potting media

Monica Swartz eciton@alumni.utexas.net
Mon, 05 Aug 2013 15:29:39 PDT
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.

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