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susieqz

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Reply with quote  #1 
you folks were so kind and welcoming, i thought i'd bug you again.

i'm just learning about figs and their care. i want to use the best  potting mix, so i went through a zillion posts, both here and at GW.

here's what i learned:

5-1-1 is best for figs
pure compost is best for figs
bagged mix with perlite is best for figs
gritty mix is best for figs.

all these opinions are held by smart, knowledgable people.

sigh. what's a poor gal to do?

so i thought i'd ask what works best for you personally? i'd especially like to hear from anyone who has tried more than 1 mix, if you have time.

thanks,
susie

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newnandawg

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Susie, you will get a truck load of answers to that question and you will still have to make up your mind what works best for you. I have tried ProMix with added large perlite. I
have tried cococoir and I am now using Fertilome Ultimate Potting Mix without adding anything at all to it. I got that at the recommendation of a  senior forum member. It works.
americanfiglover

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Reply with quote  #3 
Something that is porous and light so it drains fast but not too fast. Peat moss mixed with organic matter to hold water seems to work for me. Of course I add perlite to the mix along with bonemeal, bloodmeal, worm castings,etc. 

The next mix I want to try is Nulife Organic Potting soil which is sold at the garden stores here. 

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Jarrett
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susieqz

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Reply with quote  #4 
thanks newn and fig boy. i haven't seen those products around, but i can look.

locally,  most available is  miracle gro, which i use for tomatoes [with perlite] and i've been making 5-1-1 for my house plants.

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newnandawg

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Reply with quote  #5 
You want find Fertilome at Big Box stores only small independents carry it.
susieqz

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Reply with quote  #6 
the fertiloam site says no dealers within 25 miles of my zip code, which is huge.
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newnandawg

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Reply with quote  #7 
Sorry Susie, I have to get a nursery owner friend to order for me or I wouldn't have it.
americanfiglover

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Reply with quote  #8 
Fertilome was my favorite when I can find it. 
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Jarrett
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Everyone should have a green thumb
Figs: Nero600m, Panache

Wanted: Dark cold hardy figs. 
elin

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Reply with quote  #9 
Soil is a finance thing
These tree can grow in a rock so they can grow on everythin .
All depend how much you want to pamper th3se babies

Me i use loam 2ith compost and some peat and it works fine
For 100 tree i sp3nd 20 bucks for peat and compost and the rest i pickup from a building supply store

Cheap and does the jub

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Eli ,Israel ,Zone 10? Too humid and hot, yada yada yada
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susieqz

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Reply with quote  #10 
thanks eli n fig boy. i have on hand perlite,  pine bark, peat moss, and mg. how about a combo of those?
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elin

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Reply with quote  #11 
I like to feel the mixture i make after i water it. I am not scientific just as i dont like making food 2ith recipes
With figs you have lots of room for mistakes

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luak

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Reply with quote  #12 
Don't swet the small stuff!!.They are all good special with smaller plants.When your tree's are getting big then a good draining mix with a good amount of small bark/turfice combo is excellent. Fertilizing is more important, over fertilizing is not nessesary.
dkirtexas

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Reply with quote  #13 
In many parts of the world, figs grow in some of the worst soil conditions imaginable, and grow well.  There are no soil additives, no mixes, no perlite, just dirt if lucky.  For the most part, the people would not understand the question of what type soil mixture is best.  In spite of all that, they thrive in the most horrendous soil conditions and for some reason I can't get it right, LOL.  I have recently gone to throwing topsoil in a pot a throwing a tree in it and water it every once in a while.  The one's I have done that to look no worse for the ordeal, I simply do not understand this evil tree that we so love!

I wonder what I'm doing sometimes.

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DesertDance

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Reply with quote  #14 
I think when you grow your trees in pots, the roots have but one place to get nutrients, and that is within that pot. 

Here, and other places in the world, in-ground figs are grown in terrible soil.  We do have rocky alkaline soil here, and figs love to get their roots between and under the rocks.  There are lots of minerals in the rocks, and they seem to find what they need.  They do NOT like acid soil.  They like alkaline, well drained, so whatever your mix, make sure to throw in some lime or gypsum.

Miracle grow does wonders to some pretty bad soil. 

Suzi

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susieqz

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Reply with quote  #15 
thanks guys, but i won't pretend i'm not still confused. suzi, are you refering to mg granular fertilizer? the 1 i was told not to use in favor of a 9-3-6 blend?
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DesertDance

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Reply with quote  #16 
Elin and I are soul mates, sort of!  We both cook without recipes.  We FEEL the dirt and decide on a whim what it needs.  Miracle Grow is an easy fix.  I'm referring to the liquid concentrate that you mix with water and pour on.  Not the granular.

The beauty of this forum is it's so confusing!  You will get a thousand opposing answers to your question, but at least you get answers.  I say, put them all in a hat, toss them around, and pick one.  Use that!

Figs are tough!  They can not combat fungus gnats or gophers, and you might lose amazing figs to birds, but other than that, they want to live!

Good luck to you!

Suzi

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susieqz

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Reply with quote  #17 
i often cook without recipies too, but i like to start with a solid recipe and improvise from there.

if soil isn't important, then i suppose i can fake it, but then it would seem the fertilizer would be critical? 9-3-6? 10 -10-10?

and,  how  alkaline? do i add more than the normal amount of lime?

it still seems to me that there must be a certain  potting mix that will get a fig so happy it grows to full potential, even if they aren't picky.

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garden_whisperer

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Reply with quote  #18 
I simply make my own potting mix. here we go.

one 5 gal bucket sifted compost

one 5 gal bucket sifted (decayed wood chips)

one 5 gal bucket perlite

Now my compost has in it. pine needles, straw, grass clippings (mainly clover) rabbit poo, cow poo, horse poo, leaves, and tipacal yard waste. i hot heep and turn every three days. get finesd product in about a month that way.

wood chips. i catch the tree trimmers and have em dump a load. the first year they are green so i use them as mulch the rest of the pile i dig sections out and add compost to grow melions. after a year i sift that through 1/4 inch screen.

when im in a pinch i just use miracle grow potting mix 2 cu foot and add an 8 quart bag of perlite.

thats works for me.

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susieqz

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Reply with quote  #19 
thanks dave. i have a large bag of wood chips too big to use in 5-1-1. due to drought, i can't compost  normally. i wonder if i could compost them anerobically? could i just add water and seal the plastic bag and just leave it for a year?
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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #20 
susieqz,
The answer is that there is no consensus, because fig trees will grow almost anywhere.

IMO the best potting mix should be based on your location, available material and application. I currently use a 5-1-1-1 mix (the last part is an oil absorbent fullers earth), because the ingredients are easily available, but I have tried many different mix variations with good results. I've used washed pea gravel (from Home depot) to replace the Perlite with good results, it just makes a heavier mix.
I've made a 1-1-1 mix, Coarse sand - Peat - Pea gravel, and topped it with compost, with very good results.
I always add 1 cup of Dolemite Limestone per 5 gallon of mix, Because I have been using that ratio for container grown vegetables for years with good results. Also figs are high in calcium, so container fig plants need a source available to them.

You have to decide whose advice you are going to follow and how you will be modifying the recipe for your conditions (possibly through trial and error).

<edit> From trials, I've found that a mix with a minimum of 50% pine bark mulch (sifted thru 1/2 inch hardware cloth) works every time. It can be as simple as 50% pine bark mulch and 50% Peat based potting mix (most peat based potting mixes usually have 15% Perlite).
susieqz

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Reply with quote  #21 
thanks pete.

have you used the 5-1-1 long enough to compare it with the others? some of them sound too heavy for me to use.

i cup od lime is lots more than i've been using. i'll fool around with that, if it works for veggies.

sue

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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #22 
Sue,
You're welcome.
This is my 2nd year with the 5-1-1 mix. I have recently re potted some of the 5 gallon containers and refreshed the mix with 30% pine bark and peat. The mix holds up quite well. I have posted my recipe and results in several topics. If you are interested in how and why I use a lot of Limestone do a google search for the "Mittlieder Method of gardening" it will explain it in more detail. I have modified that method for my conditions by only using the "pre-plant mix" and fertilizing with Espoma, an organic fertilizer. I have been making my own peat based potting mixes for more than 10 years, following and modifying the Cornell Peat Lite recipes.

Good Luck.

<edit>  For containers the 5-1-1-1 is the lightest and easiest to make. The 1-1-1 mix with a 2 inch topping of Rabbit compost was better, but heavier, and good compost isn't readily available everywhere, so I wouldn't recommend it ( I raise my own rabbits).

Attached pictures are before and after before 4/30/13 and after 7/5/13. The same plant, in the same container, in the same 5-1-1-1 mix, approximately 10 weeks... almost 3 feet and 1/2 inch caliper of healthy growth (even with torrential rains and overcast days in June).

Attached Images
jpeg 1_yr_old_sucker_siblings_4-30-2013.jpg (92.44 KB, 55 views)
jpeg pinching_UK-KrmkDarK_7-5-2013.jpg (118.82 KB, 61 views)
jpeg Mittlieder_Method_Fertilizer.jpg (308.39 KB, 49 views)

 
Attached Files
pdf Mittliede_6Steps_Chpt_1.pdf (413.26 KB, 23 views)

susieqz

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Reply with quote  #23 
thanks again pete. i'll check those sites.

but, you haven't said if 5-1-1 was better than the others you tried?

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omotm

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Reply with quote  #24 
Sue,

For my 3 gallon nursey pots (my largest so far, I just started last Nov) I use 70/30/40 Black humus / coir / sifted coarse perlite.  For my doubles I was lazy and tried Miracle Grow Moisture Control potting soil.  I add a little 10-10-10, pellitized dolomitic limestone and worm castings and supplement with MG liq fertilizer (10-10-10).  Both seem to work well for me here in Houston although I suggest amending the MG MC with 1-2 parts of perlite.  It drains OK but I think it should drain a little better.

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susieqz

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Reply with quote  #25 
thanks steve.  amending mg with perlite seems to be a consensus. that's good to know
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susieqz

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Reply with quote  #26 
um, steve, why sift the perlite?
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elin

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Reply with quote  #27 
my best tasting dishes come out with indian garam masala mixed with different titers of other herbs. Any ideas for.special spices are welcome...


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rafed

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Reply with quote  #28 
This is what I use and I have enough to last me for a while.
Fertilome UPM.

2nd choice would be Fafard 52 mix.
3rd choice would be Sunshine ( sungro ) LC1

Nothing else.

I quit adding perlite to the mix because I like to retain as much water in the soil during the hot Summer months as I can.
I can understand if you are adding perlite to the new rooted cuttings or young 1st year plants. But when the plants get older and larger the roots command/demand more water.

I like the Fertilome UPM because it stays moist longer and use less water. Hence, eliminating the wilting of the leaves.

Couple this with a proper feeding regimen ( 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 ) with a little lime and you should produce a healthy fig environment.

Hope this helps and good luck
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Reply with quote  #29 
The perlite usually has a lot of fines, depending on the brand.  I had a small bag of MG perlite that was just about all fines (just like powder and not many perlite "pellets").  I now buy larger bags of higher quality perlite but there are still a substantial amount of fines.  By adding larger particle perlite you are trying to make spaces between soil particles for air and drainage. If there are a lot of fines these air pockets fill in reducing drainage and air circulation.

Just Read Rafed's comment and by the power of editing my post in progress I'll clarify.  I started my cuttings in 60/40 perlite/potting soil.  When transplanted to 1 gallon pot I used the same ratio perlite to potting soil.  When I up potted to 3 gallon nursery pots I decreased the ratio of perlite to potting soil.  When I up pot from a 3 to 5 gallon bucket I decrease the perlite even more for the reason Rafed mentioned.  I don't want to be watering my figs every hour : )

If you want to make your head hurt learning about soil mechanics, read the attached.

 
Attached Files
docx Container_Soils.docx (25.73 KB, 35 views)


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rafed

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Reply with quote  #30 
Steve,

You're doing fine.
There are a million ways we can do this and we each swear by our technique.
It's a never ending process.

As long as it works. That's all that matters.
susieqz

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Reply with quote  #31 
i get it steve, thanks. rafid, thanks too. if any of those were available locally, i'd check them out.  mike mentioned fertyloam too, but their site says it's not available in this area.

many people  have said today that it almost doesn't matter,  so i won't try to have it shipped  in, like i did pine fines at incredable cost.

sue

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omotm

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Reply with quote  #32 
Agreed Rafed, just like the best way to start cuttings.
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rafed

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Reply with quote  #33 
Call or visit your local ma and pa garden centers.
If they don't have it I'm sure they can get it. Shipping might be up there in dollar wise but if you order a large quantity and wait till the store places there next order then it may go down.

I am fortunate my uncle has a small garden center here in Detroit and he ordered a couple pallets.
I picked up on two trips a total 45 3cu.ft. bags.
I told him anything he does not sell by end of season I will pick it up myself.

I still have quite a few bags left.

If I ever buy a bigger house with a larger property I will see if they have it in Super Sacks.
Fafard has the 52 mix in Super Sacks.

But it all boils down to what will work for you.
We all have our mixes and ways of doing it. Through trial and error you will come on top.

Good luck
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Reply with quote  #34 
Quote:
Originally Posted by omotm
Agreed Rafed, just like the best way to start cuttings.


That's a whole different can of worms bud. LOL
I'll need a couple of Pete's dark beers to start a discussion on that.
susieqz

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Reply with quote  #35 
i'd like to say it's been great meeting you guys. this site is fun, fun, fun !!
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garden_whisperer

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Reply with quote  #36 
Susie, this forum is wonderful and full of very knowladable people who share a common passion. like Rafed said tho, there are many ways to get the job done, you just have to try several of them and find what works best for you. alot of members refer to the baggie method for rooting cuttings. baggies dont work for me. i root right in the pot. but keep an open mind and try new things. we are always looking for the next best way wether it be easier or more effeciant. who knows you may come up with the next best method one day. ;-)
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susieqz

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Reply with quote  #37 
thanks dave. i'll try to keep an open mind. the problem is, said mind remans confused.

sue

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james

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Reply with quote  #38 
Sue,

I'll expand on what Rafed said.  What is best for you and what is best for your tree are not the same thing.  Consequently, we make compromises on the myriad of factors that affect the growth of our trees. If all of us did what is absolutely best for our trees, all of us would live within a few geographical locations on the planet with our trees in the ground... But reality sets in and we have choices to make.  To make matters more complicated, all of our situations are different and require a different set of compromises (even compromises with the other trees we are growing).  Our job is to maximize those compromises.

You can grow figs in widely varying (as you've read) conditions, and they will grow well.  But if you follow what I do (or anybody else does), it might not be the optimal situation for you.  I made a move from Houston to Austin (about 150 miles) and it required a modification to the growing mix I use.  What is best for one is not necessarily what best for another.  If you find a system that works for you and maximize it, most of the time it will be better than following exactly what someone else in another part of the world is doing.  Start with what you know... your growing habits.  Find a few systems which you think will fit into your habits (don't forget systems you already use) and see which one works best.  Then you can tweak it to maximize your results.  One of my favorite examples of this (I have a couple) is sitting in on a tomato workshop put on by an "expert" at a master gardener plant sale in Houston.  Someone asked him which was the best tasting tomato.  His response was "any tomato which is perfectly ripe will taste better than one which is not."


p.s. If you ever find yourself on the south side of Philadelphia, there is a hydroponics shop in Bristol growing (at least they were 6 years ago) a fig tree in what looked to be Hydroton expanded clay balls (about 1/2-3/4" diameter) and connected to the hydroponic system on display.  It was a very healthy and productive looking tree.

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bullet08

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Reply with quote  #39 
to me, it all depends on how cheap it is. once the container start getting larger than 3 gal.. the cost start adding up very quickly. right now i use modified 5:1:1 on anything larger than 1 gal. on that i add fertilizer and lime. so far so good. but i'm not getting kind of growth like other members. but good enough to provide figs that i can enjoy. 
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***** all my figs have FMV/FMD, in case you're wondering. *****
***** and... i don't sell things. what little i have will be posted here in winter for first come first serve base to be shared. no, i'm not a socialist...*****
susieqz

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Reply with quote  #40 
pete, will you tell me how you modify 5-1-1, and does it seem better than exact 5-1-1?

james, auston is drier and closer to my desert conditions [3 year drought], right? how did you change your mix?

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rafed

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Reply with quote  #41 
James,

Well said.
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Reply with quote  #42 
While we are in a deep drought cycle, we still have better than 40% humidity during the day and 60% at nights.  I was using a modified gritty mix in Houston.  For Austin, I replaced the Turface with a compost based potting mix.  It's still a bit early (and I've been traveling since early June) to tell how well it is going, but I think some adjustments will need to be made next year.  My niece sent me some pictures of my potted trees and they seem to still be green. It is a bit more than I was expecting. :)
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Reply with quote  #43 
sooo, the drier the air, the more water retentiveness? very low humidity here.
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Reply with quote  #44 
Susie,

Try gravel and landscaping supply companies for pine bark, if you have any in your area. I am able to get what's called "Supreme Bark" for $5 per garbage can full (30-50 gallons) and it is the perfect size; I still run it through a 1/4" screen when I am making my potting mix but only 1-2% doesn't pass. I do think it is helpful to let your mix sit for at least a week before planting, a month is even better; it think it does as Dave had mentioned and somewhat composts the bark and lets pH balance out. At any rate, if you make your own mix try plan ahead a bit and have your soil premixed and moistened.

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Reply with quote  #45 
Susie,
What materials do you have available or on hand? For example: If you have coarse sand and gravel, you already have half of the ingredients, if you're not planning on moving the containers a lot.
What are your conditions, and plans for these containers? How many and how large?
susieqz

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Reply with quote  #46 
pete, i have on hand MG, perlite, fir bark fines and peat moss, lime and various fertilizrs.

i only have 1  chicago in a 3 gallon pot that i want to repot or up pot to 5 gallon soon. i'm hoping to get another

soon, but with temperatures over 100 i'm leary of mail delivery. i got my pretty chicago in janurary and really enjoy it as a houseplant. when the sandstorms moderate, if ever, i'll set it out. the tree surprised me with 4 figs last month, which didn't taste like much, but were great fun.

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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #47 
You could mix up a batch of 5-1-1 and test it for yourself. 5 gallons Pine bark fines, 1 gallon Peat, 1 gallon Perlite. 1/2 cup lime stone and 1 cup balanced fertilizer. You can water it and spend a week or two testing it (you could plant a vegetable plant or flowers in the pot). If it drains too fast initially you can increase the Peat Moss. I have decrease the pine bark fines to 50% in the mix without changing the beneficial characteristics (quick draining).
susieqz

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Reply with quote  #48 
thanks pete. i'm currently testing 5-1-1 on a variety of house plants and small trees with mixed results. i'm worried about such a fast drainging mix outdoors, enen tho i understand  5-1-1 was developed for outdoor plants.

a few years ago, i wouldn't have worried so much, but this place has turned into a howling desert. not just no rain, but super strong winds that pick up the sand that's no longer held down by plants.

sue

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susie,
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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #49 
Susie,
You're Welcome.
The reason I added the Oil Absorbent product was because the mix drained too quickly. The recommended products were Turface, Oil Dry and NAPA Floor Dry. I settled on the product from Tractor supply because of availability and it did not breakdown in tests like the Oil Dry.

As a note most of the recommended commercial potting mixes are usually 85% peat moss, 15% perlite, Dolemite Limestone, Wetting agent and fertilizer (if included). The Pro-Mix HP (High Porosity) is 65-75% Peat. Fafard 52 is 60% Pine bark and 30% peat.
Note the attached manufacturer data sheets, Fafard does not publish their ingredient ratios.

For comparison:
Fertilome UPM: 85% - 15% (peat - perlite).
Pro-Mix BX:       85% - 15% (peat - perlite).
Pro-Mix HP:      75% - 25% (peat - perlite).
Fafard52:         60% - 30% - 10% (pinebark - peat - perlite)
5-1-1:              71.4% - 14.3% - 14.3% (pine bark - peat - perlite).
5-1-1-1:           62.5% - 12.5% - 12.5% - -12.5% (pine bark - peat - perlite - Oil Absorbent)

 
Attached Files
pdf Fertilome_UPM.pdf (94.24 KB, 16 views)
pdf Pro-Mix_BX_Mycorrhizae.pdf (152.35 KB, 16 views)
pdf Pro-Mix_HP_Mycorrhizae.pdf (152.04 KB, 19 views)
pdf Fafard52_Note4.pdf (58.96 KB, 21 views)

susieqz

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Reply with quote  #50 
yow! a jump from 85% to 15%  peat seems extreme. but so many people think 5-1-1 is great .


hey calvin. i wish i got your post earlier. i started using my test 5-1-1 the day after i made it.

te cost of pine bark was super high. i got 2 cubic feet for $26, but paid $28 for shipping too. this is the reall outlands. no big box stores within 90 miles. this stuff better work.

i got this stuff for my jasmines, but it would be a plus if it worked for figs. due to cost, i can only use it on high value plants, but i figure my fig is one.

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susie,
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