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Old 04-20-2010, 02:09 PM   #1
SAMPLER
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Default Container Fill for Hops

Starting my first year with my hop plants and looking to plant tomorrow, but need to pick up soil and materials today.

I have an composting stump in the backyard so my question is can I use this as a base filler with some gravel or sand soil to increase drainage. I am planning on adding compost, gardening fertilizer and peat moss combination to the top of the container for my soil mixture.

I'm using a 20 gal container and 1 rhizome per container.

Looking for some input as I'll be heading to HD in a few hours.

Thanks for you help

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Old 04-20-2010, 02:47 PM   #2
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Im growing hops in containers as well, and have found that most people use potting soil/mix for the growing medium. Drainage is a main concern when using containers, as opposed to in ground.

Potting soil can be expensive... 2 cu ft ~ $9, i bought mine at HD as well. And wondered the same thing - if i could substitute some of the potting soil with top soil, or even create a mix to lower the price. Filling those 20 gallon containers requires quite a lot of potting soil and $$.

I know people who plant hops directly in ground recommend tilling the soil, digging a 1' x 1' hole and filling it with potting soil. Seems that the rhizome likes having this looser/lighter soil to start out in.

Can anyone chime in about cheaper methods of filling these large containers, and some of the concerns of not using 100% potting soil? What do you guys use!?

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Old 04-21-2010, 06:14 PM   #3
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I am personally using about a 50/50 mixture of top soil and compost. The potting mixes you find will definitely work, but the nutrients won't last for long. By "making" your own soil out of top soil and compost, you're giving your hops the best soil for next year as well. I just topped my planters off with more compost this year and everything is moving along quite well!

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Old 04-21-2010, 06:50 PM   #4
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I really don't know what I'm talking about but I used a 1/2 of a two cuft brick of peat moss, one bag of composted manure, and the rest regular top soil per 25g container and it worked well.

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Old 04-21-2010, 06:53 PM   #5
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The bags of cheap topsoil I bought at Lowes seem to be someone's municipal compost. It seems to stay pretty light and not compact down much on its own, and I have had to tamp it down some and, of course, keep it well watered. Then again, I'm accustomed to clay soil. I think the bags were less than $2 each. Last year I mixed some peat with this for better moisture retention. This year I just used the topsoil. So far, so good.

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Old 04-21-2010, 10:17 PM   #6
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some Bobby_M style DIY alternatives...
http://tipnut.com/make-your-own-organic-potting-soil/

a few different options, but overall seems like itl save some $$$ filling those massive hop planters (if only i had some south facing space with full sun.. oh yeah im also moving this winter...

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Old 04-21-2010, 10:43 PM   #7
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How about a one bag of top soil (cheap stuff $2) and two buckets of horse manure mixed with one small bag of potting sand. This is my current plan for my 18 gallon buckets.

Thoughts?

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Old 04-22-2010, 02:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsmith179 View Post
I am personally using about a 50/50 mixture of top soil and compost. The potting mixes you find will definitely work, but the nutrients won't last for long. By "making" your own soil out of top soil and compost, you're giving your hops the best soil for next year as well. I just topped my planters off with more compost this year and everything is moving along quite well!
I think this is forward progressive thinking. My second year hops are over 6' tall because of a heavy mix of good soil and GREAT compost. Hop Growers can compost and make their own soil, which will make every future year produce a better yield.
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAMPLER View Post
How about a one bag of top soil (cheap stuff $2) and two buckets of horse manure mixed with one small bag of potting sand. This is my current plan for my 18 gallon buckets.

Thoughts?
I have tried potting all kinds of things using top soil mixed with various other things (manure, compost, etc). This is not a good idea, as top soil compacts and turns into a concrete-like slab. It is not meant for container growing. By topsoil, I am assuming you are talking about earth you use for planting lawn in and in garden beds in the ground.

I would only use a peat based (or similar light base) mix incorporating large amounts of good quality compost for the best results. To save money, you could just use less compost and use a water soluble fertilizer (miracle gro or such). VERY important: Peat based mixes are great in the first year as long as the mix contains lime. In year two, add some dolomite lime into the soil to bring the PH back to where it should be (no test, just add a good handfull). This will also replace the calcium that would be gone by then. If yur peat mix does NOT contain lime, add some in the first year.

Hope that helps, check out Gardenweb forums in the container growing sectino for some pretty good additional advice.
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:59 PM   #10
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I used a mix of manuer, compost and top soil ...

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