Author Topic: Potting Mix Question  (Read 11153 times)

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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2017, 09:31:07 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, carolg. This user is located in Denver, Co Zone 5. This user is located in June 14, 2008.

Donald,
On the sqeeze test, why do we not want some water to drip out?  I made sure my soil was "wet" when I put it into my EB.  The Eko planting mix is super dry right from the bag.  I even learned a lesson when using it for my houseplants.  Thanks.

carolg denver co


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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #31 on: June 06, 2017, 09:32:02 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, Donald1800. This user is located in Fontana, CA Zone 8. This was originally posted on June 14, 2008.

You want to have the mix full capacity of water, NOT water filling the air/oxygen spaces allowing an anaerobic condition.  A drip or two is fine depending on how firm your squeeze is - but never a short stream or string of drops.

Donald1800

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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2017, 09:35:30 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Guest, Greg Draiss. This was originally posted on July 8, 2008.

Miracle Gro potting mix is horrible. If not for the fact we sell about 20 truck loads a year I would not deal with it.
Pro-Mix is a good brand of soil-less, outing mix with no fertilizer that is light and fluffy and can be reused year after year.

greg draiss
www.gregsgardens.blogspot.com
« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 09:47:20 am by EarthBoxDD »

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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2017, 09:40:49 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, Canyon Gardener. This was originally posted on July 9, 2008.

Does anyone have experience substituting pumice for vermiculite and/or perlite as a mix for the Earth Boxes? My experience with traditional potted plants is that it does not break down and keeps the soil loose. Of course, I am watering from the top down rather than from the bottom up.

Does anyone have an opinion on the use Dr Earths All Purpose  organic fertilizer? Should Dolomite be added? What about Azomite?

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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #34 on: June 06, 2017, 09:41:39 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, Donald1800. This user is located in Fontana, CA Zone 8. This was originally posted on July 9, 2008.

Your questions and statements suggest that you are in the dark on a lot of subjects, including the proper use/application of the EarthBox.  My suggestion is to study WHY and HOW the EarthBox was designed and functions from the EarthBox site pages, and do some basic gardening searches on the net.  Then, try doing an EB Forum  search for the subjects you are interested in for information fill in.

After that, you will understand WHY you DO NOT want to top water, why the EB Automatic Watering System (AWS) is the way to go for an automatic, true demand irrigation system.  You will also learn WHAT you need in a good planting mix, fertilizer, etc.

You see, all of this has been covered IN DEPTH previously and is too much to repost .  Its all there - just look for it.

Donald1800

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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #35 on: June 06, 2017, 09:42:32 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, Canyon Gardener. This was originally posted on July 9, 2008.

Donald 1800
I think you misunderstood me. I am installing in the process of installing the AWS system. I have 20 boxes on AWS at this time. My reference to top down watering referred to my long time experience with soil mixes and the watering of pots.
Do you have any opinion regarding my other questions about pumice and an organic fertilizer?

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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #36 on: June 06, 2017, 09:44:11 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, luvgardening2. This user is located in Southern California, Zone 8. This was originally posted on July 9, 2008.

Canyon Gardener, I cannot answer your question about the Pumice.  You can look it up and experiment and let us know.  But as Donald has said before, only commit to 1 box.  Do NOT experiment with all of your Earthboxes. 

I stupidly purchased the largest bag of Dr. Earth Organic fertilizer to use with my Earthboxes last year.  I should have purchased the 4lb box and tried it before I purchased such a large bag.  I personally did not like it.  I much prefer Fox Farm or Sweet Earth or E.B. Stone.  I would like to try Espoma but I cannot seem to find it locally. 

Nancy 

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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #37 on: June 06, 2017, 09:45:12 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, Donald1800. This user is located in Fontana, CA Zone 8. This was originally posted on July 9, 2008.

No, I have no experience with either volcanic pumus or Dr. Earth fertilizers.  In general, I use ONLY powdered rock and clay for all basic soil major/macro/micro nutrients, and bat guano for nitrogen, so philosophically the volcanic pumus sounds right.  My only concern would be to make sure that the pumus did not contain asbestos or other bad contaminants.  Also, the purpose of vermiculite in mixes is to lighten/fluff up the mix, provide small air pockets and absorb/retain moisture which is gradually re-distributed in the mix as it dries out.  Perlite has all of the same benefits except water absorbtion/re-distribution.  These expanded rock amendments are feather light and add volume, fluffyness.  I don't think pumus has ANY of these benefits.  Why do you want to use it?  What benefits do you see in it?

As a replacement, I don't see a correlation.  As a nutritional supplement, you will need to know what it supplies and what rate is recommended.

Donald1800

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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #38 on: June 06, 2017, 09:46:54 am »
disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Guest, Greg Draiss. This was originally posted on July 10, 2008.

If you can stand the freight charges I can send you some Espoma fertilizers or other products as I sell them in my store here in NY.
Check out our website www.adamsfarms.com for further information.

Espoma is a "mostly organic/natural" line of plant foods and soil amendments.

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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #39 on: June 06, 2017, 09:49:11 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Jr. Member, Moonglow. This user is located in Corte Madera, CA - Zone 10a. This was originally posted on October 9, 2008.

Very good thread.  Im very new to self-watering containers.  I have Gardeners TSK and Earth Box.  I use the formers self-watering container mix for the EB.  The mix has dolomite added already.  Plants seem happy.

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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #40 on: June 06, 2017, 09:51:05 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Horticulturalist, over 45 years in the business. The EarthBox Hero Member, Kathy. This user is located in the mountains of PA ZOne 5, almost 4. 

Nancy, Have you tried the dealer locator for Espoma, they are a New Jersey company and have worked really hard to get themselves all the way across the US. I know you have a friend in the nursery business, she should be able to buy the Espoma products from Excel, one of her distributors. Espoma was definitely at the Excel San Diego show.

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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #41 on: June 06, 2017, 09:53:22 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, Nancy_Claire. This user is located in Seattle, WA - Zone 7-8. This was originally posted on November 3, 2008.

Hello All,

I am a newbie and I have yet another variation on the endless potting mix question. (I have read the whole thread, it is very informative). My particular situation is that I am planning to use the earthbox on the deck of my house barge and would like to minimize the weight of each box. I have a pretty good sized deck and I am afraid the load would be quite heavy if I used the traditionally recommended mix. I have read of houseboat gardeners filling the bottoms of regular containers with packing peanuts...but I can see that that would definitely interfere with the wicking action of the peat/coir. I wonder if using a higher percentage of perlite would be acceptable if I was available for frequent refilling of the reservoir? (I know this undermines the whole "self watering container" thing a little, but I still think the moisture level in the earthbox would be easier to maintain than in traditional top watered containers). Does this sounds like a reasonable solution? Does anyone have a good estimate of what an earthbox weighs when full of potting mix and water?

Thanks!

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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #42 on: June 06, 2017, 09:55:02 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, mjb8743. This user is located in Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State. This was originally posted on November 3, 2008.

Nancy, the mix is the lightest part of the system. Anything you do to replace a portion of the mix will be negligible once the box is planted and you have mature plants, such as tomatoes or peppers. The bulk of the weight is the box, water and the plants, which are mostly made up of water.

We have rooftop gardeners who must be very weight conscious so their roofs dont collapse... perhaps they can tell you what the fully loaded box weighs.

Mickie

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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #43 on: June 06, 2017, 09:57:34 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, Canyon Gardener. This was originally posted on February 5, 2009.

I'm the roof garden gardener that installed 60 AWS containers beginning in April of 2008. My first round was with my own potting mix that I had successfully used for pots that water from the top down. My success was modest at best.
My second round of planting in the late summer was with ProMix BX and a fertilizer strip with fantastic success. I had tomatoes until December and a much larger yield of all the vegetables I planted.

In the fall I began planting my winter garden, staggering my plantings and using only 40 of my 60 containers. I've had excellent results growing lettuce, arugula, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choi, onions, carrots, beets, peas, chard and flowers.

Forgive me if I ask some questions that may have already been addressed. I have read extensively in the EB Forum and have been unable to find the answers.
One question I have seen answered several times is that you can use ProMix multiple times. What I haven't seen clearly addressed is the actual refurbishment process of the mix before reusing.

Let me explain.

1. I have found that some of the plants have very extensive root systems that had virtually filled the reservoir and matted the soil. In addition to removing what remained of the fertilizer strip and the top 1 or 2 inch layer of salts, it seemed logical to me that  the majority of the roots had to be removed.
I found out that allowing the mix to dry out for a week or two made the process easier. I then could easily separate out the majority of roots, and remove the root layer in the reservoir. I found that mixing in about 1/4 to 1/3 new ProMix topped off the box, to which I added the recommended 3 cup strip of organic fertilizer.

2. What I have not been able to ascertain is whether to add dolomite, and how much; as well as, any other additives. I am skeptical of the accuracy of over the counter pH testing products and have not sent the mix for lab analysis.

Can anyone answer these questions for me.
Is my approach towards reuse of the mix adequate?
What else to I need to add to the reconstituted mix?

Thanks in advance for assistance.
The Canyon Gardener

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Re: Potting Mix Question
« Reply #44 on: June 06, 2017, 09:59:56 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, JD. This user is located in Zone 8B: TLH, FL. This was originally posted on February 5, 2009.

TCG,

Congrats on your results. I also use Pro-Mix BX with very good results growing several of the same crops.

I refurbished three boxes (tomato, cucumbers, eggplant) to grow broccoli, strawberry, and cabbage via the following process:

1) Dry out the box
2) Dump the mix out of the box and rinse/wash all parts
3) Remove most of the roots (tap, large, and other) from the mix leaving the fine
4) Repack the box mixing in whatever amount is required. My metric is 14 dry scoops PMBX gives me approximately 7 moist scoops of PMBX to fill an EB

I regularly test soil test and have found that PH is lower (via the visual color scale) and I have always added at least 1/3 to 1/2 more mix. for those three boxes I scaled the dolomite and additives TO THE NEW MIX accordingly. If I add 1/2 more mix then I add 1/2 cup dolomite as well as 1/2 # casting, azomite, etc for my particular mix blend. I was not as concerned about the old mix because like you, I have not found a definitive answer nor process that does not require multiple soil test.

I have and on-going side by side experiment with the strawberry in a replenished versus fresh box.

I will keep you posted.

JD