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  • What potting mix are you using this year?

    I'm hoping to prep some potting mix tomorrow if everything is thawed enough (big if). I had grand plants of making a modified 5-1-1-1 mix or Gritty Mix, but costs are already overboard for my gardening budget this year so I'm just using what I already have on hand. I still expect good results, just may need to root prune and replace soil sooner.

    The base of my blend is the mix made by the company I work for, it is mostly used for annuals/bedding plants. It's a light blend of peat, pine fines, and perlite (don't know the proportions), similar to a seed starting soil.

    5 gallons pine fines
    5 gallons potting soil
    2 cups dolomitic limestone
    6 cups garden tone
    some compost (if available)
    might add some pea gravel, not sure if I want the extra weight

    I recall reading Tapla saying that once a mix is made (with limestone) it should left to rest for a little bit (week or two). I think this is to allow any chemical reactions to occur and stabilize.

    Some additional fertilizing will be done with a higher nitrogen fertilizer in spring and early summer either with liquid fertilizer or fertilizer tabs. Whenever I find worms when gardening they get introduced to pots, a little extra help there.

    What are you guys using this year?
    Last edited by Kelby; 03-11-2015, 02:46 PM. Reason: typo
    https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
    SE PA
    Zone 6

  • #2
    I still have a bale of Pro-Mix HP which I will continue to use. Last year I mixed in some composted manure and some lime and my trees did very well.

    I did however learn a few lessons which I will be implementing this year. I'll be adding in some pink park fines to get a bit of a hardier mix to prevent erosion while I'm watering which exposes the roots. I think I will also add in some limestone screenings in lieu of the lime.

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    • Kelby
      Kelby commented
      Editing a comment
      Belleclare used limestone screenings as a mulch on their containerized plants. I don't think it is chemically active enough to replace agricultural limestone, though. I'm probably going to mulch my pots with it.

  • #3
    I bought a bale of Pro-Mix HP and added some compost, lime, greensand and tree tone(it's what I had around). I transplanted most of my figs already and put them in the greenhouse so they can get a headstart on spring. When they go outside, I'll put some pine bark nuggets as a mulch and some of the pots will be buried in a new garden bed I'm planning this year. It'll be interesting to compare the partially buried pots vs pots on top of the soil.
    Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

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    • #4
      I'll be making a bark/perlite/expanded shale mix again. I started at 1:1:1, but have been modifying slightly every year. Last year, I was about 2:1:1. This year, I will be experimenting with more mulch and less expanded shale. I'd like some for weight, but not so much I won't be able to lift them. My containers sit on a retaining wall. I need to be able to lift them about 3'. So I need to find the right balance before they go into 25 gallon containers. Of course, Rowan should be a teenager about the same time they get that large... so
      Littleton, CO (zone 5b) - In Containers
      N.E. of Austin, TX (zone 8b)- In Ground.

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      • #5
        I've been uing the same mix for awhile, and it works well for me. In a wheelbarrow, I mix 2 cu ft of Happy Frog organic potting soil with an equal amount of my aged, horse manure compost. I add a couple of handfuls of ground oyster shell and ground rock phosphate. That's it, easy. Of course I fertilize plants regularly with organic fertilizers. For in ground planting, I skip the HF potting soil, and just amend with compost, oyster shell, and rock phosphate.
        Gary USDA 9A
        Sebastopol, CA

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        • #6
          Hi Kelby!
          I used to use ProMix BX amended with pelletized dolomitic limestone, sand and mushroom compost. This year I am going with Fafard 52 w added limestone, and I am fertilizing with rabbit poop, worm castings, a little leaf compost, osmocote, espoma iron tone and limestone as top dressing.
          Last edited by Rafaelissimmo; 03-11-2015, 03:47 PM.
          Rafael
          Zone 7b, Queens, New York

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          • #7
            For containers, I'm still using Tapla's modified 5-1-1-1 mix, (Pine bark fines - Peat - Perlite - Calcined clay). the mix is still viable after 3 years in use. Dolemite Limestone @ 1 cup, Espoma-Tone Fertilizer @ 2 cups and Ironite @ 1/2 cup per each 5 gallon of mix. For SIPs I'm using the same ingredients at a ratio of 4-2-1-1. I often substitute pea gravel for the Perlite because it only adds ~ 6 Lbs for every 5 gallons of mix. And an added benefit of the Calcined clay is that it prevents the mix from becoming hydrophobic and makes it very easy to water from a completely dry state.

            I get the 3cu. ft. bags of Agway Pine Bark Mulch which is usually the right size when sifted through a 1/2" and 1/4" hardware cloth.
            15% - 20% larger than 1/2" (I grate it through the hardware cloth), 15% - 20 % smaller than 1/4", 60% - 70% between 1/4" and 1/2". I only sift with the 1/2" hardware cloth to reduce the larger pieces. A point that is often overlooked is that Pine Bark Fines is not Composted Pine Bark, Its simply aged Pine Bark pieces or "Very small" Mini Pine Bark Nuggets and its very stable and takes a long time to decompose.

            To use the mix sooner I rinse the Pine Bark Fines with clean water, mix with the Peat, Perlite, Calcined Clay, Limestone and Fertilizer, then flush once with clean water to balance out the pH in the mix, which is the reason for the recommendation of "rest" prior to use.

            To populate the mix with earthworms I simply leave the watered mix in a mound on the ground in a corner of my garden, in a few weeks the potting mix is teeming with earthworms.
            Last edited by AscPete; 03-11-2015, 07:10 PM. Reason: corrected the SIP ratio to 4-2-1-1
            Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

            Comment


            • Rafaelissimmo
              Rafaelissimmo commented
              Editing a comment
              Hi Pete you left out what "tone" of espoma you use. Or maybe I misunderstood?

            • AscPete
              AscPete commented
              Editing a comment
              I'm currently using Garden-tone, but have used Plant-tone, Tomato-tone and Bulb-tone in the past. Any balanced (Macro and Micro nutrient) Organic Fertilizers will work with this mix. The Espoma line of fertilizers just has all the bases covered and includes Mycorrhizae ...http://www.espoma.com/p_consumer/fac...l#.VQDJ1o6Rzct

          • #8
            Every year I do this I try to be more accurate with what I put in my mixes. It usually winds up with a little of this and a little of that. I don't measure anymore, I just do it by eye. So at any given point there will always be a bit of Promix , Perlite, sifted pine mulch, maybe some more peat moss and some vermiculite Im trying to get rid of. I also put a bit of mushroom compost that is leftover from my pots. It is fun playing in the dirt.
            I so respect all you guys who are very careful with your mixes. Once I pot up I now use Promix or something like that and some lime and Osomcote..
            I hope to just be using one bag of something instead of 5 some day soon.

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            • #9
              Last year, my first growing figs, I used the 5:1:1:1 mix AscPete recommends as above, without the added Ironite, in various sized 1 to 7 g standard pots. I had a lot of MG potting soil on hand and used some of it in place of the peat portion of the mix sometimes. I think those containers did OK-MG is mainly peat.

              This year I will add the Ironite to my containers as Pete recommended. And I have several bales of ProMix Ultimate on hand that I have been using for cuttings (adding 1/3 perlite for cuttings in cups), and I may use that in the mix in place of peat for some 5:1:1:1 batches or just trying that alone for some of the cuttings going into 1g standard pots.

              Many of my young plants started last year are going into 5g SIPs this year, made of recycled buckets. I did not grow figs in SIPs last year, but tried SIPs for peppers and tomatoes. I was not sure that the 5:1:1:1 mix wicked well enough; a mix of 40% MG potting soil and 60% pine bark fines wicked very well for those vegetable SIPs. I will probably use a slight variation of Pete's formula, I was thinking of testing a 5:2:1:1 mix (with 2 parts peat) or 4:1:1:1 as Pete mentioned above. Going to need a lot of mix, I have about 40 to pot up from last year and have about 30 little cuttings making it this season.
              Ed
              SW PA zone 6a

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              • #10
                I've been using Happy Frog and adding some worm castings and perlite.
                USDA Zone 9b Wish list: Abruzzi, Pasquale, Filacciano, Tagliacozzo, Zingarella, Godfather. Any, including unknowns, from Abruzzo, Italy.

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                • #11
                  I am using Promix MP Organik with about 20% Growstones mixed in for cuttings in tall plant bands. Maybe some extra coir for the ones in fabric containers.

                  3 cu. ft bag Agway PBM + 7 gal. Promix +7 gal. compost worked well last year for larger fabric containers, I add in some (~2 cups) high nitro organic fertilizer (5-1-1), kelp meal (~1 cup), gypsum and lime (.5 cup each).
                  .

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                  • #12
                    ProMix HP, only amended by adding additional slow release fertilizer. I bought two 80 cubic foot super bags of it last fall so I don't plan on using anything else this year.
                    My fig photos <> My fig cuttings (starts late January) <> My Youtube Videos

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                    • #13
                      Originally posted by HarveyC View Post
                      ProMix HP, only amended by adding additional slow release fertilizer. I bought two 80 cubic foot super bags of it last fall so I don't plan on using anything else this year.
                      Harvey, do you mulch with anything to prevent erosion when watering?

                      Comment


                      • HarveyC
                        HarveyC commented
                        Editing a comment
                        No, has not been a problem at all.

                    • #14
                      Just mixed up 3 batches of my mix, filled 4 #10 pots and some. Probably won't get me far, but it's a start! Funny how 30ish gallons fills 40+ gallons of nursery pot, gotta love it.
                      Click image for larger version

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                      https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
                      SE PA
                      Zone 6

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                      • #15
                        Awesome soil combinations. I will be trying some experiments with some of these myself. will bookmark this discussion and come back to it. Thanks everyone!!
                        Jerry - Zone 6B -Westchester, NY
                        2015 Wish List: Longue d'Aout, CdD.Gris, Nero 600, Florea, Italian 258, Galicia Negra.

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                        • #16
                          Jungle Grow. It works for me and is easy to get at lowes. Sometimes I add some pine bark when I remember to get it.
                          Nothing in the world takes the place of growing citrus till figs come along. Ray City, Ga. Zone 8 b.

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                          • #17
                            Kelby can we call your mix "Kelby's super secret mega mix?" Lol
                            Rafael
                            Zone 7b, Queens, New York

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                            • Kelby
                              Kelby commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Shhhh, it's a secret!

                          • #18
                            I am going to further modify 5-1-1 for some larger trees that will go into #10 or #15 fabric pots.

                            This is what I used last year, and had very good results, but they really should have been watered twice a day as they were quite dry on hot days when I got home from work. 5 parts pine bark fines (Agway brand, unsifted), 1 part perlite, 1 part compost (I make my own), then added lime, ironite according to batch size.

                            This year I am going to add 1 part water crystals, making it 5:1:1:1.

                            If anyone has used them for figs please chime in. I bought them on Amazon and just noticed that MG makes a similar product - http://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Gro-10...water+crystals
                            Phil
                            Zone 7A - Newark, DE; Zone 8A - Wilmington, NC;

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                            • Kelby
                              Kelby commented
                              Editing a comment
                              It might be easier/more cost efficient to up the amount of peat in your mixture to add more moisture retention. Something like 2-1-.5.

                              Or, isn't calcined clay similar to the water crystals, or at least it absorbs and releases a lot of moisture?

                            • drphil69
                              drphil69 commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Thanks for you comment, Kelby. They sound expensive, but they really expand a lot when water is added. It ends up being a little over $2/cubic foot, about the same as I pay for pine bark fines. I use compost in place of the peat, not sure if it works the same. I was considering calcined clay but the added weight concerns me.

                            • Kelby
                              Kelby commented
                              Editing a comment
                              That's not bad at all for the water crystals, let us know how it works out. I haven't used calcined clay, so I can't really speak to the weight. Definitely a concern if you're doing #10 or #15 pots, though. I decided against adding pea gravel for that reason. They are heavy without a plant and pretty dry!

                          • #19
                            I don't have experience with the fabric pots but I would agree with Kelby on adding a minimum of 1 or 2 parts peat for holding moisture, should do a better job than the compost, which might be breaking down further as the season goes along
                            Ed
                            SW PA zone 6a

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                            • #20
                              Last year was cold and nothing did really well but the pots that rooted into the ground did much better than the ones which didn't. I have red clay soil. The air layers at the greenhouse I visited were doing great. They were rooted in straight compost. I based my soil on pine bark chunks and fines and added a mixture of promix HP (because I had it), tomato tone (extra calcium), worm castings, cow manure and Napa floor dry. I put about a quart of that into each 7 gal pot with the pine bark. I also fertilized with osmocote and miracle grow. I don't think it worked very well and this year I'm probably going to go with half compost and half pine bark. I do my best to ensure each pot has easy access to root into the ground.
                              Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

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                              • #21
                                Bump. Add me in an e
                                Nothing in the world takes the place of growing citrus till figs come along. Ray City, Ga. Zone 8 b.

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                                • #22
                                  Originally posted by Hershell View Post
                                  Bump. Add me in an e

                                  Your E has been granted
                                  Cutting sales on willsfigs.com started Nov 1 and will continue till about March 1.

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                                  • Hershell
                                    Hershell commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    Thanks for the E Master
                                    Last edited by Hershell; 07-02-2015, 05:24 PM.

                                • #23
                                  A word about the water holding crystals. If you use mycorhizae they will eat the crystals.
                                  Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

                                  Comment


                                  • drphil69
                                    drphil69 commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    Hi Bob, where did you get this information? Seems like a strange thing for them to eat.

                                • #24
                                  This is a great topic. We all grow the same 'stuff' but have different
                                  ways of growing it.

                                  What has lead to the use of such quick draining high organic content mixes?

                                  The natural growing condition in the Mediterranean is a soil base that is baked in the sun daily. I would think the organic content is less than 3%

                                  I add 10% -15% garden soil to my mixes and find that it greatly helps capillary action, retains nutrients and allows for good aeration.

                                  All insight appreciated

                                  Figster
                                  Ian

                                  Really happy with what I have.

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                                  • Kelby
                                    Kelby commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    Heavier mixes don't promote good root structure, have perched tables, and breakdown requiring more frequent repotting. They are also heavy to move!

                                • #25
                                  I use hardwood bark mulch, pine bark, compost and perlite.I don't really measure anything it just needs to drain well. Then I put slow release fertilizer on top.
                                  Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana
                                  Buffalo WV Z6

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