Soil mixtures


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It is something that was sold as a medium to grow in pots. I bought it a few months ago. It was unbranded, and the guy who sold it didn't speak very good English. I've tried growing in it, but things grew well in the beginning, and then failed after a few weeks. This is why assumed it was nutrient void and didn't trust the source. Was that a wrong assumption? I also found rocks in it.
If you don't know what it is don't use it. This makes things simpler. So, basically you don't have anything and must start from scratch and I presume you will be buying all of the products needed from a big box store? If so, you will need gardening soil, compost and maybe vermiculite. 20% compost, 10% vermiculite and 70% garden soil. Make sure that the soil and the compost have OMRI somewhere on the bag. You can get a manure based or plant based compost. Just make sure that it is OMRI and of a texture that doesn't have a lot of large pieces in it. There will be a label on the bag saying what is in it and the NPK ratio's if any. Once this is done you will have your base growing medium and time for your three Ph tests taken from random samples in your growing medium. It will probably average out around 6.8-7.2. When this is done post back. Just remember that you get what you pay for. Something cheap is going to be cheap and will not give you expensive results. When I must purchase anything related to gardening I NEVER go to a big box store like Walmart or Lowes. I either go to a dedicated gardening center or a nursery. Usually all you will find at the BBS is garbage like Miracle Grow products
 
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Then what is it for, I read #7
The test is to determine the physical make up of the dirt ( structure if you will ).

Here are more examples: The dirt with the orange hue is from a local Quarry that is used for a compact-able base for concrete pours and used exclusefully in the area.

The brown sample is top soil that our daughter had delivered via dump truck at her house. Note the very similar color in the jar but if we look closely where I drew the green line we can actually see a difference. You probably won't be able to see this difference because of the new up-dated pic system every site must have.

So to further test, when I dumped that into Terracotta saucers it actually separated. Sandy soil on the bottom and Clay just above it. The real story was evident when I allowed to dry and break each patty with a gardening trowel. The sandy soil is on the bottom. That soil delivered to our daughter was run through a rotary sieve and the clay percent didn't surprise me because in th pile I could see a few Clay balls.

Unless you are willing to do this there will be people selling you ocean front property in Arizona.
 

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Try @SeniorCitizen test on that soil that you have. I would guess that you have a lot of sand in it. If so there are ways to work around this and it might be less expensive than purchasing bagged soil.
 
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@SeniorCitizen , while doing your test, I'll take 6 different samples, but what proportion of water to soil sample should I use for this? Also, can I use tap water or must it be distilled? Thanks.
 
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@SeniorCitizen , while doing your test, I'll take 6 different samples, but what proportion of water to soil sample should I use for this? Also, can I use tap water or must it be distilled? Thanks.
This test is very simple. Just put a big handful of soil into a pint jar and fill it up with tap water, put a lid on it and shake it a couple of minutes to put the soil in a solution. Then let it sit a few hours until it has settled. This will only tell you how much of the basic soil elements there are in the sample, i.e. sand, silt, clay, organic matter, nothing specific. It is used as a guideline as for what to add to soil. You were worried about moisture levels dropping. If you have a lot of sand in that soil that is probably the reason your garden soil dries out rapidly. And to fix this you add finished compost or well dried and aged manure. I worry about that soil having stuff in it that is not good, for you and your plants. It may be perfectly safe and then it may not.
 
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This test is very simple. Just put a big handful of soil into a pint jar and fill it up with tap water, put a lid on it and shake it a couple of minutes to put the soil in a solution. Then let it sit a few hours until it has settled. This will only tell you how much of the basic soil elements there are in the sample, i.e. sand, silt, clay, organic matter, nothing specific. It is used as a guideline as for what to add to soil. You were worried about moisture levels dropping. If you have a lot of sand in that soil that is probably the reason your garden soil dries out rapidly. And to fix this you add finished compost or well dried and aged manure. I worry about that soil having stuff in it that is not good, for you and your plants. It may be perfectly safe and then it may not.
Great, will do. I'll post a pic of the result once a few hours have passed. I just wanted to confirm that this will be with the soil that I already had that is unbranded, the "nutrient-void one" right?
 
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Great, will do. I'll post a pic of the result once a few hours have passed. I just wanted to confirm that this will be with the soil that I already had that is unbranded, the "nutrient-void one" right?
right
 
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@SeniorCitizen , while doing your test, I'll take 6 different samples, but what proportion of water to soil sample should I use for this? Also, can I use tap water or must it be distilled? Thanks.
As Chuck mentioned the amount isn't very important. In gardening soil I prefer to fill to about maybe 60% soil and complete with water. But as you can see I didn't feel there would be nearly as many layers of different compounds ( elements ) in the known sand test so that jar was only filled to approx. 50%.
 
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And after the soil settles and the water is clearish, is the time to do a Ph test by taking out a small amount of the water with a soda straw and putting it on the paper strips.
 
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Okay, I'll post a pic as well as the pH result tomorrow. Thanks!
 
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This is the video: https://photos.app.goo.gl/VikLegGURxvD7FPNA

I see 4 layers (hope you see the same). The top most one just looks like larger particles. This is 7 hours after letting it settle.
I think I see four. Shake it up again, really thoroughly and let it sit longer. There will be definite distinct layers if done correctly. What I see now appears to be about 50% sand. I can't really tell about the silt and clay. The very top layer is organic matter. After you shake it up again wait until the water is clearer and take better pictures. Take your pics outside in the sun so we can get better resolution. We need to be able to take measurements in order to get a fairly accurate percentage.
 
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Okay, will do. Meanwhile, should I be buying other things such as compost, gardening soil, and coconut coir? If so, which of these are good:

for compost: https://www.acehardware.com/departm...fKOAaHhcon6HFd3K1ahoCrWgQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds (it is OMRI certified)

or this for compost: https://www.acehardware.com/departm...MZDyVdgpK3nl_PjwSbBoCb80QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds ( it wont burn the roots even though it is manure right?

Coconut coir: https://www.amazon.com/Viagrow-VCCB...1-1-22d05c05-1231-4126-b7c4-3e7a9c0027d0&th=1

Thanks again.
 
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All three are good products, but don't start buying stuff until you know how much you will need or even if you really need it. You have to know what you are dealing with before you can fix it.
 
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Soil only has sand, silt, clay and organic matter To tell the difference between silt and clay from a picture you need much better pictures. I don't know if it is the lighting or what but I can't make heads or tails from that picture.
 
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I don't think it's a pictures problem since the pictures look the exact same way it looks in person. The top layer is organic matter is the bottom one sand, also is there a particular part of the picture you want me to focus on? Thanks.
 
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I don't think it's a pictures problem since the pictures look the exact same way it looks in person. The top layer is organic matter is the bottom one sand, also is there a particular part of the picture you want me to focus on? Thanks.
The bottom layer is sand. Then next layer is silt, the next layer is clay, the next layer is water, the next layer is organic matter. What I need to see is a clear picture of the sand, silt and clay with no reflections from the glass which is obscuring what I need to see. Make your picture the same quality of Senior Citizens. picture.
 

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