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Re: Metro Mix (Was:Re: Pro-mix (Was: Re: baking dirt))

OK John,

Your point is well taken.  One reason for my discussion about the theories
pertaining to soil moisture in containers, is to point out that artificial
mixes should match the cultural practices.  In your case, the heavier soils
tend to work best as evaporation is a problem in your dry environment.  In
the greenhouse, over watering often is the problem.  My advice is to
experiment and see which artificial soil works best under your conditions.
If you experience drainage problems use a mix with higher porosity (pinebark
added).  If you find yourself with too little moisture, use a finer mix
without pinebark. This is one reason there are so many different mixes on
the market.

Jim Anderson

----- Original Message -----
From: John Lanier <jlanier@yancey.main.nc.us>
To: <hosta-open@mallorn.com>
Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2000 7:31 AM
Subject: Re: Metro Mix (Was:Re: Pro-mix (Was: Re: baking dirt))

> Hello Ray. just to add my 2 cents worth etc. I have used Fafard #2 Mix
> (Jim Anderson mentioned Fafard 3B earlier) for many years both for seed
> starting, and as a medium for growing TC liners just out of culture.
> Fafard #2 contains Peat, pearlite and vermiculite (possibly other
> things, but no nutrients as far as I know). It does not contain ground
> pine bark. While I truly don't want to come across as being
> argumentative regarding Jim's earlier advice about the advisability of
> using a mix with pine bark to promote drainage (it definitely does do
> that), I don't use it in my TC operation because my liner plants don't
> do as well in it as they do in the mixes without pine bark. I believe
> this is due to the fact that the mix drains TOO effectively, and thus
> the plants, even though they are well rooted, don't establish as quickly
> as they do in a mix that retains more moisture. I know from experience
> working part time (just after retirement from the FDA) one summer in a
> perennial plant nursery that ground pine bark was always an additive
> they used in their commercial bagged mixes. They did this to PROMOTE
> drainage, but they also had extensive, timed watering systems that kept
> their plants  in the greenhouses (many kinds of seedlings and all kinds
> of cuttings being rooted) constantly misted. If you don't have such a
> misting system (I don't) I believe the wetter mixes should work as well
> for  you as they do for me. In fact, to promote an even MORE moist
> condition, I cover the flats on my light racks with a clear plastic
> dome. The dome comes off the TC liner flats after about 2 weeks when the
> liners are transferred to the greenhouse (where the humidity is higher
> than where the light racks are), and thus the plants don't show stress
> from that move. The domes stay on the seedling flats for up to a month
> (have left them on for 2 months with no ill effects). When I tried the
> pine bark mixes I was constantly watering trying to keep the mix wet so
> the seedlings wouldn't wilt here and there in the liner. This constant
> watering also leached out the nutrients I had begun to use on the
> seedlings. I felt all this extra effort was too time consuming. Aeration
> is, of course, important, even critical, especially in a greenhouse
> situation, but I have not found it to be a problem here. On occasion I
> have had "moss" start to grow (due to too much nutrient and too little
> light), but no significant damping off. You don't have to buy domes,
> flats, plug trays etc. at a Mall retail outlet (VERY EXPENSIVE). Just go
> to a local nursery and ask them to sell you a few. In the case of domes
> (which they don't ordinarily use etc.) they may ask you to pay for a
> case, but they aren't terribly expensive that way, and you will have a
> supply for many years to come. This is just my experience, based on my
> lab etc. Hope I am not confusing everyone with the differing opinions of
> soil less mixes.  John Lanier
> --
> MissVitro Plant Tissue Culture Laboratory
> John and Laura Lanier
> Route 9  Box 908
> Burnsville, NC  28714
> (828) 682-4174
> mailto:jlanier@yancey.main.nc.us
> http://www.gardensights.com/MissVitro/
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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