Cocoa Shell & Diatomaceous earth

Mike423

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Has anyone ever tried to use Cocoa shell as an organic component in their soil mix before? I saw some at my local nursery for a good price and was wondering if I should consider giving it a test run.

On another note does anyone know where I can find a place that sells Diatomaceous earth around the Chicago land area? I heard it has great qualities for being used as Bonsai soil similar to turface MPV or Akamada and was thinking about maybe trying a mix free of organic mixing the three. Does anyone else have any experience with using it as well? Kind of back and forth between the questions I know:D
 

RogueFJ

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I've used cocoa shell in my garden beds. They have a nice chocolate smell for a couple of days. When it gets wet sometime it gets compacted and something like a fungus gets attached to the big clumps. I wouldn't recommended for Bonsai use. It's more like a mulch.
 

Mike423

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Yeah I figured that would be the case. I saw it being sold as mulch and have heard a discussion between two club members about it but dont remembered what they said and I didn't feel like researching it:rolleyes:
 

fore

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Hi Mike, cocoa shell/fiber is used in hydroponics, mixed 50/50 with perlite. It's a great media for that.

I too was going to try Diatomaceous earth, you can find it at Napa. Their spill cleaner is 100% Diatomaceous earth and only $8.50/bag. I decided against it as it's kinda small. I have 2 bags I'm not going to use if interested.

I decided to try 1 part turface, 1 part lava, 1 part grit and a bit of charcoal. Haven't decided yet to add say 10% pine mulch. Still working out my lava source.

Good Luck with your soil experiments ;)
Chris
 

Colorado Slim

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I use coco fiber on my tropicals and I've been pleased. I also have some houseplants in it, it's very cheap and a nice alternative to other options if you're somewhat of a tree-hugger because it's throw away materials anyway, as opposed to some things like peat which some have moral objections to using. It does get compacted and the stuff I've used doesn't hold water well, great for my bonsai but terrible for my houseplants.
 

jk_lewis

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Cocoa shell will turn into total mush in a very short time. It is NOT for bonsai, and if you have pets (dogs especially) it is NOT for your yard.
 

alonsou

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I've been using Diatomaceous for a couple of years (same stuff from Napa) about 80% with 10% pine bark and 10% lava rock, and all my bonsai's love it, (I don't own any Pine so I'm not sure on that area) it's cheap and I highly recommended. I plan to move into some "Premium" soil mix once I have something worth the expense, until then, I'm sticking to this one.
 

Mike423

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Hi Mike, cocoa shell/fiber is used in hydroponics, mixed 50/50 with perlite. It's a great media for that.

I too was going to try Diatomaceous earth, you can find it at Napa. Their spill cleaner is 100% Diatomaceous earth and only $8.50/bag. I decided against it as it's kinda small. I have 2 bags I'm not going to use if interested.

I decided to try 1 part turface, 1 part lava, 1 part grit and a bit of charcoal. Haven't decided yet to add say 10% pine mulch. Still working out my lava source.

Good Luck with your soil experiments ;)
Chris


Thanks for the offer, when you say you dont want it because its too small, I'm guessing you are referring to the particle size??
 

PaulH

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Wild critters (and domestic) think cocoa bark smells delicious and will dig up anything planted in it. By the way, why use anything organic in your soil?
 

fore

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Why I'm thinking of adding a touch(pine) or more (maples) of organics is different for each tree. In that pine mulch will help keep a slightly acidic soil , and it's found in nature for the pines. And also should help with the summer heat by keeping the soil sl. more wet during the day. For maples, something like peat? as they prefer a more organic soil, also alike in nature. For example, this spring as an experiment, I took 5" long, "regular" maple (from our front yard) and tried three diff. ways to grow them out: 1. In a pot that had composted soil/very moist all the time, 2. In a pot with Potting soil, and 3. In the ground. The maple in the really organic soil was twice the size as of 2wks ago. I made a bed with manure and such, and planted the first maple in the bed to grow it out. It's grown another third easily in size since then...we've had a bunch of rain here. I can't rule out genetic variability...but it's interesting to observe what works best, and whats just so/so.

Bu like I said, I'm just asking around to what others are using, and "thinking" about what I want to try. I may very well go totally inorganic next spring for pines. But I feel my maples would grow best in a inorg/org. mix. (even the nursery stock maples are in really organic media).
 

Mike423

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I just got done watching the new Japanese maple video by Boon Manakitivipart the other day and for his maples it he was using Diatomaceous, Akadama and Lava rock which from the look of it seemed to be in a 3/1/1 ratio. Even though he is located in California the mix sounds like it would work as a general mix just about anywhere.
 
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Mike423

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Mike I too just re-watched Boons videos yesterday. I think you made a mistake, Boon's Mix is akadama, lava, and pumice, not diatomaceous earth. Here's a link to his soil:
http://bonsaikc.com/bonsai-basics/bonsai-soil/

Thanks to bonsaikc for posting this.

Yep, you caught me, that was it:rolleyes: I guess I confused myself since the two seem so similar. Here's also a good remark he made on the same site regarding soil mixes.

http://bonsaikc.com/interviews-and-reviews/an-interview-with-boon-manakitivipart/boon-on-soil/
 
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fore

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LOL! I'd like at some point to try akadama, when I get closer to having a finished tree.
And Thanks for that link, I somehow missed that.
 

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