Nearing wit's end for the Gritty Hunt in San Jose, CA

phongdor(9)July 5, 2011

Hello folks! I am doing my absolute best to stay positive and persevere, but this hunt for crushed granite (and bark fines to a lesser extent) is really testing me.

I live in San Jose, CA and my search for crushed granite has had me searching far and wide by car, phone, and internet. I have called and visited nurseries, feed stores, hardware stores, landscaping suppliers, roofing suppliers, rockeries, and nothing. Feed has added crushed oyster shells (I suspect this is a regional thing), rockeries and landscaping suppliers only go as low as 1/4" crushed granite, with about 10% yield if you screen for 1/8" (granite. is. heavy.). Everyone else was clueless and/or laughed at me for trying to use rocks for plants...

I am continuing the search, but I sure would appreciate some help if anyone can spare some! I will try calling a few more suppliers directly to see if they have local distributors.

I've driven all the way to Redwood City to a particular landscaping supplier (an hour each way) for crushed granite, which I've read was supposed to work, but it looked a bit big to me and after sifting it I got maybe a 10-15% yield of 1/8" fines >.<. while it nice to build some muscle sifting all that granite i would much rather spend my gardening time...gardening save the workout for gym thanks. special-ordered a bag of manna pro poultry grit but incredibly overpriced just crushed granite. figure this will hold me over as continue search. even reached out local bonsai clubs few times reason they are not very responsive.>As for bark fines, I bought some bags of repti bark from a local petsmart. It's also more expensive than bark fines should be, but the markup isn't nearly as bad as Manna Pro. Plus there's no sifting or washing involved, and it's the perfect size. Once I track down a source of grit, I will move onto a source for bark fines.

The only plus here, which I find interesting because it is the ingredient most people find most difficult to locate, is that Turface was cake to find. I hopped over to turface.com, found a local supplier that's 5 minutes from me, and that same day, I had a nice big 50lb bag of Turface for about $12. Couldn't get easier than that, plus the guy gave me an extra bag, which he said he couldn't sell because it was ripped. I thanked him and they earned my loyalty.

I understand that these ingredients were not designed with accessibility in mind; this mix was designed for the good of the plants, and that's what keeps me going. That said, I feel I've put in quite a lot of effort and I please ask that the folks of GW do not frown upon me for asking for help. I promise I'm not just being lazy. I've searched through the regional supply thread for leads and I've added what I've found. Sorry this post was so massive and maybe a little ranty!

Good Growing,

Phong

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calistoga_al

I am using the 1/4 inch granite fines from a landscape supply without screening out the largest size and am finding no problem. I agree that the one cubic foot bags of granite are incredibly heavy. As one who is in recovery from back surgery, I don't know if I will ever be able to lift a full bag from the ground. Al

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 8:47AM
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simonk

Hi,

I'm near you. I got the granite and bark from Lyngso in Redwood City, which I suspect is where you tried. Settled on the redwood bark fines in the end even though some of it is a bit small. Turface from Ewing Irrigation. I think Horizon Irrigation also has it.

I'm using the 1/4 inch granite from Lyngso as-is, and its working out fine. The largest Turface particles look to be about the same size. I believe Al has said that particle sizes up to about 3/16 are okay. Its really excessively small particles that are the potential problem since the mix will retain so much water.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 1:18PM
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simonk

Oops. That should say 3/8, not 3/16

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 2:06PM
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simonk

You have Evergreen Landscape Supplies nearer to you than Lyngso. They appear to have much the same stuff

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 2:11PM
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robertbay(9)

I live in the Bay Area as well, the Repti Bark I bought was overpriced (especially the small bags) so I went with EB Stone Orchid Bark, fine size 2 cu ft bag, both products had larger particles than the optimum 1/8-1/4 inch so I bought an "Eco-Shredder" on Amazon for $200, good investment since it mulches leaves too come autumn. Built a screen box with 1/4 inch mesh to recycle the bark pieces that didn't quite shred the first time.

You're right about turface, easy to find, I built an insect screen box to blow out the turface dust which almost ruined my overwintered peppers. As for the grit, thanks for the Lyngso tip, I bought the overpriced Manna Pro online but next time will drive out to Lyngso Redwood City.

Robert

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 1:21AM
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phongdor(9)

Thank you all for the replies and the reassurances! Now I realize I have a wheel barrow full of suitable crushed granite :)

One thing, though, will the crushed granite still be okay with everything 1/8" and smaller sifted out? Should I amend with a little more Turface to balance out the increased drainage? I suspect the crushed granite is still good from what I know about gritty mix, just want to make sure.

@Al - I hope your recovery is swift and complete. Thank you for your help. Not just here, I've learned so much in such little time reading your many posts.

@simonk - Lyngso is indeed the place a tried, a lead I got from the Regional Supplies thread. I'll keep that max size of 3/8" in mind!

@robertbay - If you are around San Jose, check out U-Save Rockery. They have crushed granite that is the same grit as Lyngso's Desert Gold. The plus, though, is that it doesn't have nearly as much dirt and debris encrusted. I only went to Lyngso because I visited U-Save Rockery and thought Lyngso's crushed granite would be smaller.

I don't think I need the $200 investment into an eco-shredder :) I will keep EB Stone in mind though, thanks!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 5:48AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Al:

I too hope you make a full recovery or at least find life just as fulfilling as I hope it has been for you.

Mike:-0)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 7:51AM
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gracesantacruz(z9 CA)

I agree - better time spent gardening than sifting. I live in San Jose area, so time equals money.

I wound up using natural colored aquarium gravel from Petsmart. Way overpriced, but time is money, and I didn't need sifting. Next time, I'll look for other places cheaper, but really I do not want to sift it.

I found fir from Wonderbark orchid bark (fine) at Orchard Supply. It all looked right under 1/4", so I didn't sift.

I used the Napa 2288. It was the finest particle in my mix, and could use some sifting to get some of the fines out, but I used as-is.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 4:32PM
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calistoga_al

Grace in Santa Cruz, your citrus looks like it is starving. If you are feeding it a citrus labeled fertilizer, I would give it a good dose once a month to change the foliage to the dark green color of citrus. Al

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 11:04PM
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gracesantacruz(z9 CA)

Thanks calistoga. Yes, and it motived me to change my approach 2 weeks ago and repot from standard potting mix into Gritty mix with fertilizer change.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 1:20AM
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gracesantacruz(z9 CA)

Just a follow up to the materials. Sunday and made smaller batch of the gritty mix using the same materials - Napa 8822 drier, Wonderbark fine, and TopFin aquarium gravel ( I struck out in 4 places looking for crushed granite or similar). I had some time Sunday to sift it through the kitchen vegetable strainer. It's a wire screen strainer having about 11 holes per inch and lets a particle with 1/10" diameter or less pass through it.

For Napa 8822, I ended up with 1.5" gallons fines for 5 gallons sifted good.

The Wonderbark fine, I ended up with about 1.25 gallons for 4.5 gallons sifted good.

The gravel had no fines - no straining needed.

The resulting mix is slightly more airier and cleaner looking than my unsifted mix.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 10:57AM
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