Pot size

Rodger Whitlock totototo@pacificcoast.net
Fri, 29 Jul 2005 08:34:52 PDT
On 27 Jul 05 at 22:29, Mary Sue Ittner wrote:

> ...I only have so much room to shelter my bulbs from the rain
> and those that get rained on many years don't need
> supplemental watering so it would be difficult for me to
> provide constant fertilization with each watering.

Years and years ago, I heard a talk by a local commercial herb
grower, Bob Chicken. (Long dead now.) He explained that he used 
a version of the John Innes mix for potting, instead of the 
peat-vermiculite or peat-perlite soilless mixes, notably the 
famous UC mix.

His reasoning: the soilless mixes contain no clay fraction. 
Hence they do not retain nutrients very well - clay adsorbs 
nutrients like crazy. (N.B. adsorb, not absorb.)

Soilless mixes were devised for the sunny California climate
and demand regular liquid feeding. In the dark, dank northwest
winters, things are already wet enough and if you give plant
the regular liquid feeds UC mix demands, they'll stay way too
wet. You need a mix that retains nutrients instead of letting
them leach away, a mix that needn't be soggy from continuous
liquid feeding.

Ever since then, I've used a John-Innes type potting mix.
Plants potted in it still need protection from the winter
rains, but at least they don't need supplemental liquid

> I've now been growing Tecophilaea for a number of years and
> get a few blooms out of them, but nothing very spectacular so
> obviously I haven't figured out what they need...

> Anyone grow Tecophilaea with cool summers and mild wet winters
> have any suggestions for me?

Alberto told me in 1993 in San Mateo that tecophilaea prefers a 
circum-neutral soil and a *cool* dry summer rest, not a warm 
one like tulips want. IOW, when the foliage dies down, put them 
under cover in the *shade*.

Is this still your recommendation, Alberto?

Another suggestion derived from a web site you might be able
to unearth again: a tecophilaea grower in the LA area swears by
decomposed granite as a soil mix ingredient for tecophilaeas.
His opinion is that the potassium it slowly releases is
beneficial. These days, my own t's go into a 50-50 combination
of my usual mix plus fine granite sand ("canary grit"). So far,
so good.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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