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Janet Macunovich

Looking for potting mix recipe

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I found your talk on Plant it Well, Enjoy it forever at the Waterford Library very informative.  Thank you!
I am a Master Gardener and live in Waterford.  Currently, I am helping Dutton Farm (vocational training farm for disabled individuals) with their raised beds.  
My question is can I use the fine bark mulch from State Crushing instead of compost for growing vegetables and flowers?  Or do you recommend using both.  They are on a budget at Dutton Farm but still want their plantings to do well. - D.O -

Of course we want the plantings to succeed! Combined with peat or compost, and with added nutrients, finely shredded bark like the red pine fines I talked about would make a workable planting mix. I know at least one big nursery that grows most of its plants in a mix that's largely fine-particle bark, plus peat.


You would need to add fertilizer, too because a  ark-peat media is soil-less, lacking in all minerals. (Not just lacking in the big-3 nitrogen phosphorus and potassium but micronutrients like iron and boron so use a for-acid-plants product.).


However, bark-peat can be an expensive way to go in really large planters.... Compost could be the basis of the mix, and have pretty much the same characterisics for lower cost if mixed with coarse builder's sand. The sand would insure drainage, it's weed-free... The compost-sand would be heavier, so a big grower might rule it out -- too much extra weight when thousands of pots have to be constantly moved around.



Anyone have any suggestions for D.O., planting mixes that would work well but not cost a lot?

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