baileysup
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Bark based soil-less potting soil?

Does anyone know where to get this stuff? I might be getting an Agave Americana soon, and this was recommended as part of the soil mix. It is said that agaves don't like the acidity of peat. Also, I've been looking for aged compost that is peat free. Does anyone know who makes it, and where to get it? Thanks

tomc
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Re: Bark based soil-less potting soil?

Mix up your own. one fourty pound bag of soil conditioner or pine bark mulch and one fifty pound bag of "layer" sized grani-Grit chicken scratch.

Granite is available from your local (Blue Seal) Feed Store. Soil conditioner-bark mulch from any big-box store.
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imafan26
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Re: Bark based soil-less potting soil?

Isn't redwood or pine bark acidic?

Why not just plant the agave in sharp sand or gravel? I think the reason they want to limit peat is because it will hold too much water.

I plant almost all of my cacti and succulents in cinder or gravel. The pots are heavy, but the plants are fine.
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baileysup
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Re: Bark based soil-less potting soil?

I'm not sure about the acidity of the bark, but I just read that agaves don't like peat, and it wasn't due to water retention. You have a good idea, with the sharp sand and gravel, but I want some organics in there to cut down on the watering. Also to provide a bit of nutrients. Even though agaves don't need much nutrients in their soil, I hear they grow better with it.

imafan26
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Re: Bark based soil-less potting soil?

All plants in pots will need some kind of fertilizer. You can add a handful of vermicompost if you have it or you can add a little bit of finished compost usually 10-20% of the mix. They do sell cactus mixes. It is mostly bark and perlite.

I don't know how organic you want to get. Succulents don't need a lot of fertilizer. I use slow release nutricote 13-13-13 type 200. It only requires one feeding a year. You can supplement if you think it needs more but I would either use a 1/4 strength miracle grow or bulb food since they don't need a lot of fast nitrogen.

Be careful about watering. More plants are killed by loving them too much and giving them way too much water.

I keep my cactus and succulents in a spot that is not automatically watered. For the most part they are in cinder in clay or concrete pots and the plants are under potted. I have a few in plastic pots but the pots have extra drainage holes. I only give them some osmocote and occasionally they will get miracle grow once in a blue moon. If it rains heavily for days I have to bring them in the lanai or they will rot. Cactus and succulents were designed by nature to capture and store water like a sponge, they need to dry out between watering.
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baileysup
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Re: Bark based soil-less potting soil?

imafan26 wrote:Isn't redwood or pine bark acidic?

I just read that pine bark is acidic, but less acidic than peat. Many agave growers state: "do not use a peat mix". There must be a reason for it.

MHarmon
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Re: Bark based soil-less potting soil?

baileysup wrote:
imafan26 wrote:Isn't redwood or pine bark acidic?

I just read that pine bark is acidic, but less acidic than peat. Many agave growers state: "do not use a peat mix". There must be a reason for it.

Agave are xerophytes. Since peat retains a lot of moisture, there is a good chance of rotting the roots on an Agave planted in peat if you are not careful about watering.
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imafan26
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Re: Bark based soil-less potting soil?

That makes sense. Then it that case I would also go very light on any compost too since it also holds a lot of water.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

baileysup
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Re: Bark based soil-less potting soil?

imafan26 wrote:That makes sense. Then it that case I would also go very light on any compost too since it also holds a lot of water.

Yes, I've decided to not use any mushroom compost, as I've come to that same conclusion. I'll be using Fine crushed pine bark, coconut coir, and pumice for my mix (no mushroom compost). I bought a cheap blender today at Walmart, and it's the perfect tool for chopping up the pine bark nuggets. I couldn't be happier with the final result of the pine bark. The blender seems to create the perfect consistency out of the nuggets to make soil out of, and you can make whatever size particles you want (large or fine). So, long story short. If you can't find the finer bark soil conditioner, one word: blender. You'll be happy with the result. :D

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