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pumice instead of vermiculite

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pumice instead of vermiculite

Post  jevans on 4/1/2012, 7:20 pm

Hello I'm new to the square ft. qarden idea. I have 4x8 raised beds 1 ft. deep and I'm broke. If I use pumice instead of vermiculite, could I add more peat moss or a cheaper amendment that holds water and still have an acceptable mels mix? Thanks

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Re: pumice instead of vermiculite

Post  littlejo on 4/1/2012, 7:40 pm

Isn't pumice a type of stone?

If money is an issue, adding more compost in place of the vermiculite is acceptable, it's done overseas where they cannot get the vermiculite, but, adding more peat moss would make the garden too acidic.

Jo

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Re: pumice instead of vermiculite

Post  camprn on 4/1/2012, 8:28 pm

J welcome to the forum.
Pumice is not a recommended additive to the recipe of Mel's mix. Peat moss has no nutritious value so adding more of it will not feed your plants. More and different kinds of compost are what you need. Check your local area for farms with different animals, cows, goats, bunnies, llamas, horses. Maybe they will sell a bag or two of composted manure on the cheap.

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outside looking in

Post  jevans on 4/1/2012, 8:56 pm

I've already added the pumice mabey as much as potting soil with lots of peat and compost. Mabey I'll take some out and add some vermiculite. I can't afford a third but some has got to be better than none. Thanks for the quick replys, surprised and gratefull

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Re: pumice instead of vermiculite

Post  camprn on 4/1/2012, 9:06 pm

J i suggest you track down and read the All New Square Foot Gardening book (2006). The library may have a copy.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: pumice instead of vermiculite

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/2/2012, 2:28 am

@jevans wrote:Hello I'm new to the square ft. qarden idea. I have 4x8 raised beds 1 ft. deep and I'm broke. If I use pumice instead of vermiculite, could I add more peat moss or a cheaper amendment that holds water and still have an acceptable mels mix? Thanks

glad you\'re here
Pumice is great stuff...if you are trying to aerate compressed dirt or clay. But water retention isn't one of its qualities. I use it to loosen my clay soil beds at home.

Peat moss is terrific too...if you want to aerate soil, increase moisture retention, and acidify your soil a bit. Down here, we don't get your rain, so our soils are naturally alkaline. Mel does use it as part of his mix to add to the crumbly texture.

You might compare the cost of perlite. He talks about it on ppg 99-100.

In areas that can't find the MM ingredients, he recommends using compost. In other countries, he shows them how to make their own compost.

You'll find a balance between your goals and your budget! You definitely have an airy mix!

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Re: pumice instead of vermiculite

Post  shannon1 on 4/2/2012, 2:45 am

@littlejo wrote:Isn't pumice a type of stone?

If money is an issue, adding more compost in place of the vermiculite is acceptable, it's done overseas where they cannot get the vermiculite, but, adding more peat moss would make the garden too acidic.

Jo
+1 and compost will add more nutrients as well.

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Re: pumice instead of vermiculite

Post  jevans on 4/2/2012, 1:04 pm

Thanks Avid gardener, I thought pumice was good too. To add air and it has some moisture holding and nutrient capabilities. Vermiculite holds much more moisture. I have (3) 4x8 raised beds 12" deep. to add about 10 cubic ft. of vermiculite to each would cost about $200. If I added four cubic ft. instead It should still have much better than average results right? If I did spend the $200. on vermiculte how long will that last before I need to add more. Thanks

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Re: pumice instead of vermiculite

Post  H_TX_2 on 4/2/2012, 1:18 pm

You will never need to add additional vermiculite. It stays in the bed and does not get used up. My firs year I couldn't find vermiculite so I used peat and compost and the garden did okay. If you can add some now then do it and add more next year to spreads out the costs.

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Re: pumice instead of vermiculite

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/2/2012, 3:26 pm

@jevans wrote:I have (3) 4x8 raised beds 12" deep. to add about 10 cubic ft. of vermiculite to each would cost about $200. If I added four cubic ft. instead It should still have much better than average results right? If I did spend the $200. on vermiculte how long will that last before I need to add more. Thanks

Remember your Mel's Mix only needs to be 6 inches deep, so if you take 4 cu ft to each bed and mix it into just the top six inches of the three beds, you will be close to 25% (still short of 33% but close)

Vermiculite does not need to be replaced each year, just add more compost each year.

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Re: pumice instead of vermiculite

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/2/2012, 6:03 pm

Jevans, I just caught that you are a new member on the forum.



We sure are glad you are here. In which region of Oregon are you? I am on the Southern Oregon Coast and my growing season (frost free) though longer than most, is so darn cool that I can't get good tomatoes to save my soul.

You can get a lot of information about veggie varieties that do well in the various Oregon Regions from the Oregon State University Extension Service. Check this link >>> RECOMMENDED VARIETIES FOR OREGON

Please feel free to ask questions, and be sure to check out the topics that are especially useful for newbies. They are located on the Home Page, left side, and hover over the notches.

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Re: pumice instead of vermiculite

Post  jevans on 4/2/2012, 11:30 pm

Furbalsmom,

thanks for the post. I'm in Eugene springfield area. I'm happy to have found this forum. I look forward to creating record harvasts for me and the fam. Sorry to hear about the difficulty with tommatoes. I usually do well with them; however, peppers, well that's another story.Very Happy

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Re: pumice instead of vermiculite

Post  Icemaiden on 4/28/2012, 9:10 am

Hi
I used 1/3 of pumice in my beds because I can't get anything else here. Pumice probably varies a lot but the sort I have does retain quite a lot of water, though not as much as vermiculite.
If you can get vermiculite then I think you should, it is much better. I'm thinking of posting myself some next time I am on holiday in the UK Smile

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