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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old January 17, 2015   #31
kurt
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So far so good in my germinations/propagations.Nice even water retention in the shallower containers(flat squares) but until roots are established in deeper round pots water tends to pool at bottom.Make sure to wear facemask(fine dust).It breaks up in flat shards lengthwise easier that a flat on table crosscut attack.If using whole brick at a time submerge in water for a while to keep particle dust down.Whats nice is no twigs and bug larvae as my regular medium Pro Mix has.
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Old January 17, 2015   #32
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Good to know about the fine dust. I wear a mask when working with DE, but never would have thought to with the Wonder Soil. And thanks for the tip on how to break it up.
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Old January 17, 2015   #33
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Hi Father'sDaughter,

I've been meaning to post an update on Wonder Soil, so thanks for providing me with a little "nudge" . And thanks, Kurt, for your observations. I'm pretty clueless in regard to container gardening so your observations are really especially helpful.

I haven't really had any dust issues as Kurt describes as I've been hydrating my Wonder Soil blocks "in place" rather than sawing off chunks. But I can see how it might be easier if you had a lot of like-sized containers to fill to pre-cut the block into smaller chunks "to fit" for each container before adding water.

Rather than sawing, here's what I've been doing to hydrate smaller quantities of soil:

1. Place the entire 11" x 11" x 5" block of Wonder Soil in a slightly larger bin or tote (I happen to be using an old refrigerator vegetable drawer about 15" x 16" x 9-1/2" tall).

2. Slowly pour about a quart of water at a time onto the top of the block so the water sinks in without running off the sides of the block too much. As the block absorbs the water and expands, scrape the loose soil off to the side or into another container. It helps to sort of scrape out a slight depression in the top of the block as you go to help contain the water as it seeps into the block.

3. Repeat the water/let expand/scrape cycle until you have all the loose soil you need. The remainder of the block stays dry and compressed - ready until the next "harvest."

4. Be careful not to hydrate too much of the block at one time or you might have an incredible hulk situation on your hands with the soil overflowing the bin!


I keep the Wonder Soil bin on my family room "potting table" and just hydrate as needed - which has actually been fairly frequently recently since I've started growing wheatgrass as well as starting and potting up my tomatoes, etc. for spring. The bin doesn't take up much room and is generally very clean to work with.

So far, the Wonder Soil has been working out beautifully for my wheatgrass (and other) sprouting projects and my for my vegetable seed germination and potting up. I used DE last year and, while I got great results, the dust factor just became too much to deal with for me. I used DE optisorb for a few recent no-root tomato grafts, but plan to experiment using Wonder Soil for the grafting, too.

I should mention that over time, I found I needed to add a bit of dilute fertilizer (Texas Tomato Food) to the tomato seedlings I started back in December as well as the cucumbers and that seemed to help. Apparently the "no need to add fertilizer" for 4 or however many months Wonder Soil label claims does not apply in my case.

Hope this helps!
Anne
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Old January 17, 2015   #34
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Thanks Anne. I'll do the full block rehydration this spring when I'm ready to fill my grow bags, but right now I just want a little for starting the onion seeds in.

And thanks for the feedback regarding fertilizing. I'll have to keep an eye on things.
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Old January 17, 2015   #35
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I bought a block this year to use for seedlings. I hydrated some last night. I really like the texture. If it works, it will be nice not having to deal with the sticks and large chunks that I usually find in potting mixes. I'm going to give it a trial run over the next few weeks to see if it works as well for starting seedlings as what I've used in the past.
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Old January 24, 2015   #36
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I broke into one of the blocks to start onion seeds today. What it did was stand the block up in a large plastic tote and took a brick hammer to it until I had a tub full of slabs and chunks. Then I could just grab what I needed and rehydrate it in the large plastic bowl I always used for moistening my seed starting mix.

I had some left after sowing all the onion seeds, so I did a few pots of parsley, sage, thyme and basil to see if I can get a little indoor herb garden going.

I really like the texture of the Wonder soil so much better than the seed starting mix and the potting mix--I'm just hoping the seeds like it as well!
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Old January 24, 2015   #37
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So far in my testing, both tomato seeds I started in the wonder soil came up in five days. Also, both tomato seeds I started in potting mix came up in 5 days. Tie ball game. Round 2 has started under the lights. This is where I hope to see something different because of the additives to the wonder soil (worm castings and whatnot). As long as the plants do equal or better than the potting mix, I will be happy, since I like the texture and the fact that it is so easy to store the compressed blocks.
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Old March 2, 2015   #38
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Just hoping for some updates. While the onions and herbs I started in the Wonder Soil are doing great, I'm still on the fence about using it in larger containers this summer in lieu of the Miracle Grow potting mix.

Anne, how are the cucumbers doing?

Anyone else try it for more than seed starting?
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Old March 3, 2015   #39
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Isnt this stuff pricey? Perhaps more than promix which is already $$$
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Old March 3, 2015   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luigiwu View Post
Isnt this stuff pricey? Perhaps more than promix which is already $$$

I've never used Promix, so I can't compare the costs. I typically use Miracle Grow Potting Mix which is $5 less for a 2.5 cubic foot bag than a 2.5 cubic foot block of Wonder Soil based on current Home Depot prices. ($13.98 vs. $18.99).

However, for me loading, unloading and hauling a bag of Potting Mix that size is next to impossible without injury, whereas I can effortlessly carry a 10 lb. block of Wonder Soil.
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Old March 3, 2015   #41
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Father's Daughter,

I have to say that my cucumber project has been a disappointment - but I think it has as much, if not more, to do with my set-up and inexperience with container gardening that it does with the Wonder Soil per se. Seems I might have had problems originally due to the lack of any bottom drains in the container and water ponding in the bottom two inches of the container. I ended up never knowing how much to water exactly and was sort of see-sawing back and forth with the watering (too much or not enough). The cukes were shriveling on the vine and leaves drying out - but I was still getting new growth. After a while, I turned my attention to starting my tomatoes, etc. and pretty much ignored the cukes (hidden from view in their little mylar "habitat"). I was thinking about pulling the plug on them, but when I finally looked in on them, I noticed that the cukes were finally starting to grow larger rather than shrivel on the vine. So, I decided to keep watering them, etc. and I'm now starting to get a few decent cukes - even though the plants themselves are pretty pathetic looking.

In addition to the watering problems, lighting could have been a problem with my set-up. Once the nights warm up a bit more here, I plan to roll the whole cucumber set-up outside, drill some more holes in the container bottom and see how things fare outdoors - under natural sunlight and with more consistent watering.

Sorry I can't be more helpful in answering your question. I think Kurt might be able to give you a better assessment of how the Wonder Soil works in container growing - when done by someone with experience in that department.

Other than the cuke situation, the Wonder Soil has worked out great for the seed starting and potting up. The plants have done very well with good root structure.

luigilu,

On the pricing....

Doing a quick online check http://tjshydroponics.com/shop/growi...8-cu-ft-loose/, the Wpnder Soil @ about $19 for 2.5 cu ft expanded works out to be a bit less than the Pro-Mix BX @ $23.50 (not counting shipping) for 2.8 cu ft loose. As Father's Daughter mentioned, convenience and ease of use are bigger factors for me than price.

Anne
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Old March 8, 2015   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aclum View Post
Father's Daughter,

I have to say that my cucumber project has been a disappointment - but I think it has as much, if not more, to do with my set-up and inexperience with container gardening that it does with the Wonder Soil per se. Seems I might have had problems originally due to the lack of any bottom drains in the container and water ponding in the bottom two inches of the container. I ended up never knowing how much to water exactly and was sort of see-sawing back and forth with the watering (too much or not enough). The cukes were shriveling on the vine and leaves drying out - but I was still getting new growth. After a while, I turned my attention to starting my tomatoes, etc. and pretty much ignored the cukes (hidden from view in their little mylar "habitat"). I was thinking about pulling the plug on them, but when I finally looked in on them, I noticed that the cukes were finally starting to grow larger rather than shrivel on the vine. So, I decided to keep watering them, etc. and I'm now starting to get a few decent cukes - even though the plants themselves are pretty pathetic looking.

In addition to the watering problems, lighting could have been a problem with my set-up. Once the nights warm up a bit more here, I plan to roll the whole cucumber set-up outside, drill some more holes in the container bottom and see how things fare outdoors - under natural sunlight and with more consistent watering.

Sorry I can't be more helpful in answering your question. I think Kurt might be able to give you a better assessment of how the Wonder Soil works in container growing - when done by someone with experience in that department.

Other than the cuke situation, the Wonder Soil has worked out great for the seed starting and potting up. The plants have done very well with good root structure.

luigilu,

On the pricing....

Doing a quick online check http://tjshydroponics.com/shop/growi...8-cu-ft-loose/, the Wpnder Soil @ about $19 for 2.5 cu ft expanded works out to be a bit less than the Pro-Mix BX @ $23.50 (not counting shipping) for 2.8 cu ft loose. As Father's Daughter mentioned, convenience and ease of use are bigger factors for me than price.

Anne
A.M.Leonard has Wonder Soil at 16.99/cube with free ground shipping until 04/15 according to thier flyer I received.A source code must be entered that was on back of my flyer.
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Last edited by kurt; March 8, 2015 at 11:14 AM.
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Old March 27, 2015   #43
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Default Another deal for Wonder Soil

Looks like the product is gaining some momentum.

http://hosted.vresp.com/378333/9eda4...37/5ba6581012/
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Old March 27, 2015   #44
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The onions I started in Wonder Soil in mid-February are thriving.

Given this, last weekend I up-potted my eggplants and peppers from DE to Wonder Soil. They all had massive root systems coming out of the DE, and just five days after going into the Wonder Soil, I'm already seeing a good amount of new top growth.

So far so good!
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Old March 27, 2015   #45
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I bought mine for $12 (plus shipping) from Greenhousemegastore. I bought 3 10 lb cubes plus some other stuff - shipping was $10....no tax.

So it came out to about $15 per cube....

---
I've used 2 cubes up so far; I thought it was great for germination - love the texture.

But, after germination when I transplanted I didn't have great root development; this was on cucumbers and melons (cantaloupe). OTOH, all the transplants did fine in their final location...so maybe the lack of roots wasn't a deal breaker. Too late in the spring for tomatoes here in Florida.

On some of the germination, I added chunky perlite; but mostly nothing.

---
I did use it entirely in a container (with lots of chunky perlite) but it wasn't for tomatoes. Will check; either it was beta cukes or Minnesota midgets.

Other than germination, and the 1 container, I have been using it for final transplants in the container. So it is basically a peat based mix with the WS just around the plant. I've done this for tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, melons. This seems to work really well.

I get ProMix for $40 local for the huge compressed bale. I think the Pro Mix ends up cheaper plus it needs lots less perlite. The chunkly perlite I buy it $31 for 4 cubic feet. I use a lot of perlite.

But the ProMix for seedlings is more buggy - (gnats). I swear the gnats are inside the promix.
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