Canadian Gritty Mix
I have been a Gardenweb lurker for some time now and have spent hours absorbing valuable information concerning soil properties, specifically regarding Al's Gritty Mix. I was certainly intrigued by the notion of offering a better growing medium for my house plants, but ultimately lacked true motivation. Little did I know, that motivation would soon come...
I finally took the plunge when I repotted my very large Schefflera with Vigaro potting soil and the next day was overwhelmed with fungas gnats. See what I mean by motivation. I went on a whirlwind scavenger hunt to find the gritty mix ingredients to rectify my gnat issue with a proper repotting in a high quality medium. Now, being in Northern Ontario, Canada, I expected this to be a challenge in itself.
Anyways, what follows is my journey. It is a journey that is still in progress and owes everything to those pioneers who travelled before me. Thank you Al, Josh, Jodi, Jessica and Mike to name just a few. Your contributions to Gardenweb acted as my inspiration...
This was not difficult in terms of utilizing the rather expensive Repti Bark. I have yet to locate another source of fir/pine bark fines.
This ingredient could be found in Southern Ontario, but is no where to be seen (as of yet) in my Northern Ontario market. And, Canada just does not have Napa Auto stores as far as I know. So, I went to my trusty Canadian Tire store and searched for a floor dry product that was viable. I found Qualisorb which claims to be basically 100% calcined diatomaceous earth.
My local rock centre has crushed granite, but most of it looks to be too fine. I searched out local feed stores and found a poultry grit #2 grower size.
I initially sifted all three ingredients with some old patio door screen (done at the end of my driveway while my neighbours looked on in baffled amusement) and I further rinsed the granite as well as soaked the bark.
Note: For my American friends, that's a Canadian dime I'm using for reference which is basically the same size as your American one (but much better looking with the Bluenose sailing ship).
Here's the final mix:
And here it is in action with the aforementioned Schefflera:
The mix does indeed drain quite quickly and will take a period of adjustment in watering habits (as well as avoiding saucer overflow which would truly vex my wife), but after a week, the big plant seems to be adjusting without any issues. I look forward to slowly repotting all my house plants and watching them flourish.
I'll keep you posted on my progress... thanks again!