raised-bed Post your successful potting/raised bed mix recipe

I know there is a thread about soil mixtures, but wanted to study pepper grower's tried-and-tested recipes.

I use 1/3 peat, 1/3 varying composts, and 1/3 vermiculite. Its is really from the book "Square foot gardening". I also added aluminum sulfate to quickly lower the ph.

Here are a few 5 gallon containers. I mostly did raised bed last year and only 4 containers for testing. 3 supers produced a few pods, the bhut hybrid produced the most compared to raised bed.
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Thanks,
 
ah nice, I had been searching around for what people use for potting mixes, and I know a lot of them are just in the Glogs, but it's hard to find them sometimes, especially since it is usually just, "here is my potting mix, a little this a little that."

but anyways, so far I use for my 1 gallon containers (in the party cups I use more Perlite to let the roots get really big) but I use about 2 parts Perlite, 1 part Vermiculite (just using the rest of what I have now since it is fine and now coarse, but can do without this, just add more perlite if needed), 2 parts MG potting soil (or any potting soil really, MG is the only kind I could get my hands on so early in the.. well not really season yet, but in mid winter lol) and 1 part really heavy and dark potting soil, I had some EarthGro around, but that is all gone, so I used more MG potting soil.. then some bone meal and blood meal and some sulfur to correct for pH.. I think that about it.. works pretty good so far, but I have been trying to find a better mix that is more consistent, more perlite seems to work better than less


what I am going to use for the 60 plants I will be potting up sometime this week will hopefully be along the lines of (I need 6 cubic feet of soil so I am just doing it per cubic foot and I will change anything I need once I see how it looks after I mix it, and will change/add anything I did once I do it to this thread) but about ~2 cubic feet of pine bark, ~2 cubic feet of organic or regular Garden soil mix (I have the MG stuff around here but will look for something that is similar but a little better.. basically something with manure and compost in there) then about 2 cubic feet of Perlite and 2 cubic feet of the soil.. I am going to have to save some money and use the soil that is in the garden now, I am just going to make a siv and filter any medium/large partials out of the soil before mixing into everything else..

with the 2nd mix I am hoping to get microbes to be able to break down the bone meal, and I just need a way to get enough soil without spending a lot of money for all the plants.. if I could, I would buy topsoil instead of using the garden soil, but oh well..
 
I like that container of Thai Basil..........excellent in Thai fried rice or other Thai dishes with rice noodles and Hot Thai peppers.

Greg
 
I like that container of Thai Basil..........excellent in Thai fried rice or other Thai dishes with rice noodles and Hot Thai peppers.

Greg

Thanks, yea it was very useful when cooking thai fried rice. Any container soil or raised bed recipes willing to share Greg? :)


ah nice, I had been searching around for what people use for potting mixes, and I know a lot of them are just in the Glogs, but it's hard to find them sometimes, especially since it is usually just, "here is my potting mix, a little this a little that."

but anyways, so far I use for my 1 gallon containers (in the party cups I use more Perlite to let the roots get really big) but I use about 2 parts Perlite, 1 part Vermiculite (just using the rest of what I have now since it is fine and now coarse, but can do without this, just add more perlite if needed), 2 parts MG potting soil (or any potting soil really, MG is the only kind I could get my hands on so early in the.. well not really season yet, but in mid winter lol) and 1 part really heavy and dark potting soil, I had some EarthGro around, but that is all gone, so I used more MG potting soil.. then some bone meal and blood meal and some sulfur to correct for pH.. I think that about it.. works pretty good so far, but I have been trying to find a better mix that is more consistent, more perlite seems to work better than less


what I am going to use for the 60 plants I will be potting up sometime this week will hopefully be along the lines of (I need 6 cubic feet of soil so I am just doing it per cubic foot and I will change anything I need once I see how it looks after I mix it, and will change/add anything I did once I do it to this thread) but about ~2 cubic feet of pine bark, ~2 cubic feet of organic or regular Garden soil mix (I have the MG stuff around here but will look for something that is similar but a little better.. basically something with manure and compost in there) then about 2 cubic feet of Perlite and 2 cubic feet of the soil.. I am going to have to save some money and use the soil that is in the garden now, I am just going to make a siv and filter any medium/large partials out of the soil before mixing into everything else..

with the 2nd mix I am hoping to get microbes to be able to break down the bone meal, and I just need a way to get enough soil without spending a lot of money for all the plants.. if I could, I would buy topsoil instead of using the garden soil, but oh well..

Yea, i hope this thread will be a reference collection of successful soil mixes, it can include raised bed mixe recipes too. Thanks for the recipe!
 
My virgin raised bed mix from last year:

First ingredients: fairly rich (existing) topsoil 50%, compost 20%; leaf humus 10%; perlite 10%; pine bark fines 10%; pelletized chicken manure, gypsum with sulfur to lower pH.

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I also added another barrow or so of Spagnum peat moss later as pH was still too high and drainage wasn't great. I also shouldn't have scimped on the Perlite-- I'll be doubling or tripling up this year. I've also read pine fines can lock out nitrogen until it breaks down some--the bulk compost I had was high in pine content, so I probably shouldna added the additional part of straight fines. Plants did seem to take off later in the summer, but too many other factors to know for sure.

This year's beds have a thick covering of leaf litter at the moment. I'm going to do a soil test and see what I got. Definitely going to bump up the Perlite, as it 'grows' nearby in eastern Idaho. I've got some of my own sweet compost 'bakin' now with a high leaf content, but it won't go far. I also found a vendor who raves about some excellent bulk container mix with long-term composted pine, peat and pumice with a pH of 6.5 He also has some bulk composted manures, and I'll be shovelin' poop soon enough.... :cool:

One other thing--WindChicken posted last year about how hardwoods shavings are superior to softwoods, at least as a mulch topping. I've checked several places with no luck finding any so far, but would like to try it as a component in containers, or at least as a mulch in the beds.

Sorry so long winded. Short version: mine is still a work in progress....
 
In my containers I go with;

1 big bale of peat
2 bags Black Kow cow manure, I think they are 40lbs each
2 16 qt bags Perlite(miracle gro brand cause I cannot find the big huge bags for cheap close to me, but I do have an idea where to get some this year)
Sometimes I will swap a 30lb bag of the chicken manure for the cow manure, sometimes.

2 gal

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But I was most impressed by this big pot last year that was 1/3 the mix from above, 1/3 clay from the yard and 1/3 year old composted leaf mold.

One month between these first two pictures then two weeks between the rest..

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Great info Siliman. Just recently heard about pine fines. I think if they are aged, the better.

Millworkman, i like that recipe. Simple and easy. It is kind of the same as mine, except you are using perilite. Are you testing the pH or doing anything to adjust?
 
yeah that is interesting about the pine fines.. is that pretty much shredded pine wood? that the same as pine bark chips, I got shredded but it's pretty much small chips, I want to add some mulch to my garden this year along with some other things like a ton of worms and their casing I can dig up from a local place next to a river that floods a lot, (I've never see so many worms in once place.. the soil is straight worm casings lol) and some cow manure and stuff.. but if pine fines do lock out N, do you guys think that maybe a little less pine bark would be better (I have tons of wood to cut up and have been tossing the shavings into the garden.. but really I will probably only get a few cubic feet of shavings in there, and the general area is about 160 square feet..

since this soil will be using a mixture similar to my garden mix in the potting soil when I get to 5 gallon buckets this summer, I am wondering if leaf shavings tilled into the soil would be a little better than more pine shavings/chips, I still plan to add some mulch just to get some aeration in there, but not much.. I could actually dig into a really big leaf pile that has been building for.. I dono the last 10 years or so, and get to where the leaves have decomposed down more and use that.. that would be pretty good right?


and I am still waiting on Agway to get their big 4cu ft of Perlite in.. hopefully by this thursday! :whistle:

hopefully we get some larger/big time growers to comment in here soon lol
 
I am so glad this topic has come up because I want to share some very interesting info. I have nothing against peat based mixes because I always used them and will use them this year. However, I will only use peat based mixes in pots 1 gal and less. I learned somthing interesting, When the the top layer of the potting mix drys it creats a "blanket" that keep the wet area in the pot from drieing, not allowing the soil to breath. Using a bark based medium is the best way to get free draining soil. I see a mix of 30% miracle gro potting mix, 20%peat/perlite mix, and the rest bark that has been sifted of at least the fine dust. I was a big fan of " let the soil dry first then water" but that is not good!!! The rain forest jungle rains for months on end and plants thrive becsue the soil has good drainage. Just like this mix is like the "jungle".

I use miracle gro potting mix and peat and perlite with great results and will use it this year too. I just want to test this ^ mix too for my larger containers. I am testing a mix of just medium bark. The thing with growing in pure park with no fine particals or peat to hold lime is I will need to watch ph so this is why I will only be testing this mix and if it works I will change my mix to bark because the extreme drainage and yet holds water.
 
Did some more research online, there's a soil guy named Al (Tapla on DavesGarden) who knows alot about soil. Any try these or have any thoughts?

http://davesgarden.c...rums/t/1073399/

UPDATE: seems like some has experience with it, and its not that good: http://www.thehotpep...-bark-based-mix

I dont know, I am going to try it but without the peat. It is what alot of citrus growers use.

On another note, I dont think pine based mixes have the same ph buffer as a good potting soil. That is why I am only trying it with a few plants.
 
nice find, and great info... I just went digging in one of the old leaf/branch/anything in the yard that we didn't want like acorns pile and found BlACK GOLD! lol, the stuff was crazy black and really loose even though it had been compacted over and over for about 10-20 years, so I got about 3 big wheel barrels full of this stuff, I was originally going to try to get most of it out and just spread it in the garden.. but that would take forever without a backhoe so I just dumped it onto a tarp and covered it and I will either sift it or just pick some of the larger pieces of sticks and some small roots out of it before using it in the potting mix

but anyways, I got off track sorry, my question is that this stuff looks like really good soil, is that what is actually is at this point, maybe a mix of soil and some remaining compost.... when does compost become soil?
 
I would cut it with 20% your black soil, 80 peatmoss/perlite mix. After the plant use up the nutrients in compost, it is just heavy small partical muck that clog roots. That is why you should use very little compost in a pottin mix, like 10%-20% depending on how strong it is. You know compost is done when it smells "good", not like breaking down waste.
 
oh ok, so it's still compost and not soil, and yes it smells very good.. smells like really rich soil I guess, but that is good to know.. the compost in the swamp/pond depending on what time of year it is, is pretty thick, I plan on using that in the garden when the pond dries up this spring or summer depending on the rain.. but just in small doses..

thanks, I would have probably killed the crap out of my plants by putting to much in there lol
 
Last year I made the mIstake of going with 50/50 bagged topsoil and compost for my raised beds. I could water it once at the beginning of the season and let it go until I tear everything out come winter. Terrible terrible terrible drainage and as a result, I had to pull the peppers out of the beds and pot them. The tomatoes did well, but the peppers weren't having it.

At the end of the season I broke the beds down, spread the mix as best I could around the yard and flattened what was left. I had the soil tested through the university of nc and I am good, so I am planning on just getting a small tiller and having at it come the beginning of the season before I plant out.

Just make sure that you don't replicate my mistake and go too heavy on the compost and not enough in the drainage department.
 
here is mine my tower on top is all my basils. sweet basil, genovese basil, lemon basil, thai basil, african blue basil and red rubin basil
on the middle is my sage, pineapple sage, spearmint, orange mint, rosemary, a small kaffir lime that takes forever to grow.
on the bottom is my hot peppers, i have 2 bhut jolokia, kung pao, tabasco, super chili and 2 red carribean
the one on the table is my dill that wont stop growing and my green bell pepper
i use MG potting mix, MG moisture control, perlite and cinders in all my container plants

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my super chili start producing some pods
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i use MG potting mix, MG moisture control, perlite and cinders in all my container plants

I have seen a good number of people using the cinders in their potting mix, do you use it mixed into the soil or just on top.. and if it is just on top.. what is the point of it.. I can see if it is mixed in it is good aeration though
Last year I made the mIstake of going with 50/50 bagged topsoil and compost for my raised beds. I could water it once at the beginning of the season and let it go until I tear everything out come winter. Terrible terrible terrible drainage and as a result, I had to pull the peppers out of the beds and pot them. The tomatoes did well, but the peppers weren't having it.

At the end of the season I broke the beds down, spread the mix as best I could around the yard and flattened what was left. I had the soil tested through the university of nc and I am good, so I am planning on just getting a small tiller and having at it come the beginning of the season before I plant out.

Just make sure that you don't replicate my mistake and go too heavy on the compost and not enough in the drainage department.

good to know. thanks Matt, I was wondering what everyone was saying about your mishap last year.. so this year your just going straight into the ground huh?... just a little bit of forewarning if that is what you are doing.. and if it is on previously un-tilled land with grass, unless you want to go through picking the clumps of grass out as you till, I would suggest tilling sometime soon and letting the grass die a little.. although down there it is warm enough probably for it to go, but point being I would till it up now, let it settle and some of it die, then till it again, and then get the remaining grass clumps that refuse to die..

I only say this because 2 years ago when we increased the size of the garden by a few rows, the grass was all over the place, it actually wasn't too too bad, but I just didn't like having big clumps of grass every where, and it was a pain to pick through, and then later pick any grass that still grew.. which is why this year when increasing the size.. well almost doubling it, I am trying to till it when it on the days where it gets a little warmer so I can let the grass die a little, then I will be able to till it again and it will be that much easier later on.. I also have a HUGE amount of rocks up here which is another reason why I am doing what I can now..but I would do it for the grass problem alone if I didn't have rocks "growing" all over the place too lol
 
I have seen a good number of people using the cinders in their potting mix, do you use it mixed into the soil or just on top.. and if it is just on top.. what is the point of it.. I can see if it is mixed in it is good aeration though

i layer some cinders on the bottom for drainage, and mix it to my MG and some perlite, the one on top is only for design :P
 
i layer some cinders on the bottom for drainage, and mix it to my MG and some perlite, the one on top is only for design :P
ok gotcha lol thanks


and to add to the soil.. I know this is potting soil but like I said before, I will be using nearly the same thing for my garden soil, but with a lot of perlite in the pots..

the public works came by today and marked the really big oak tree that has been around for a very long time.. we love the tree but a guy that came around while people were collecting trees/branches that had come down during that big October snow storm had said there was a crack down the base of it and the town would take it down for free if we would be ok with it.... so after some thinking and realizing that if it can be done for free.. why not... and it will also give the garden a TON of more sun.. and us a whole lot more wood to burn for next winter and probably the one after that will all the wood collected from that storm from a few other people also.. (the oak is about.. I'd say 130-140' high with a span of about 80-100' at least. and that is after most of the top branches snapped during the storm)

so when they come along I am going to get a tarp and ask them to let us keep all of the chips when they chip the top branches up.. I have been reading about what wood chips will do in the soil, and for the most part I have read that it is great and doesn't really affect the soil adversely if used as MULCH, but as a soil amendment, it can "suck" Nitrogen out of the soil.... so the choice is to either use it as a mulch, or what I would really rather do, is spread it out and till it into the soil.. which I know I guess will suck some N out, but that is fine, I will also be adding a few truck loads of cow manure and I have some blood meal that I will use also.. .but does that sound about right?.. would be nice to make this thread into a nice big bank of information for general soil mixes and everything..

like I said I will be using a similar mix in potting soil, but since I already have shredded pine bark, I will use that in the mix with some of the compost I found, and then the garden soil and a lot of perlite..anyone have any comments or experience with this?

here are some sites I was looking at..
http://forums.finega...oak-chips-mulch
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg323
http://www.hawthorne...ndmentchart.htm

(also just found this which is pretty good) - http://www.sustland.umn.edu/implement/soil_ph.html
I wish I could go on more and research more.. but I have class.. hopefully someone will chime in by the time I get back.. and if anyone feels that I should make a new thread for this stuff, let me know.. but I figured.. soil is soil, and if I had the money and ability to make my garden soil like the potting soil with a ton of perlite and stuff.. I would. but that is just unrealistic.

THANKS!
 
After a few waterings fine particals from the soil mix fills the gaps between the rocks at the bottom. The only way this would work would be like how a golf green is made, which would say you would have to use the rocks, then pea gravel, then course sand, then fine sand. With these layers the soil would no longer fall in between the air spaces but then you would have no room for root growth. There is no reason for it.
 
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