Do you have all the ingredients to make your own mix?

meyermike_1micha(5)September 17, 2013

I thought I would give you a few photos of the ingredients I use for making my 5.1.1, gritty mix and those in between..

It is hoped that pics of the ingredients will help you to know what to look for..:-)

Fine sized fir bark for the gritty mix and or 5.1.1 mix in which I will sift out the extra bigger pieces.

Orchiada bark for the 5.1.1 mix or the gritty mix perfect in size right from the bag

Pine bark for the 5.1.1 mix or the gritty mix

Oil Dry Absorbent I use in place of Turface for my gritty mix or 5.1.1 mix

Turface I use for the gritty or 5.1.1 mix

Growers size crushed granite for the gritty mix

Perlite course size for the 5.1.1 and or gritty mix which I use to replace granite at times to lighten the mix.

Here they are all together on a plate to show how comparable they are in size

The of course if you are not able to make your own mixes, you could always purchase a 'Fafard MIx', a heavy weight that consists mostly of bark to fill your needs. Here is the 'Nursery' mix in which I just add perlite and comes as close to close 5.1.1 as I can get.

And last but not least, don't forget to have some peat moss on hand for your 5.1.1 if needed.....

Here are two mixes I have made with these ingredients, in particular the gritty and 5.1.1 mixes...You can make so many varieties of good draining mixes with these useful tools!!!


5.1.1 mix


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Goodness Mike that orchiata orchid bark looks amazing! I emailed the US distributor in GA to see if I could get some, or if they knew someone in my area that stocked it.

Where were you able to get it? I think its the best i have ever seen indeed!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:18PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Mike, these pics are amazing, buddy!
Thanks for taking the time to compile all these shots so that we can see them altogether. That chunky Perlite is the stuff that I love!


    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 12:20AM
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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

I ordered my first batch of orchiata that should arrive tomorrow. Ordered it from sunset valley orchids in Calif. They call it Kiwi Bark. Not cheap but looks awesome and practically already presifted. We'll see.

I have some Rexius too and it's pretty close to Reptibark.

As for the Besgrow stuff, I think what we really want is their new Precision size. Can't find any online/west coast distro yet....tried Calwest Tropical but no dice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sunset Valley Orchids

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 1:58AM
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According to their website in the FAQ section, Orchiata has already had dolomite added (though they don't specify how much).

Do you modify your 511 recipe when using orchiata vs, say, agway pine bark mulch? Do you use orchiata bark for gritty 111? I'd think the lime would be less desirable in that situation.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 7:06AM
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Great post Mike for showing potential soil mix ingredients. Living up in Northern Ontario makes me extremely jealous of your wide variety of choices for whipping up a fine batch of potting mix (luckily Northern Ontario makes up for its shortcomings with beautiful natural surroundings). Sigh. I guess I just have to keep patiently searching for potential ingredients in my neck of the woods.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 7:32PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Mike!!!

Great post to show all of us the products necessary to make the best mix possible for our plants and trees...

This took a lot of time and I just wanted to THANK YOU for taking the time to do this for the ones that need to see what we use.

There are many that lurk and don't post, so for those people who are enjoying this thread and for the ones that do posts and may not say anything...

Let me say.. MAHALO!!!

Great job!!!!


    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 10:04AM
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Thanks for the pics, You covered all the ingredients. Your mixes look good also.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 12:52PM
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Thanks everyone...I was hoping it would help..I know that I could of used it when I started......

i also a few a few more pics to post and answer quesions for you...I have to run but I have not forgotten you all


    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 1:19PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Well, that looks extremely expensive for my 3- 40"x8'x1'deep beds!(NOT beds, containers! Thanks AL!)
I'm basically going with Al's (pretty expensive) stuff from a local place by the truck load.
How bout for just fluffing and feeding things for the year? I have my winter stuff done (unless the turkeys show up again!), what should I be adding to that raised container? Osmocote? compost?
Night! Nancy

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 9:29PM
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Excellent, Mike! Good looking medium! :-)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Mike, thanks for posting these great photos. I'm happy for you that you have so many ingredients to choose from. Great work!

I have not found bark like that locally and I'm sure yours was expensive. Grit and Turface can be had locally but the bark will be tricky.

Question about your Oil Dry, where did you get this and does it have an item number on the bag? If I try OD I want to use the correct kind and not the stuff that breaks down quickly.



    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 9:26AM
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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

Mike, what brand of perlite is that? Can that be ordered online?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 6:39PM
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HI..I'll be back to answer your questions before this weekend is over...

Was just popping in and saw...Now I have to go but I'll be back...:-)


    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Mike, the reason I asked for your OilDri info is that I bought some at WalMart recently, about $4.00 for 25lb bag. Decided to try the soaking test and within about one hour the OilDri I bought had collapsed into mud so the OilDri I bought was unfired clay, and not DE. The bag itself was very vague about what was inside. I guess OilDri makes several different versions of this product.

I called around and the local NAPA stores do not carry the Floor Dry 8822, but one store had an entire pallet of OilDri instead. They can order a few bags of the 8822 however. The local John Deere places can "probably" order a few bags of Turface Allsport although they do not have any in stock.

Thanks MIke.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 8:12AM
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Hi TYG...Did you do ok? I am surprised that you don't have a place around that sells the good stuff..Weird..
Have you ever tried calling a farm to see if they have dry-stall?..They use this for horses...
Hoping you can find the things you need...

Oxboy...I actually got that perlite from 'Griffin's Greenhouse Supplies'....I have a store up the street from me but they also do shipments I think...I would look them up....Here you go...Carolina Course Perlite

Jodik..Hello!!! Good to see you and thank you! My Uncle just passed and it's been difficult...

Nancy...I would go with Osmocote..That is what I use at times...Compost will just muck up your mix over time:-)


    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 5:04PM
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Thanks Mike. Sorry to hear about your uncle.

I have not heard of Dry Stall before. I just looked at their website but there's not a lot of info about what it is or where to get it. I will have to do some research on this and see what it's all about.

As mentioned I think I should be OK on getting NAPA Floor Dry, I just have to call the local NAPA store and ask them to special order a few bags of it. Apparently there are several different types and formulations of OilDri so trying to guess which local store carries the "right" kind would be very time consuming.

I should be able to order a couple bags of Turface Allsport.The local John Deer store doesn't have it in stock so it will have to be ordered as well. We do have a local feed store (where I can get Gran-I-Grit) and they might have that Dry Stall, or maybe the local Farm and Fleet. Have never looked for or asked them about Dry Stall.

The bark may have to wait for spring as most of the local landscaping and big box stores in this area have removed their mulch supplies for the winter. (The local Menards store has huge pallets of big chunk pine, cypress, and even rubber nugget mulch, but that's all.) There are a couple of nurseries about 20 miles away that might be open year around so I can check with them on pine bark. I know ordering pine/fir bark is a possibility and some members do that but Id rather try to find local ingredients if possible. I think shipping costs would be more than the mulch cost.

The search continues!


    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 8:12AM
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Take a look at this tread! This is the Napa product you want...

Here is a link that might be useful: Napa

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 8:48PM
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Thanks Mike, I will be going to NAPA today to order some 8822. If they dont want to order a couple bags of the 8822 then I should be able to get the local JD store to order a few bags of Allsport.



    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 9:29AM
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Something i have found is that if you look at Napa's website, they often don't show that the store has any 8822 in stock. It showed my store had non and to contact them to see if about other local stores that may had some.

As soon as i ask him he said, "Yeah I'm setting here looking at 20 bags of it. Not sure why it says we are out" I was skeptical, thinking maybe he was just looking at another type of oil dry. I went there and sure enough, they had tons and tons of it.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Thanks for the tip on the 8822. According to the NAPA website my local store is out of stock. Maybe they really have it then.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 10:31AM
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I just called the local NAPA store and they have 80 bags of this in stock even though the website says they do not have any. You were right smishgibson.

If anyone is searching for this they should call the store rather than trust the website.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 11:31AM
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I picked up some of the NAPA 8822 DE yesterday so I have the grit and the DE for grit mix. I contacted a local nursery that might have usable pine bark. They said it is mostly fine pieces, about 3/4" and smaller. I will try to get there in the next few days and have a look.

Thanks for the help everyone.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 9:14AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Mike, my deepest condolences...SO sorry to hear about your Uncle my friend!!

Thanks for this post Mike...great pictures! I too love the Orchiata!! Appreciate you posting these pictures :o)

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 11:33AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Good Info. Thanks to MIke and everybody else.

NAPA stuff, probably I can find. But where do you get Poultry grits and what is it exactly ?

I think this is a great thread, teaching how to make your own BETTER potting mix. I have some pine nuggets. Peat moss is no problem, Also perlite is available. I have to get a bag of NAPA stuff and try it. I think I will just forget the Turface stuff. I'll use Vermiculite instead.
For fertilizer, I will also mix in small amount of coated time release fert( not too much).

NOW that you got the mix, How about the pots? I am looking for 2 to 3 gal. reasonably priced black plastic pots. I will pot mainly small pepper plants in them.
Any suggestions?
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 11:19PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)


In my above post I mentiond " I have some pine nuggets". NOT CORRECT.
Today I read the label it says: "CEDAR BARK". But it has the same texture as PINE BARK. The diffence , I think, is that the thickness of the nuggets is less than pine. But actually, I find it better in tems of size and quality.

Is it an ok substitute for pine bark ? I thing being in the same family of CONIFERS they are very similar .

What do you guys think? I want to get a few more bags before they are sold out.
they look just like those in this picture, posted by meyermike

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 4:02AM
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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

Should be ok in theory. You want your bark from the softwood family of trees - firs, pines, spruces, hemlock, cedars, etc.

Any way to post a pic of it? I hear cedar is a natural bug repellent so that might work in your favor too.

This post was edited by Oxboy555 on Mon, Nov 4, 13 at 13:10

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 1:08PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

oxboy 555

Today I went to Lowes and bought few more bag.

Here is a picture.

Looks good. It has some very fine parts, like peat moss that I am going to screen it out and use in my seed starter mix(wit perlite and vermiculite), instead of peat moss.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 10:39PM
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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

I envy you guys that can find decent stuff at big box and anywhere local for that matter.

My local Lowe's and HD are crap, although Lowe's does stock some small overpriced Orchid bark that I can use in a pinch.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 1:05PM
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Someone above was asking about Dry Stall-- it is made of pumice and I find it an excellent substitution for gritty mix on its own, after screening out dust and large particles. (I use a Bonsai screen set I ordered online.) Sometimes I add soil from repotted plants to the mix to increase water retention, and during hot weather I water tomatoes and other water-loving plants twice or three times a week, but for succulents the pumice on its own is fine for a weekly watering.

I get it at a feed store that caters towards horse owners. I usually call ahead before driving over, as they run out when rain is predicted (which is relatively rare in SoCal). It's $15 for a 50 pound bag.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 10:51AM
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I was just curious about the cost per bag of the Fafard Professional Mix. I've heard it's probably as close to a pre-packaged 5-1-1 as you can find, and the photo you posted looked really good. Just wondering if the convenience of having everything bagged and ready to go made up for the cost of the product?



    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 8:00AM
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I live in Northern Ontario, I would like to find out from Dogg1967 who also lives in Northern Ontario if you have found all the ingredients to make 5.1.1.mix. I would love to find the ingredients in the North Bay area.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 6:44PM
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I use 511 regularly, where I work we provide machinery that focuses on cleaning grains, plastic extrusions, reclaimed sheet rock, reclaimed glass etc. we separate unwanted fines, or unwanted particle sizes from many various products via screening, air aspiration as well as other methods. This brings me to my question about gritty mix, I just happened upon some poly beads about 3/16 diameter, could this be used as the grit fraction in gritty mix? What I mean by grit is the the granite, or the inert fraction of the mix, the beads seem to be nearly inert, I process all my pine bark through a machine called a reel eliminator, it has various sizes of screens so I can dictate what particle size I want by varying the screen size, I always look for the bags of pine bark mulch that looks some what composted, and separate that into the fines I want, typical what ever will go through a 3/8 screen. I processed 4ea. 2.5 cubic bags in 10 minutes last week, sure makes it easy compared to my screens at home. I am wanting to make up some gritty mix primarily for some citrus trees in my greenhouse, these polystyrene beads have become plentiful and don't weigh very much. You guys are the experts and would love to hear your opinions, Thanks

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 11:53PM
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