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pine bark

Posted by scorpion_john none (scorpion_john@ymail.com) on
Mon, Jul 30, 12 at 21:07

went out looking for 5-1-1 ingredients yesterday(sunday) at the places that were open, all i could find was the pine bark at kmart. So i mixed it half and half with miricale grow potting soil. Is this ok? A friend has me worried about the pine bark making the soil to acid


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: pine bark

It's not quite a 5-1-1 but I did something similar used MG Orchid mix which has small bits of pine bark and MG Organic Soil.

As long as you use pine bark and not sap wood you should be ok on the acidicy aspect.

I am choosing though from after this season not to use MG at all and go with the 5-1-1 mix and Foliage pro as a fert for the 2013 season.


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RE: pine bark

Not the best to use uncomposted pine in a potting mix. You should have just left the potting mix alone. What I found after a little growing, Find a good potting mix/soiless medium, and stay with it. I can't find pine fines and I don't think I am up to sifting enough for 100+ plants;) Just use what you have now. When plants start turning pale or yellow give them miracle gro all purpose fertilzer. When the pine started to break down it will take away nitrogen.

I use all purpose miracle gro 3;1;2 in between a high calcium "bloom" fertilizer. If I ONLY used a fertilizer with the 3;1;2 ratio I would not have such productivity. Foliage pro is made for foliage growth, not reproduction. You would need to lower the fp dosage and increase the P level with "pro-tekt", which is what Tapla suggests. That way you will not have plants with large foliage, and little pepper production. My program- miracle gro all purpose, and maxibloom 5-15-14. The maxibloom has high levels of secondary macronutrients.


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RE: pine bark

Edit:

"You would need to lower the fp dosage and increase the P level with "pro-tekt", which is what Tapla suggests."

I meant to say the K level which is potassium. Pro-tekt is a great product to do so.


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RE: pine bark

this is my first year with containers. So i know nothing about potting soils. I read about the 5-1-1 which uses alot of pine bark. Thats why i mixed it in. I got 2 each of my superhot varietys i kept out of the garden in containers just so i could seperate and save seed. Will they be ok in this mix of 50-50 miracle grow potting mix and pine bark or should i change it? I dont wanna lose them, plan on trying to overwinter them.


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RE: pine bark

Hey if JUST planted them in it, and do not mind getting mew mix, it would be a good idea. Get some good potting mix and plant your peppers in it. If you cant find composted pine fines you just use a potting mix.


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RE: pine bark

John,
did you add Dolomitic Garden Lime to your mix?
That's key....not only does it provide Calcium and Magnesium in the proper ratio,
but it also slightly raises the pH of the bark (and peat moss, in the 5-1-1). I use uncomposted
Fir bark with Perlite and a small fraction of potting soil, along with Foliage Pro 9-3-6
and I am very satisfied with the results.


Josh


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RE: pine bark

John is not making the 5-1-1. He is asking if bark fresh out the bag is ok to use in a potting mix, and no it is not ok.


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RE: pine bark

ok, thanks everyone, i will just change it to straight miracle grow potting soil for now, seems i got alot more research to do on potting soils. I thought thats what everyone was using in their 5-1-1


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RE: pine bark

Even fresh bark is ok if you supply enough nitrogen. It will still be better then a peat based soil by itself. You also don't have to screen 5:1:1. You usually only have to screen pine bark if you are doing gritty mix, not 5:1:1. I never screen 5:1:1, and have great results. I am one of many who absolutely abhors MG potting soil. I have no problem with using it in placed of peat though in the 5:1:1 mix.

I was unable to get pine bark this year that was composted as much as I would like. I have found that if you use uncomposted pine bark, it's best to throw in some high nitrogen SRF or CRF fertilizer to supply enough nitrogen to help with the breakdown of the pine chips. But the superior drainage is worth it compared to peat soils.


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RE: pine bark

One other note. Although I do switch to a lower nitrogen fertilizer now during fruit production, I have done 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers from start to finish in the past with no issues, and still had good yields and flavor. It doesn't make as much difference as many make it out to be. Fast draining soils prevent nitrogen buildup.


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RE: pine bark

Hi John,

Capoman is right. Pine bark decomposes very slowly and does not present much difficulty with soaking up N, especially with adequate fertilization. The problem with microorgs tying up nitrogen comes into play with hardwood bark which is decomposed much faster - this is why conifer bark (pine, fir, etc,) is called for. While composted bark is preferred for 5:1:1, you'll be fine using uncomposted bark right out of the bag. If there are a lot of big chunks, you should screen it through a 1/2 screen or hardware cloth. Near me, the bagged pine bark mulch at big box stores comes precomposted at this time of year - that is, it's been sitting outside wet all summer and in great condition to go into the 5:1:1.

Peppers are not difficult to grow and will grow and fruit in either medium but at the end of the day they'll be much happier and more productive when grown in a well aerated mix (i.e., not peat-based mixes like Miracle Grow).

A 3:1:2 fertilizer is also perfectly okay. Coming down on the N a little bit can help direct energy towards reproductive growth (fruiting). Beware "Maxibloom" type products. Fertilizers with excessive amounts of phosphorus may promise increased fruiting, but research shows no discernible difference in the number of blooms that overly P-fed and control groups attained. The only difference observed in controlled studies was the buildup of phosphorus in the soil. The increased (phosphate) salt content of the soil solution makes it more difficult for the plant to absorb the needed water and nutrients.

This all for the record. As I said above, peppers are easy to grow and you'll do okay whichever way you decide to go, but to optimize your plants' vigor you want to go for the well-aerated mix.


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RE: pine bark

It's been a long time since i've seen un-composted shredded pine bark mulch, which means it's perfectly fine to use right out of the bag. Sift out the larger pieces and sapwood and you're golden. I've done it this way before, i mixed it in with pure composted manure and some perlite, the consitency was great and it performed very well. Going to use this formula again next year since it was hard to pass up partially composted pine mulch for a buck a bag.

Those seeking to do this on a smaller scale, lets say up to a dozen containers, it's do-able. Those looking to fill dozens of containers should either get ready for some work, or look elsewhere.


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RE: pine bark

Buck a bag? Wow. I'd like to find some deals like that where I live. I've been trying to find it in bulk which you'd think would be easy in Canada.... not so far.


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RE: pine bark

Good point that. Mind if I ask where, sjetski? I'm also in NJ, and would love to get in on that deal.


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RE: pine bark

"One other note. Although I do switch to a lower nitrogen fertilizer now during fruit production, I have done 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers from start to finish in the past with no issues, and still had good yields and flavor. It doesn't make as much difference as many make it out to be. Fast draining soils prevent nitrogen buildup."

"Although I do switch to a lower nitrogen fertilizer now during fruit production"

Why do you use a bloom fertilizer if it does not matter?


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RE: pine bark

See link (and links contained therein) for more info on the uselessness of high phosphorus.

Here is a link that might be useful: The uselessness of high phosphorus


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RE: pine bark

I have seen charts that showed what plants uptake most, and sure enough it was the 3;1;2 ratio. So yes, it is a FACT that the 3;1;2 is ideal to use in container growing to aviod salt build up, being that is the exact ratio the plants use it at, nothing is left behind. When reproduction takes place, if the grower wants to get top perfomance they should lower the 3;1;2 fertilizer and increase a 0-0-2 fertilizer, for example. That way you increase the P levels.

I could be wrong, but plants need a lot more secondary macronutrients in higher amounts when in reprodution as well.I am glad to find that the high P fertilizers are no good, even though I do use a 5-15-14 ratio for bloom, I am very interested in the higher levels of secondary macronutrients that are in the 5-15-14 product I use. I use a very simple program-Miracle gro all purpose and the maxibloom from generial hydroponics.


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RE: pine bark

I am sorry I meant increase the K levels. Something I mix up a lot.


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RE: pine bark

thanks everyone for your replies. I was gonna change the mix but after reading all your replies, i'm gonna let them go. Worst case senario, they die and i buy seed for next year. I got a dozen of each in my garden for peppers. I just put some in containers to seperate for seed to offer to others and trade. Thanks again, john


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RE: pine bark

Ref: Pine bark mulch for a buck a bag.

Got it a few days ago at my local Walmart in northern NJ. They also had the small bags of Miracle grow potting mix for $1.50. I bought a few to use as an "ingredient" and a cheap filler.

Home Depot has the huge bags of MG potting mix on sale for around $7.50.


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RE: pine bark

MG,
the Dolomitic Lime is for *any* bark-based mix....that's why I offered the advice I did.
And for what it's worth, Capoman and the others are exactly right...Bark, fresh out of the bag,
is just fine if you keep nutrients at adequate levels and remove excess sapwood.

I've NEVER used composted bark for my 5-1-1...and my results are satisfactory.


Josh


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RE: pine bark

josh, how much dolmatic lime shoul i use? Seems most people agree the pine bark won't hurt them. Was gonna make the 5-1-1 but when i couldn't find the stuff, just figured the bark would make it lighter and not pack as easy. Can u beleive, the manager at tractor supply asked me what perilite was? I will find the stuff, that was unplanned, decided to repot them on a sunday, would u recomend 5-1-1 mix for starting seeds? Or something different? John


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RE: pine bark

Josh,

You saved me a world of trouble!!!!

I clearly I did not understand. Though I made the mix, it is great to work with, the plants did great in it with thick roots, something was telling me they needed to composted or aged. I tend to over think things sometimes :) I seen your mix and it is a great mix. I am happy to see it is working for you and that tells me it is ok to use it then.

Maybe you already gave me this tip before, forgive me if I did forget. I have used some 5-1-1 I made for some plants and I am more then happy. I did not compost them and was thinking this was not good so to speak. I do have a source I can get good pine bark with a lot of fines in it for very cheap from lowes. If anyone is having trouble finding a good source it is the white bag with blue lettering in the garden section in lowes called mini nuggets I think. I got it home and found after sifting about half the bag is pine fines in the 1/8-3/8" area, which is great news! I am glad I finally found somthing that really worked.

I did a tomato in the 5-1-1 and it has clusters growing on top of each other like something I never seen before from potting mix!

I seen how it worked on the tomato plant and my house plants, and I really found a great source, now I think I really will give it a try for all of my container garden. The one thing that was holding me from making a lot of the 5-1-1 was I did not have a consistent source. I found one ok product last year but then it was gone. The one in lowes will always be there so I am so happy now :)

Thanks.


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RE: pine bark

I hate to post twice:

I must have missed the really great info Maplegrove gave-"Capoman is right. Pine bark decomposes very slowly and does not present much difficulty with soaking up N, especially with adequate fertilization."

The big thing I had all wrong was I thought it took up more N then it really does. I heard so much about it doing that, but it is clear it is not so drastic. We have planty of fertilizer on hand, it is not problem to add some more to make up for the very little N the bark really does take away as it ages.

Great information!!

Thanks so much everyone!


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RE: pine bark

TheMasterGardener1: I don't use a max bloom formula. I use a 10-10-10 or 9-4-12 CRF for fruiting. I don't even think that's optimal, but it's what is available and I have on hand. Plants are pretty forgiving in a well drained soil less mix, since the mix doesn't get a build-up of salts, which would really be an issue. I do believe reducing nitrogen near the end is a good thing, the reason I do it, but in reality, I have had similar success right to the end with 3:1:2. If that is all they have, they should feel free to use it. They'll still have success.


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RE: pine bark

John,
add 1 Tablespoon of Dolomitic Lime per Gallon of mix. My nursery containers are "5-gallon,"
but they're closer to 4-gallon really, so I add 4 Tablespoons of Lime. I like to lightly wet
the mix, add some Lime, mix, add Lime, mix, and so on. If you have the opportunity to assemble and
moisten the mix ahead of time, that is best - but many of us have mixed and planted the same day,
so you shouldn't worry. I use a more coarse mix to start seeds, but I think the 5-1-1 would be fine.

MG,
the "nitrogen immobilization" or "nitrogen binding" that is so often referenced,
applies much more to sapwood or to mulch products with a high inclusion of sapwood,
which decomposes rapidly. That said, *composted* bark is recommended for the 5-1-1....
however, I've never had the luxury of composted bark, and being able to use just one product
for both my 5-1-1 and Gritty Mix proper has made things a lot easier for me. My results could
probably improve if I continued to tinker with the bark.

Tapering off Nitrogen is especially advantageous, I've heard, for those growing in short
season zones. Like Capo mentioned, I've just been using a 3:1:2 from start to finish, but this
year I do have Pro-TeKt 0-0-3. Remember, MG, you are not increasing the P and K necessarily.
When you reduce the 3:1:2 fertilizer, the P and K will be reduced along with the Nitrogen.....
and that is why the Pro-TeKt is added back in, to bring the levels to where they were...not higher.


Josh


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RE: pine bark

I looked for those mini nuggets earlier in the year, but, no place had them in stock. Based on the picture on the website, and knowing what regular nuggets look like, I thought they looked promising. If I run across them, I'll definitely pick some up to try.

Thanks for the clarification on the sapwood greenman. That's what I was thinking as I read through.


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RE: pine bark

Hey thanks everyone. This is a great sight full of information. Thanks guys.

Yea salt buid up really wont take place with a quik draining media like bark. Good info.

Greenman,

Yea thanks for the info. Glad to hear you never composted it. On the fertilizer topic: It would be good to decrease the 3;1;2 reatios while at the same time increasing K levels like with the pro-tekt. That is what Tapla suggests right? So it could change it to a 3;1;4 level, right?

Thanks. Good discussion.


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RE: pine bark

No, that's not what Tapla recommends, as far as I know.

The ratio comes out closer to a 2:1:2 ratio from what I've seen....that was in the Fig Forum.

Like I just explained, you are NOT INCREASING the P or K...you are reducing the Nitrogen,
while leaving the P and K at the same ratio. Remember, *most* plants use nutrients in the same
approximate ratio for their entire growth to fruit cycle. Which is why plants are able to produce
just fine without any help from the various bloom booster gimmick fertilizers available...

You CANNOT make a plant produce fruit by giving it more of something that it does not need.


Josh


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RE: pine bark

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 3, 12 at 19:13

"You CANNOT make a plant produce fruit by giving it more of something that it does not need. "

Josh, that makes sense. But it won't make the garden supply stores happy.
Bruce


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RE: pine bark

Hey thanks, Bruce! ;-)
Yeah, I know...kinda cuts into the profit. And trust me, it makes a person very unpopular
amongst those who insist on three-part formulas or specialty fertilizers with crazy numbers.


Josh


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RE: pine bark

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 3, 12 at 21:06

Yes, I have fallen for the "system" several times. When things are not going well, we all try to look for an easy answer whether it be blossom drop, yellowing leaves, Blossom End Rot, or what have you. It is just one of those theories that "Sounds Logical" but in practice, doesn't usually bear itself out. If someone changes to a lower N, higher P or K when it is time for a plant to bloom, well they think it works when that is what the plant was supposed to do and would have done anyway. Kind of like the bagged potting soils that boast "Moisture control" or similar claims. It sounds like a great idea, but in essence, they simply tend to hold on to moisture, which is not generally a good thing, especially with peppers.
Bruce


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RE: pine bark

Ok so 2;1;2. Yea your just are lowering N levels, but making sure to keep the P K levels the same.

Like I said, I looked at a graph somewhere that showed what plants uptake most, and sure enough it was a 3;1;2 ratio.

I agree. I have some jalapenos that I used only miracle gro all purpose fertilizer which is the 3;1;2. These plants are thriving and growing many peppers.


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RE: pine bark

"Hey thanks, Bruce! ;-)
Yeah, I know...kinda cuts into the profit. And trust me, it makes a person very unpopular amongst those who insist on three-part formulas or specialty fertilizers with crazy numbers."

Just remember:

NASA and Antarctic research scientists choose Flora Series- which is a 3-part nutrient from gnerial hydroponics.


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RE: pine bark

Yeah, I'll remember that when I'm growing hydroponically on the Space Station ;-)

Josh


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RE: pine bark

Greenman,

lol :)

I see what ya' mean. There are many large farms that use just one fertilizer all the way that has everything in it. I agree any day I would rather use one fertilizer like dyna-gro then having to use a 3-part that dyna-gro outperforms anyway.

So this topic is quite interesting as many do use a lot of products that could be simplified. Good discussion. :)


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