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Old 06-05-2014, 02:19 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

Thanks for the replies. I found a bag of Black Cow my parents had kept in the corner of the porch while I was away; checked it yesterday and it still looks like black gold (happy day) and I do believe I saw a baby centipede crawling in it so its still organism-suitable. Will be using that in the bottom of some containers to feed my upcoming plants

As to the peat moss as I understand it it is not a renewable resource so I hesitate to use it (although the argument could be made that perlite isn't either) along with the pH issues mentioned by Mr. Bryan. I am glad to see that most of your mix is the same thing I would use when trying to create a good growing medium. Anyone know if it's okay to grow something in a container using 100% compost?

Thanks for the detailed exposition on acidity and its relation to soil testing and growing habits. I have learned through much trial and error myself that it is indeed best to just try to grow things and pay attention to the response of the plants in their growing situation to determine what the soil may or may not need. I am curious as to what your new growing methods are since you mentioned a change from an almost purely scientific approach to a more naturalistic method somewhat facilitated by Abnshrek's advice

Lastly do any of you have any recommendations for easy crops? By easy I mean plants that do not require very rich soil/large amounts of nutrients (i.e., watermelon and corn) to put out reasonable yields. Such plants would be able to grow fairly well in less than stellar so that is sometime amended (i.e., pigeon peas, sweet potatoes, carrots). Thanks in advance for the plant suggestions!
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:58 PM   #22 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

i ether rinse with freshwater real quick then use as mulch or put it in a trash barrel and fill with water and let it rot, and use it water my plants and trees
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:00 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Sounds similar to myself; I do remember a long time ago putting seaweed in a bucket with some water and it having liquefied after a few weeks. Is the freshwater rinsing very heavy? I was thinking of just laying it out on the grass and running over it with the hose

Also what's the dosage/dilution you use when watering with the liquid seaweed?
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:40 PM   #24 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

thata about as much as i rinse, i dilute the liquid 50/50
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:25 AM   #25 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

Lunepeace, I try to substitute coir for peat moss when I can. I believe that it's much more eco-friendly. It tends to be more pricey, but that could just be my location. I usually have to get it from the hydroponic store. I think the compressed brick forms are cheaper.

I'm new to bananas also, so I'm not sure about the pH.... I should test it. I have one SDC in a coir mixture and another in peat. I suppose it's a bit of an experiment. I live in a cold climate, so my main concern is getting a good -draining mixture and avoiding rot. I grow a lot of cactus and got really swept away by getting the perfect mix, but now I try not to overthink it. Drainage is my main concern. I guess what I'm saying is you can make it as simple or involved as you want. Add sunshine and fertliizer and you sound have success, right? Especially where you live!

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Old 06-11-2014, 01:32 PM   #26 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

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Originally Posted by Iunepeace View Post


Lastly do any of you have any recommendations for easy crops? By easy I mean plants that do not require very rich soil/large amounts of nutrients (i.e., watermelon and corn) to put out reasonable yields. Such plants would be able to grow fairly well in less than stellar so that is sometime amended (i.e., pigeon peas, sweet potatoes, carrots). Thanks in advance for the plant suggestions!
It really depends on what you want it for, what you're planting it near, etc. Are you looking for a companion crop for bananas? Are you looking for something that puts out a lot of food? Or just something that will grow very well in poor soil?

If your soil is bad I'd recommend a combination of plants so that some will build soil nutrient while others are producing food.

Carrots and Radishes are two of the easiest to grow root crops that I've ever found, with radishes growing pretty quickly. Squash are also good, especially zucchini. I'd recommend planting 2 zucchini and building a small trellis for them to climb up. then after you harvest you'll have a bunch of material to chop up and use as green mulch to help build the soil.

Using any kind of legume will also help build nitrogen in the soil, but I recommend a ground cover between and around your food crops combining white and crimson clover, vetch, cowpea, and here and there some lupine (lupine grows a bit larger so don't try to plant too much). These can all be chopped and dropped regularly to help build soil, and each time they're cut back they will leave behind pockets of accessible nitrogen for your other plants.

You can also plant tomato in poor soil, you'll just have to monitor the water to make sure they don't get too wet or too dry (depending on your soil).

I'd recommend just saving a couple of egg shells the next time you make eggs and crushing those up, then sprinkling a couple of small pieces in with each plant you put in to provide some calcium.

You can also try to plant some deep rooting plants like horseradish or comfrey to mine nutrients from much farther below and bring them to the surface, then just chop the greens and drop them on the surface to make the nutrients and minerals available for shallower rooted plants. Be careful with comfrey, though, as it has a tendency to spread and take over if you don't have the area densely planted.

If you have a bit more space and want something larger to be a central item to this little ecosystem, I'd recommend a Moringa Oleifera tree. These grow quite well in crappy soil and provide very nutritious leaves and seed pods in abundance. The tree will not make excessive shade, so you can still grow a lot of crops underneath its canopy. Plant plenty of the ground cover mix around this tree to prevent competition and to increase soil fertility over time.

Hope this helps
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Old 06-11-2014, 03:26 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

Wow; more than helpful Tortuga! Thank you so much!
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Old 06-11-2014, 04:12 PM   #28 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

Permaculture is a wonderful thing. I have a very tiny patch of dirt that was rock hard and basically useless. I tore it up a bit with a pic ax but only a couple inches deep. Then I piled on a big bag of compost, a bag of steer manure, and some goat manure I'd gotten from a friend. I threw in a hand full of mycorhizea spores, some radish, carrot, kale, collard green, lettuce, broccoli and clover seeds. I threw some red onion starts down over the dirt area, mixed up the compost/seed mixture and laid it about 2 inches thick across the top. The clovers came in first, followed shortly by everything else. I left the radishes and onions in the ground to break down and help build the soil while eating the radish greens. I cut most of the leafy greens as they were ready, leaving the roots behind to break down and become soil. Some greens I chopped and dropped, some I let go to seed to provide the next crop. I now have a rotation of greens and root vegetables that are always growing. When grasses grow up I just make sure they don't (a) block the food crops; or (b) go to seed. Otherwise I let them grow then chop and drop them as mulch.

I have more worms than I know what to do with and my soil is building all the time.
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Old 06-11-2014, 04:59 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Beautiful story; almost made me tear up a bit :'D
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Old 08-18-2014, 07:12 PM   #30 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

I grow my banana plants in big pots on the patio (I've got no yard).

I mix my own soil and have had good results so far, though a few of the pups I transplanted recently have had a bit of transplant shock from very hot weather.

I use a lot of Kellogg's Grow Mulch and Cactus Mix (half and half). I also mix in a good deal of compost and manure. To keep water draining well I use a LOT of Pumice or Perilite (perhaps a 5th of the amount of soil). I've tossed in some course sand here and there too as well as some small rocks at the bottom of the huge containers.

I've become a fan of beneficial fungi, so, at planting I mix in a generous amount of mycorrhizal fungi (this can be either used directly as the white powder or found in organic fertilizers such as Dr. Earth, or other brands). There might be some really strange looking mushrooms growing from the pots every morning for a while....but that is a very good sign, not a disease. Ignore the mushrooms.

I also toss in a banana peel (chopped up) at least once a month. I often cover it with some cow or chicken manure.

Well, my soil is not scientific or exacting....it's more art than recipe.
In warm weather I use either bark mulch or grow mulch around the plant to retain more water (I live in very dry San Diego).

If my banana plants start to develop brown spots on the base then I know I have been over watering.

Some folks tell me I will never get bananas growing in a pot like this....but, my 6 month old Orinoco is now 7 feet tall and has put off 4 pups. I have every reason to believe I will be swimming in bananas next year (I hear it takes up to 9 months for bananas to develop once the flower shows up).

I also resurrected my Jamaican Red banana plant from the dead.
I'd planted it in the ground at a friend's yard.
It was NOT thriving there even though I'd prepared the soil well.
So, I dug it up and pulled off all the dead bits (nearly everything) and potted it.
Now it is very beautiful and nearly 3 feet tall. It liked the pot more than the ground.
Hopefully it will make pups so I can try the ground planting again without risking my only good Jamaican Red plant.

I loved reading that you were growing your bananas in pots.
We container farmers are a minority.

Let me know how your bananas are doing and what sort of soil has been working for you.

Your banana pal,
Mary
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Old 02-09-2015, 03:25 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

Very nice Mary! We certainly are a minority but the rest don't know what they're missin'

Here is my Super Dwarf Cavendish being grown in a container from summer 2014 to January of this year (started it in a 5 gallon as a pup and upped to 15 at the end of summer):







I admit I've been a bit irregular with fertilizing but the naner has still grown very well. I just picked up some Ammonium Sulfate (with my hard tap water I need as much acidification as I can get) and will try to keep up a better regimen and see how they respond. Also have some slow-release Sunniland 6-4-6 Citrus Avocado & Mango fertilizer that I will add a couple tablespoons of to the container. How are your bananas?
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Old 06-05-2015, 12:44 PM   #32 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

Question. Ive searched with the search function but haven't found any replies. Sorry if this is a retread/

I recently have been using what's known as "Al's Gritty Mix" for my succulents, Aloe and Jades mostly. It contains and equal mix of Granite grit, Turface, and pine bark fines. He suggest adding Foliage Pro as an amendment. Here's a link to someone speaking with him about it when making the soilless mix for some container lemon trees:

Al's Gritty Mix -- A Learning Experinece

I was wondering if this would be a good mix, at least in part, for container banana trees? I have plenty of peat moss and perlite for the soil mix recommended here a lot. But I have a lot of the gritty mix ingredients laying around and wondered if maybe adding 50% gritty mix/50% peat moss: perlite (or what ever might make a good ratio) would be good for fast draining? Ive seen plenty suggestions that use cactus mix, which this really is minus any sand.

Ive also used Al's 5-1-1 mix for my tomatoes and peppers. Which is 5 parts pine fines and one part peat moss and perlite each. Anyone suggest this?

I just got a banana tree from my great uncle and would like to pot up from the 5 gallon he gave me to 15. I do not know the species.

What says everyone?

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Old 06-05-2015, 04:05 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

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Question. ...
Hi there!

It'd be helpful if you'd add your location to your profile -- just click on "User CP" at the left of the blue bar near the top left of your screen.

Also, we're very interested to know what kind of bananas you're growing ... ornamental? ... fruiting? ... name given by seller?

Are you growing indoors? outdoors?

Those things will help greatly with advice about soil.

And if you'd like to introduce yourself in the Member Introductions thread, lot's of folks are sure to welcome you!
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Old 06-05-2015, 04:16 PM   #34 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

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Hi there!

It'd be helpful if you'd add your location to your profile -- just click on "User CP" at the left of the blue bar near the top left of your screen.

Also, we're very interested to know what kind of bananas you're growing ... ornamental? ... fruiting? ... name given by seller?

Are you growing indoors? outdoors?

Those things will help greatly with advice about soil.

And if you'd like to introduce yourself in the Member Introductions thread, lot's of folks are sure to welcome you!
Sorry I added my location. Cincinnati Ohio.

I don't know the specific cultivator my great uncle has been growing them for a few years and gave me one. He didn't know. From what he said they do produce fruit with proper care.

Im growing them in a container outside and will be over wintering them. I'd like to produce fruit if possible but they are mainly ornamental.
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Old 06-05-2015, 06:26 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

Our local expert for your area (cincinnana) is sure to chime in soon. If not, send him a PM.
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Old 06-14-2015, 01:03 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

I use any kind of cheap potting mix, add a considerable amount of powdered pumice (Stall Dry) and use a dilute MiracleGro solution once a week. I also soak the roots initially, in a rooting stimulant. Works like a charm. Bananas naturally grow in very sandy soils, so don't worry about how sandy it may appear to you.

To answer a previous poster's note on variable pH in peat moss: As the peat gets wetter, it releases more of the tannins which mix with water to create tannic (no Spelchek, I didn't mean Titanic) acid. I'm not fond of peat in banana soils because it tends to hold moisture. Great for redwoods but horrible for bananas.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:24 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

Whatever you do, if you bring in your bananas in the winter, dont use water absorbing crystals, or soil like the miracle grow moisture formula unless you are veryyyyy careful with watering, or you will get rot big time because of reduced light, heat, etc.
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Old 06-20-2015, 04:00 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snarkie View Post
To answer a previous poster's note on variable pH in peat moss: As the peat gets wetter, it releases more of the tannins which mix with water to create tannic (no Spelchek, I didn't mean Titanic) acid. I'm not fond of peat in banana soils because it tends to hold moisture. Great for redwoods but horrible for bananas.
You must be speaking about my post...LOL.
Where did you get the info from that says peat moss is bad for bananas?

And you have been growing bananas/plants for how long?

I need to convert you!
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Old 06-20-2015, 05:00 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

Any medium that contains tannins will leach it into water. This is how tea is made. As the peat dries out, it releases less tannin, increasing the pH. When it gets wet again, it releases more tannins, decreasing the pH.

Peat is used to hold water in the soil, which is why it is added to light soils. Here in NC, where our dirt is nothing but red clay, adding peat would be like grinding up a Shamwow and adding it to the mix. Bad idea. That is why I don't use it in my banana soil. I do, however, use it along with sawdust in my redwood mixes because they like acidic soils of 4.5 and wet, well-drained soils.

While it is true that I am new to bananas, the laws of science do not change. I suppose if you are growing a banana in river sand, you would need to add peat to retain moisture. In clay, however, it is a bad idea.
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Old 06-20-2015, 06:44 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Smile Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)

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While it is true that I am new to bananas, the laws of science do not change. I suppose if you are growing a banana in river sand, you would need to add peat to retain moisture. In clay, however, it is a bad idea.
Sorry I disagree; peat moss is an awesome amendment in the soils.
Peat moss is an great organic when mixed with clay; while I agree it does temporarily change soil ph, it is somewhat negligible.
I mix/till organics in the gardens all the time .

When you are an experienced grower of plants in containers/ground .....you can change the laws of science and you (I) do it on a daily basis. You(snarkie) do it all the time as you state is your posts; and I do it as well .


So the comment that peat moss is "bad for bananas" is just incorrect advice.

PEAT IS AN AWESOME MEDIUM/MIX to grow your plants in.
And a peat moss based mix is is good for the plant in the ground or a container.
If one chooses to use sand as a medium to amend the soil, great do what works.
I will sometimesl use 8 cf a year on average and do not have a growth issue with it.

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