River
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Potting soil variation

For the last couple of years I have used miracle grow mixed with mini pine bark nuggets.
No complaints it works. A friend of mine who studies plant diseases for auburn univ suggested
A lower cost but effective potting soil. Simply take soil conditioner mix in some larger mini nuggets and a bag of compost & manure. You will probably need to add some fertilizer whether it be organic or not.

I will let u know how well it works. I planted broccoli and cauliflower in the miracle grow, and the brussel sprouts, kale, lettuce and a couple of herbs ( oregano & Rosemary) in the other mixture.
Mobile al zone 8b

catgrass
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Re: Potting soil variation

What are you calling soil conditioner? For my large containers (40 gal.), I make a mixture of reg. top soil, compost, manure and garden mix soil. Works great for me, a lot of times better than in the ground.
zone 9 Southwest La.

River
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Re: Potting soil variation

catgrass wrote:What are you calling soil conditioner? For my large containers (40 gal.), I make a mixture of reg. top soil, compost, manure and garden mix soil. Works great for me, a lot of times better than in the ground.



It's the finely shredded bark sold at lowes
Mobile al zone 8b

catgrass
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Re: Potting soil variation

I see-thanks for the answer
zone 9 Southwest La.

imafan26
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Re: Potting soil variation

How much manure did you put in the mix by ratio. I have never had luck with manure or more than 20% compost in pots.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Potting soil variation

yeah, I was thinking catgrass's mix "reg. top soil, compost, manure and garden mix soil." would never work for me. The bigger the container, the more like just being in the ground, so the more you would be able to use something like that. For the containers I tend to use, anywhere between 2 and 15 gallons, that would be way to heavy, moisture holding, prone to packing down. It is all heavy stuff, with nothing to lighten it/ loosen it.
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Susan W
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Re: Potting soil variation

My 'whatever mix' is similar to Catgrass. I mix about 1/2 cheap top soil. 1/4 soil conditioner, 1/4 manure, some handfuls of my enriched dirt-compost with worms. The top soil has sand and other stuff, but the mix was going south by late spring with too much fresh ground pine (the origin of soil is NW AL in pulp wood country). For conditioner I prefer the one from HDep over Lowes, and better yet cotton burr. The cow poo is Black Kow from Lowes, and has sand. The containers are mostly 12 -16". If I'm filling a new pot, use the cheaper stuff for bottom half, then work the richer mix for top half. There are well over 100 containers out there, and few problems from soil mix, most from insects, fungus, squirrels etc.

Hope this helps!
Have fun!
Susan

River
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Re: Potting soil variation

This mixture is very light in weight. I am using the large plastic containers from lowes that measure 22 inches across I would guess they are around 8-10 gallons just a guess. I use a few inches of the mini nuggets on the bottom and then I intersperse it with the conditioner and just eyeball the mix. I asked the same question after the fact about percentages I think I was being to anal.

One of my concerns was the bag of compost and manure it seemed hot but maybe test was because its sealed and it was sunny and around 83. I asked my friend if I shoukd worry about burning the plant or pathogens since I planted lettuce and kale.

His answer I can't say if manure is 2 hot. I've never seen a bagged composted manure that I couldn't plant directly into.
Mobile al zone 8b

imafan26
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Re: Potting soil variation

For me a 22 inch pot would be at least 16 inches deep so more like 18-20 gallon pot. I used bagged manure in the pots and I did not even use 1/4 of a bag and it still stayed too wet and no seeds or seedlings survived. I think it may have changed the pH (chicken manure would make the pH a half point higher) and it contains salts. A couple of handfuls of vermicast has been ok, but compost in pots has always held way to much water even in the clay pots. I have used soil conditioner in pots. Big R did actually work because it dries very fast, but it tended to have dry pockets and pack down. It has a high C:N ratio so I did supplement with fertilizer. It worked better with perlite and fertilizer.

Your soil mix has a lot of sand in it so maybe that is what helps you. It must be heavy though. I don't like to use sand or cinder much because of the weight except for the citrus trees which I rarely move except to make sure they have not gone through the pot.

A couple of years ago the commercial companies started using compost as a substitute for peat moss in their mixes. Supersoil was one of them. It used to be a good product, now it is only good for killing plants. If I use it at all , I use it like compost. It must be 60% compost.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

catgrass
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Re: Potting soil variation

I use that mix mainly for vegetables, though I have used it for house plants, too. It is rather "heavy", I guess you could say. In the early spring, I mix chopped up leaves in it also. I don't want it to drain too quickly because of our hot summers. I don't move the large containers at all, because...... they're too dang heavy! :)
zone 9 Southwest La.

River
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Re: Potting soil variation

catgrass wrote:I use that mix mainly for vegetables, though I have used it for house plants, too. It is rather "heavy", I guess you could say. In the early spring, I mix chopped up leaves in it also. I don't want it to drain too quickly because of our hot summers. I don't move the large containers at all, because...... they're too dang heavy! :)



We have hot summers but we get so much rain I add a lot of the mini bark nuggets to allow it to drain. Of course the downside if it doesn't rain daily I have to make sure I water them. We average 65-70 inches of rain a year.
Causes my cherry tomatoes to split.
Mobile al zone 8b

imafan26
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Re: Potting soil variation

I have less rain than that now, it used to be that much a few years ago. Even so, that heavy a mix and my daily watering would kill it all. I have learned to cut back a little on watering, but some plants actually need every day.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Susan W
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Re: Potting soil variation

River, you need to mess around and find things that work. I can suggest what I do here, just shy a few inches rain from you, and a tad chillier winter.
Cut back on watering. The larger the container, more 'dirt' and more resiliant to temps and water variations. I do a walk around daily, may water the 4" babies and qt starts daily or every other day, but larger 10 -12" 2 x week if no rain. The larger ones perhaps 2 x week, depending. When you water daily, is not good for plants, and your fertilizer pee's out in drainage. The top inch can feel dry-ish, and is good for your plants. In summer usually out daily PM with water hose, cold beverage of choice, and do bird baths, spot water other things.
Have fun!
Susan

River
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Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:18 am
Location: Mobile

Re: Potting soil variation

Susan W wrote:River, you need to mess around and find things that work. I can suggest what I do here, just shy a few inches rain from you, and a tad chillier winter.
Cut back on watering. The larger the container, more 'dirt' and more resiliant to temps and water variations. I do a walk around daily, may water the 4" babies and qt starts daily or every other day, but larger 10 -12" 2 x week if no rain. The larger ones perhaps 2 x week, depending. When you water daily, is not good for plants, and your fertilizer pee's out in drainage. The top inch can feel dry-ish, and is good for your plants. In summer usually out daily PM with water hose, cold beverage of choice, and do bird baths, spot water other things.


I think with the mixture I use it causes me to have to water more often especially in the heat of the summer. Daily based on looking at the plants when they are stressed. U are correct with the loss of fertilizer I just add it a little sooner. It was a bad season for tomatoes because of the heavy rains we received in the spring with root rot & etc. I didn't have those problems.
It's the trade off.
Now that it's cooler I only water them as u suggested.
Mobile al zone 8b

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