Omigod -- I have water resistant SOIL!

alison(6b/OH)May 17, 2004

I have a bunch of things to put in containers, and had a few hours to spare, so I tried to plant things this afternoon.

I was scraping the bottom of the bucket of mix I made up this winter, so I went to buy more potting soil. Two garden centers were out of the cheap stuff I usually buy; all they had was the expensive; Miracle Grow, Fertilome, several other varieies. All of them listed sphagnum moss as the first ingredient.

I hate this stuff! I mixed in one part of Fertilome, two parts compost, and two parts perlite, and it still looked disturbingly tan. I half filled the baskets and containers, then tried to water them. The water quickly filled the other half of the pot. Then just sat there. For a freaking half an hour!

I checked the drainage holes; they were clear and numerous. When I came back an hour later, the water had drained thru -- sort of. When I stuck my hand in the pots, the soil was soggy -- and parts of it were bone dry! Not only had this stuff taken forever to drain -- it hadn't even soaked all the soil!

Has anyone else had this problem? Any suggestions on what to do? I hate the sphag; it never gets all the way wet, and once it dries out I may as well pitch the pot; no amount of soaking seems to work. But I can't seem to get away from it!

(I wish I could remember the brand name of the last type of potting soil I got. It was half sphag, but equal parts compost and perlite made it quite nice.)

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bolecke(5 OH)

My current mix is a heavier cheaper potting mix and cut it with maybe 30% peat and 50% composted manure. Maybe I should say that I cut compost with peat and the cheap stuff. I use this mix for my pots. This is just an estimate because I keep adding peat until I get the desired consistancy. It wets down evenly.
For seed starting I use a premixed potting mix...Baccto, but you can mix something up yourself.

My FIL told me that if you add a bit of dishsoap to your watering can it will soak those high peat mixes better. I tried it..did ok. If you can water that way that mix be a temporary fix.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2004 at 10:19PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Lordy I hate that! I'm so sorry - that stuff is really worthless for my purposes. Have you tried promix?

I'm a Miracle Gro girl - the price seems to be worth it to avoid the hassles and disappointments. I tried Butterfield farms this winter and ended up with black cement.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2004 at 12:06PM
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alison(6b/OH)

I walked out yesterday morning and saw that one of the hanging baskets (still sitting on the walkway) had two inches of water sitting on top the soil.

Grrrr. Going to buy some Miracle gRow potting soil and repoteveryone.

Grrrr.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2004 at 12:08PM
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storygardener(5/6 central oh)

Your soil sounds awful. All that work..and you end up with lousey soil - that stinks!!! I've had good luck with Hyponex potting soil that I got at Sears in 40 pound bags. It's compost, perlite and spagnum moss.

Good luck....Beverly

    Bookmark   May 20, 2004 at 3:16PM
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surelyrose(z5OH)

I like to use a peat moss mix. Some places advertise it as a soiless mixture. I did hear somewhere about the dishsoap. something about making water wetter....

For my $ i like to buy the ready made professional stuff.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2004 at 9:33AM
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