on. We've had cold rain for the past two days, 30's at night. Just miserable weather.

Taking yours in is probably the best, at least at night.

Good luck,
Jane


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

I am in SE Montana. I am keeping an eye on the weather, I only have a couple more plants outside that I plan on overwintering. Before I bring them in I want to do a few more touches to my grow closet. If I am really lucky, I will get one more small crop out of the outside plants before winter sounds their death knell. Of course, my bell pepper plant that has suffered problems all year has finally set fruit.

My foulups and mother nature's nasty tricks have teamed up to ensure that I will just try and get a good jumpstart on new plants next year. The only plants I plan to keep overwinter are my thai chiles, "fooled ya" hybrid jalapenos and my thai basil. I still cannot get over how much more complex the flavor of the thai basil is.

I have my eye on several citrus varieties that I want, key lime, Buddha's Hand, and Thai lime. I have been arguing with myself on wether to get them now and overwinter, or wait until spring.

If I get a chance, I will get a few shots of my grow closet, see what people think and maybe get some input on how to improve.


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

Hey, there!

Just wanted to let you know that vermiculite will eventually turn to a mushy substance.
Perlite has much more integrity, even though it, too, breaks into smaller particles over time.

I grow Thai basil, as well. The plant itself is very attractive, and the licorice/anise notes
add great complexity to a dish or a bowl of broth.

I'd personally wait until Spring to pick up citrus.

Josh


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

Quick belated update. I am patiently frantic to get access to the outdoors for growing and wanted to update on my success and lack thereof indoors. I finally have achieved an almost perfect watering routine and have healthy garlic chives, jalapenos, and thai chiles growing under an experimental mix of LEds and Flourescents. The plants receiving LED with flourescent supplement have done the best. Have had an issue with leaf curling and blossom drop. The latter I am blaming on inexperience at hand pollination.
In all, the LEDs seem to produce a plant that is not quite as hardy as an outdoor plant, but much better than a flourescent. Methinks a switchable ballast grow light is in the future before next winter.


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 26, 11 at 8:55

If you don't mind investing some money, you can really go nuts and get some nice indoor lighting... like the large lighting units used for indoor hydroponic growing! They're expensive, but they do a wonderful job of emulating that outdoor sunshine.

Me, I only use a few florescent fixtures to supplement natural light. I've got a few T12 fixtures with warm and cool tubes.

Thank you for the update! Glad everything is working out for you! :-)


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RE: Messed up 5-1-1 mix

I also have tried out the SWC concept. A great idea that I have suggested to a friend that always kills her plants because of lack of water but not suited for me. With two plants started at the same time the SWC plant is not anywhere as developed as the regular container plant with proper watering so far. However, the extra 5 gallon buckets will make great planters after I drill drain holes.


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