50 / 50 vermiculite / perlite mix, no soil, no peat, no compost.
Excellent water handling characteristics, pH would remain dead
stable. No pests, no disease. Feed with organic tea to replace
the missing OM portion. Would this work as well as a good
standard potting mix such as Pro Mix?
IMO that is not a good mix. I have tried mixes with 33 percent perlite
and even with a lot of compose tea they did not work well. Also, too
much perlite (over 25 percent IMO) tends to become "messy".
There are many good commercial mixes (without soil) that work much
better. Also, it might help if you tell us what you want to grow. Some
mixes work better than others depending on the plant.
Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)
To see pictures from my garden visit http://members.iglou.com/brosen
What type tea? I have an endless supply of activated worm tea,
enough that most of it goes down the drain because of 3 day
shelf life. Can't think of anything richer, pure organic rocket
puts even Miracle Gro to shame.
Drainage agent, first one that comes to mind. There are others
that could be used, maybe coarse sand. I know perlite can
float and separate if flooded.
Tomatoes, peppers, zinnias, lettuce, everything.
Straight perlite and vermiculite is as dead and neutral as
it gets. Should work with anything that likes well-
drained soil, depending on the nutrients and pH of
The problem with this mixture is that there is too much air space and
plants will not develop roots the way they ought to. Generally, that
air space is filled with peat or coir and the moisture in that portion
of the mix is what supplies feeder roots or root hairs with capillary
Why do you want to use this mixture?
Trying to do without peat for various reasons. Paghat
has a good article on her page that explains why. pH
maintenance is an escalating battle once the stuff starts
breaking down, which kills off everything for mysterious
reasons. Coir would be a great substitute, but it's too
hard to find in the Baltimore area.
Meanwhile, the tea I've been brewing works beautifully.
I'm wondering if I can't use it in full place of the solid
OM portion, eliminating a source of many headaches.
On Tue, 15 Apr 2008 14:50:45 -0700 (PDT), Father Haskell
When I was a professional greenhouse grower we used peat pro mix on
very expensive and rare asexual plants which were being raised for
market. It sometimes took ten years for plants to become stable
enough to name them and market out.
Never in the years I did this did we ever come across an escalating
battle once the stuff started breaking down. We did have to maintain
close records of our soils for operation permits and such, but I'm not
sure I ever heard of the claim that peat is killing everything for
mysterious reasons. Do your research. Because it is on the Internet
doesn't mean its accurate, my own post included.
I don't like the use of peat because it is depleting the peat bogs at
rapid rates and these bogs do not recover easily.
pH drops, so does uptake of nutrients such as Mg. Plant
"mysteriously" turns yellow with brown spots. "Mystery"
is solved when indicators (Rapitest pH test, Bromthymol
blue) and meter all show 5.0 pH. Plants recover quickly
and start to thrive with one application of hydrated lime
(1 tsp / gallon). Nice if I didn't have to keep doing that.
On Tue, 15 Apr 2008 17:51:33 -0700 (PDT), Father Haskell
Oh geeze, this was done on such a huge scale I couldn't tell you. I've
been retired for over 15 years. I know we used Cornell's recipe for
soiless greenhouse production.
I do not use this method now for my own plants as I have been strictly
organic for over a decade, maybe longer. I don't have a problem with
the use of Osmocote in containers, but not for food. Your tea should
For the things you are wanting to grow I am not sure why you are going
through so much trouble, but if you're just fussing around it's an
interesting study. If you find something let me know.
Some people say the coir has too much sodium, but again I never had a
problem with it for growing houseplants. I have a small
hobby/business and I sell Brugmansia spp. to local nurseries. I have
other varieties, but this one seems to fair the best, even if it is
contaminated with tobacco mosaic...etc...I'm rambling.
On Tue, 15 Apr 2008 22:07:15 -0700 (PDT), Father Haskell
Not necessarily. Smoking is frowned upon in, or around the big houses
which produce millions of flats of plants because they can lose a
whole house, but tobacco mosaic virus isn't always a death sentence to
certain nightshades if everything else is provided properly, water and
fertilization. Brugs are heavy feeders.
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