potting medium recipes needed

kuroc(z8 AR)July 11, 2014

I will have these ingredients.
HYDROFARM GMPER100L Super Coarse Perlite 50 liter bag.
poultry grit
Plain potting soil
Composted cow manure

What are some good recipes to make with those?

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Sounds like you have excellent ingredients to make the "gritty mix" that many like here. I would rid the cow manure I don't think succulents like things like that. And make sure your "plain potting soil" have little to no bark/twigs mixed in it, if there are you have to sift them out.

Soil mix can be quite controversial here, hehe, I would simply search on the forum for these terms: "potting mix", "gritty mix" "repotting", etc. and you can find LOADS of information, then you kind of have to be your own judge to find the perfect soil recipe for yourself.

What kind of plants are you growing, if you don't mind me asking?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 6:17PM
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kuroc(z8 AR)

Some of the first plants I'm going to use this on are some tree aloes.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 6:38PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I wouldn't use potting mix on Succulents, it likely has peat in it. If you want soil, I'd use Cactus & Succulent mix & then amend that. While I'd expect the C&S mix also has peat in it, I'd expect it to be much less peat than the houseplant mix.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:59PM
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kuroc(z8 AR)

Would mixing together equal parts turface, perlite, and poultry grit be a good mix?
Also would it be alright if I added some osmocote to it?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:19AM
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The only difference in the C&S soil mixes they sell is that its usually slightly less clumpy and slightly better draining. It still contains mostly peat as its one of the first ingredient listed on the bag. I have no Idea where you all find this stuff but I've had no luck finding poultry grit, turface, pumice or peat-free soils unless I want super rich organic Top Soil.... They just simply don't exist here. I would order online but the shipping cost makes it not economical. I can get fine rocks and pea pebbles... But I'm always going to be stuck with peat. I think that the reason I get limited success from certain species I really like. From experience I can tell you that most mesembs will not tolerate peat.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 10:00AM
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kuroc(z8 AR)

Well the turface and super coarse perlite I had to order online.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 10:34AM
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kuroc(z8 AR)

I just scored 30 pounds of gran i grit.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 12:10PM
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40% grit
40% Turface
20% top soil, well sifted
manure to taste for those plants in growth - I'd make a tea of it for your summer-growers

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 12:19PM
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To maintain the structure of the soil, without ever having it break down and lose drainage, skip the organic ingredients. I have used, with great success, a mixture of turface and poultry grit, in varying ratios. I despise perlite because it is so light that a slight breeze blows it off of the top of the pot, and it crushes too easily. Putting any kind of manure in a gritty mix is pointless, as it will just fill in the space between the particles, negating the whole point of gritty mix, which is great drainage and aeration due to larger particle size.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 12:58AM
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Not always true at all. I use it to great effect in those tropical pachycauls, like Cyphostemmas, which don't mind a rich mix when they're growing.

You might be thinking of another gritty mix, but in my gritty mix it's ace when used advisedly.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 1:18AM
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Sundewd, You can purchase pumice online from Green Planet naturals with free shipping. If you have a Tractor Supply in your area they have poultry grit.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 10:55AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Kuroc - if you want to get all the advantages a soil can offer, you'll want to eliminate or reduce to the greatest degree possible, any perched water. In order to do that, your soil particles need to be larger than about 1/10 of an inch in size, so you would screen out the fines. Fine material simply fills in the large pores between soil particles and makes moot the reason you're making your own soil in the first place. If you want a soil that holds lots of perched water, you can buy it off the shelf. Getting nutrition to your plants is exceptionally easy, so stay focused on your soil's structure, not its ability to feed your plants.

If you have perlite Turface and grower size grit, I would start out with a mix of 1 part screened Turface and 2 parts of grit with the dust screened or rinsed off.

The granite in that mix has no internal porosity, so it won't hold much in the way of nutrients. The Turface is still 1/3 of the mix, but with the elimination of bark, the overall CEC (ability to retain nutrients) will be reduced, which means you will need to fertilize more frequently than if you included bark. I fertilize at low solution strengths every time I water during the winter, and that works well for plants that don't go quiescent during that period. If you have plants that do, you'll want to make allowances for that. During the summer, I have way too many plants to fertilize each time I water, so I try to do it each weekend, which also works very well.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:18AM
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My mix, and I use the word "my" loosely, as it just means the mix I've concocted and use, it 2 parts #2 cherry stone grit, 1 part turface, and 1 part red lava pebbles. They are all sifted at 1/16" on the low end. For tropicals i use different ratios, but for succulents, this mix is producing some very healthy feeder roots, like I've never experienced. If I were to add compost or standard peat potting mix, it would simply fill in the space between the particles, and eventually break down and plug up the mix. Right now I have a mix that lasts forever and maintains it's structure as long as the plant's roots take to fill the pot to capacity.

In my experiences, organic ingredients in pots only work short term, due to decomposition. As they break down, the overall structure changes, so you have no type of consistency, and eventually you get a total collapse. This can work ok for annuals in the north with our short growing season, but is not good for long term plants. Some ingredients are better/worse than others, for example, pine bark. While organic, it takes a long time to break down compared to peat moss, so it works good in the gritty mix, assuming it's screened correctly. I guess it comes down to personal preference and trial & error. My trials and errors have steered my away from organic anything in containers, and since doing so, I finally feel like I am in complete control, and not at the mercy of Mother Nature, at least in regard to my potting mix.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:25AM
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That's a very thoughtful response, IME, using manure (again, in small amounts) in my Cyphos has resulted in plants which regularly outgrow their confines. Mind you, the manure I do use has been rotting for 2 years or so, and it's roughly screened before its inclusion in my mix.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 1:18PM
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