Al's Gritty Mix - A-1 Grit Size

gynot(9b)May 21, 2012

I just found a thread on making Al's Gritty Mix. I'm calling around getting my supplies together. As far as the "#5" grit from A-1, I found someone that says that they have a 4/5 blend in stock. I believe he said the #4 is a 3/8". Will that do or should I hold out for the #5?

Thanks

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Apartment_Gardner(Z-10/SZ-23)

I'd wait for the #5 personally. I managed to find "crushed granite #5" at:

BOURGET BROS. BUILDING MATERIALS
1636 11th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404
310-450-6556 ext. 221

They have small bags of gypsum there also if you still need to track that item down.

For the fir bark I'd recommend going to Orchard Hardware, they carry "Orchid Bark" in 10 quart bags I believe.

Turface MVP I could only find at Ewing Irrigation...

Best of luck tracking things down!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 1:47PM
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gynot(9b)

Thanks. I believe the place in Ontario said they'd have the #5 in by next week. Santa Monica's a bit far for me, Cucamonga. The other items I tracked down already.

Is there a thread that will tell me exactly how much to mix of each and how to screen etc? I want to do it right the first time.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 1:54PM
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Apartment_Gardner(Z-10/SZ-23)

Re: "Is there a thread that will tell me exactly how much to mix of each and how to screen etc?"

I'm sure there are many others that are just as good, but I happened to have this one bookmarked:

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/contain/msg031028425011.html

It's a 1:1:1 mix, or equal parts by volume, of the granite, Turface, and bark. As for screening, that's covered more in the thread, but I believe you're aiming for a particle size of between 1/4, and ideally 1/8 inch, but 1/16 is acceptable. I was never able to find a 1/8 screen, and screened everything over an aluminum insect screen (1/16) without any real ill effects besides needing to add a wick in my largest pots.

Here's what my last batch ended up looking like:

That said the ratio not an exact formula that you have to follow. Example: I'm trying a mix of 1 part bark, 1 part granite, 2 parts Turface for more water retention in my potted hydrangeas. Once you get the hang of the mix you can try to adjust it to suit your needs, but honestly out of almost 30 different kinds of plants and trees I grow in containers - the hydrangeas were the only ones I felt compelled to mess with the ratio, everything else seems to love the mix. Though one of my orchids is being finicky in it...

Here is a link that might be useful: Al's Gritty Mix -- A Learning Experinece

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 6:41PM
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gynot(9b)

Thanks a lot for the info and link. I'll read through that thread tonight.

Is there anything wrong with having a batch of this made up and ready to go when I need it, say in a green barrel and lid?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 8:36PM
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Apartment_Gardner(Z-10/SZ-23)

Not a problem, but Al's the one to thank. ;)

If you get the chance I recommend reading his posts "Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention" and "Fertilizer Program for Containerized Plants". Both are a wealth of information.

In answer to your question: I would think it'd be fine so long as it's not wet. I keep a few gallons of the gritty mix on hand, and just have them stored in a couple of extra large ziploc bags with no problems. But if you stored it wet I have a feeling you'd be making a giant petri dish for mold. I mention it being wet because it helps keep the bark evenly distributed when mixing everything together; as opposed to in my experience the bark would want to 'float' to the top if all the ingredients were dry.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 11:39PM
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gynot(9b)

Without a doubt I'll read those posts. Thanks.

Understood, will keep a batch dry. I have a feeling I'll be using it quite often.

If someone could guesstimate, how many bags of each would I need to fill a half whiskey barrel accounting for screening?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 12:39PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

Half a whiskey barrel? Are you planning on *ever* needing to move this container? If so then skip the granite. Substitute with some other material that is stable and will not hold water. I use charcoal and perlite - there are other options.

A whiskey barrel is between 30-60 gallons depending on type and etc. So you need ~15-30 gallons of soil. Best case scenario that's 5 gallons of granite. That's 2/3 of a cubic foot which is 1-2 full bags of gran-i-grit (or 50-100 lbs). That's just the granite portion. Add in the weight of the turface and water and you could be looking at nearly 200 lbs best case, 400 lbs worst case.

Of course - your container will never tip over but it won't want to go anywhere when you need it to either.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 3:30PM
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gynot(9b)

redshirtcat,
The Pot/1/2 whiskey barrel that I'm speaking of I picked up at OSH about a year ago. Although they call it a 1/2 whiskey barrel I'm not sure of the gallons. It measures just 24"across x 17" high. See link below. Is that what you were thinking? Once full, no I don't plan on moving it, but seeing as though this is a replant, and going to be emptied before I do so, I may put some heavy duty casters on it.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 7:36PM
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gynot(9b)

Oops, link below

Here is a link that might be useful: Image of Kumquat

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 7:39PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

Oh, that doesn't look so bad. Shrug, if it's me I'd still probably go with charcoal over granite if there's no fear of it tipping over. Where I am it's easier to find, it's lighter, cheaper and in my view all around better. It won't last as long as granite but the bark is the weak component in the gritty mix in any case.

But yeah I have several pots that size with the granite style gritty mix that I move in and out every year - it's doable (though not fun).

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 8:30PM
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