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Re: In-ground Planting Mix

  • Subject: Re: In-ground Planting Mix
  • From: Aroideae@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 14:40:54 -0500 (CDT)

dear dan,

i am in west central florida, so our climates are very different, but perhaps
my experience with greenhouse beds will help some.  i did not use the rock
layer because our sand drains rapidly.  i used peat instead of coir +
composted pine bark + perlite + compost from a friend.  i dug the beds out to
24 inches and added the mix.  it has been about 6 yrs and the soil surface
has sunk about 20 inches.  of course our heat here and my keeping the
greenhouse at 60 deg in the winter, plus heavy irrigation would cause a more
rapid breakdown of the medium.  i think it's time to dig out my beds and
start again.


I've dug out a modest area inside my greenhouse for an in-ground
planting area.  After placing a 4 - 5" [10-12 cm] layer of drain rock in
the bottom of this pit, I'll be topping up with another 18 - 20" [45-50 cm]
worth of planting mix; as the native soil here in the San Francisco area
is essentially clay.

My intent is to grow a mixed collection of tropicals in this bed.
>From Araceae: Amorphophallus, Anchomanes, Anthurium, Alocasia, Dieff.,
Philo's, etc. etc.; some Heliconia, various Zingiberaceae, Bromeliads,
Cycads... the usual suspects!

Does anybody out there have any experience/ words of advice concerning
conservatory (in-ground) soil mixes or specific materials to either use or
I'm considering a mix comprised of locally available components which I'm
blending at the approximate ratio of
- 40% coir (in lieu of peat moss)
- 30% red lava gravel (graded 1/4" size [6.5 mm], clean)
- 20 % fir bark (also graded 1/4", clean)
- 10% horticultural sand

My sample of the above looks great-  but I'm really concerned what it'll
into 5 years from now.  Especially since my preference is to not dig out the
entire bed and replace the contents much before 2010, if at all possible.

What do the under-glass botanical gardens do?
Anything special used for the beds inside MOBOT's Climatron for example?


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