What I think I hear you saying is that the soil mix is irrelevant if
only the grower will learn what the hell he or she is doing? That
seems like a curious comment, and a wrong one. Are you honestly
telling me that you can grow Astrophytum asterias in pure peat moss?
Well, maybe you could if you wanted to spend an inordinate amount of
time "observing" that one plant.
We have been blessed with 1000 different mixes to choose from for a
reason. Maybe we could happily get by on 10 rather than 1000, but
different plants like different conditions and there's no reason to
try to shoehorn the same conditions into every mix.
If I have a nursery pot that's 7" high and the bottom 5" are
wet and the top 2" are bone dry, that is bad. If I have tubers
planted in it that have not broken the soil yet, how can I observe my
plants? And if they are in active growth, shall I wait for them to
wilt to water again? I don't think that's a good way to grow a healthy
plant. It may survive but I want them to thrive. And how many signals
do plants give? Not too many, depends on the plant. The above
mentioned Astro. asterias usually gives two signals: I am alive; I am
dead. If you manage to catch a condition between the two you can be
fairly sure that state 2 is not far off for it will not easily
Or maybe what I was saying in my original post was that the mix I was
using gives me NO slack and I want to find one that does. Lots, if
possible. I'm a one-guy operation and for better or worse *I* run the
hose. I want to become a good commercial grower and in that quest I
seek good tools to help.
Lucky for us there are a bunch of people on aroid-l that will give of
Derek Burch wrote:
With all due respect to the companies and
researchers who have done such valuable work, all that matters is that
you learn how to water. If you get that wrong, you can blame the
mixes, blame the weather, blame the size pot, but it is you who are to
blame if things go wrong. A good commercial grower knows that it is
his/her most experienced person who should be holding the hose.
That said, the value of the research work has been in developing mixes
that allow us to slack off in our observation of what is going on with
the plants, and give us a little slack.
Read your plants, learn how to water and if you only have time to grow
six plants properly, don't try to outdo your neighbour by growing
I know, I killed off a bunch of my beloved gingers after switching to
a coir-based mix, and not realising what a bear it was to water
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