Help again! Al's Gritty Mix

rubyjchangNovember 11, 2011

Hello! I am back! After getting all my ingredients for Al's Mix: insect screen (1/16th inch netting), ReptiBark (Zoo Med 8qt bag), Manna Pro Pultry Grit (insoluble granite), and Turface (ebay source), I have finally started making my Gritty Mix. I am making a small batch to first see if this is working? Please let me know if what I am doing is ok! I appreciate it very much!

I sifted the ReptiBark on the insect screen to get rid of fine particles. Did not double sift for large particles b/c ReptiBark ZooMed seems to have the right size (according to reading on forum)?

I sifted the Turface MVP by hand over a insect screen. I couldn't make a screener myself (...don't have hammer and nails), so I just held 1/5ft insect screen with my hands, place the turface on the screen (like a hammock), and shaked and shaked and, I got rid of most of the small particles below 1/16th inch (a little bit that escaped this shaking should be alright?). I know the ideal is just under 1/8th...but this is what I can manage. It just seems that most of the turface particles are more near 1/16th than 1/8. Is that ok?

I did not sift the granite. Since I live near in a condo, I don't really have outside area to work with. The lots of amount of dust (in Manna Pro) would be horrid indoor. So, I just rinsed the Manna Pro poultry mix over the insect screen in the sink. That got rid of some of the small particles and dust (Manna Pro seems to be mostly larger than 1/16th inch so not much is rinsed away).

So here is the product mixed together (the granite is purple after being rinsed). I am a bit worried about the small turface. (Next time, I might purchase the size range of avg 3/16...the 1/8 as promised by the ebay seller seems to be not very correct. Next time, 3/16 should be fine right? it is just slightly bigger than 1/8th?).

Please check over my Gritty Mix. I am worried that it is not right...I really would like this to work! Sorry about the poor resolution, my camera is not here, so I took picture with the phone. I took several...they are all a little blurry.

Also, another question is: I am planning on using the wick. So I purchased some lantern wick. I read on the forum for the placement of the wick (screening-->circle bottom of pot with wick, have wick go through the drainage hole and hang down). Is it ok if I place the screening net over the wick instead of having the wick above the screening (the water should go down anyway right)?

Thank you all for your help!!! I am excited about this mix! This is a new experience.

Ruby do you attach pictures without having to go to another sharing picture website?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

oops...the link doesn't is another try:


    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 8:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow...this thread is so very quiet...

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 4:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I would've answered earlier but I've been having computer issues - holding hands with HP support for most of the weekend.

What Turface product did you get? It does look rather small. You normally wouldn't need a wick with the gritty mic in most cases, but until you get a line on some larger Turface, it's probably a good idea.

You can place the screen over the top of the wick & it will work just fine liker that. I use strands from a rayon mop for my wicks.

To share pictures, we usually upload to a web hosting site (I use Photobucket), then copy paste the hotmail link they provide to the text box.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 5:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is it ok if my screen is ON TOP of the wick (opposite from that of your picture setup?)

I got a Turface MVP product from ebay ( The fine granulation. The seller said it is 1/8th in average...but it turns out that most are 1/ time, maybe I should try 3/16th? (it will just be slightly larger than the 1/8th?). The only reason I am getting this for much more expensive price on ebay is because I need it shipped (do not drive yet). It has been hard to locate materials. But good things is that I don't have many plants to transplant (only the most important ones gets the Gritty mix right now). Maybe in the future, I can find a better source.

I used lantern wick for the wick...I don't know if it is working right. It is moist...but I don't know if drains as efficiently.

So, currently, if I shake the pot (up and down), water will drain from it...does that mean there is perched water? Also, after I water, and let it drain for a while, and then I tilt the pot, more water will drain...does that mean my gritty mix failed? I am trying very hard to get the gritty mix to work, it just seems that my turface might be too small...but I did sift it over a insect screen and tried to get as much as the small particles out as possible.

Thank you Al for helping! I really really appreciate it!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 6:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A few tips regarding the ReptiBark...

No sifting or screening is necessary. It's beautiful and dust free right out of the bag. I've never had any issues.

The only caveat is that the larger the bag, the larger the particles it may contain. The small 4 quart bags contain the perfect size. The medium and larger bags seem to contain larger bark pieces. I always opt for getting more of the smaller bags.

So, for future reference, try to get the small bags, and it's usable right out of the bag. You can moisten it before mixing the ingredients, or moisten it afterward... whichever is easier for you.

And... why didn't you call me, Al??!! We could have bypassed the tech geeks and got you up and running in no time flat! You know I married a techno-genius!! His tagline reads: "God made me simple; technology made me a god!"

Please, next time you have computer issues, do not hesitate to call! That's what friends are for! :-) Our number is plastered at the bottom of the emails I send.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 8:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi jodik! Thanks for the ReptiBark info! I will definitely keep that in mind next time.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 9:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey Jodik!!!!!

So good to see you around these parts. Please don't be a stranger.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 10:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I hope that my Gritty Mix is going to work!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 11:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'll try not to be, Mike! :-) Winter is almost upon us, so I have more time to read and participate.

Rubyjchang, as long as you understand how the gritty mix works and why you're using it, you've got half of it down pat! The other part includes keeping a close eye on it when you first change over to its use, transitioning your plants to it... and understanding how to properly water, which is thoroughly.

The entire purpose of a medium is to support the plant, anchor the roots, and provide a catalyst for moisture and nutrition to the plant. As long as we understand this, and we know what makes for healthy roots, the rest is easy.

Container growing is not at all like growing in the ground/garden... and we're forcing plants to adapt to situations and environments that are fairly out of character, considering their natural habitats. The better of an environment we can provide for the roots, the healthier and happier our plants will be.

Happy Growing!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 4:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Good morning, Al, Jodi, and Mike!
It's great to see all of you here...! Jodi, well said on all counts.

Ruby, you mentioned that your wick is opposite of Al's (in the picture).
In Al's pic, you are seeing the "top" length of the wick which is curled in the bottom of the pot.
It is difficult to see, but the wick passes through the screen in the drainage hole and dangles
out below the drainage hole (below the container).


    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 9:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone!!

Hi Jodi,

Nice to see you.. i hope all is well with you and your family!! We have missed you!

Hi Mike!! Josh, AL.. Good Morning to you too!


Sounds like you have all of your ingredients to start on a great adventure for you and your plants!! You will be so happy!!

Take Care,

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 10:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)


    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 1:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Viola! ;-)


    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 2:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you everyone for your support and advice! I am so glad to have people to go to for question. So, I have a few more questions/concerns. I am also trying to read more about soil and container growing in the forum! I am a very very beginner in container gardening. Currently, I am trying to gather the information and understand it.

So a couple of questions:
1) It is inevitable probably that I have perched water in my Gritty Mix. Even though I did screened the turface, most of my turface are just over 1/16th inch...not larger than 1/10th. Will that very significantly affect my plants currently in this Gritty Mix? (I do have a wick...but I am very unsure that it is working correctly). This mix should be alright for now? Al's picture of your wick really helped me...I think my set up before is not very good since I have the wick curled at the bottom of the pot with a couple of inch falling form drainage hole, and then have the screen OVER the curled wick (so the wick is not actually touching the soil...well, at least not a lot of it, only through the hole of the screen). I am worried about the current plants in this sort-of-failure Gritty Mix...what can I do?

Is there a way to insert the wick in there correctly after the plant is already in the pot?

2)...this might be a silly question...I think that the top layer of the Gritty Mix (also any soil) will dry out faster than the bottom layers. So when the top layer dry out before the bottom, will that kill off some of the finer roots that is very shallow and in the upper layer of the soil? I am sorry if this question is too just pop into my mind today...

Thank you all so so much!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 6:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rubyjchang I just read the threat on PWT

So obviously...I have quite a bit of perched water since when I tilt more water drain (understanding: smaller area in triangle so forcing water out by gravity)...uh oh...

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 7:37PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Apartment composting and container gardening.
Any tips or tricks using apartment compost with your...
PVC liner OK for growing food?
A contractor friend of mine made me a planter box to...
Coarse Perlite for 5:1:1
Hi all, first off is "coarse" the correct...
Need advice for container garden for elderly woman
I have a question on container gardening for an elderly...
Help! My slash pine seedlings in containers are turning yellowish
I have several hundred slash pine seedlings I put in...
Florida Native
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™