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modified Al's Gritty Mix and 5.1.1 mix

Posted by stefpix 6b NY %5BBrooklyn NY (My Page) on
Wed, May 25, 11 at 17:32

I live in Brooklyn NY. It is hard to find crushed granite and fine bark.

I found pine bark nuggets at HD on Hamilton ave, but the chips are too large and the food processor can not make them finer.

I found Napa Floor Dry Diatomite part XXX 8822 (They also have Oil-Dri that seems similar and on the package it says it can be used in potted plants, but I wonder what is the difference).

So could I use Diatomite + Miracle-Gro Orchid mix (that is somehow some bark mixed with peat) more or less 1:1 or more diatomite? Would it be too water retentive without the grit?

Also what about if I mixed it with some coconut chips and / or coconut coir?

Would that work OK? I read a lot of posts, I can't travel hours to get all the ingredients in Long Island or Jersey.

I can find gravel for aquariums but it is kind of expensive and looks glazed. At Home depot the gravel is really chunky.
thanks,
stefano


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: modified Al's Gritty Mix and 5.1.1 mix

  • Posted by stefpix 6b NY %5BBrooklyn NY (My Page) on
    Thu, May 26, 11 at 13:32

Would substituting chicken grit with perlite work ok?


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RE: modified Al's Gritty Mix and 5.1.1 mix

Which mix are you trying to make, both of them?

I am just starting with Al's soil mixes so am no expert, to say the least, but from what I have read, Miracle Gro products are to be avoided. I am sure that there are many places to by supplies for orchids in NYC; you can use the fine fir bark sold for orchid growing for the bark in the gritty mix. Here is a place listed in Brooklyn: Mount Prospect Orchids I would imagine they sell supplies for orchids or can tell you local places to buy the bark. You can also use Repti-Bark, which is a reptile bedding made of fir bark for the Gritty Mix. It is sold by PetsMart and probably other pet stores as well.

For the gritty mix, the NAPA Floor Dry #8822 will do fine as a substitute for the Turface; I believe the other product you mentioned, Oil-Dri breaks down and will not serve the purpose. According to this article: The Last of NYC's Animal Feed Stores there is still feed store in NYC - in the Bronx - where you can get supplies for chickens, so they should have the grit you need - do not get the grits mixed with oyster shell. Perlite is used in the 5:1:1 mix, not the gritty mix, and I do not believe, from what I have read, that it is a good substitute for the Gran-I-Grit/Cherrystone #2 used for the Gritty Mix.

For the 5:1:1 mix, the partially composted bark fines seem to be the hardest component to find. Some people have just used the Repti-Bark or fine orchid bark instead. Check with your local nurseries (surely they have plant nurseries even in NYC) to see what kind of pine bark mulch they carry. Some people have found the right kind at big box stores such as Home Depot or Lowes.

Anyway, those are just a few suggestions. Google is your friend...! You can also do a search in this thread for "NYC" to find the names and addresses of places in NYC where others have successfully found components for the mix.

Holly


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Coconut products

Forgot to add in my last post that you should not use coconut chips or coir in either of the soils.

Sphagnum peat moss is used in the 5:1:1 mix only; too water retentive for the Gritty Mix.

Holly


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RE: modified Al's Gritty Mix and 5.1.1 mix

  • Posted by stefpix 6b NY %5BBrooklyn NY (My Page) on
    Fri, May 27, 11 at 0:57

Holly,
thanks for your answers.
I am considering to make both and something in between. The gritty may be too draining on hot summer days.

I usually do not get Miracle Gro products, but the Orchid Mix has quite a bit of bark (but it is not an epiphyte orchid mix).

I found bark nuggets at HD but they are a bot chunky. I read on one of these threads that Gowanus Nursery has fine barks but today I went to their new smaller location and they were closed. SO I am unsure if they even still carry those. Orchid bark is a lot more expensive than bark mulch / nuggets. I could go with the chunkier pine bark i have. just look for small pieces for small pots.

I saw at Lowes they carry Marble chips gravel and yellow pea gravel. Could any of these be an OK substitute for granite gravel? They were quite inexpensive.

What would be the gritty mix with just bark and diatomite? would that work?


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RE: modified Al's Gritty Mix and 5.1.1 mix

I take Animal Feeds, Inc. did not have the chicken grits or Cherrystone??

Holly


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RE: modified Al's Gritty Mix and 5.1.1 mix

  • Posted by stefpix 6b NY %5BBrooklyn NY (My Page) on
    Sat, May 28, 11 at 1:27

Well going up to the Bronx could be a one way 2 hour ordeal in traffic.
I found fine marble gravel at LOwes that may be a good substitute.

Also I found fine bark at the Gowanus Nursery that is listed in a thread as a source in NYC that i would use for a more water retentive mix but it is basically fine as soil
Is that way too fine?

stefano


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RE: modified Al's Gritty Mix and 5.1.1 mix

Wow, 2 hours to get to another area of the city; I understand your reluctance!

The bark at Gowanus sounds much too fine for the gritty mix, probably would work for the 5:1:1 mix, but...

I know the orchid bark or Repti-Bark is somewhat expensive but it works for me because I don't need large batches of the gritty mix. Unlike some, I only need to pot up a few plants at a time.

Good luck with your search, stefano! Hopefully more experienced folks will be able to give you better ideas for good substitutes for the components you need.

Holly


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RE: modified Al's Gritty Mix and 5.1.1 mix

  • Posted by stefpix 6b NY %5BBrooklyn NY (My Page) on
    Sat, May 28, 11 at 13:19

Holly, well it could take me 45 min/1 hour if there is no traffic. But going from Brooklyn to the Bronx can be a trek.

Actually I photographed an author that wrote a book about raising chickens and vegetable and living off that in his yard of his victorian home in Brooklyn. I could ask him. Yeah the Gowanus bark is basically like coarse saw dust more or less. I think I can keep the bark I have from HD and even if it is coarse it will break down. I could get aquarium gravel maybe and use that. I assume taht must have a neutral PH. Bud doesn't Diatomite dry faster than soil?

Here is a photo of a mix I made with Napa XXX 8822 diatomite, some miracle grow orchid mix and a bit of bark.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=9712168&l=1eca56e9cb&id=631078065
what do you think?

stefano

Here is a link that might be useful: my mix


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RE: modified Al's Gritty Mix and 5.1.1 mix

  • Posted by stefpix 6b NY %5BBrooklyn NY (My Page) on
    Sat, May 28, 11 at 15:50

I found at a pet store bedding made of white pine or cedar wood shavings. Would that be OK? I saw reptibark but it is quite expensive. Otherwhise Better Grow Phalaenopsis mix could be OK. Smaller than reg Better Grow bark but also has some charcoal and perlite.


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RE: modified Al's Gritty Mix and 5.1.1 mix

  • Posted by stefpix 6b NY %5BBrooklyn NY (My Page) on
    Sat, May 28, 11 at 16:23

I found at a pet store bedding made of white pine or cedar wood shavings. Would that be OK? I saw reptibark but it is quite expensive. Otherwhise Better Grow Phalaenopsis mix could be OK. Smaller than reg Better Grow bark but also has some charcoal and perlite.


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RE: modified Al's Gritty Mix and 5.1.1 mix

You don't want wood shavings. You want the bark.

Depending on the amount of bark in the orchid mix, you *might* be able to modify it for the 5-1-1.


Josh


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RE: modified Al's Gritty Mix and 5.1.1 mix

Around here the pine bark mix at Home Depot that works is the #302 Golden Trophy bags. I've been using this for the last 4 or 5 years. The only problem is that the #302 bags vary significantly from pallet to pallet. You need to check an open bag and make sure. If the chunks are small then the entire pallet is probably OK. If not the bags in the entire pallet is not usable. I got burned this year in my first buy and had to unload all the bags to someone's in ground garden (after a harsh winter I wasn't thinking straight :-). The bags were wet and the chunks seemed small after a quick inspection but after getting them home they stunk (which I heard was not good) and had a lot of sticks and bigger chunks hidden in them. A week later I went to a different Home Depot and found a pallet of perfect #302 pine bark and loaded up as many bags that will fit into the van.

A couple of years ago the good pallet of #302 was behind a bad pallet which required me to climb over the bad pallet to get to the good pallet. The employees at Home Depot must have thought I was nuts.

Last year I found #302 Golden Trophy at Menards with the same pallet to pallet differences but this year Menards doesn't seem to carry it.


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