potting media/dry stall - mixing it?2

John Willis willis@fred.net
Tue, 13 Aug 2013 19:13:32 PDT
Hi there, for what it's worth I just finished mixing up 40 cubic feet of assorted good things for my new alpine bed using a cement mixer that I bought from Lowes.  I looked at various options including used items on craig's list but in the end I wanted something that was likely to work for many loads.  Even this is a lot of manual labor but it beats trying to mix the ingredients in a wheelbarrow.  I used chicken grit for the gravel in two sizes (starter and developer) from the local farmer's coop, topsoil bought in bulk and dumped in the pasture, miracle gro potting mix, and a good general purpose sand bought by the bag from a local nursery.  The details are on my blog.

On Aug 9, 2013, at 5:48 PM, Ceridwen Lloyd <ceridwen@internode.on.net> wrote:

> Hi all, 
> Forgive me if this has already been discussed (I haven't yet had time to read all messages in this thread) - what do you use as a soil mixer? (The commercial nursery ones look excellent but I suspect my husband would protest.)
> Shovelling into a wheelbarrow is ok but slow and hard on my weedy old shoulders.  An ODJOB or sealed bucket type looks too heavy to lift if it were of any useful size, so I was wondering whether a conventional cement mixer would do the trick? I am leaning more and more toward mixing my own after finding all kinds of crud in commercial mix (half inch chunks of laminated particle board, various plastics, etc) which also grows an evil-smelling mould on top of it when in a lidded container, which I'm in no mood to inhale...another thread no doubt)
> Cheers
> Ceridwen
> (Just potted up Alophia lahue from FIRST EVER seed received, yay)
> Sent from my iPhone
> On 09/08/2013, at 9:57 PM, "Shoal Creek Succulents" <group@shoalcreeksucculents.com> wrote:
>> Thanks to everyone for responses and this new chain.
>> I use a similar mix; although - Monica- yours is much more involved.  If it
>> wouldn't be too much trouble - would you mind notating each component's
>> purpose?
>> I believe pumice & turface are added for moisture, aeration, CEC and to
>> reduce soil compaction; so why add the sand?
>> How big is your mixer, 5 gallon, 10 gallon?  And would you share how much of
>> each item on your minor mix?
>> For top dressing my plants, I found crushed granite at our local Farm &
>> Fleet store for $4.49 for a 50 pound bag. 
>> As soon as I can locate all of the items in bulk at a low cost; I will start
>> making my own mix.  I am still using an organic mix and adding to it.  Same
>> as you; I vary the components based on the individual needs of the plant to
>> be potted.
>> Thanks again - very thought provoking.  Until now; I never realized how
>> expensive my commercially bought mix was - compared to making a better mix
>> myself at a lower cost.
>> Best regards, Lisa
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org]
>> On Behalf Of Monica Swartz
>> Sent: Monday, August 05, 2013 5:30 PM
>> To: pbs@lists.ibiblio.org
>> Subject: Re: [pbs] potting media
>> I use DryStall as my pumice source. It is cheaper and easier than importing
>> a truckload of Pumice to Texas. I am often asked about my potting
>> ingredients. For potting most plants, my basic mix is:
>> 1 part pumice (DryStall),
>> 1 part sand,
>> 1 part Turface MVP (I love this stuff, I also root cuttings in pure
>> Turface),
>> 1 part Diatomite (Napa Floor Dry 8822, but other Auto parts chains have
>> their own brands of the same thing),
>> 1 part organic (usually a locally produced cactus mix).
>> This all goes into a cheap electric cement mixer along with a scoop of a mix
>> of my minor ingredients which include Azomite, humic acid, bone meal, blood
>> meal, cottonseed meal, 9 month osmocote, systemic fungicide, granular
>> imidacloprid, inoculums, etc.
>> It takes less than 5 minutes to make a big batch that is stored in big
>> plastic boxes with lids. When potting I add ingredients to this base to
>> tailor the mix for the needs of each plant. I use big metal bowls from a
>> restaurant supply. It's like cooking, a pinch of this and that as I go. The
>> objective of this potting "personalization" is to have a healthy collection
>> of plants that can all be watered at the same time no matter where they are
>> from. It takes no special knowledge about the plants to water them, my
>> house-sitter can do it, or even my husband. If a plant is in no-water
>> dormancy, it is moved into the garage, out of range of the hose. This system
>> has created a surprising amount of freedom to take long worry-free
>> vacations, and the plants are very happy and embarrassingly fecund. The PBS
>> BX/SX is one beneficiary.
>> m
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Gardens get wilder every day...

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