Im New to, growing mixes
Sun, 31 Mar 2013 13:42:50 PDT
Hi, As a grower fro many, many years of more plants you can name I wanted  
to say something about potting mixes. Find out where you plant came from in  
nature and it's growth pattern. For "bulbs" that come from dry summers 
create a  mix about 50% potting soil and 50% med-coarse perlite. It will drain 
VERY fast  and you could water it every day in a 4 inch pot. In nature a lot 
of bulbs get  winter rains. Add about1/4 teaspoon fertilizer per gal. I 
myself also add 1  ml(same as 1 cc) of a plant called superthrive (found in any 
garden center). It  has some plant hormones that stimulate root development 
and bulb reproduction.  Now I owned a comercial nursery which was my entire 
source of making a living.  So plants that grow in cool weather want food 
but don't want to live in a swamp  so use a fast draining mix. Plus the roots 
need air to grow. The loose mix  allows air to get to the roots. Say you 
want to grow plants that like it wet,  just cut back on the perlite. The 
organic material in the dirt can hold a lot of  water. Mixes with a lot of dirt in 
it are sometimes called heavy mixes. You will  find many bulbs are 
adaptible but they do not want to be wet all the time or  they rot. If you put 1,000 
growers in a room and asks what potting mix works for  them you will get 
1,000 different recipes!! With fast draining mixes it is  easier for you to 
control the amount of water the plant gets. I used to know an  old lady in 
Mexico that grew her bulbs in old coffee cans with 3/4 crushed  gravel and 
sometimes 1/4 streambed dirt. She produced the most fantastic flowers  you ever 
saw on that recipe. She did punch holes in the bottom of the cans. What  I 
would do is ask around with members who produce fantastic plants and see what 
 they do. We have a tremendous amount of hidden talent and you will find 
there is  not just one way to grow a plant/bulb!! Russ H.
PS when you plants multiply try to share them. Some can be very expensive  
and not everyone is rich.
In a message dated 3/31/2013 11:45:53 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

Welcome  Luis,

First, I commend you for starting your planning in March for  growing  
next Fall. I wish I had such foresight when I  began.
Having everything in pots can be an advantage. Many on this list  grow  
primarily in pots.
It looks like you have done some research  already, as you knew to tell  
us where you live (coastal California),  and you recognize the type of  
bulb grown (winter growing) affects  choice of potting mix. (The book  
'Grow Bulbs' by G. Duncan says  winter growing bulbs have lower  
nutrient needs.)

I am  experimenting with several recipes for potting mix but it is too   
soon to know which works best.
I got started by reading this  page:…

As  Kathleen mentioned, searching the archives can dig up a lot of   
The equivalent to typing "potting mix" in the search box  is this  
google search:
"potting mix"  site:///
which finds 604 results!
You see  PBS members do write often on this important topic.

Jane is an expert  and I take notes whenever she writes.
But given my limited skills I cannot  grow a Lily in the same potting  
mix as a Lachenalia.
(The Lily  needs more nutrients and water whereas the Lachenalia would  
rot in a  mix that takes half the summer to dry out.)
It may be a matter of scale. My  garden is small and I spend a lot of  
time with each plant.
If I  were a real "grower" on a large scale it would be too complicated  
to  adjust soil, type of pot, feeding and watering to each species.
The general  advice I read is "you can easily add water but it is  
difficult to  remove water." (I forgot the source.)
That is one of the ideas of a  rapid-draining, porous potting mix.
Today it is raining, so everything gets  watered, whether or not the  
leaves have begun to turn brown (a  signal to cease irrigation).
The plan is for the bulbs which need a dry  dormancy to be in a soil  
that drains and dries.

Thanks for  the Lachenalia sand tip Dell. I'll try that, as soon as I  
get  replacements for my lovely Lachenalia that rotted because I had  
not  realized how a mix with too much coir takes months to dry out here.

-  Gastil
Coastal  California

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