Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

fall is for transplanting

If you're a regular reader, you've seen this terrace before. We're gradually swapping out all the wooden boxes for stainless steel and this week we completed the north terrace, planting the last three large containers. To make it extra interesting, I'm conducting a test.

This year I'm doing a side-by-side comparison of two premium potting mixes: Fafard & Jolly Gardener. I've used Fafard for years and been impressed with its performance and high quality. But since I'm constantly in pursuit of perfection, I'm curious about this new mix. Jolly Gardener will be available next year, and by then I'll have collected enough hard data to give you my considered opinion on how it performs, and which mix might be better for you.

Fall is a great time to divide and transplant. The combination of cooler temperatures and autumn rains reduces the chance of transplant shock, and because it's the time of year when plants send energy down to their roots, they'll re-establish a solid root system before winter comes.

Stay-tuned for regular progress reports and photos to show how each box performs with its respective potting mix. They're growing side by side, with identical irrigation and similar combinations of woody and herbaceous plants. The proof will be in the pudding. I mean the potting mix.


Urban Gardens said...

Love what you did here Elllen. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ellen Zachos said...

Thanks, Robin, coming from you that means a lot.

Ellen Zachos said...

Here's a comment from a loyal reader, Betsy Williams, who hasn't been able to post due to technical difficulties. Worth sharing...

Dear Ellen,

I am also a fan of Fafard. I have used their complete planting mix for several years. I teach classes on potting so I am always interested in how well the other, often more expensive, mixes on the market work.

I ran a test this summer on three pots, each planted with the same mix of annuals and perennials. One pot was straight Fafard Complete Planting Mix, one was all Coast of Maine Potting Mix, the third was half Fafard and half Coast of Maine. Fafard won hands down. The Coast of Maine pot was the least vigorous and the half and half came in second.

It's going to be really interesting to see your results. Wouldn't it be great if other people shared their trials? Nothing beats learning from experience.

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