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surplus ingredients

Posted by terratoma 7a ( on
Wed, Sep 11, 13 at 16:59

I jumped into container gardening this summer and, so far, it's been exciting. In getting ready for fall cleanup, I realized I had large surpluses of Turface and Reptibark. I prefer to use the Turface screened to 1/8" and the Reptibark at 3/8". As a result, I have a lot of Turface smaller than 1/8" and Reptibark larger than 3/8" that I won't be using. ( I realize that many use Turface screened to 1/16", as well as some who use pieces of Reptibark > 3/8". Just my preference....)

Wondering how best to use some of these ingredients. I recall seeing past posts where some of the ingredients were used in raised beds, as well as for starting plants from seed. Unfortunately, I do neither.

PS I should have quantified what I mean by 'a lot of'. The surpluses are about 125 lbs. of Turface and 80 quarts of Reptibark. Also, I'm posting this on the Perennial forum inasmuch as some of those gardeners may also be involved with containers.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: surplus ingredients

You can donate the excess Turface to your local little league field.

You can try to crush/chip/shread the big bark to smaller pieces. You can also use it as top mulch elsewhere in the garden or big outdoor pots in the sun. Remember to supplement those areas with a bit of add'l nitrogen fert and keep the bark up top out of the mix. Another recent thread in here discusses using big bark chunks at the bottom of heavy Gritty mix pots to save weight. Finally, donate it to a local neighborhood kid who keeps reptile terrariums.

RE: surplus ingredients

Hi Oxboy:
Donating the ingredients might be the best use of them.

I had read that many gardeners used the Reptibark right out of the bag since all of it was < 3//8". I must have had a hex put on me because nearly two-thirds of mine was significantly larger than 3/8". Tried to break it down with a leaf mulcher and running over it with the car. Ruined a coffee grinder and a food professor and am still 'paying the price" for being foolhardy!
Was thinking that the Turface would be a good inorganic soil amendment since, according to the retailer, it absorbs water and gradually releases it, I'm assuming there's some drawback since I've never heard that it's used for that purpose.
Thanks again.

RE: surplus ingredients

It is said that the smaller bags of Repto contain smaller particles or rather a higher % of smaller particles.

I've never found a good way to reduce the size of 1/2"+ bark pieces. At least not anyway that would justify the expense or effort.

I suppose scattering the excess Turface out into a big enough garden or lawn would be one option as well.

RE: surplus ingredients

Hi Oxboy
Yeah, I read a number of posts (threads) that indicated the same thing. Some gardeners said all the Reptibark they purchased, regardless of size (4 quart, 10 quart or 24 quart), was the right size. Others said the smaller bags contained a higher % of correct size pieces
My first purchases were 10 quart bags (PetSmart was selling 10 quart bags for the price of their 8 quart bags). and I discovered that about two-thirds was unusable, I bought a bunch of 4 quart bags. After comparing measurements, no change. I figured the 24 quart bags would be worse but, surprise, got the same percentages.

I'm in no way doubting the claims made by others. And I'm a stickler when screening and measuring so I can verify that the two-thirds/one-third ratio is correct. The only remaining explanation is with the Reptibark packaging. Could be that additional purchases would be different but, considering the price, i can't afford to chance it.
I may put aside some of the bark and try my luck next spring. Who know? Despite advice to the contrary, the larger size may work great. (Then I'll have my own 'advice'! ). :o)
Has been a pleasure

RE: surplus ingredients

I'm surprised driving over the bark didn't work for you. Did you scatter it and go over it or put it in some kind of sack first? If you are in no hurry you can wet the bark outside and let it decompose somewhat over the next year or you can use it as a base to grow mushrooms.

RE: surplus ingredients

I'm surprised driving over the bark didn't work for you. Did you scatter it and go over it or put it in some kind of sack first? If you are in no hurry you can wet the bark outside and let it decompose somewhat over the next year or you can use it as a base to grow mushrooms.

RE: surplus ingredients

st rhino
Didn't scatter it. I placed some in a bag and ran over it. In fact, I did it several times, altering the amount of bark.
I'm assuming that, if I dug it into the soil, it would rob the soil of nitrogen. Might it do the same thing, even if it were partially decomposed?
My granddaughter suggested that I use it to make her a 'beanbag' chair or as 'stuffing' for her stuffed animals who have lost some of theirs. Not too bad for a nearly four year old! :o)

RE: surplus ingredients

I also have some <1/8th turface and >3/8ths pine bark. Absolutely no idea what to do with the former, but the latter went into my own orchid mix. I personally added long sphagnum moss and coarse perlite (but there are many other equally good combos) - pros in the orchid forum approved, and the orchids themselves seem very happy in the mix. Of course, I only have 2 orchids in 5' pots - and ~ 3 cu. ft. of the coarse bark, so that is a whole lotta orchids. :-)

Anyone in NYC needs fine turface or coarse bark - I'll be glad to share.

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