The second product we introduced to the Organic Mechanics brand was our Container Blend Potting Soil. Launched in 2008, Container Blend (CB) was built for use in outdoor containers. It has increased drainage as compared to our Premium Blend Potting Soil, making it the natural choice for all your outdoor containers. CB has more aged pine bark and coconut husk fiber...less compost and worm castings...and was formulated for growing perennials, grasses, & woody plants.
We constantly hear reports of people using CB to grow native plants, especially perennials, without having to add fertilizer, yet still experiencing solid growth and flowering. However, if you are like me and jam a lot of small perennials into a giant container, you may want to give the plants a little bit of organic granular fertilizer, or liquid fertilizer like kelp, worm casting tea, or fish emulsion to ensure the container overflows with growth.
We pioneered Organic Mechanics Container Blend while working with The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College, www.scottarboretum.org. Their horticulture experts use Container Blend in all the big containers on campus. They add additional slow release fertilizer to get these containers reaching their fullest potential each summer. I love their use of mixed containers, sometimes planting tropicals, annuals, perennials in one big container...love that plant exuberance!
Another difference gardeners will notice in our Container Blend...we replaced the perlite (little white stuff) with rice hulls to make the mix more earth-friendly. These OMRI listed rice hulls are produced in the southern US, parboiled to get rid of weed seed and plant diseases, dried, compressed, and packaged for shipment. Giving these agricultural byproducts new life in our blends helps to lower our carbon footprint and gives the mix a lovely, fluffy texture.
How does using rice hulls make our product more earth-friendly you might ask? Using them reduces the amount of perlite we use. Perlite is a silica ore, mined from the ground, shipped to processing facilities, and "popped like popcorn" by heating the crushed ore to tempertures above 1000 degrees fahrenheit! While rice hulls may not be ideal in all applications, it works wonders in our Container Blend Potting Soil.
Even though we reduced the amount of compost and worm castings in this blend, you will still notice having to water much less as compared to peat-based mixes. Who doesn't love spending less time dragging hose around the garden!?! A story I always tell is from 2009 when my wife and I were out of town for a week in the middle of June. We left without finding someone to babysit our garden...don't know how that slipped my mind since we had about 300 plants in containers at the time...oh, yeah, that's right, its because we were going to get married! But I digress. 9 days out of town, only a passing shower or two, and everything planted in Organic Mechanics made it through...only a few new plants I hadn't yet repotted didn't make it. If you have similar stories from using Organic Mechanics, please share them with us!
Have beautiful containers planted up using Organic Mechanics Container Blend Potting Soil? Please share them on our facebook page, www.facebook.com/organicmechanicsoil
Until next time, get out there and get your hands dirty!