pointer80
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What mix would everyone suggest?

Hello all, I am starting some fall containers with kale, radishes and some carrots. I have some alpaca manure(aged), peat moss, composted leaf mold, and some composted wood chips that I sifted into my wagon. I was wondering how I should mix these organic materials (or any others) for my containers? Thanks all.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: What mix would everyone suggest?

Leave the wood chips out. They are ok for mulch, just sitting on top of the soil. Mixed in they will suck nitrogen out of the soil in their decomposition process. The other stuff is fine, although for containers, you might want to mix in some perlite or coarse sand to keep the mixture loose and free draining.
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imafan26
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Re: What mix would everyone suggest?

Remember compost is not fertilizer. You will have to supplement your containers with fertilizer. I suggest fish emulsion since most of your crops like radishes and kale can be harvested young. Carrot will take a little longer. Root crops like carrots and radishes I will supplement with bone meal as well as fish meal. They need more phosphorus and less nitrogen.
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pointer80
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Re: What mix would everyone suggest?

rainbowgardener wrote:Leave the wood chips out. They are ok for mulch, just sitting on top of the soil. Mixed in they will suck nitrogen out of the soil in their decomposition process. The other stuff is fine, although for containers, you might want to mix in some perlite or coarse sand to keep the mixture loose and free draining.
Thank you for the reply. The wood chips I plan on using are completely composted, ( I have included pictures) so I thought that would be good stuff.
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imafan26
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Re: What mix would everyone suggest?

Some people do have success planting in composts. I do not. I am trying to figure out how you made your compost. You are using composted alpaca manure, composted wood chips, and leaf mold. Usually, you don't make compost out of a single material. You want a blended compost. 1 part greens to 2 parts brown for a ratio 25:1 Peat moss is an acidic compost because it is made anaerobically but it is usually limed to a pH of about 6.0. It holds water well and provides good structure for roots, but does not contain much nutrients since it has been used up in the composting process. It can hold too much water by itself so 50% peat moss and 50% perlite works best for me. Coir can also be used it is really wet when it is wet and really dry when it is not. It is also light like peat moss but does not hold on to nutrients as well. It is good for plants that like to dry out between watering and usually does not need as much perlite for drainage. I don't like it, but it may be because I haven't used it much. The tall plants fall over a lot because the pot is too light when it dries. I have planted anthuriums in leaf mold, they do seem to like that. Wood chips suck up a lot of nitrogen and they get moldy and bacteria and fungi feed on them. They break down and sour the media. I don't like to use it as a media. I do not use any manures in containers. It is a good way to kill plants. If you do put manures in containers, use it as a manure tea instead.

Some commercial potting mixes replaced 1/2 or more of the peat moss with compost. They aren't very good for me as they hold way to much water and kill my plants. Compost is heavier and holds more water than peat and compost will make your mix more alkaline. Most plants like slightly acidic conditions. The ones that like alkaline conditions do not like a very wet mix.

If you want to use compost, I would start with a recipe that has already been tried
1 part peat moss, 1 part good garden soil, 1 part perlite , 1 part compost (blended)

https://www.finegardening.com/potting-soil-recipes
https://eartheasy.com/grow_compost.html
https://www.planetnatural.com/potting-mix-recipes/
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pointer80
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Re: What mix would everyone suggest?

imafan26 wrote:Some people do have success planting in composts. I do not. I am trying to figure out how you made your compost. You are using composted alpaca manure, composted wood chips, and leaf mold. Usually, you don't make compost out of a single material. You want a blended compost. 1 part greens to 2 parts brown for a ratio 25:1 Peat moss is an acidic compost because it is made anaerobically but it is usually limed to a pH of about 6.0. It holds water well and provides good structure for roots, but does not contain much nutrients since it has been used up in the composting process. It can hold too much water by itself so 50% peat moss and 50% perlite works best for me. Coir can also be used it is really wet when it is wet and really dry when it is not. It is also light like peat moss but does not hold on to nutrients as well. It is good for plants that like to dry out between watering and usually does not need as much perlite for drainage. I don't like it, but it may be because I haven't used it much. The tall plants fall over a lot because the pot is too light when it dries. I have planted anthuriums in leaf mold, they do seem to like that. Wood chips suck up a lot of nitrogen and they get moldy and bacteria and fungi feed on them. They break down and sour the media. I don't like to use it as a media. I do not use any manures in containers. It is a good way to kill plants. If you do put manures in containers, use it as a manure tea instead.

Some commercial potting mixes replaced 1/2 or more of the peat moss with compost. They aren't very good for me as they hold way to much water and kill my plants. Compost is heavier and holds more water than peat and compost will make your mix more alkaline. Most plants like slightly acidic conditions. The ones that like alkaline conditions do not like a very wet mix.

If you want to use compost, I would start with a recipe that has already been tried
1 part peat moss, 1 part good garden soil, 1 part perlite , 1 part compost (blended)

https://www.finegardening.com/potting-soil-recipes
https://eartheasy.com/grow_compost.html
https://www.planetnatural.com/potting-mix-recipes/
I have these different materials on hand is what I meant to say. I have leaf mould that I got from the city, the alpaca manure I got from a alpaca farm and it's about 5 years old, the wood chips are from my wood pile and are decayed to the point that it looks like black dirt and that is what I sifted, and peat moss I bought at the home center. I was just wondering if I could mix these materials to make a good medium to grow in? I have been growing tomatoes in the pure leaf mould in containers with great results. Also I planted a leftover pumpkin plant in the pile of alpaca manure and it's growing great.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: What mix would everyone suggest?

All of those things are good stuff. But I still think there is a difference between growing in containers and growing in the ground.

All of your ingredients are pretty dense and moisture holding and all of them are subject to packing down in a container. That's why I suggested adding in some mineral ingredient such as perlite or coarse sand.
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imafan26
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Re: What mix would everyone suggest?

cucurbits can usually tolerate more salt than other plants. I have used leaf mold for anthuriums and we have a fig tree that was planted in a raised bed with leaf mold. As rainbow said. Media will behave differently from the ground when it is in pots, especially relatively small pots. In the ground, the roots will eventually dig into the native soil for additional nutrients and water has a greater area to spread around if it is not contained. Potted plants will be totally dependent on you to provide nutrients and the right amount of water so they don't drown. Salts in manures and composts can kill potted plants if they are high. Since most manures and composts are mixed with soil in the ground, they are diluted.
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Gary350
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Re: What mix would everyone suggest?

Compose is for the root, not for the plants. I planted carrots in a compose garden soil mix many years ago they did good. The compost made soil soft for carrots to expand in the pots. Growing in pots is different than growing in soil you need to remember to water plants in pots every day the pot moisture fluctuates where growing in garden soil does not fluctuate as much. You can grow a lot of things in pots but you need to be there every day you can not leave for a 1 week vacation and expect everything to be ok when you return. Put wood ash in your compost it contains lime plus lots of minerals. I planted potatoes in compost/garden soil mix with wood ash once they do very well 1 plant per 2 gallon pot.

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applestar
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Re: What mix would everyone suggest?

Yeah I agree with rainbowgardener (I think?) -- at the very least I think you need addition of "good for drainage" material to vary aggregate size and some minerals -- sharp sand, crushed granite kind of thing. You don't want all 'finely shifted" material in containers because then it'll the tiny particles pack down.

Perlite work because they leave air space -- not sure how they might affect root crisps though....

I would have allowed 1/4"-3/8" bits of crumbly decayed wood chip especially if using the aged manure. That would have helped with the aggregate.

All three -- kale, radish, and carrot would do well with raised pH (neutral to slightly higher) so wood ash will work -- tiny amount -- also adds potassium, also supposed to help with root maggot type pests if sprinkled.

Be sure you are using large enough containers.....
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