Gritty mix for sale?

thahalibut(Z-9 CA, SSZ-9)March 8, 2011

I guess this question would be for Al. Have you ever considered mixing this & selling it to the public or bringing the idea to someone who could sell it for you? With all the support here I would think there has to be a market for it. I personalty dont grow anything in containers, but I am currently setting up my 90+ year old uncle with a rose to go into a container. If I could have bought the griity mix in a bag, I would have.

Tim

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hi, Tim - Thanks for asking - it was a nice compliment. I've considered what would be involved with setting up a packaging facility at my current business, and it's possible I might do that when I retire, but nothing concrete yet. I have some other ideas as well.

I probably have close to 300 plants in the gritty mix, some of them large enough to require as much as 15-20 gallons of soil. When I make it, I usually make at least 3 or bushels at a time; that, because I much prefer it for anything long term and I use a LOT of it. Lol - I also usually end up giving a lot away. I find it hard to charge people for a gallon or two of soil when they show up at my door. I get a lot of old people from the clubs I talk to that love it, but can't make it themselves, so what can you do?

It's not uncommon for bonsai clubs to have work bees in the spring before repotting time where they'll make some variation of a soil similar to the gritty mix- often hundreds of gallons in a days time that members will buy. It's often a pretty big fundraiser for the club, and the going rate is about $5/gallon, though it can be made for less than $2/gallon. Usually though, the clubs aren't screening the ingredients, and screening is one of the reasons the 1:1:1 version works so well.

We know we aren't like 'most people' because we're (almost) all striving for something better, something that offers our plants a better opportunity to grow to their potential, and to make growing easier and more fun; so, most of us probably don't care one whit about what most people grow in. We KNOW with absolute certainty how the gritty mix performs, and we're all intelligent enough to weigh the potential benefits against the inconveniences (as I'm sure you've done) and decide for ourselves whether the cost is prohibitive. Obviously, a rather large group with a positive attitude and plenty of bright enthusiasm to share with fellow gardeners doesn't think it is too expensive - though of course we're all entitled to our opinions. My view, especially if I'd never used it before, would probably evolve from my more logical side: 'If so many are so happy and continue to use it year after year and get excited about sharing their experience with others ..... they must be finding it a great value or they wouldn't use/suggest it.'

The age-old axiom "You Get What You Pay For" assuredly comes to play with regard to the gritty mix. I find it hard to fathom how one person can unilaterally decide for another or an entire forum what is/isn't cost effective and decide for others what they should/shouldn't find valuable.

Al

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 2:04PM
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margo_k(5)

A few months ago I looked at buying some premade bonsai soil which was basically the gritty mix Al uses. The cost was very high per gallon plus shipping so I never tried it. Plus someone on a bonsai forum said some of the premade mixes are not screened so they have lots of fines in them. Not sure if thats true or not.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 2:24PM
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jodik_gw

Before I located the separate ingredients to mix my own Gritty Mix, I purchased a few bags of bonsai medium from our local garden center. I found it to be very expensive, at $8 for a tiny bag... very dusty and a little fine for my use, indicating that it had not been screened or rinsed... and the garden center has since stopped carrying it, altogether.

I asked Al the same question when I first discovered his medium and its concept... because there's nothing like it on the market. The only thing that even comes close is bonsai soil, and it's not really the same thing.

I find it a HUGE value! It might SEEM more expensive at the outset, but considering the length of time it's durable for, and what it does for plants... how can anyone argue that it's too expensive? You do, indeed, get what you pay for, and it makes a lot more sense to me to buy a medium, or ingredients with which to build a medium, that will last for 2-3 years as opposed to buying bag after bag after bag of soil that collapses almost immediately upon potting, and make my plants' roots go through continuous bouts of drowning, suffocation, and regeneration.

Unfortunately, silty, peaty soils of fine particulate are all that's available as a "potting mix". But when one understands why an industry is in business, it makes sense... they're in business to make a profit. They're not in business to make us better growers or to keep our plants healthy. In fact, the faster they can get us to kill our plants, the sooner we'll be back to buy more... and more soil to pot them in. It's a never-ending cycle of plant abuse!

Of course, we're all free to choose our own paths, but no one ever reaches the zenith without first climbing that mountain. And the best way to climb is to first research climbing and learn the best way to accomplish it.

After one learns the basics of plant and root growth, how water moves through soil, and once we understand the factors involved in growing plants in containers and their relationship to each other, it becomes obvious that an inorganic approach using a medium of larger particulate is the logical, common sense way to grow.

I wouldn't say any of that if I could only find some sort of scientific support or validation for using a fine particled, peaty soil over a medium like the Gritty Mix... but I have yet to find any. The only bit of support it ever gets is an opinion that it works for someone in their particular environment and situation, though when asked why and how, no answers are ever forthcoming.

Well, Al... if you ever do decide to take your idea to market, I'd be thrilled to offer support, or be dealer, or do whatever it takes to keep spreading the Gritty Truth! :-)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 5:20PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

You know Al, count me on board too!

Jodik, PERFECTLY said and thanks for such great help and very helpful comments from me and ALL of us here in Ma!

Mike

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 7:41PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Thanks, guys. You da best! ;-)

Al

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 9:57PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Tim - if you come back to your post and are confused because it seems like I strayed off topic, it's because there was a post above mine that admin removed. I didn't want you to think I was talking to myself. ;-)

Al

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 10:56PM
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calistoga_al

If there is sufficient demand for a product(no one should bring a product to market without a market survey to access the demand)I would hope a container soil producer with facility and marketing distribution already in place would at least test market the product. As a consumer I would be delighted if a gritty mix was on the market, but would hesitate to encourage anyone to jump into the venture with his resources at risk. As a retired business owner I can't help being cautious. Al

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 8:35AM
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