Help plz. I think I made a costly mistake using only peat moss,perlite & vermiculite

Discussion in 'Organics' started by yummybud, Mar 14, 2013.

  1.  
    yummybud

    yummybud Member

    I just transplanted my vegging plants into 5 gal. buckets yesterday. Thought I was doing the right thing, but got mixed up it looks like.
    I mixed Spagnum Peat Moss (4 parts), to Perlite (2 parts), to Vermiculite (1 Part). I was using a sauce pan to measure the parts and filled the bucket up to the normal level under the rim. My plants had been vegging for about 4 weeks prior to in unammended potting soil no nutes. They were growing slowly in the solo cup but were ready for transplant (looked about to be rootbound).

    I have alaskan fish fertilizer half of a capful mixed into an open gallon container of tap water ready to water them with tomorrow. Now after reading about organic mixes I'm sensing I screwed up by not adding more to my mix and see some things I should have added but it's too late now. My question is basically are they going to be able to grow in this mix? Or is the mix going to be too compacted for proper drainage? I got mixed up with potting soil mix and peat moss mix. I had read 3 parts soil to 1 part perlite would do it and thought I wuld add the vermiculite for good measure. But I'm guessing when you use peat moss you need to at least equal parts of perlite if I'm understanding correctly.
  2.  
    foreverflyhi

    foreverflyhi Well-Known Member

    If u recently transplanted and you are ok to wait out the extra shock ur plants will recieve, then i say take them out of that mix, invest in a base soil (roots, ff, etc etc) and transplant them with that, mean while reamend your mix u feel isnt right, and cook it. U forgot worm casting, i would add coco, compost, oustershell, did i mention worm casting?? Also another main ingredient, dolmite lime, especially with peat because peat natually lowers ph almost drastically. No worries, ur on a good start, just a slow start that will require time to fix


    forgot to add, if ur in a huge hurry and absolutely need to use what u got, cut ur mix with a base soil that is heavy, i say 20 perfent current mix per bag. Just beware u will need to work with teas and top dressing to keep that soil happy
  3.  
    SpicySativa

    SpicySativa Well-Known Member

    They can do fine in that mix, IF you added some kind of lime to counteract the acidity produced as that peat breaks down. But... you'll have to feed them liquid (hopefully organic) nutrients for their entire life cycle, because that soil has no compost (so no humus), and no amendments.

    A better starting point for organic soil (in my opinion and experience) would be something like 1/3 peat, 1/3 perlite, 1/3 compost (preferably vermicompost/worm castings). To this, add 1.5 or 2 TBSP dolomite lime per gallon of mix. Wet this down (wrung out sponge wetness) and let it sit in a bin for at least a few weeks.

    That'll make a quality organic base mix, but it will require feeding with teas, top dressings, etc. If you want to minimize your work later, you'll need to add amendments like alfalfa, fish bone meal, kelp, etc, etc.
  4.  
    yummybud

    yummybud Member

    Thanks so much guys, my ladies and I appreciate it. Ok so my first thought without studying (which I will do), is to go to local gardening shop. Hopefully lowes or home depot if not garden shop ( I've extended my budget somewhat for this phase already so I'm basically broke"). Should I buy Dolomite lime? My plants are in 6/ five gallon buckets so I have to figure out how much lime to add to each one. And I'm planning on starting to feed them alaskan fish fert for the first feeding (half a capful to a gallon of water). And then study on which organic nutrients and teas to mix up for the future feedings. My question off the top of my head now is will dolomite lime be ok and the cheapest route? And any idea of how much to pour into each 5 gallon bucket. I'm kind of winging it here for the first grow to get a harvest and a starting point and then go on to a much better mix next grow.
  5.  
    yummybud

    yummybud Member

    I am reading that I maybe able to go to Lowes and buy "Ground Dolomite Limestone" and mix 2 tbsps. per gallon of soil mix. Hoping this and my fish fertilizer additive will help the grow out for now. oh and I did go cheap on the original base mix ( I bought black gold spagnum peat moss from big lots.) Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  6.  
    foreverflyhi

    foreverflyhi Well-Known Member

    Intial start up for organics can be expensive and time consuming, however the beauty of organics is sustainability, eventually u can re use what u have. Lets not forget tp build urself a worm bin and compost.
    Yes u need dolmite, powder dolmite which i believe is also ground is ideal for fast acting (still need to cook!!!)
    Grab a bag of worm casting and compost, stay away from most products from Home Depot and lowes imo support local
  7.  
    foreverflyhi

    foreverflyhi Well-Known Member

    1.5 to 2.0 tbsp per gallon multiply to get ur awnser :)
    i say 1.5 if u add worm but def 2 if u dont
  8.  
    yummybud

    yummybud Member

    Great advice thanks alot.. I didnt know it would be so pricey but I'm sure it will be worth it like you say. And yes I respect using local as much as possible, until I can go strictly local all together. Now as far as "cooking the dolomite" I'm guessing it's too late to cook it since I'm adding it to already planted plants. Idk what I'm doing but my plan so far is to add the dolomite to the water and water the plants with it. not sure what to do there. I know the ratio but not how to cook it in this situation.
  9.  
    SpicySativa

    SpicySativa Well-Known Member

    If your plants aren't rooted into this new medium yet, I'd recommend removing them, mixing in the lime (at 1.5-2 TBSP/gal) and replanting. Just adding the lime to the surface will have minimal affect down by the roots. Dolomite lime doesn't exactly just dissolve and infiltrate down into the soil, you gotta get the little particles down in the root zone.

    Dolomite lime is basically ground up rock...
  10.  
    yummybud

    yummybud Member

    Ok sounds good that's exactly what I will do. Now I'm looking for a safe haven for my plants while they are out of the bucket. I'm thinking the best thing to do would be to gently scoop them out and lay them on their sides for the short time it will take to do the mix in. I dont want to damage any roots. careful, careful for this surgical procedure. heck for that matter I wonder if I should mix in some more perlite or vermiculite while I'm at it for better draining? It's cheap if it will help since I only used 4 parts peat moss to 2 parts perlite and 1 part vermiculite originally.
  11.  
    SpicySativa

    SpicySativa Well-Known Member

    A little more perlite might be helpful. I don't use any vermiculite in my soil mixes. What you added already is fine, but I wouldn't add any more.
  12.  
    yummybud

    yummybud Member

    ok I found dolomite at the store but its a big ol' bag of pellets, not the ground up powder form.. Any suggestion on how much to mix into my grow medium? A reminder for my mix so far its 4 parts peat moss to 2 parts perlite to 1 part vermiculite. in a five gallon bucket. edit: i just figured out if i use pellets im going to mix 1 cup per gallon of soil.
  13.  
    yummybud

    yummybud Member

    I'm guessing 2 tblspns per gallon of soil is not enough for the pellet form dolomite i found but i could be wrong. just seems like not enough for the mix. i cant find the powder form any where.
  14.  
    SpicySativa

    SpicySativa Well-Known Member

    Don't stress about the difference between pelleted and powder. The pellets ARE powder held together with a "binder" that dissolves as soon as it gets wet. They make those pellets so that the DL can be spread on lawns, etc, using mechanical equipment (like a seed spreader).
  15.  
    foreverflyhi

    foreverflyhi Well-Known Member

    From my understanding the pellets take much much longer to start working their magic? Months i heard?
  16.  
    SpicySativa

    SpicySativa Well-Known Member

    That might be true if you just add them and don't wet down and remix your soil. Stuff like lime "works" better when it has more surface area exposed. If you just add those pellets to dry soil, plop a plant in it, and then water, you've got little pockets of lime (and thus less exposed surface area). If you add the pellets to soil, wet it down (dissolving the "binder", pellets turn to paste/mud), then give it a mix, you're should be good to go. The pellets are something like 97% dolomite lime powder, 3% binder (I think they use clay). If you loosen up that binder, you've got nearly the exact same product as the powder.

    If your worried about it, just grind down the pellets with a mortar and pestle or old coffee grinder. Prove it to yourself, though. Drop a few pellets in some water and watch them break apart into "mud".

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