Oh look, another soil thread...

Redwood Ryan

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Hi all,



Sorry sorry sorry for starting another thread about soil. I know the old saying, "ask 5 people a question about soil, you'll get 12 answers." However, I've been doing lots and lots of searching recently on making soil. I've got Turface MVP. Check. I've got Dry-Stall. Check. What I'm having a heck of a time finding is the organic component. My local Lowes and Home Depot have nothing like the "Natures Helper" I've read about.

A few questions:

Would either of these be suitable?

1. http://www.homedepot.com/p/2-cu-ft-Pine-Bark-Mulch-363944/100350635#.Uf7E2pJvM_4
2. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Garden-Pro-Clay-Breaker-2-cu-ft-Soil-Conditioner-CLAY2G/100142173#.Uf7E-ZJvM_4


I would screen them, but that leads me to my next question. What size screen would be required for turface, pumice, and that pine bark? All of my trees are under 2 feet in size. I was thinking window screen would work, but am unsure if that comes in different sizes or not.



So, any somments?
 

Nybonsai12

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The pine bark is likely going to be too big in comparison to the turface. Not sure about the other. Orchid suppliers carry fir bark in smaller sizes if you are willing to order online.
 
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Redwood Ryan

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The pine bark is likely going to be too big in comparison to the turface. Not sure about the other. Orchid suppliers carry fir bark in smaller sizes if you are willing to order online.
Yeah that's what I was kind of afraid of. I'd rather not order online, as I'm already expecting 3 too many packages this week :rolleyes:
 

Beng

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In the past I've gotten mine from NE bonsai. I haven't bought it for a few years so I don't know a price or if they still carry it.
 

Anthony

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Ryan,

the best growth so far, has come from a simple mix of 1/4" wide, 1/8" thick gravel for aquariums from China, [The stuff is painted white with acrylic paint and decays off to normal dark and light gravel. It's rounded. ] and a small quantity of compost.

So little compost is used, it looks like dirt on the white gravel and after a watering, mostly gravel is left on top. The compost is 1/8" and smaller.

Drains easily and after months,continues to drain well and the ficus loves it.
Good Evening.
Anthony
 

Redwood Ryan

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Looks like they still have it

http://www.nebonsai.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=NEBG&Product_Code=BarkMuch&Category_Code=SOIL

You'll still have to sift some of the fines out. My guess is if you have access the same thing can be bought cheaper locally to you.

Thanks! That's what I'm trying to find, something that size. Then there's the question of what size screen would be best.

Soil making is a science.
 

KennedyMarx

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Ryan, I found some pine bark at Lowes labeled as pine bark mini fines (I think) and the brand was called Golden Trophy. Maybe a third of the bag was composed of fines too small to use, but for a five dollar bag of bark I wasn't too concerned.
 

Vance Wood

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Hi all,



Sorry sorry sorry for starting another thread about soil. I know the old saying, "ask 5 people a question about soil, you'll get 12 answers." However, I've been doing lots and lots of searching recently on making soil. I've got Turface MVP. Check. I've got Dry-Stall. Check. What I'm having a heck of a time finding is the organic component. My local Lowes and Home Depot have nothing like the "Natures Helper" I've read about.

A few questions:

Would either of these be suitable?

1. http://www.homedepot.com/p/2-cu-ft-Pine-Bark-Mulch-363944/100350635#.Uf7E2pJvM_4
2. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Garden-Pro-Clay-Breaker-2-cu-ft-Soil-Conditioner-CLAY2G/100142173#.Uf7E-ZJvM_4


I would screen them, but that leads me to my next question. What size screen would be required for turface, pumice, and that pine bark? All of my trees are under 2 feet in size. I was thinking window screen would work, but am unsure if that comes in different sizes or not.



So, any somments?
All you really should be concerned about is sifting the really fine dust out of your soil mix, that will take some really fine window screen.
 

ericN

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Hi Ryan,

Since we both grow indoors, I will share what I use and source. This works well for my indoor growing conditions.

80% 1'4" to 3/8" lava rock which I order from an ebay seller, I ask for the biggest USPS flat rate box to save on shipping.

20 % pine bark that I get from Dallas bonsai garden. They always have discounted price if you get multiple bags.

I use this to mix from 6" shohin to larger trees. After a few years of growing my trees in this mix and aggressive pruning, almost all of my trees have flat root base with fine feeder roots.

Hope that helps.
Eric
 
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Just to add another option, I've been using Lava and turface in roughly equal proportions and mixing in just a bit of long strand orchid sphagnum(~5%-10%). It has worked really well for me since I am able to water once or twice daily. It works well in full sun, but especially well in our indoor environments where we can boost the humidity. Re-potting is a breeze once it is in this mix.
I am still wondering if I could boost the amount of fert I am using since it is relatively inorganic mix. I am using Dyna gro and using 1/2 Ts./gallon every watering.
 

Redwood Ryan

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I'm beginning to gather my resources now, but am still a bit fuzzy on screening. Would window screen work just fine, just to remove the dust?


EDIT: Just went back and looked, Vance said it'll take a really fine window screen to remove the dust. Sounds good to me.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Ran up to a local nursery and found out they sell different kinds of mulch. Opinions on if any of these will work?


1:
20130811_170458.jpg

2:
20130811_170505.jpg

3:
20130811_170522.jpg


(I'm thinking 1 or 3)
 

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Vance Wood

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You need composted Pine bark Mulch. Sold as composted garden mulch. Most of what you have shown will rob the soil of Nitrogen as it has not composted as yet and that process will cause that to happen, depending on who's literature you are reading.
 

Redwood Ryan

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You need composted Pine bark Mulch. Sold as composted garden mulch. Most of what you have shown will rob the soil of Nitrogen as it has not composted as yet and that process will cause that to happen, depending on who's literature you are reading.

That's what I thought, but was getting different opinions from different literature, like you said. Nowhere around me sells composted pine bark mulch that is of much use. Most of the bags are full of nothing but peat, and this getting quite tiresome :(
 

Redwood Ryan

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Also, using a pond basket with teeny tiny holes, I shook some turface and pumice and mixed them together, after hosing the dust off. Still looks rather small, though....

004.jpg
 

Martin Sweeney

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Ryan,

I use uncomposted pine bark in my soil (about equal amounts of turface, pumice, lava and bark). While it is true that the decomposition of the bark will rob some nitrogen from the plant, you will loose far more nitrogen due to watering, especially if you are using water soluble fertilizers.

I use miracle grow and some granular time release chemical fertilizers. I don't see my trees suffering from too little nitrogen. However, I am not using organic fertilizer only. If you are using organics only, you may need to think about adding more fertilizer to your regimen.

Regards,
Martin
 

Vance Wood

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That's what I thought, but was getting different opinions from different literature, like you said. Nowhere around me sells composted pine bark mulch that is of much use. Most of the bags are full of nothing but peat, and this getting quite tiresome :(
Try to find a product called Composted Garden Mulch. This stuff is Pine Bark.
 

Vance Wood

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Also, using a pond basket with teeny tiny holes, I shook some turface and pumice and mixed them together, after hosing the dust off. Still looks rather small, though....

View attachment 39885
This looks fine to me. As long as when you get it wet you cannot pick up a handful of the stuff and squeeze it together into a clump that will not fall apart it's OK.
 

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