Need help with 5-1-1

pepperdaveApril 11, 2014

I'm new at 5-1-1 Here is what I'm going to use + lime .
My problem is my pine bark is to large for the mix .If I sift it 70% will still be left behind. I have to break it up somehow and would like some feedback and possibly save myself a lot of time. Ive been growing in the ground and I'm using 5-1-1 for isolation purposes

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habjolokia

Run it over with a truck. Maybe a hammer but that may involve a lot more work than anyone would want to do.

Mark

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 6:48PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Know anyone with a chipper?

Every time you go to a business that sells bark products, check out what they have. I'm regularly pleasantly surprised to discover great sources for bark where their last year's product was unacceptable. To be fair though, it cuts both ways - last year's great source might not be even close to what's on the shelf this year. After a few years, you'll probably have discovered a couple of consistently favorable sources and a few others that are serendipitous if you're persistently watchful.

Good luck!

Al

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 7:01PM
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woohooman

I've heard people putting it into a pillowcase and running over with a vehicle.

Kevin

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 7:43PM
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Bill_Missy(8b)

Agree with Kevin. I put my bark in a pillow case, run over it with my truck and few times and move on. Works great.

Bill

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 9:05PM
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esox07

Yep, the DIY solution that I have heard is the pillow case and truck method. I am just wondering how long that pillow case would last if you wanted to do 15 bags of the pine bark?

Best solution would be to run it through a chipper if you can get access to one. If you plant to do a lot or you have some typical use for the chipper, you could probably rent one for a few hours for a reasonable fee.

Only other option I can think of is to grab the wife's paper shredder while she isn't looking and going at it. Just make sure you run the gas blower over it when you are done.

Bruce

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 9:17PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Right on Bruce. I like your signature image.

How about in its own bag or in a heavy trash bag ?

I like running through a chipper idea . And how about getting one of these. Possibilities are unlimited.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 9:45PM
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woohooman

I would also remove the sapwood first. Easier to identify when they're large also.

Seysonn: even a pounding with that tamper would split a plastic bad open, first hit. Let alone a vehicle. That tamper would take awhile too.

Kevin

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 10:00PM
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judo_and_peppers(Tampa FL)

I just take my shotgun and shoot the bag a couple times.

just kidding. don't actually do that.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 2:58AM
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tomt226

Ask your nearest tree trimmer where you can get some "double grind" mulch. Really nice stuff. Runs around $15 a yard here.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 6:37AM
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pepperdave

Thanks I found a family member with a Troy Built shredder. Has not been started in 3 years so wish me luck. Im removing the sapwood first also a good idea Thanks. Will post my experience for other members who Im sure will be dealing with the same issues . Time to Make The Soil. Just hope the shredder starts

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 8:13AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

KiM that hardwood bark isn't going to be well-suited as the the primary fraction of a container medium. N immobilization; heat, resulting from the composting process, a pH spike at some point in the composting process; ....... will all be players if you use hardwood bark, so stick w/conifer bark. Pine/ fir/ hemlock are the best choices.

Good luck w/the shredder. How about a couple of pictures of the finished product? You probably don't want to be much coarser than this:
the bark

end product:

Al

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:01AM
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woohooman

it's the exact same pic, Al. LOL

Kevin

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:23AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Oops! My bad! Try this:

Better?

Al

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:36AM
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woohooman

Much. "Almost" looks as good as mine. ;)

Kevin

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:45AM
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esox07

What is the bb gun pellet for? Do peppers like a little lead in their diet or is that left over from shooting aphids off your pepper plants?

Bruce

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 12:04PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hehe...the pellet and match are just for scale purposes ;-)

Josh

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 1:14PM
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esox07

Josh, I know that. I was just trying to make a funny. Weather is cold and wet here today so I was trying to dig myself out of a funk. I think it worked. I sure wish it was time to pot my peppers up into 5 gal buckets and 5-1-1. I have about 5 weeks yet to go.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 2:25PM
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pepperdave

Thanks again. I got 5 weeks to go myself and as usual Ill still manage to pull it off LOL . Most peppers will go in the ground, last year went until Nov. I grew 1 plant in a mix of Pro Mix and Purlite Got 364 Brown Scorpions off that plant. This year besides my garden spot I want to Isolate and maybe try some crossing. 5-1-1 seams to hold the key here and want to do thing right

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 3:35PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Been there, done the chipper / shredder thing. Spread the bark bits over a 50 m2 area.

I just ended up using the bigger bits - those that would pass through a 1/2" screen.

Dennis

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 9:35PM
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esox07

Dennis: Did you try a shredder and it didn't work for you?

I screen my bark with 1/2" screen and a 1/8" screen and keep everything in between. With the source I have, I wind up with about 55 percent as usable bark. The remainder is used as mulch around the house. I wish I had a better source but that is the best I could find in my area. I know some sources are close to 100% usable out of the bag.
Bruce

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:57PM
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woohooman

Bruce: "I know some sources are close to 100% usable out of the bag."

They are and they aren't. Yes, it's almost 100%, but sifting through it all for small pieces of sapwood is quite tedious. A lot of the sapwood, I think, is left in the finished product. It's much better the 2nd year after it's composted some.

Dennis: why not just attach a bag onto the chipper?

Kevin

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 11:32PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Here is what I got. Plus I get another grade that is called "Bark Mulch", which is close to coir or peat moss, with very few pieces over 1/4". By mixing the two I get a great texture. Yesterday I screened some through 1/4". I gout about 20% that did not go through. But more than half of them were
1/2" and smaller. Anyway, I use those for top mulching.

I buy the stuff from LOWES here. HD does NOT have right ones. Maybe you can use them if you run through chipper.

BTW: The coin on the barks is a DIME>

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 12:04AM
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kentishman

After reading all this, I count myself lucky. The local nursery sells pine bark in different grades. I get the triple ground. Don't know how long it's been sitting around, but it's so dark brown that it's almost black. A $35 scoop fills my Toyota Tacoma. The first load I got lasted about 4 years, at which point it was nicely aged.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 6:39AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Yeah, the shredder worked fine as far as chopping up the bits (maybe a little too well; you might want to dampen them first). As far as collecting the chopped up bits, not so much. (The thing ate the bag the previous year.)

I too was able to get a bit better than a 50% yield from the mini-nuggets after picking and screening. Never did use a small screen. There weren't enough fine fines to justify it.

This post was edited by DMForcier on Mon, Apr 14, 14 at 14:04

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 2:01PM
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pepperdave

Troy Built worked real good. Took time to get working but Im there now. Now comes the mix

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 2:38PM
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pepperdave

Before

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 3:06PM
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pepperdave

After

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 3:09PM
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esox07

That is looking a little to fine maybe....maybe not though. You may be able to get by without the soil part of the 5-1-1 with what you have there. Hard to tell without touching and seeing it first hand. There has to be a way of collecting it as it comes out the other end. Maybe hang a tarp from a tree or clothes line to aim the exhaust into???
Bruce

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 4:32PM
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pepperdave

Im going to mix some and see what I got. I just got some lime so its just a matter of proportions. Im new at this so lets hope for the best

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 6:30PM
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pepperdave

Things turned out real good . 3 Cubic yards pine bark 5 gal. ProMix 5 gal. Perlite 2 cups lime. Nice consistency wish I knew about this years ago

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 7:56PM
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woohooman

Looks pretty good. If it really looks dusty, you may want to screen out with a window screen. Get some mixed now with the lime, perlite, and peat(turface, DE, potting soil, etc) and wet it thoroughly to get it all acclimated. Make sure you hydrate the peat and screen also first.

Kevin

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 7:57PM
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pepperdave

A closer look

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 8:03PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

That is a good job Dave. Mine is similar to yours.
I think what Al has shown in picture has a lot of chunky pieces even larger than 1/2". Well, of course, he is the inventor.

Today I used about one barrelful and made another batch.

Here is a picture.
That is a 4 1/2 inch pot, coins are: Quarter, nickle and penny. The texture feels real good. The reason the barks are not see as readily, is because the stuff is wet and looks dark.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 9:48PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Both look pretty good to me!
I strongly recommend a healthy dose of slow-release fertilizer mixed in at planting time, if you haven't added some already.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 2:01AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Thanks Josh.
I have mixed in some SRF already. I will use most of it this week, potting some more peppers. It goes real fast. I was done with the first barrel in no time, though most of my containers are on the small side.

So this is going to be a grand experiment for me; both growing in container and using 5-1-1 mix. But I am hopeful that it will work fine in our cool PNW climate. Plus I get no more than 5 hours of direct sun.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 5:03AM
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pepperdave

Well 5-1-1 was a success. Still have to make lots more in the next 4 weeks.This forum has been a big help to me and I hope others jump on 5-1-1 as I did . Nice stuff and very cost effective

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 8:00AM
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esox07

Seysonn, the 5-1-1 will probably be better suited to your situation since it is free draining and dries out much faster than normal peat based potting mixes.
Bruce

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:42AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Hi Bruce,
Yeah, you are right. Probably if I were down south somewhere like WEST TEXAS i would think twice about it. My climate is cool (Heat Zone 1) and it rains even in the summer.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 1:26PM
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