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#1 Sminky

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 04:13 AM

I'm growing a lot of peppers this year, I may have miss-understood some advice though about the right type of soil composition, so thought I'd check peoples opinions. I'm growing in London UK

 

I'm growing in containers and my soil composition is

 

40% Topsoil

https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

40% Compost

https://www.amazon.c...YCQP3MW6WA3Q7ER

 

5% Vermiculite

 

5% perlite

 

I also place cut banana peels and rabbit droppings just under the surface. If this mix is no good any recommendations to help it?

 

Thanks



#2 karoo

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 04:45 AM

That looks very good and should not give you any problems.

 

My 2 cents worth;

- I use Coco coir/ Compost , 50/50

- I use sheep droppings witch I think is very similar to rabbit droppings. They can be very Ammonia strong , so only use sparingly.

 

Good luck , and remember ...PICS.


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#3 Flamin Devil

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 04:48 AM

G,day from Flamin Devil chillies in Tasmania Australia.

 

I grow super hot chillies in Tassie and have a fairly short growing season .

My plants are grown in 300mm pots & my mix is;

80% premium potting mix with added slow release fertilizer

10% compost

5% Perlite

5 % Vermiculite

 

This gives excellent drainage, is a very "open" mix which promotes aeration and assists prolific root expression.

Once my plants are finished their season due to the onset of winter, I use the mix in my veggie garden.

I cut the plants off to a short stump, tip out and bust the contents up with an axe.

This really cranks up the veggie garden & adds heaps of organic matter from decomposing chilli roots!

 

The use of topsoil needs careful consideration.

The Amazon info says it is sterilized. Sterilization could mean a lot of the beneficial soil organisms are absent.

This could be rectified with "worm tea" & other biologically active additives.

Also, how well drained is it?

 

I would experiment with "dud watering" a pot filled with your mix to assess drainage.

 

Try increasing the Perlite & Vermiculite if drainage is slow.

 

Chillies HATE poor drainage!

 

Cheers, Regan

 

Flamin Devil Chillies

 

 

 

 

 

 



#4 Sminky

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 04:48 AM

That looks very good and should not give you any problems.

 

My 2 cents worth;

- I use Coco coir/ Compost , 50/50

- I use sheep droppings witch I think is very similar to rabbit droppings. They can be very Ammonia strong , so only use sparingly.

 

Good luck , and remember ...PICS.

 

Thanks, i sudenly got worried there wouldnt be enough nutriants. Pic wise here's my setup, such as it is :)
 

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  • chilli mix may 19.jpg


#5 karoo

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 04:55 AM

That looks great . Just remember that plants grow and thrive in plain dirt all over the place .

50% compost with a bit of rabbit droppings is plenty nutes and you can add a bit of fish emulsion later .

Your biggest enemy would be overwatering and flushing out all the nutes , thatis why I like to bottom water by putting the pot in a tray.

But, let's not over complicate things , and still enjoy it.    ;)


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#6 juanitos

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 08:45 AM

probably didn't need the vermiculite but the mix is fine.


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#7 Sminky

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 03:50 PM

cheers for all the advice, why isn't vermiculite not usefull in this mix?

 



#8 podz

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 04:18 PM

cheers for all the advice, why isn't vermiculite not usefull in this mix?

 

 

 

Vermiculite is useful anytime you are growing outside because it has super amazing water-retention properties and the perlite will prevent the mix from compacting (if you use enough perlite). Vermiculite is especially useful if your mix contains any amount of peat moss, which is actually hydrophobic after it dries once and needs to be subsequently corrected with a wetting agent such as dish soap. Vermiculite could prevent that from happening to begin with, given large enough containers. Mix in a small container will dry in any case.

 

Myself, I am using 70% coir, 20% vermiculite and 10% perlite for my outdoor grow. I was thinking the vermiculite could have even been 30% and the coir 60%, but it's hard for me to obtain large quantities of vermiculite. I went through a 100 litre bag of it just on 14 pots and I still have at least 14 more to go so need to hit the grow store tomorrow and see if they have more.


Edited by podz, 15 May 2019 - 04:18 PM.


#9 juanitos

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 03:35 PM

the vermiculite content really depends on how you are watering and the rest of your mix.

 

----

mix content

----

 

since you are heavily using topsoil and compost they will already absorb quite a bit of water ( eventually will just be mud )

You don't need the extra water retention that vermiculite gives you. it just another extra thing to buy that isn't doing much for you.

it doesn't hurt really though, unless you are in a super wet area and the mix ends up holding too much water, the chunks should not compact as much as your mud so helps give the soil some body.

 

vermiculite is more useful in a mix that is too fast draining, like a heavy wood, rocky, or sandy mix.

but even then we can use other things to hold water. so it is not necessarily required. 

 

peat is only hydrophobic when it is bone dry, it will take a long while for the peat to dry out in normalish sized containers ex 20L, 5gal, for smaller containers (like for baby plants) it will dry out faster. 

in a very high peat mix (like 80% +) i can see it being useful as a kinda "oh shit" scenario.

but if you are mixing other things (ex compost) in your mix not just peat, its fine they will still hold water even if peat gets dry.

 

----

watering

----

 

if you have a system to control your water (automatically or manually) and will be watering very often we don't need / want extra water retention.

example: watering thoroughly everyday will not give time for most mixes to dry out.

 

or extreme solutions like dutch buckets or self watering containers where water is always available we don't want the mix to hold extra moisture if we don't need it..

 

If you are doing infrequent watering or live in an area where you are relying on rainfall that is somewhat infrequent or very arid. then vermiculite will be great as will it help keep some moisture in your soilmix over the dry days.

 

----

 

so i'll just say that's my reasoning behind not using vermiculite.

others can disagree, you can use it, i won't judge, i just wouldn't use it.


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#10 Sminky

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 04:16 PM

Thanks for the deltailed responces, feel i've learnt a fair bit from them.



#11 podz

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 11:31 PM

I will give some examples of my last year's grow, which happened with plain old bagged garden soil (POBGS). Not peat, but a real mix of soil, compost, sand, peat, etc and so forth. The stuff you buy at the garden centers for 3 bucks a bag or so. Drip irrigation to all my pots, running twice a day for 10 minutes.

 

My backyard has zero percent shade. Last summer we got rain about once a month, if we were lucky. We had blistering sunshine for about 18 hours a day (Helsinki is at 60 degrees north) and the daytime temps were about 80 degrees or more for three months solid.

 

Roma tomato plant in a 15 gallon container, 4 x 20 litre per hour drippers. The drippers could not keep up, this container was always bone dry. Drenching it thoroughly with a water hose and it would again be bone dry in 1-2 hours. Beans were in the same sized pot with same sized drippers and the situation was even worse.

 

Reaper and Chocolate Scotch Bonnet sharing a 15g container, same drippers... Very difficult to keep the soil moist.

 

I setup the drip system in order that I would be able to go on a little trip for 2-3 days at a time and not worry about my plants dying. Did not work. I have a 70 gallon barrel feeding the system and it would not even last for a day and a half. I had to hire people to come and fill up my barrel and give more water to the plants (I don't have a spigot outside for some very strange ass reason, so the barrel needs to be filled with a hose coming from my bathroom).

 

So yeah, this year I am using 20% vermiculite and I may even consider 30%.



#12 Masher

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 10:01 AM

I will give some examples of my last year's grow, which happened with plain old bagged garden soil (POBGS). Not peat, but a real mix of soil, compost, sand, peat, etc and so forth. The stuff you buy at the garden centers for 3 bucks a bag or so. Drip irrigation to all my pots, running twice a day for 10 minutes.
 
My backyard has zero percent shade. Last summer we got rain about once a month, if we were lucky. We had blistering sunshine for about 18 hours a day (Helsinki is at 60 degrees north) and the daytime temps were about 80 degrees or more for three months solid.
 
Roma tomato plant in a 15 gallon container, 4 x 20 litre per hour drippers. The drippers could not keep up, this container was always bone dry. Drenching it thoroughly with a water hose and it would again be bone dry in 1-2 hours. Beans were in the same sized pot with same sized drippers and the situation was even worse.
 
Reaper and Chocolate Scotch Bonnet sharing a 15g container, same drippers... Very difficult to keep the soil moist.
 
I setup the drip system in order that I would be able to go on a little trip for 2-3 days at a time and not worry about my plants dying. Did not work. I have a 70 gallon barrel feeding the system and it would not even last for a day and a half. I had to hire people to come and fill up my barrel and give more water to the plants (I don't have a spigot outside for some very strange ass reason, so the barrel needs to be filled with a hose coming from my bathroom).
 
So yeah, this year I am using 20% vermiculite and I may even consider 30%.


Add some saucer tray/plate/pan under the pots and add extra water as needed to the saucer.

The plant will wick it up as needed. Replentish as needed during the super hot days. You will use less water as it wont run out the bottom and less stress on the plant.

#13 podz

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 10:37 AM

Add some saucer tray/plate/pan under the pots and add extra water as needed to the saucer.

The plant will wick it up as needed. Replentish as needed during the super hot days. You will use less water as it wont run out the bottom and less stress on the plant.

 

Yep, that was in action.



#14 solid7

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 02:40 PM

Sorry to be less optimistic than others, but that sounds like a less than ideal mix for growing in containers - especially in London.

.

Topsoil is something that has virtually no place in container gardening.  Combining it with compost is sure to increase the density of the mix to something that almost certainly won't drain.

.

There is no structure in that mix to provide oxygenation at the root zone. (quite the opposite, it's a recipe for compaction, at first watering)

.

Also, curious what the last 10% consists of?  If I did the maths right, you are only at 90%...


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