Is 1/4' Crushed Granite good for Al's Gritty Mix?

bubblegarden(z9 Bay Area, CA)April 10, 2010

I remembered the wrong size of crushed granite. The size of crushed granite I got is 1/4", and I also got Turface MVP whose size is really small. I wonder if 1/4" crushed granite is good for Al's Gritty Mix?

Do I need to return it and buy the exact size (3/32" - 3/16")?

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

What brand did you get and what does it say on the bag?

Al

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 9:40PM
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bubblegarden(z9 Bay Area, CA)

It does not have any brand. I got it from a rockery store. It just says size 1/4" of crushed granite.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 10:26PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The ideal size is 1/8", but 3/32-3/16 works well. Once you get as large as 1/4", it changes the drainage characteristics considerably, but you CAN use it. It just might be a little harder to keep the soil evenly mixed and you'll need to water more.

Al

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 12:16AM
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bubblegarden(z9 Bay Area, CA)

I will screen both turface and crushed granite in order to get the appropriate size. I hope I will get some smaller size of crushed granite via screening.

I checked a lot of posts about screening turface. What size of hardware cloth is good for screening turface? Should I use 1/8" cloth or insert screen?

Thanks for all your help.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 7:18AM
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calistoga_al

I am using the 1/4 inch crushed granite from a landscape supply and although the largest are 1/4 inch there is plenty of the smaller size in the mix and I am happy with it. Al

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 8:07AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

BBG - use aluminum insect screen to screen the fines out of the Turface.

Al

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 10:35AM
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bubblegarden(z9 Bay Area, CA)

After screening turface and crushed granite for few hours, I finally got a small batch of gritty mix. :(

I used both insert screen and 1/8" hardware cloth to screen the turface. I would say 1/3 of the turface fell through the insert screen, and 80% of the remaining turface fell through the 1/8" hardware cloth. I wonder if it is normal to everyone. Or, the turface I got is too fine.

The size of granite I used in the gritty mix is between > 1/16" (insert screen) and I pot 2 lithop cacti using gritty mix. After I watered them, those lithop cacti are covered with bark. I wonder why the bark comes out to the top of the surface. Is it normal?

I appreciate all your help. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 11:47PM
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calistoga_al

For the bark to float to the surface the water had to fill the container. Normally the water will flow through the mix as fast as applied and not be able to fill the container with water. Somehow you are able to water in a larger volume than than the container can drain. Al

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 8:57AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Just screen the Turface through insect screen and use what doesn't pass through. Can you supply a pic of the soil? If you can't post it, can you email it to me?

Al

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 9:50AM
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bubblegarden(z9 Bay Area, CA)

Here is my gritty mix:

Lithop in gritty mix:

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 11:26PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

BBG - looks very good. Great Job!!

Al

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 10:23AM
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bubblegarden(z9 Bay Area, CA)

Thanks, Al! I feel a little bit better.

I still don't understand why the bark comes up to the top of the mix (please see lithop in gritty mix photo). What am I doing wrong?

Al, thanks for your patience to guide me.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 11:35AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I sometimes end up with an inordinate amount of bark at the surface, too. It just happens when I use a scoop to fill the containers. The denser and finer material just tends to 'want' to settle on the bottom, so I just try to keep that in mind as I fill them and do my best to keep the mix homogeneous. There's kind of a trade-off here when you're using the gritty mix. The soil would stay more evenly mixed if the bark pieces were smaller, but the smaller the bark, the faster it breaks down - so it's a catch 22. You'll find that it still work great. Yours doesn't look much different than mine, so HAVE FUN. ;o) Once you get used to it, you'll see how EASY it is to grow in and how well your plants respond. I don't know if you've grown the Lithops before, but they want to be extremely dry all winter long, so keep that in mind if you didn't already know. If you DID know, forgive me for being so quick to advise. ;o)

Al

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 1:42PM
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bubblegarden(z9 Bay Area, CA)

I am really happy to confirm that my mix is ok.

Thanks for your kind reminder. That could be the reason why I killed so many lithops. :( I will definitely keep that in mind.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 3:34PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Gritty mix will take a little getting used to..:) But so far the few plants I have in it are doing great!

If the bark floats, maybe your pouring the water a little fast.

I have some lithops I need to move into the gritty mix too.

Have you been over to the cactus and succulent forum? If you do a search on lithops there you will get tons of info. I'm just learning to care for them too.

Best wishes,
JoJo

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 5:58PM
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bubblegarden(z9 Bay Area, CA)

I just wanted to show you how happy the lithop is after 2 years in gritty mix.

Thanks for everyone's support, advice and guidance.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:45PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Wonderful update!

Looks to me as though you've got it! ;-)

Josh

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:42PM
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