The EarthBox Forum
December 22, 2014, 07:47:16 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Welcome to the EarthBox Forum!
 
   Home   Help Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
  Print  
Author Topic: Potting Mix vs. Potting Soil  (Read 83101 times)
Steve
The EarthBox
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 799


Northeast PA, zone 5


« on: April 25, 2006, 04:36:32 PM »

We receive many questions about the use of potting mix vs. potting soil in the EarthBox.  The EarthBox system will not be effective with potting soil.  It won?t wick water up from the reservoir as well, and it tends to retain too much water, depriving the plant?s roots of oxygen, which can lead to root rot and plant death.  Always use a premium POTTING MIX (try to find one without fertilizer added to it), which maintains a light and fluffy texture, even when wet.  It will efficiently wick water from the reservoir, providing your plants with the proper amount of water.  It is impossible to overwater your plants or drown their roots when using a premium potting mix.

If you have difficulty finding potting mixes without fertilizer, go ahead and buy one that says it feeds for 3 months.  The amount of fertilizer in those mixes is so minimal that it will not harm your plants, even with the use of the high-concentration strip of fertilizer on top of the mix.

One more tip on separating potting mixes from potting soils that is helpful, especially if you're new to the entire concept of gardening.  As a general rule of thumb:

             If the contents of the bag are measured in POUNDS (i.e. 40 lb bag) DO NOT USE IT

             All premium potting mixes that I've ever seen are measured in voume (i.e. quarts, cubic feet)
« Last Edit: November 16, 2006, 11:06:43 AM by Steve Lott » Logged

Steve
EarthBox
pjdutche
Newbie
*
Posts: 3


« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2006, 02:03:37 PM »

NOOOOOOO!  I am quite sure you can hear the wails of despair even over the internet.

Darn.  Double dog darn.  This really should be made more clear in the instructions and main part of the earth box website.  Heck, the FAQ page even says "potting soil mix" in one spot, in the "What should I do if I have poor soil in my area?" question. 

I ran around for hours trying to get the right stuff to plant 4 tomatoes in 2 earth boxes.  I had my cart filled up with what turns out was the RIGHT stuff, but then that store didn't have lime in anything besides a pelleted form in 50 pound bags, so I put the potting mix back and went to another store.  At the next store, they had nice small bags of powdered lime, and I gleefully loaded up a bunch of bags of potting SOIL to go with it and went home and planted my 'maters.  I thought they were doing great.

Should I go back, buy potting MIX, dig my plants up, re-do the box with the MIX, and then plant the plants again?  They have probably been in there for about a week, maybe two.  And if I should do this, how on earth do I get them out of the holes in the little tarp cover thing without hurting the plants OR the covers?  I just don't know what to do now.   Embarrassed
« Last Edit: May 04, 2006, 02:05:57 PM by pjdutche » Logged
pjdutche
Newbie
*
Posts: 3


« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2006, 10:54:57 AM »

That's an easy fix, the FAQ has been appropriately updated to only say "potting mix."
(To be fair, it says "potting mix" in a lot more spots.)

Thanks for the fix! 

And, sure, of course it says "potting mix" in most places; you folks know what you're talking about.  The problem is that a lot of newbie people like me do not know that there is a difference between potting mix and potting soil in the first place.  The terms seem pretty interchangeable, and the bags at the store do not look any different on the outside - my potting SOIL's bag said it was fine for container planting, but it is not light and fluffy at all.  It would be great if a new faq was added with exactly the information that is in the first post in this thread!  That way, people will know that there really is a difference because it will be spelled out in great detail.   Smiley

At least my plants are growing well despite having the wrong stuff.  I still do not know if I need to dig them up and replace the soil with the mix or not. 

Logged
sunsdouble
Newbie
*
Posts: 2


« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2006, 08:54:11 AM »

I am an "older" customer of yours with 14 boxes and 5 years of working with them.  We even built their own 18x18' garden last year layered with 3" of gravel and fenced from deer.  HOWEVER...this year I am in a pickle  Undecided!  Living in a smaller town has its advantages, but this year I am unable to find potting mix WITHOUT fertilizer.  I have only put up two boxes so far using this and the tomatoes are doing fine...but I have not put in any granular fertilizer.  It is 50 miles to a larger town where they may have some, so I need an opinion as soon as you are able since I want to get the rest set up soon.  Thanks
Logged
bonderman
Newbie
*
Posts: 4


« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2006, 05:46:02 PM »

I passed on some potting mix with fertilizer myself but I imagine it depends on how strong the fertilizer is and the release rate.  These characteristics are probably not spelled out on the package but if the mixl is designed to be thinned with soil then it seems like it could be too strong.   
Logged
Tplant
Active Member
*
Posts: 14


« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2006, 11:11:00 AM »

In my area, Ft Laud, it is almost impossible to find potting or container mix w/o fertilizer. I always buy Jungle Growth or Miracle - Gro(3mos. fert) and do quite well. If you use potting soil you have a problem as it drowns the plant's roots. When buying a potting mix and it is less than $6 for 2cu ft, you are buying the wrong stuff. Always buy a name brand as I mentioned and don't try to economize on your mix as it is the foundation of all you will grow in the coming years.
Logged
Steve
The EarthBox
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 799


Northeast PA, zone 5


« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2006, 01:27:52 PM »

That's very good advice, Tplant!

Premium potting mix is a crucial part of the EarthBox system.  Without it, water won't cycle through the EarthBox properly, and you'll either drown your plants or deprive them of water.

Like it says in the Instructions, don't second guess the system.  Saving a few dollars at the start of the season may result in headaches and poor crop yields, ultimately costing the use more by having to replace plants and buy days-old produce at the grocery store instead of harvesting it themselves in their own garden.
Logged

Steve
EarthBox
pjdutche
Newbie
*
Posts: 3


« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2006, 04:06:13 PM »

I'm the idiot that used potting soil instead of mix out of pure ignorance.   Tongue

Anyway, a kind earthbox person wrote me private e-mail and suggested that the best thing to do really was to dig the plants up and replace the pottoing soil with mix, since the roots probably wouldn't have spread much in the time they'd been planted, and they'd do poorly later in that heavy soil.  So I set out bravely to try to find potting mix again.  Nothing at the first place I tried.  Second place: everything labelled "potting mix" had fertilizer added (now I see that this has been addressed, but I hadn't checked the forum for that new nugget of advice the day I shopped - d'oh!).  So I asked one of the store employees if they had any potting mix without fertilizer.  He promptly pointed out a bag labelled "potting soil."  Which caused me to giggle quite a bit given the circumstances.  Cheesy 

This particular potting soil listed perlite and vermiculite as ingredients, so it probably would have worked, except that they only had two little tiny bags - nowhere near enough.  Rhetorical question - why are all these bags of mix, soil, dirt, etc, made so that you cannot actually see the material inside?  They all have solid plastic bags, not even a clear window, so you'd have to open a bag to see what you're getting.  Aggravating. 

Anyway, I wound up buying just straight-up perlite and a little vermiculite.  I came home and gently extracted my plants - lost a few roots but nothing too horrible.  I mixed my existing heavy potting soil with the new perlite and vermiculite and did achieve something pretty light and fluffy.  I hope it is close enough.   At this point, I'm not touching them again this season.  Hahaha.  I'll wait til next year to try again if my plants go down the tubes.  It's been a week and they look fine so far. Smiley
Logged
ioiosotwig
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 608


N. Illinois USA - Zone 5


« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2006, 04:23:31 PM »

This is my favorite... a little expensive $16-17/bag, but it is a very nice mix.

Here are the spec's, and I don't know if it is sold throughout the USA.  I am in Illinois.



Metro-Mix 360

The most popular Metro-Mix formulation.
Similar to Metro-Mix 350, but with additional aggregate for drainage.

Available Sizes

Available in 2.8 cu ft loose fill palletized bags
(40 & 60 cu ft Minibulk and Bulk available in some locations)

Ingredients

Formulation with Canadian Sphagnum peat moss, horticultural grade Vermiculite,
processed Bark Ash, Bark, starter nutrient charge, Dolomitic Limestone
and our long-lasting wetting agent.

Applications

A great choice for a wide range of crop types and container styles.


Logged
joekun
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 226

Southern California, Zone 10


« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2006, 04:55:21 AM »

Quote
Living in a smaller town has its advantages, but this year I am unable to find potting mix WITHOUT fertilizer.

I'm in the 2nd largest city in the country, and I can't barely find potting mix at all.  After looking at the list of recommended mixes I thought for sure I could find Sam's Choice if I went to a wal mart (all wal marts are at least 18 miles away which is farther than it sounds out here), but nope.  I checked 4 different ones too!  I was only really able to find miracle grow with 3 months of fert or Sta-Green with 9 months of fert.  The fert numbers are so small that I don't think it makes much difference though, each one is only a decimal.  I also got some help on other forums before I finally took the plunge.  Next year I think I will mix my own, if I can find decent ingredients
Logged
carolg
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 708

Denver, CO zone 5


« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2008, 10:02:36 AM »

Check Home Depot, www.homedepot.com, for Eko Potting Mix which I love:

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StoreFinderView?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053&URL=http%3A//www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/HomePageView%3FstoreId%3D10051%26catalogId%3D10053%26langId%3D-1

carolg
Logged
kentd
Newbie
*
Posts: 3


« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2008, 12:01:18 PM »

I started with some Sta Green, and Miracle Grow but when visiting  my daughter last May I found a bale of Sun Gro Sunshine Mix 1 a professional nursery growing mix out of Washington.  The nursery has been using it for over ten years.  I found one bale will easily fill 4 boxes as it expands and anything I have planted seems to love it.  I brought two tomatoes from that same nursery that were in Quart container's  and about 8" tall, they are now over 44" tall with over 13 tomatoes on the Early Girl plant.  I used Dr Earth Organic #5 fertilizer.
Kent
BTW I found Steve Regan in SLC was a distributer for this product and bought 2 more bales.
Logged
mjb8743
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 6878


Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2008, 01:20:18 PM »

Kent

Please put your location and zone, if known, in your profile. That way, it will show up in your posts... it helps when diagnosing problems and we won't have to keep asking you where you are. This post tells you how:
http://forum.earthbox.com/index.php?topic=283.msg1673#msg1673

A better source for zones, updated for global warming:
http://arborday.org/treeinfo/zonelookup.cfm

This link is to another post that contains lots of things you should know to help you get started:

http://forum.earthbox.com/index.php?topic=2040.msg15362#msg15362

Have fun,
Mickie
Logged

111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
cassie12
Newbie
*
Posts: 1

Central Florida Zone 9


« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2008, 02:03:30 PM »

I just ordered a couple EBs and am already confused about the "mix".  After reading many of the posts, I noticed there must be a list of "recommended mixes" somewhere.  Does anyone know where I can find that?  I'm in central Florida.
Thanks
Logged
mjb8743
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 6878


Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2008, 03:55:10 PM »

The list varies by region and is confusing. Pro-Mix is very popular, but there are others. Your best bet is to read the label. What you want is a mix that has NO SOIL, NO SAND, ROCKS OR CLAY. It must be a PEAT based product. If you find something and aren't sure, ask us here, before you buy. Write down the ingredients and their percentages. Lots of folks use Miracle-Gro Potting Mix with 3 month's fertilizer with great success. Don't use anything that has more fertilizer than that.

Mickie
Logged

111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!


Google visited last this page Today at 06:41:29 PM

Google visited last this page Today at 06:41:29 PM