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Hello, and Questions about 5:1:1

11 years ago

Hello everyone! I have come from the Hoya and Oklahoma Gardening forums to learn more about container growing. What I have currently is about 75 houseplants (porch-plants in summer) that are growing in pine bark/pearlite/potting soil/crushed granite at different ratios. The ratios are different based on how much the plant likes drainage and also what I had on hand when I decided I needed to repot something.

The catalyst for my visit this morning is that I plan to grow tomatoes in containers this year. The nursery I visited recommended the square foot gardening soil mix and I asked about it on the OK forum and they sent me here. I have perused the first 3-4 pages of posts and I have read Al's famous article. I have learned a ton in just a few hours!

So! I think I have a decent beginner's grasp on the concepts. It helps that I took soil science classes in college! (Wildlife Ecology major) I have a few questions that I didn't have answered in what I read. They may be answered in the older threads but I'm short on time. I should have been here learning all winter!!

Basic goals: 5 tomatoes in 20gal containers, a couple in slightly smaller containers, strawberries and other veggies in 5-10 gallon containers, happier tropical plants.

1. What size screens should I have besides the 1/2"?

2. Is screening easy to find at Lowe's or HD or should I go online? If online, where would I find quality and cost effective solutions? I would like to build my own if it is cheaper.

3. My water requires 1/8c vinegar per gallon to get below pH 6.0. Is there a good water storage solution so I can make gigantic batches? What has worked for others?

4. Most containers in Oklahoma require twice daily watering in the heat of summer, and that's with a commercial potting mix. What options do I have for either adjusting the 5:1:1, or some sort of self watering setup to keep my plants happy while I'm gone all day? (I'm looking for solutions on the cheap side)

5. If wicks are a good solution, where would I find them?

6. Is one particular mix variation recommended for tomatoes and other veggies?

I'm still trying to learn what the calcined clay, lime, and peat actually bring to the mix. I'm assuming TomatoTone is a fertilizer. I have VegetablesAlive 4-3-1. Will that work?

I really wish I had come over here sooner. There's so much I didn't know that I didn't know!

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