black gold cacti mix

emee(7)August 13, 2014

The above mix contains perlite, pumice, earthworm castings, compost. What do I need to add to this mix to make it suitable for my succulents?

Pumice/grit, perlite, oil sorb/calcined clay, do I use all of these in my potting mix?

The more I read the more confused I get about the mix.
Thanks for your help.

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LilBit7765

Earth worm castings are not good from what I heard compost isn't either for cacti and succulents from what I've heard either. Though I've NEVER tried them myself just from what I've learned here and looking for a good mix myself. I switched to the gritty mix. Turface, chicken grit, and bark. Do you have all those? If so what oil sorb/calcined clay do you have? If you're looking not to have to fertilize I myself would use one part (soil you mentioned above and 2 parts pumice. But that would only be if that's what I had. Or are you still looking to get these things?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 7:42PM
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emee(7)

I have everything you mentioned but the turface. It is not available locally. I have Napa oil absorbent, diatomaceous earth as a substitute. Sorry I thought it was calcined clay. I will definitely add pumice. Do you think I should also add oil sorb? thanks.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:56PM
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LilBit7765

Well it depends on wether or not fertilizing with most waterings is a problem for you or not. Do you have the napa oil absorbent part number? I have never used that but I know others here have and they have posted the right one to use. I'll look to see if I can find it in other posts for you. But I want to clarify: you have bark, chicken grit (calcium free), and the napa oil absorbent, and you have pumice?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:17PM
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LilBit7765

NAPA Auto's Floor Dry #8822 this is the one I've heard people using. I would use 1 part bark, 1 part grit (as long as it doesn't have ANYTHING else added to it) and 1 part floor dry. (Napa floor dry 8822)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:32PM
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emee(7)

What I have is NAPA #8822. I also have pumice, poultry grit, perlite, bark, & cacti soil. I still have trouble (in my mind) with a mix that does not contain some soil but I am going to try it. Anything for my succulents. Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:59AM
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LilBit7765

Use the 8822, bark, and the grit. Make sure you are screening to the appropriate size. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:05AM
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cactusmcharris

That's what I don't understand about the gritty mix zealotry - the fact that soil is claimed to be a bad thing. There are oodles of master growers who have great plants growing in nothing but sieved cactus soil (and sometimes not even sieved) with 50% pumice. I'd use just the Black Gold (sieved) and the pumice in a 50/50 ratio. If you have pumice, and much to my dismay I do not, you don't need grit, Turface, bark and/or the 8822.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:02PM
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emee(7)

I think I've tried every recipe I've read about so far thinking I would remember which plant was in what mix, kind of an experiment. Of course I don't remember, but I can tell by how the soil drains but can't tell any difference in the plants. Thanks for all your help.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:50PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

"That's what I don't understand about the gritty mix zealotry - the fact that soil is claimed to be a bad thing. There are oodles of master growers who have great plants growing in nothing but sieved cactus soil (and sometimes not even sieved) with 50% pumice."

Some people are able to grow healthy plants despite using peat based soils, but such soils are not ideal for container plants. Adding grit of any kind to a peat based soil helps a bit, but does not eliminate the problems inherent in a peat based soil.

Here's the "definitive" post on gritty soils if anyone would like to know more. It's a bit long and somewhat technical, but the ability to understand why container soils work the way they do, rather than simply saying such and such worked for me/him/her, is invaluable.

Container Soils - Water Movement and Retention

-Chris

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:28PM
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nomen_nudum

Hear yah charris sad but true them oddles of growers know that it's not the soil thats the problem it's the people who use it if the oddles would offer suggestions then...... well thats how the fights get started.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:33PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

If you keep the organic ingredients like peat, worm castings or compost to under 10% of your mix you will be fine. There is an advantage to having at least some organics in that you extend time between watering a bit and ferts have a place to lodge. Though technically organic, I don't define pine bark here as part of the 10% as the high lignin ratio brings bacterial action almost to a halt making it act closer to an inorganic.

tj

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:52PM
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emee(7)

This cactus mix is already 40-50% pumice or perlite, with bark added. The mix does crumble when I squeeze a handful. It does go thru a 1/8" sieve. Do I still need to add the NAPA #8822? I don't want to mess this up. Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:52AM
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cactusmcharris

Nope, no NAPA necessary.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 2:12PM
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emee(7)

Good! thanks.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:52PM
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