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A few questions about growing..

solid7 said:
 
I put them in the freebie throw away trays that small square nursery pots come in!  I put those trays inside of a drywall mixing tub.
Gotcha!
 
So I got bed #1 built. It's two stacked full size with a cap. I did two stacked because I am on a hill and wanted to level it out. I am getting the dirt tomorrow, I'll fill this first bed then build the next and build that.
 
The nursery didn't mention anything about it, but should I put any organic material(like the dead pepper plants from last season) in the bottom before the load of dirt? Or just skip that? Also 2-3" mulch good?
 
The plan right now is raised bed mix to the top of the full blocks, layer of compost 1-2" or so(mixed in to the top 4-6" of the soil), mulch to the top.
 

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It's up to you.  As long as you're sure that you're not burying any diseased plant matter, I see no real reason not to.  I do it all the time. 
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Also, that's looking good.  Great on you.  I totally understand the double stack on the hill.  Makes sense.
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I would strongly encourage you to just fill them now, and let them get established.  Next season, when the grow is over, start amending with LEAVES.  Rake your yard, and top fill the planters until they are mounded up, and heaping.  Put a tarp or plastic over the whole thing for the winter.  and continue doing this every single year, from now until forever.  And gradually reduce your dependence on purchased fertilizers, amendments, etc, to zero.
 
solid7 said:
It's up to you.  As long as you're sure that you're not burying any diseased plant matter, I see no real reason not to.  I do it all the time. 
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Also, that's looking good.  Great on you.  I totally understand the double stack on the hill.  Makes sense.
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I would strongly encourage you to just fill them now, and let them get established.  Next season, when the grow is over, start amending with LEAVES.  Rake your yard, and top fill the planters until they are mounded up, and heaping.  Put a tarp or plastic over the whole thing for the winter.  and continue doing this every single year, from now until forever.  And gradually reduce your dependence on purchased fertilizers, amendments, etc, to zero.
My peppers last year did fantastic(besides some watering issues and a few not making it/getting stunted) and had no disease at all(somehow, don't ask me! lol) so I'll throw them in!
 
And yeah, I'm hoping to have both full and mulched this weekend. I'm working with some tight space so I can only do one at a time. I'm expecting the plants will probably do better next year after a year of the soil getting "happier".
 
I like your idea of covering with leaves and then tarping over winter. I'll definitely do that.
 
And lastly, I also got all the irrigation equipment ordered so I should be good to go come planting time!
 
mattbhm said:
Gotcha!
 
So I got bed #1 built. It's two stacked full size with a cap. I did two stacked because I am on a hill and wanted to level it out. I am getting the dirt tomorrow, I'll fill this first bed then build the next and build that.
 
The nursery didn't mention anything about it, but should I put any organic material(like the dead pepper plants from last season) in the bottom before the load of dirt? Or just skip that? Also 2-3" mulch good?
 
The plan right now is raised bed mix to the top of the full blocks, layer of compost 1-2" or so(mixed in to the top 4-6" of the soil), mulch to the top.
It depends on what you mean by "mulch".
 
If you go to Lowe's or Home Depot, and buy a bag of "Mulch", that's probably something you don't need at all in your raised bed.  Big box "Mulch" is something you spread along your walking path to keep most everything from growing.  It won't hurt established bushes and trees, but you don't want this where you're putting your pepper seedlings.
 
If you're talking about using oak leaves as a mulch, that's a completely different matter.  I'd probably use a little less than that, but I see lots of people using that much.
 
DontPanic said:
It depends on what you mean by "mulch".
 
If you go to Lowe's or Home Depot, and buy a bag of "Mulch", that's probably something you don't need at all in your raised bed.  Big box "Mulch" is something you spread along your walking path to keep most everything from growing.  It won't hurt established bushes and trees, but you don't want this where you're putting your pepper seedlings.
 
If you're talking about using oak leaves as a mulch, that's a completely different matter.  I'd probably use a little less than that, but I see lots of people using that much.
The same place I am getting my dirt has bulk mulch that is supposedly decayed oak leaves and pine if I recall correctly. I will ask to be sure and report back/
 
mattbhm said:
The same place I am getting my dirt has bulk mulch that is supposedly decayed oak leaves and pine if I recall correctly. I will ask to be sure and report back/
 
It sounds like this material is really compost, and not exactly mulch.
 
An interesting topic I've only begun to understand in the last year or two is the difference between "mulch" and "compost".
 
I'd been using the words interchangeably for my whole life.  And loads of other people will also use the two interchangeably.
 
When using the term correctly, "Mulch" is un-composted organic matter, such as tanbark or fresh oak leaves.  It's typically applied on the surface, and is often used to suppress things (such as weeds) from growing.
 
Compost is aged organic matter that's been allowed to break down and decay over a period of time.  It has a totally different impact on your garden.
 
I'm not at all sure when "Mulch" technically makes the transition to "Compost", but it will eventually.
 
So, it sounds like this stuff is totally different than a bag of something labeled "Mulch" at Lowes.  I just wanted to make sure it wasn't something more similar to tanbark.
 
DontPanic said:
 
It sounds like this material is really compost, and not exactly mulch.
 
An interesting topic I've only begun to understand in the last year or two is the difference between "mulch" and "compost".
 
I'd been using the words interchangeably for my whole life.  And loads of other people will also use the two interchangeably.
 
When using the term correctly, "Mulch" is un-composted organic matter, such as tanbark or fresh oak leaves.  It's typically applied on the surface, and is often used to suppress things (such as weeds) from growing.
 
Compost is aged organic matter that's been allowed to break down and decay over a period of time.  It has a totally different impact on your garden.
 
I'm not at all sure when "Mulch" technically makes the transition to "Compost", but it will eventually.
 
So, it sounds like this stuff is totally different than a bag of something labeled "Mulch" at Lowes.  I just wanted to make sure it wasn't something more similar to tanbark.
I was mistaken. It looks like they mainly have "standard" mulch. I will ask when I am there, but the sign lists "all color mulch" which makes me think normal pine chunks. Then they also have bagged "Red mulch, pine bark nuggets, and shredded mulch"
 
I'll look around!
 
If it's really mulch (i.e. un-composted pine chips and oak leaves), I'd only use it sparsely, if at all.  2-3" sounds like too much mulch.
 
It might be simpler to just stay with using their soil, mixed with some of their compost.
 
But, in the end, this is going to be your call.
 
Just grabbed load #1 of the mix. Looks good to me! Looks like it has oak leaves, decomposed pine shavings, sand, perlite/small stones(not sure) among a bunch of other stuff. Super dark soil which I heard is good.

It's also super light, almost like my peat based container mix from last year.
 
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Dark colored soil doesn't mean much until it's been in place, and is settled.  Soil turns dark when it's healthy, and is sequestering nutrients.  However, it's not guaranteed to be good just because it starts out dark (although it's a better indication than not).
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I'm sure that you'll be fine.  Local growers know best for your area!
 
solid7 said:
Dark colored soil doesn't mean much until it's been in place, and is settled.  Soil turns dark when it's healthy, and is sequestering nutrients.  However, it's not guaranteed to be good just because it starts out dark (although it's a better indication than not).
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I'm sure that you'll be fine.  Local growers know best for your area!
I did have another quick question, would I be best asking about/mixing up a container mix using this raised bed soil as a base, or should I just go back to the tried and true peat/coco+perlite+compost mix? I just want to figure that out before getting the second load.
 
Well, "tried and true" is called as such for a reason. ;)
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Unless somebody can show you that stuff grows well in containers, I wouldn't use it as such.  But again, if the nursery uses it to make money, then you trust their judgement. I do use my composted pine bark in containers - but I'm not gonna lie - I was a huge skeptic on that before I saw it.
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This is where I give you my boilerplate advice - do a side-by-side grow with "tried and true" vs new, and let your observations guide you.  That's how I learn...
 
solid7 said:
Well, "tried and true" is called as such for a reason. ;)
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Unless somebody can show you that stuff grows well in containers, I wouldn't use it as such.  But again, if the nursery uses it to make money, then you trust their judgement. I do use my composted pine bark in containers - but I'm not gonna lie - I was a huge skeptic on that before I saw it.
.
This is where I give you my boilerplate advice - do a side-by-side grow with "tried and true" vs new, and let your observations guide you.  That's how I learn...
So I am back. All is well, but I got super busy so I am a bit behind. My plants are doing fairly well and I found a local nursery with great prices on very nice looking plants in case.
 
Anyways, for the beds, I am behind on getting mulch down. I don't know what happened to the time. I am getting mulch this week. So would this be something to get or stay away from? https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/scotts-colorstay-mulch-red I noticed it's on sale for 50% off but at the same time I feel like I was told it's not the right thing to get. It does say it's for this though.
 
Also, for the container plants. I am making the mix this week, I just ordered 8 cu ft of perlite. I also got 3 bags of mushroom compost and all of my coir. But for fertilizer, do you just recommend something like jobes Vegetable/Tomato mix in fertilizer? Doesn't have to be anything special? And do you recommend something like this classicote slow release https://www.greenhousemegastore.com/classicote-15-8-23-controlled-release or just a water soluble fert used every week/2 weeks? If water soluble, you recommend natural(fish) over synthetic(dyna gro)? A friend of mine said he uses synthetic with worm castings I think?
 
Also curious about fertilizer for the beds.
 
Thanks and sorry for the long post!
 
mattbhm said:
So I am back. All is well, but I got super busy so I am a bit behind. My plants are doing fairly well and I found a local nursery with great prices on very nice looking plants in case.
 
Anyways, for the beds, I am behind on getting mulch down. I don't know what happened to the time. I am getting mulch this week. So would this be something to get or stay away from? https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/scotts-colorstay-mulch-red I noticed it's on sale for 50% off but at the same time I feel like I was told it's not the right thing to get. It does say it's for this though.
 
Also, for the container plants. I am making the mix this week, I just ordered 8 cu ft of perlite. I also got 3 bags of mushroom compost and all of my coir. But for fertilizer, do you just recommend something like jobes Vegetable/Tomato mix in fertilizer? Doesn't have to be anything special? And do you recommend something like this classicote slow release https://www.greenhousemegastore.com/classicote-15-8-23-controlled-release or just a water soluble fert used every week/2 weeks? If water soluble, you recommend natural(fish) over synthetic(dyna gro)? A friend of mine said he uses synthetic with worm castings I think?
 
Also curious about fertilizer for the beds.
 
Thanks and sorry for the long post!

I can't tell for sure what that mulch is made of. Is it wood chips? Is there added color and what is the color? It's probably fine although wood has been accused of taking nitrogen from soil as it breaks down.
Don't overhung fertilizer too much, almost anything will work. Personally I usually stay organic although I do play with hydro nutes some. Any of it works and I think anything for tomato plants works well for peppers.

The pros will come along soon to correct me.
 
Mr.joe said:
I can't tell for sure what that mulch is made of. Is it wood chips? Is there added color and what is the color? It's probably fine although wood has been accused of taking nitrogen from soil as it breaks down.
Don't overhung fertilizer too much, almost anything will work. Personally I usually stay organic although I do play with hydro nutes some. Any of it works and I think anything for tomato plants works well for peppers.

The pros will come along soon to correct me.
I see, thanks! I'll look more into the wood mulch issues. As for ferts, I normally use organic but I'm thinking about about going synthetic this time around.. I'll look at hydroponic nutes too.
 
Appreciate it!
 
mattbhm said:
I see, thanks! I'll look more into the wood mulch issues. As for ferts, I normally use organic but I'm thinking about about going synthetic this time around.. I'll look at hydroponic nutes too.
 
Appreciate it!
Both work I just like the thought of organic. I would only really use hydro while doing hydro, but it doesn't have to be that way
 
Mr.joe said:
Both work I just like the thought of organic. I would only really use hydro while doing hydro, but it doesn't have to be that way
I do too for the most part, I think my raised beds will be primarily all organic. But for the buckets, I didn't have the best of luck with only fish fert last year. Fertilizer may not have been at fault, but I don't mind the idea of trying something else.
 
I want to see I saw that Solid7 recommended CNS17 Grow which is what I am looking at. Also considering Pure Blend Pro, Dyna-Gro, and a couple others.
 
mattbhm said:
I do too for the most part, I think my raised beds will be primarily all organic. But for the buckets, I didn't have the best of luck with only fish fert last year. Fertilizer may not have been at fault, but I don't mind the idea of trying something else.
 
I want to see I saw that Solid7 recommended CNS17 Grow which is what I am looking at. Also considering Pure Blend Pro, Dyna-Gro, and a couple others.
 
Many here have great success with CNS17... I've had great luck with:
 
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