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Mels mix wont drain

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Mels mix wont drain

Post  johnmcc on 7/28/2016, 10:06 pm

I have a 15 gallon plastic container I drilled several holes (1/2 inch diameter) in for drainage and filled it with mel's mix. The mels mix consists of vermiculite, peat moss, and various types of compost. I was shooting for the traditional 1/3 mix but I probably have more vermiculite than the traditional 1/3 proportion the mel's mix recipe calls for. 

I noticed today the container is filled with water. The container just won't drain. I tried poking the drain holes to make sure they are clear and they are. When I can get some water to drain the mix comes oozing out with the water and the hole clogs again.

I've never had this problem before. I've had some containers drain slowly but never clog up completely. Has anyone run into this problem? Any ideas as to how to fix it?

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Re: Mels mix wont drain

Post  plantoid on 7/29/2016, 2:10 am

In 2013 I had 12 new  four gallon planting tubs with the provision for four 1/2" knock out discs for the drainage in the bottom so I knocked them all out . My MM in these went rotten in the bottom 2 " , the tomatoes growing in them didn't amount to much .
 I surmised that the drainage holes being on the flat side of the bottom were not any good they might let out a bit of water but once the capillary action amount was drawn off any further loss would be from evaporation .
 I didn't want to have to start sitting the tubs on drainage stands as this would encourage slugs to go underneath and then up into the MM. It wold also make slidingnthe tubs arounf the concrete glashouse flor difficult.


 So the next year I made a block of wood 4x4x6 and used a hole saw on a battery drill to tunnel length ways about half way into it at the center lines .
 I then used a handsaw and cut almost exactly down the middle of the hole and again cut it  at 90 degrees to the bottom of the hole so it gave me a letter " L" with a channel drilled up from the bottom turning into half circle channel where the cut out wood had been .

 I simply laid this letter " L" over the edge of each tub so that when I ran the hole cutter on a battery drill in the hole it also cut the side and base of the tub . I then used a pair of snips to cut off the tongue of plastic that this operation had produced.  ( Best done with two people & strong leather gloves on the hands as the cutter can jump about a bit & grab into the plastic .

 I repeated this till I had four holes evenly space round the base of each tub . When they are sat on their bases all you can see is half holes in the side walls at the base of the tub.
 The drainage was evidently ideal for after a bumper crop of toms the MM was still in tiptop condition and the root ball of each plant had fully filled it's tub.

  This year we've purchased another six of these four gallon tubs , I've made the same sort of drain holes in all of them ...
These tubs are now housing several of Alison's outdoor bonasi parent plants from which she is taking cuttings or doing air layering to get more bonsai trees . It seems to be working  for every thing planted in them is thriving .

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Re: Mels mix wont drain

Post  sanderson on 7/29/2016, 3:04 am

Do you have weed fabric at the bottom of the container? That keeps the mix from exiting the drainage holes and therefore clogging the holes..

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Re: Mels mix wont drain

Post  plantoid on 7/29/2016, 11:27 am

It does not help if the drain holes are in the flat plastic of the base that sits directly on the concrete .
Once the water saturates the area under the tubs it starts to waterlogged the MM.

That's the reason my special cut drains not only had plastic removed from under the edge of the rim but also from the actual side walls of the tubs ....so any excess water can run out easily .
I didn't need to put any weed cloth over the holes either which was good , for I can imagine the problem of trying to get it to stay put in place as you start filing the tubs  .

 Oh I forgot to add to my earlier post .... The drain holes I made were done with a 20 mm  diameter ( 3/4 " ) two inch long hole saw cutter

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Re: Mels mix wont drain

Post  AtlantaMarie on 7/29/2016, 1:15 pm

Plantoid, I'm a very visual person, so I'm having trouble following you on this excellent idea.

Can you post some photos and do a tutorial for us? Please...?

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Re: Mels mix wont drain

Post  camprn on 7/30/2016, 12:59 pm

@johnmcc wrote:I have a 15 gallon plastic container I drilled several holes (1/2 inch diameter) in for drainage and filled it with mel's mix. The mels mix consists of vermiculite, peat moss, and various types of compost. I was shooting for the traditional 1/3 mix but I probably have more vermiculite than the traditional 1/3 proportion the mel's mix recipe calls for. 

I noticed today the container is filled with water. The container just won't drain. I tried poking the drain holes to make sure they are clear and they are. When I can get some water to drain the mix comes oozing out with the water and the hole clogs again.

I've never had this problem before. I've had some containers drain slowly but never clog up completely. Has anyone run into this problem? Any ideas as to how to fix it?

Put your tub on shims or strapping to get it off the ground, by even a half inch. This will allow for drainage.

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Re: Mels mix wont drain

Post  plantoid on 7/30/2016, 6:56 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Plantoid, I'm a very visual person, so I'm having trouble following you on this excellent idea.

Can you post some photos and do a tutorial for us?  Please...?
 Will do , after I come back off holiday , about 20 August 2016

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Re: Mels mix wont drain

Post  AtlantaMarie on 7/30/2016, 8:11 pm

Thank you! Have fun & be careful... :-)

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Re: Mels mix wont drain

Post  Turan on 7/31/2016, 1:09 pm

Putting a layer of sand in the bottom of the pot helps too, and will filter the MM out from the water draining.

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