Gritty Mix Bark Search

JerryVenturaMarch 1, 2011

Hi All,

I went out searching for bark yesterday and didn't think I would have any trouble at all, seems like I've seen bark all over the place. Well it turns out there is bark everywhere, just not what I'm looking for. This is what I did find, and I thought I would post the results just in case anyone else came across this brand.

A 1 cubic foot bag of E.B. Stones orchid bark (fine/100% fir) for $6.50, I sifted it all out and here's what I got.

/Users/dhubel/Desktop/Al's Gritty Mix/barksizes01.JPG

I used what I had at the moment which is a small round bonsai sifter, so the sizes will be a little off because i'm sure the sifter is in mm or something, but it's close. Upper left corner is what was sifted out with the 1/4 screen, I could have actually sifted out more of the smaller particles but I was already tired of sifting and I had just started. Upper right is what was sifted out with the 3/8 screen. Bottom right is what was sifted out with the 1/8 screen. Then there was dust. There was 6 cups of the dust, 9 cups of the 1/8 sifted, and the upper two were equal parts of the remainder 1 cu ft bag.

Any thoughts on which sizes you would use for the Gritty Mix? Large for the outside containers? Upper right for the inside plants? Mix the two on the right together? Mix all three and throw out the dust?

My head hurts, more coffee!


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ok, where is the picture?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 1:57PM
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In order to have photos appear within your posts, you first need to upload them from your computer to an online storage facility. is a decent photo album storage place. There are others. A quick Google search should help you out.

Then, once you have signed up for the photo service, which should be free, you upload your photos to your created album, and use the HTML coding provided to copy and paste them here.

There should be instructions here at GW for using photos in your posts, so you could always refer to that.

As for fir bark size, this is what I use... although, I don't need to make large batches at one time... This is ZooMed ReptiBark, fir bark reptile bedding. I use it right out of the bag...

Next to the bag of ReptiBark, there's a bag of Manna Pro poultry grit pictured, which are the granite chips I use.

This is a picture of the ingredients I use in my rendition of Al's Gritty Mix... starting left/top and working clockwise, they are turface, perlite, ReptiBark, and granite chips...

These are a few young orchids in the mix I make, this version containing more bark...

This is a Hippeastrum bulb planted in a slightly different version...

And more bulbs in the same mix...

A Sans in the Gritty Mix...

Particle size is important, so you want to work with ingredients that are rather comparable in size, though they don't have to be perfectly the same. Once you understand the concept of the mix... the "how & why" of it... and you understand what each ingredient brings to the mix, what it's purpose is... it all comes together, and you can either use the 511 or the Gritty Mix as the recipes are, or you can tweak them to fit your own uses.

I hope this helps you somewhat... fir bark particles in the size we're looking for are sometimes difficult to locate. This is why I use the ReptiBark, though it's more expensive. For me, it's available locally. Bonsai or orchid growers sometimes carry bulk or bagged fir bark in good sizes... and I know there's a thread floating around the Container Gardening Forum on locating the necessary items.

I wish I could help you further... I'm sure others will be along to give more information, though. Hang in there! :-)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 2:43PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Call Shasta Forest Products (Yreka, CA). Ask for the mill. (530) 842-2787 They should be able to tell you who distributes their product near you. You're looking for fir bark in 1/4-1/8". It should be about $12-15/3 cu ft, and much less if you find it in bulk.

Copy/paste to your browser for more info:


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 3:22PM
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Oh Jodi!!!!

Your mix looks superb and the plants spectacular. They look so happy in that mix. I LOVE your orchids. I had no idea you had so many and so healthy looking. Well, the healthy part doesn't suprise me.

I am very proud of you for searching high and low for all the ingredients, and then helping others to understand how they work and for giving many ideas on where to find them.

Very kind I say, just like Al!

Can't wait to see many more of your plants and flowers. Your pictures speak volumns and really impress me.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 3:59PM
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There ya go, Jerry... I knew it would only be a matter of time before Al or Mike would show up with specifics! Thanks, you guys! Splendid, as always! :-)

Thanks, Mike... that last bulb picture is my beloved Minerva, a bulb I've had for over 10 years. It blooms beautifully almost every spring. I re-potted it last season, separating it from a very large daughter bulb, so I'm not sure if it will bloom this cycle, but the bulb is healthy and happy... and so is the daughter bulb.

She's my very first Hippeastrum, and I originally bought it because it's the only item I've ever seen having the same name as my bulldog, now deceased, Minerva... Minnie for short. Anyway, I cut my teeth on this bulb, you might say... and I've learned a lot since I bought it... for a whole $3!

My collection of Hippeastrums and other amaryllids has grown extensively since, and I've lost a few along the way... mainly to poor soils. The bulbs now thrive in the Gritty Mix!

The orchids... well, I love them. They're so lovely, but a little picky. They, too, like the Gritty Mix, though, and my Dendrobiums are doing very well! If I had higher humidity, I'd have a wider variety of them. I'm working on it, though. The main thing is that I got the medium situated, giving the root systems a healthy place to grow.

I don't want to take over Jerry's thread, so I'll leave it to him... I hope the information provided helps him with photo sharing, and with locating good fir bark for his mix!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 4:54PM
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Thank you all for the help, I'll just keep pluggin along till I get the right mix.
I'm still trying to figure out how to upload pictures, because without the picture the post above really doesn't make sense. I'll keep working on that and post again.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 6:20PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Jerry!
I use E.B. Stone's fine-grade Orchid Bark ($7), as well.
I screen over a 1/4 inch grid, and then over 1/16 inch insect screen.
To remove even more of the super-fine bark dust, I rinse the bark in a pond-basket.

E.B. Stone has another product called Greenall Micro Bark, which is usually stocked outdoors
at the nursery. This is pretty much the same as the Orchid Bark, but in a larger bag for $8.99.

Both products have some larger particles that need to be removed, but very little sap-wood.
Good bang for your buck.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 7:06PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Great info everyone! I can tell Jodi (especially) spent a lot of time putting her posts together (pictures & all ...), but everyone's info was really helpful.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 9:00PM
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Yes, thank you all, everyone has been very helpfull. So I have been on the practice forum and with the help of someone on the staff I think I can now provide the pic that went with my post. Fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 9:51PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I think either of the two on the right are suitable, JV.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 10:45PM
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I'm glad to see you got it, Jerry! The picture thing had me stumped for a bit when I first began posting, too.

I concur... either bark pile on the right seems suitable. It's probably gonna depend on what type of plants you'll be using it for, and where those pots will be located, indoors or out... sun or shade.

The fine particles can be added to your garden beds, and the larger pieces used for garden mulch, so nothing goes to waste.

And... thanks, Al... I always want to help spread the good word, as others did for me when I was learning. Pictures are incredibly helpful. :-)

I really wish we had a division of Shastabark here... their orchid barks look divine! They seem to have a very nice range of products.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 6:48AM
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