Daylilies forum: Several and Varied Questions about Soil...

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Name: Amber
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Daylilies Region: Missouri Garden Photography
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amberjewel
Jul 28, 2016 9:50 PM CST
First, I am getting some more DL orders in the mail this week Whistling but I haven't had the chance to get a new bed ready for these DLs yet D'Oh! Plus, it is pretty hot, humid and dry here right now. So I am planning on putting these new acquisitions in 1 gallon pots for a couple weeks. I currently have some bags of garden soil and compost that I have been adding to my beds when I amend them, can I use a mixture of these two items in the pots or do I need something different to keep these new DLs happy until they are permanently planted?

Closely related, when I prepare this new bed I want to make sure I am adding all the right things to it. Previously, I have just been amending my soil with the above mentioned items as I put in each DF. My soil is very heavy clay (could open a pottery shop if I wanted to Thumbs down ). On a whim, I purchased a soil test kit at the local hardware store when I was there today. The pH of my soil read at 6.5 (ish). The N, P, K tests were a little different in that the comparison colors were just rated as high, medium, low, or very low. I prepared a batch of soil as directed and used the same water/soil for all of the N, P, K tests. The K test read as high, the P test read as very low, and the N test tube ended up clear. Is it possible that I have virtually no nitrogen in my soil? With those results in mind, what types of things should I be adding to my soil when I prepare the new bed? I picked up some bags of Milorganite fertilizer the other day, would that be enough to sufficiently raise the N in my soil?

When I prepare the new bed for the DLs I've ordered, I also intend to prepare a bed for seedlings which will be planted next spring. Would I use the same products to amend the soil in the seedling bed as I would in the bed for the larger DLs? Also, is it okay to add Milorganite when preparing a bed in the fall or will it lose it effectiveness by the time things are planted in the spring?

Finally, I am going to try a few different methods for seedling growing indoors this winter. I read on here that coconut coir is a good medium to grow seedlings, either mixed with a soil less seed starting mix or all by itself. I am wondering if the bricks of "compressed coconut fiber substrate" you can get at pet stores is the same thing? I have a couple bricks of this....https://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-Compressed-Coconut-Substrate/dp/B0010OSIHW from when we kept hermit crabs as pets. Could it be used as a medium seedling growth?

Edited because I forgot the question about coconut coir and I was recommended to see if @RickCorey had suggestions and I'm adding @sooby since she seems so knowledgeable in these matters...
Amber
Daylily Newbie
[Last edited by amberjewel - Jul 29, 2016 6:06 AM (+)]
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Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
Daylilies Garden Art Irises Region: Texas Clematis Lilies
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Altheabyanothername
Jul 28, 2016 10:46 PM CST
Amber if I were you I would pot the daylilies so that everything is in there. Then all you have to do is pull them out of those one gallon pots and put them in your raised bed. I would put a coffee filter in the bottom of your one gallon pot. Fill a one or two inches of compost or manure. Mix garden soil 50/50 with potting mix make a mound for daylilies to sit on. Sprinkle soil mix around roots you do not want the next step to actually touch roots. Make a well or wedge around the inside of pot sprinkle alfalfa and milorganite around well and then cover that with soil mixture. When the bed is ready each daylily is set to go. If you think it needs more compost or fertilizer then add to the bottom of hole. I am sorry I am not familiar with clay soil. I have acidic sand. May you have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful weekend!
Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
Daylilies Garden Art Irises Region: Texas Clematis Lilies
Amaryllis Bulbs
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Altheabyanothername
Jul 28, 2016 10:52 PM CST
PS. I would keep pots in shade and if possible get a couple of kiddie pools set the pots in the kiddie pools and put enough water to slightly go over the drainage holes. They get a more even watering inside a pot.
May your endeavors be successful and may your garden be beautiful!
Name: Amber
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Daylilies Region: Missouri Garden Photography
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amberjewel
Jul 28, 2016 11:04 PM CST
Thank you Sharon. I plan on keeping them in a place that only gets a little morning sun. I had never thought of using a kiddie pool for bottom watering the pots though...excellent idea!
Amber
Daylily Newbie
Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
Daylilies Garden Art Irises Region: Texas Clematis Lilies
Amaryllis Bulbs
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Altheabyanothername
Jul 28, 2016 11:14 PM CST
If you still need soil help I would suggest edit your first post for the last line say Rick Corey could you help me with soil questions? Then add
@ with his name no spacing. He is very knowledgeable! May your days be full of joy!
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Jul 29, 2016 6:44 AM CST
Yes! I agree with the kiddie pool idea. I almost did that myself this year. It is always in the back of my mind to try that during the driest periods of summer here for any potted plants. They make all sizes of kiddie pools too. They have a very small one that I think about getting every year when they go on clearance.

Good luck with your new daylilies and garden beds. Do share photos. I love seeing what others are creating in the yard!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Jul 29, 2016 6:59 AM CST
When they are added as an edit, my experience has been that the targets are not notified. Only when it's part of the original post. So @sooby and @RickCorey I'm curious to know if you got two notifications for this thread or just this one from me?
Donald
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jul 29, 2016 8:12 AM CST
I agree with needrain, the edit will not work with the @ sign.
Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
Daylilies Garden Art Irises Region: Texas Clematis Lilies
Amaryllis Bulbs
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Altheabyanothername
Jul 29, 2016 8:20 AM CST
Sad Sorry Amber I did not know that, but Thank God for Donald for correcting it! Thumbs up May everyone be blessed!
Name: Jessie Worsham
Stockbridge, GA (Zone 8a)
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
Daylilies Hostas Heucheras Cat Lover Echinacea Hybridizer
Irises Region: Georgia
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Jessie6162
Jul 29, 2016 8:31 AM CST
Hi @amberjewel! I also have clay soil. I always say I could make bricks out of it, lol.
I use a mix of 45% mushroom compost, 45% Evergreen top soil (from Lowe's, it has pine fines) and 10% coarse sand. (Don't use "play sand" as it can mix with the clay and make something akin to concrete.) I dig out the majority of the clay and mix in mostly new soil for new beds. Amending with Milorganite and alfalfa are both good ideas.

Soil test - The best thing to do for your soil test IMHO is to send it to your local extension office. Tell them you are growing CORN, for the best results. They can give you recommendations as far as what to add and how much.

A kiddie pool is a must for the true daylily addict! Rolling on the floor laughing

Not sure about the coconut coir, hopefully someone else will chime in on that.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Jul 29, 2016 8:45 AM CST
Donald, you are correct, I only got the notification from you. Lots of questions in one thread, will do my best.

There's no problem "parking" daylilies in soilless media, you can also use dampened peat moss or damp sand. It's mainly to stop the roots from drying out.

I assume the nitrogen test is for nitrate nitrogen only, so wouldn't necessarily mean you have no nitrogen in other forms as they ultimately transition to nitrate. If you want to use Milorganite then follow the instructions on their web site for daylilies for amounts:

http://www.milorganite.com/gardening/flowers/roses-and-day-l...

Milorganite does not release its nitrogen immediately, it requires conversion to plant usable forms of N by microorganisms. That only happens within a certain temperature range (55-85F), see:

http://www.milorganite.com/using-milorganite/how-it-works

I would amend a whole bed rather than just the planting hole. We usually recommend planting daylilies on a mound in middle of the hole and fill around it. If you make the mound higher in organic materials than the native soil it could cause the daylily to sink as the media continues to decompose.

pH 6.5 is probably OK. Daylilies probably prefer not to go much higher than that otherwise some cultivars tend towards micronutrient deficiencies. Sinclair Adam, who did some research on daylily nutrition, suggests a preferred range of 5.5 to 6.5. "Thereabouts" can make a big difference when you consider that there is a ten fold difference between points on the pH scale. For example pH 6 is ten times more acidic than pH 7, and a 100 times more acidic than pH 8.

I don't know much about the differences in coir but with some you need to be careful of excessive salts and leach those out before using. Some people like it and some not so much.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 29, 2016 12:40 PM CST
needrain said:When they are added as an edit, my experience has been that the targets are not notified. Only when it's part of the original post. So @sooby and @RickCorey I'm curious to know if you got two notifications for this thread or just this one from me?


Hi Donald. This was the first I heard of this thread! And I have to run to lunch now or miss the best pizza, but I'll be back! 11 posts are too many to read while my stomach rumbles.

I'm 70-90% sure that if you go back and EDIT a post, adding "@ membername", no one is notified.

BTW, if the system does not flash a notice at you that "so-and-so has been notified", they probably were not notified.
Name: Skipper
Hamilton, Ohio (Zone 6a)
Daylilies Dog Lover Composter Region: Ohio Spiders!
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cottelpg
Jul 29, 2016 2:10 PM CST
When I went through the Masyer Garden program the instructors from Ohio State were adamant that sand should not be used to amend clay soil.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jul 29, 2016 2:18 PM CST
I have read that also about sand and clay, but I would have to think that at a certain point the sand would finally work to improve the clay. I think it would just take a whole lot of it.
Name: Skipper
Hamilton, Ohio (Zone 6a)
Daylilies Dog Lover Composter Region: Ohio Spiders!
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cottelpg
Jul 29, 2016 2:21 PM CST
The instructor from Ohio State pointed out that the way bricks are made is mixing sand into clay. I have no personal knowledge of this, but they claimed research backed up their claim.
Name: Jessie Worsham
Stockbridge, GA (Zone 8a)
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
Daylilies Hostas Heucheras Cat Lover Echinacea Hybridizer
Irises Region: Georgia
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Jessie6162
Jul 29, 2016 2:39 PM CST
Allow me to clarify about the sand. Yes, you risk making concrete when you mix sand and clay. Not a good idea! When I do this, I replace almost all of the clay, so only maybe 10-15% of the soil that is left is clay. At that point, I feel that the clay is broken up and distributed enough to not make concrete. But I could be wrong! The aim of adding the sand is to improve drainage, so please do substitute something else for drainage, or just leave it out. The most important part of the mix is the organic matter. That's really what will improve your soil.

I found this article on NGA, it might be useful to you also.
http://garden.org/learn/articles/view/1310/
Name: Amber
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Daylilies Region: Missouri Garden Photography
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amberjewel
Jul 29, 2016 2:40 PM CST
I too have read that sand shouldn't be added to clay...after my FIL added sand to my daylily beds last year D'Oh! . It may have some benefits, but I think there are other substances that could be added that would have more benefits and no potential deficits. My plan for now is to add a lot of compost and good black fill dirt (I can get a truck load fairly reasonable around here) and then add whatever nutrients it might be needed based on a soil test.
Amber
Daylily Newbie
Name: Amber
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Daylilies Region: Missouri Garden Photography
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amberjewel
Jul 29, 2016 2:43 PM CST
@Jessie6162. I do think the sand wouldn't be as much of a problem if most of the clay were removed...just not sure I'm going to be able to remove that much of my clay. What other substances could be added to to improve drainage?
Amber
Daylily Newbie
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jul 29, 2016 2:58 PM CST
Organic matter is what I always see recommended (Leaves, grass clippings, manure, anything along those lines). I still think that if the ratio of sand to clay were high enough it would be a good thing, what is the composition of loam?
After all, what is the best type of soil that pops in your mind: Loam... a mixture of sand, silt, and clay!

Edited to add: This may not be a scientific article but it gives some explanations of the different types of soils.
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/difference-between-topsoil-loam...
[Last edited by Seedfork - Jul 29, 2016 3:01 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 29, 2016 3:10 PM CST
Hi, I just saw your very flattering question.

I think that other people (almost ANY other people, but especially people on this forum) know daylillies better than I do. If they advise compost plus potting mix, topsoil or garden soil, I have NO DL experience to offer to the contrary. I assume that you guys all "know how to water pots" so they don't drown the plants. I still over-water consistently.

I don't even grow very often in pots.

(Many of my opinions started with Al / Tapla's ideas about "gritty mixes" and then went on from understanding why roots drown and why containers with FINE mixes tend to hold water due to capillary action, and even beyond that, due to "perching".)

And probably not everyone overwaters containers like I do.

So I always try to make a very OPEN mix if I'm going to put it into a container instead of into the ground. Those mixes above sound pretty fine. The only coarse, gritty components would be whatever was in the potting mix that one person mentioned.

I guess I have a drainage fetish AND a bark fetish. I would have said to make or buy a soilless mix from "whatever you can find", but if a handful feels more like moss than like gravel, add screened pine bark chunks (or coarse Perlite) until it feels coarser and "plenty open". If I squeeze a damp handful and then release, I still want to SEE many air spaces big enough to see without glasses.

I know I'm going to over-water it, so I want the excess water to drain out promptly, so that AIR can fill many openings in the mix, openings that are LARGER and WIDER than capillary films can fill. (And also some spaces bigger than 2 mm, to reduce perched water.)

Once those air-filled openings exist, enough air can diffuse through the openings to keep roots from drowning.

I'd add bark chunks around 0.1 inch diameter - say around BB sized.

But I should repeat: I don't know day lily's requirements from datura's requirements, or from Datsuns' requirements. Anyone who's grown DLs for years has much more relevant opinions than mine!

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