Growing media?


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Gentlemen, is there any major big box stores or chain stores that sell Promix Bx? I am located in west central Illinois and I have yet to see it around here. I know I'm being a tightwad but I don't even want to think about what it would cost to ship a couple bags. I plan on using this mix for my potted Chinese and Dunstan Chestnuts that I will be starting early spring. I will also be growing some persimmon and possibly crabs from seed, is this well drained mix good for fruit trees also? Although I have planted many trees in the past, this is my first shot at growing from seed with rootmakers so I'm sure I will have a ton more questions between now and starting time.

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Let just say - most everyone consider the shipping expense to make it cost prohibitive. Two leads for you - 1) check to see if you have any Amish feed stores, and 2) True Value Hardware is reported to have it online they will ship to a local store for free. If you have a True Value Hardware nearby that would be a possibility.


A photo of what I buy and sometime I buy the same mix with fungicide added. That helps the roots.

A 3.8 compressed bale when unpackaged sure goes a long ways.
Tru Value works great, and after I bought there last spring I found at least half a dozen local greenhouses that had the stuff for sale, too.

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Will regular bags of garden soil, not work? It drains very well.


If you have used it before and it worked well - 'nuff said. A soil that drains well and hold it characteristics for 12 to 16 weeks is important to me. I grow in rootmaker 18s and I don't want to watch it do good for 6 to 8 weeks and then become thick and brick like.

First important decision with a chosen media is to not pack it too hard into the growing container. Drainage, compaction and aeration all matter. Air getting to the roots is important. Also, air allows roots to expand and fill in those locations with white fibrous roots.

If a person had purchased a growing media and wanted to help it they could add three things IMHO. You can add perlite, vermiculite and mini pine barks. The mini pine barks are a product I purchase at Lowes and I add it to my Promix when I move chestnuts up to root pouches or RBIIs. It improves drainage, creates air pocket and save me money. It helps the acidic level of the growing media.

Back to the first sentence in this reply, if it works for you and your process, you have your answer. It is not true when it sounds like - this is the one and only way to succeed. Truth is - more than one path to success.
I have used the miracle grow potting soIl with great success on everything but chestnuts. Acorns, apples, pears, and persimmons do great. However, if you are doing chestnuts then you need a mix that drains better.
I'm cheap, I used plain old soil..and some old potting soil from some old dead potted plants. My attitude is a little different than most people. I figure if the tree cant start in native soil, then why would I expect it to thrive once transplanted.
I'm cheap, I used plain old soil..and some old potting soil from some old dead potted plants. My attitude is a little different than most people. I figure if the tree cant start in native soil, then why would I expect it to thrive once transplanted.

The key there is the old potting soil allowing the native soil to drain better. Young chestnut seedlings don't like for their roots to be too wet. You also have to take into account survival rates in nature versus what we expect when we grow in containers. At best one or two seedlings out of thousands may survive in the wild while most of us achieve 90% or more survival rate when we grow in containers. This is done by controlling the common issues associated with seedling death in the wild. Poor drainage, rodents, insects, etc.


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The garden soil i'm talking about lets water run right thru it. I had tomatoes planted in a big tub and when i would water them, the water drained down thru and out the bottom fairly quickly. Too quickly as a matter of fact. I had to water them everyday. Question, why can we direct seed into soil on our property, but not into soil in our containers? As long as the containers have drain holes in them to let out excess water, i don't see a problem, but i'm asking because i don't know.

The soil is like your insurance blanket. It keeps the wind off the nut / seed more effectively than when it is in a container. When you direct seed in the field, you had better protect the nut against critters. Around the yard in a container it has to be protected.

In a container, the wind and heat can dry it out rather fast.

If your garden soil mix works, then work it. If it don't work, then figure out something better.
I completely understand about protecting the nut from pests. I've never tried growing mine in containers before. We have been in a drought for months and this would make it easier to keep them watered. I was just curious why soil doesn't work in containers with good drainage. My plan is to water the containers 1-2 times per week, except for when it rains, if it ever does again. If i direct seed into the ground during a drought, would i need to keep the chestnuts watered before they sprout? Sorry for all the questions, i'm just trying to learn.

When direct seeding in the field, it is important we get the chestnut about 1 inch below ground surface. Yes we water that location enough to prevent the ground from sucking all of the moisture out of the chestnut. We select a location that gets full sun and does not have standing water on the nut / roots during period heavy rainfall.

Container growing. MattPatt hit the nail on the head about how many die in the wild. We only see the ones that survive. If you want to container grow, good drainage matters, soil that don't compact matters, aeration matters.

How often do I water? Depends on outside temperatures, sun and wind. This requires some observations by you. I would start out watering either on the odds days or the even number days of the month. That is a starting point - adjust it from there. Your growing media may do well with that schedule or it may not. You just have to dial it in.

Think of watering as feast and famine. We don't want either period / situation lasting very long. Water them good and then let them get dry for one day and then water them good and then let them get dry for one day. We probably don't do that in a heat wave.

When temperatures hit the 90s and hotter, I water mine every single day - this is an" adjust it from there" example.

What people overlook with containers? If your containers are outside and they have chestnuts in them, they better be protected. The lord gave those critters an excellent nose so they don't starve to death. They will find them and destroyed many, all or most. That makes me angry. It happened to me once - then I build some protective cages.

Soil collected from the ground and put in containers most times will become much to hard for aeration and drainage. This is a common mistake that increases the losses.

If I am thinking right, you are buying a garden type growing soil that drains good. That is a choice that can produce excellent results if you adjust accordingly on the watering schedule.

I want to answer your questions because I want you to be happy with your results. Sometimes if I read too many posts in a hurry, I don't answer the questions as well as I should.

This response addresses each type of growing situation. I hope I have answered better this time. While Promix seems to be better, especially if mixed with pine bark mulch, this miracle grow potting mix is soilless and works well - and is a heck of a lot easier to find. It drains well and has micro-nutrients added. I have been using it for several years now for everything I grow. The critical thing to remember is that you MUST let the rootball dry almost to the point of wilting the plant between waterings. Otherwise you risk root rot and less than optimum seedling vigor.
I have good success growing chestnuts and I use a roughly 50-50 mix of Lowe's brand sta-green and peat moss, add a little perlite and osmocote and your good.

I don't know your secret but you sure can grow some tall seedlings in a short period of time. Merle trained you tooooooo well. :rolleyes: