Finally attempting gritty mix

smishgibson(7b)October 25, 2013

Hello all. First i would like to thank everyone on this forum for helping those of us who are new learn so much. It would have taken me years to learn this much through trial and error, if ever! :-)

So, i have been on a great quest for gritty mix ingredients for a while. Here is what i have finally came up with.

1. Besgrow orchiata classic (1/4-3/8), special thanks to mike for showing us this in his thread

I had to order this online. I looked and looked, finally gave up looking for a local, cheaper source of bark. It was this or reptibark. I liked the look of this stuff better, and I think it was cheaper over all. 25.00+ shipping for 40L. If you're interested, go to www.acadianwholesale.com and give them a call. They had no problem shipping to me as an individual after they verified there was no retail distributor in my area.

This bark required NO sifting. I may have gotten a very small amount out if i sifted it, but to me it wasn't worth it to sift when i had to dig and dig to find pieces that were too small.

2. Manna pro Poultry grit

Very cheap, from tracker supply company. its like 10 dollars for a huge bag. I didn't know if it was going to work, so i got the tiny bag for 6 dollars. I sifted this stuff over an insect screen and got somewhere between zilch, and almost nothing. Just a little dust fell through, and a handful of particles.


3. Napa floor dry #8822 (Diatomaceous earth)

Looked and look for turface, found a source that said they could get it, however its been over a week and it seems they can't get it. If they do finally get it in, i will have another option. :) This floor dry was around 7 dollars. I sifted this over an insect screen and quite a bit feel through. I sifted the whole bag, and over all lost about 10-20% i would say.


And here is the finished product, washed, potted and watered for the first time. I know these are a bit over potted, but i hope that will be ok in gritty mix.

Tomorrow I am going to go get more poultry grit, and i will have enough to mix up about 15 gallons(a lot i know!) and will start changing over our other plants as well.

My only concern in all this is that i feel my particle size may be too small, especially on the Floor Dry. What do you all think about its size? If i need to, i can get a different screen tomorrow and re-sift the floor dry before i mixed up the rest.

So again, thanks to everyone for the inspiration to do this!

This post was edited by smishgibson on Fri, Oct 25, 13 at 21:24

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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

Well, you're certainly better off than if you were in Peat Pudding, but many of those bark pieces are too big for cookie-cutter Gritty to be honest. One of the core tenets of Gritty is uniform particle size among the 3 materials. You want to be around 1/4" for each. Reptibark is definitely too big for Gritty.

Why not use the smaller screened Orchiata for Gritty and the larger chunks for some 5-1-1 batches?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 11:41PM
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the_yard_guy(6A)

smishgibson,

Congratulations on your first batch of grit mix. Sounds like you put much effort into this and your plants will be happy for that. Good work!

From what I can tell in your photos it looks like the Napa Floor Dry and the Manna Pro grit are about the same size, which is good. If you think the Orchiata bark is a bit too large compared to the floor dry and grit you could do what Oxboy suggested and screen out some of the larger bark pieces. I think Al and others have stated that all the ingredients for gritty mix should be about the same size for best results.

Good luck on making your second batch of grit mix and keep us posted.

TYG

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 7:57AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Looks pretty good to me. One of the attributes of gritty mix is over potting is not a problem. Al

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 9:13AM
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fireduck(10a)

You should be fine. Keep in mind...the gritty requires much attention. During warm or dry weather...watering can be a daily requirement. That, and the weight factor are the negatives. Free draining mixes require feeding, as well. If you work with it, your results will be good.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 10:04AM
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smishgibson(7b)

Hey everyone!

Thanks so much for input. Yes maybe its not that the floor dry it too small, but that the bark is slightly too big. I ran all 40L through a 1/2 in wire mess this morning, 1 cup at a time to get any pieces out that were WAY to big, and so i could pick out sap wood as i went. Total i got about 3/4 cup combined 1/2+ pieces and sap wood. I have to go to the store today, so i think I'll grab a 1/4 screen and see what happens.

Also i stumbled upon a post this morning regarding the use of insect screens. It said to use the metals ones not the fiberglass ones. The one i have is fiberglass. It is 1/16 and inch, but i noticed particles wanted to stick really bad in it when i was sifting. Maybe the metal is less "sticky" and the small pieces fall through easier? Perhaps this is another reason for me feeling the floor dry had some pieces that were too small.

I currently have Foliage pro and pro-tekt. I have been using them in about 1/4 tsp per gallon strength. Dat gritty has no nutritional value and I am sure plants would suffer badly if not fed.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 10:31AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Nice work!
I agree....with Gritty Mix, over-potting is much less of an issue, and I think your plants are in appropriate containers, anyhow. A 1/4 inch screen will definitely help make the particles more uniform, which will mitigate the tendency of the bark and the smaller grit to separate.

Josh

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 12:38PM
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smishgibson(7b)

Alright exciting progress today. I went to the store and picked up..

An aluminium 1/16th inch insect screen, a 1/4th inch wire screen and a 25 pound bag of mannapro poultry grit.

I sifted the bark and ended up with this, and I'm impressed with the result.

This is what did not fall through the 1/4th screen.

This is what did fall through

Most of the bark was less than 1/4th, the red bucket is the less than 1/4, the white is large than 1/4th. Both are 5 gallon buckets.

The more interesting result i think is what happened with the oil dry. It had already been through a 1/16th inch fiberglass screen, and i kept what was on top. But i was SHOCKED how much more fell through the 1/16th inch metal screen. And most interestingly, before I ran it through the metal screen it was in a 5 gallon bucket and it was almost full to the top, maybe down 1 inch or so. After i screened it and put the good stuff back in the bucket, it was full to almost the exact same place!!! So much so that if i added the stuff that feel through the screen on top, it would have over flowed the bucket. This means that the stuff that was screened out was simply *in between* the bigger pieces, taking up precious space for air. :-)

This is what fell through the 1/16th inch aluminium insect screen

So, here is batch number 2, a much larger batch, with less small pieces of oil dry, and less large pieces of pine bark. Oh, and the second bag of granite was purple instead of white/gray, not sure why?

Time to repot some things!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 7:12PM
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the_yard_guy(6A)

smishgibson,

Your gritty mix look fantastic. You did a lot of research and testing and I think your mix will work very well. Your plants should enjoy that mix and be very happy in it.

Congratulations!

TYG

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 7:51AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Excellent results! :-)
Much more uniform, and now you see exactly how those small particles can migrate between the larger particles to impede drainage and increase moisture retention. The mix will dry much more evenly hereforth. As for the purple color of the grit, I assume this is what is called cherry stone.

Josh

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 12:46AM
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