Square Foot Gardening Forum

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.


Search
 
 

Display results as :
 

 


Rechercher Advanced Search

Latest topics
» Butterfly Junction
by countrynaturals Today at 10:46 pm

» Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?
by countrynaturals Today at 10:43 pm

» CANADIAN REGION: What are you doing December 2016
by trolleydriver Today at 10:30 pm

» Garbanzo (Chickpeas, Cicer arietinum) and Kidney Beans
by Scorpio Rising Today at 9:52 pm

» What are you eating from your garden today?
by Scorpio Rising Today at 9:43 pm

» Second Year SFG in Canada
by trolleydriver Today at 9:41 pm

» N&C Midwest: December 2016
by Scorpio Rising Today at 9:18 pm

» CHALLENGE - Smallest possible footprint
by Kelejan Today at 5:19 pm

» TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer
by trolleydriver Today at 4:51 pm

» GF Collard Greens, Kale Recipes
by BeetlesPerSqFt Today at 12:49 pm

» 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga
by sanderson Today at 11:48 am

» Holy snow Batman!
by llama momma Yesterday at 4:52 pm

» Tomato Tuesday 2016
by llama momma Yesterday at 4:35 pm

» New England, December 2016
by CapeCoddess Yesterday at 3:27 pm

» Bon fires on the Levee
by Cajun Cappy Yesterday at 12:17 pm

» Mid-South: December 2016
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:26 pm

» Mid-Atl - Dec 2016 - Seed Catalog ?
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:24 pm

» Gardening in Central Pennsylvania
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:21 pm

» 1st Seed Catalog Arrived :)
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:15 pm

» Amaranth
by countrynaturals 12/5/2016, 12:06 pm

» Garlic: Freeze, thaw, and heave
by donnainzone5 12/5/2016, 11:14 am

» Live and learn
by jimmy cee 12/5/2016, 9:08 am

» AtlantaMarie's Garden
by countrynaturals 12/4/2016, 2:04 pm

» Mychorrhizae Fungi
by audrey.jeanne.roberts 12/4/2016, 1:28 pm

» December 2016 Avatar: Show your Winter Season Colors!
by Scorpio Rising 12/3/2016, 11:17 pm

» SFG not giving the results I expected
by No_Such_Reality 12/3/2016, 7:21 pm

» New Member
by trolleydriver 12/3/2016, 4:14 pm

» First season SFG results / lessons learned
by countrynaturals 12/3/2016, 10:36 am

» Eat Broccoli Leaves? Brussels Sprouts? Cauliflower?
by sanderson 12/3/2016, 2:55 am

» Winter's Coming!
by sanderson 12/3/2016, 2:53 am

Google

Search SFG Forum

Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Page 3 of 5 Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  plantoid on 8/30/2012, 12:12 pm

I think the vermiculite is a bye product from a type of silica that has been heated to release silicone oil if so , in a way it would perhaps be more environmentally friendly than some clay that has been fired for several hours just to crush it up for garden use. But it would most likley have a much longer life that vermiculite which will break down into a fine talcum powder type product over a few dozen years of being in a cultivated garden bed.

plantoid

Male Posts : 3636
Join date : 2011-11-09
Age : 65

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  Turan on 8/30/2012, 12:33 pm

@plantoid wrote:
@Turan wrote:In my buckets of orphan tomato plants this year I started with 100% my compost. It bloated like a sponge with water and would not drain and got stagnate like mini swamps. So I mixed in about 25% sand maybe less. That took care of that.

In many of these alternative situations Mels old book is better suited.

I overcame that state by using florist shop buckets etc and putting a 3/4 inch hole about 1 1/2 inches uop the side of the bucket and watered less after the inital big soaking ..
I've got some decent tomatoes & capsicums coming along .

I did that too. I shudder to think what my hubby would say if he had seen me drilling 1cm holes through the plastic tree pots into that muck. After getting all his tools slimy I washed them and baked them to get them really dried out... So far the drill continues to work and no one is the wiser.
Then it did not work so I had to dump the pots and mix in the sand. That did work and I have tomatoes on those plants.

I think as in all things that 'compost' is quite variable in how much water it holds etc. So if it needs help draining, or help holding moisture is dependant on each particular composts characterizations. What is used in those instances is going to have its own sets of characteristics as well. And those variables are then in need of compensating for in some manner or other.


____________________________

Find more about Weather in Belgrade, MT
Click for weather forecast

Turan

Female Posts : 1999
Join date : 2012-03-29
Location : Gallatin Valley, Montana, Intermountain zone 4

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  Turan on 8/30/2012, 12:48 pm

@plantoid wrote:I think the vermiculite is a bye product from a type of silica that has been heated to release silicone oil if so , in a way it would perhaps be more environmentally friendly than some clay that has been fired for several hours just to crush it up for garden use. But it would most likley have a much longer life that vermiculite which will break down into a fine talcum powder type product over a few dozen years of being in a cultivated garden bed.

They are all made by firing some sort of rock substance. Clay is more broadly availabe (but clay is a huge term and maybe they use only a narrow type of it......) than the mica for vermiculite. But which actually uses more energy to produce through the mining/firing process? That I have no real idea of.

____________________________

Find more about Weather in Belgrade, MT
Click for weather forecast

Turan

Female Posts : 1999
Join date : 2012-03-29
Location : Gallatin Valley, Montana, Intermountain zone 4

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  floyd1440 on 8/30/2012, 8:36 pm

@CharlesB wrote:Floyd, did you realise you are posting in the "Non-SFG Gardening discussion" forum?

People are here talking about the principles of good gardening and how to implement them in different ways based on the resources available and desired outcomes.

Actually Charles I did not know this was a "Non-SFG garden thread" yet I must point out that the title at the top of the page is the official SFG forum so this minor conflict to some may confuse those who want to adapt to Mel's method. Put yourself in a "newbie's" shoes who read mel's book, got to this forum for help or questions on Mel's method yet people are mentioning replacing peat moss and vermiculite with other substances?

I went back to the first page and someone was concerned about the impact of the enviromental impact of obtaining these material but they fail to take into consideration the enviromental damage they inflict with the products they are comfortable in using to use on a daily basis.

Bottomline before you take the talk; walk the walk.......

Non-SFG discussion is allowed in this forum (hence the title).

floyd1440

Male Posts : 795
Join date : 2011-06-21
Age : 62
Location : Washington, Pa. Zone 6a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  Daniel9999 on 8/30/2012, 9:36 pm

@Turan wrote:
@plantoid wrote:
Another thing that might be of some use is broken ground up biscuit fired clay like the old red plant pots used to be made of or old broken up very porous red bricks.

Did you see the post made about Turface?
"Turface is a porous ceramic soil conditioner which lends itself to many uses. Resembling crushed terra cotta, its unique ability to absorb moisture and prevent compaction puts it in a league of its own."
http://www.protimelawnseed.com/pages/turface

O, and Haydite. Similar product made from shale. http://www.hpbhaydite.com/land_uses/nursery_uses.html

I am just guessing here.... but doesn't clay that is fired and made porous seem more enviromentaly friendly than vermiculite and perlite? I wonder, not knowing enough about the processes used. But I do know clay is more broadly available and that the grade would be determined by the manufacturing rather than the place of origin.

There are actually quite a few products like that that could possibly substitute for vermiculite.....however they all are at least difficult to obtain as vermiculite is an therefore and just as unavailable in poorer nations.

They also are usually just as expensive as vermiculite is if not more so.

They will not work as viable third world substitutes to vermiculite the OP is looking for.

In the Third World Parboiled Rice Hulls would probably be your bet.

Daniel9999

Posts : 244
Join date : 2012-03-10
Location : Oregon

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  bwaynef on 8/31/2012, 8:18 am

They also are usually just as expensive as vermiculite is if not more so.
I can get haydite by the truckload for about $50 if memory serves.

Also, to my interpretation, any mention of 3rd world in the original post was more to do with budget than any intent to head to a different continent. She's trying to help moms in a housing project ...presumably in/near Sacramento.

bwaynef

Posts : 128
Join date : 2012-03-18
Location : Clemson SC, zone 7b-8a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  CapeCoddess on 8/31/2012, 1:37 pm

@bwaynef wrote:
I can get haydite by the truckload for about $50 if memory serves.


That's a great price. I'm researching haydite now but so far have only found small bags for bonsai.

But at hpbhaydite.com I found this discription:
Haydite’s porous micro-surface texture and interior porous structure resist clogging and provides superior aeration that promotes growth of delicate, fine root systems. Problems of soil compaction are significantly reduced when Haydite is properly proportioned within the soil. The soil remains resilient because moisture and air movement are not restricted. Haydite provides the optimum condition for fast, healthy plant growth.

Grow Stronger Roots - Haydite reduces compaction that leads to a shallow root zone and poor water infiltration. Haydite has a porous structure and strong particle integrity. When incorporated into the soil, Haydite provides needed porosity and air space to the root zone.

Increase Water Use Efficiency - Haydite absorbs water and nutrients allowing for less run off. Water and nutrients are held by each particle and are slowly released back into the soil and root zone, as needed, promoting healthier root growth.

I'll keep looking for larger quantities.

CC

CapeCoddess

Posts : 5374
Join date : 2012-05-20
Age : 60
Location : elbow of the Cape, MA, Zone 6b/7a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  Daniel9999 on 8/31/2012, 2:42 pm

@bwaynef wrote:
They also are usually just as expensive as vermiculite is if not more so.
I can get haydite by the truckload for about $50 if memory serves.

Also, to my interpretation, any mention of 3rd world in the original post was more to do with budget than any intent to head to a different continent. She's trying to help moms in a housing project ...presumably in/near Sacramento.

Its definitely possible to find haydite that cheap if lucky enough live in the right area.....but that is also true of vermiculite.

Usually haydite sells for much much more than that. You commonly find it around $129-$78 dollars per cubic yard.

Common haydite prices.

http://www.kcmulch.com/products-page/decorative-gravels/

http://www.greencycleindy.com/store/

https://www.landscapemulch.com/pricelist/PriceList.pdf

Daniel9999

Posts : 244
Join date : 2012-03-10
Location : Oregon

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  bwaynef on 8/31/2012, 2:48 pm

Truth be told, I've never bought it in that quantity, but I deal regularly with someone that does. The problem is finding a source nearby, and negotiating delivery.

Also, careful comparing haydite's properties as used in bonsai soil to mixing it into Mel's Mix. Bonsai soil is necessarily very open. Its a polarizing topic, but many of the best collections are in completely inorganic soils that are the texture/consistency of kitty litter (unused of course!). One of the best reads pertaining to the difference in growing a plant in a container and growing in-ground: http://evergreengardenworks.com/earthpot.htm . <-- Its written from a bonsai PoV but you ought to be able to glean useful info from that. (Its entirely possible that this won't be interesting to you and I've gone on way to long about it already.)

bwaynef

Posts : 128
Join date : 2012-03-18
Location : Clemson SC, zone 7b-8a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  Damon on 8/31/2012, 7:12 pm

Honestly greenhouse growers have the unique perspective on this. They have raised beds and container gardens that need a variety of textures and such. Often you'll see them use a combination of sand, vermiculite and perlite. They achieve really awesome results.

Damon

Male Posts : 57
Join date : 2012-04-25
Location : Alabama

View user profile http://www.greenhorngardening.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  floyd1440 on 9/1/2012, 7:54 am

@plantoid wrote:I think the vermiculite is a bye product from a type of silica that has been heated to release silicone oil if so , in a way it would perhaps be more environmentally friendly than some clay that has been fired for several hours just to crush it up for garden use. But it would most likley have a much longer life that vermiculite which will break down into a fine talcum powder type product over a few dozen years of being in a cultivated garden bed.

The only way to determine if haydite would last longer than vermiculite is to have a "contolled garden" with haydite in one and vermiculite in the other and this will take time to determine.
Next haydite is a "mined" product that some on this non SFG thread are concerned about.

http://www.hpbhaydite.com/haydite/haydite.html

Now I have to do some checking next week with one of my vendors as we do use a masonary product that is very light and the employees love to use as to if it is made with haydite.

Since it is used in nurseries I am sure it will be readily available at Agway when I stop there this morning..Wonder if it comes in 2,3,4 cu ft bags?

floyd1440

Male Posts : 795
Join date : 2011-06-21
Age : 62
Location : Washington, Pa. Zone 6a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  plantoid on 9/1/2012, 5:35 pm

Had a quick read in the link , the only problem I see is that the Haydlite will is likely be a bit gritty like coarse pummice .
I wonder pound for pound wah the differences of water absorbtion and retention will be betweeen vermiculite and Haydlite
The process of high bheat making the clay give up gasses and leaving a sponge is similiar to the effect when liquid coal is blown into the furnaces of a powerstation and the resutant vitrified fly ash sponge is like a clean smooth sand that holds water & air .

Where I use to live , many thousands of houses have been built on old excavated clay pits that have been filled in with pure fly ash it does not degrade , it is so strong it can hold many thousand of pounds of buildings up without any subsidence.
It is also apparently also used in a sort of brickmaking /construction thermal insulation block and concrete.

plantoid

Male Posts : 3636
Join date : 2011-11-09
Age : 65

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  floyd1440 on 9/1/2012, 6:31 pm

Well I checked at my local farm supply stores and none have heard of haydite. Agway was kind enough, since they were slow, to call all the nurseries they sell to and none have heard of that product either; however they do sell a lot of medium grade vermiculite.

It will be next week before I can get the warehouse to check with the old vendor who used to supply us with that like block as we do not use it any more due to the failure rate caused by pressure. We tried stacking them flat but then they were no longer cost competitive; not even close.

floyd1440

Male Posts : 795
Join date : 2011-06-21
Age : 62
Location : Washington, Pa. Zone 6a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  thegreatcob on 9/1/2012, 7:59 pm

as for using sand in square foot i would limit it to low level for drainage only.

thegreatcob

Posts : 52
Join date : 2012-08-23
Location : usa

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  Damon on 9/2/2012, 8:26 am

@thegreatcob wrote:as for using sand in square foot i would limit it to low level for drainage only.

I agree. Although I have a more traditional garden, I've found that course "fill" sand is better than that super-fine mason sand.

Damon

Male Posts : 57
Join date : 2012-04-25
Location : Alabama

View user profile http://www.greenhorngardening.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  Turan on 9/2/2012, 2:15 pm

@Damon wrote:
@thegreatcob wrote:as for using sand in square foot i would limit it to low level for drainage only.

I agree. Although I have a more traditional garden, I've found that course "fill" sand is better than that super-fine mason sand.

Carrots and other root crops like a sandier mix. My sand is pretty coarse, I get bags of traction sand each fall for the trucks and each spring I spread them over the garden. They do what I need by loosening up compost based soil and adding trace amounts of mineral over time. The raised bed increases the drainage and warms faster in the spring. Too much sand would make a bed that drains too quickly. I have much less than 30% in my mix, closer to 5% I suspect (a bag of traction sand is about 1 cubic feet and my garden is 200+ sqf and I have added maybe 12 bags over the years) and feel I could use double the amount of sand easily but in no hurry unless a sand pile appears in the night.
I doubt that one needs agonize over grade too much in the garden. If the garden's compost needs loosening then mix a little sand in, add more if necessary. Various composts have a broad range of characteristics plus those of the sand. Like making a pie dough, add just enough water for the flour/butter mix to gain the right feel.

____________________________

Find more about Weather in Belgrade, MT
Click for weather forecast

Turan

Female Posts : 1999
Join date : 2012-03-29
Location : Gallatin Valley, Montana, Intermountain zone 4

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  Daniel9999 on 9/6/2012, 10:36 pm

For sand you might wanna look into something like greensand. You get all the drainage of regular sand plus some trace elements like you do with rock dust.

Other sand types like lava sand are supposed to to be good for adding trace element as well.

I have been looking at a blended sand product called Volcanite lately...its a mix of lava sand greensand basalt sand granite sand and zeolite.

It be nice to get an ingredient that does double duty in the garden and that provides more than just drainage.

Daniel9999

Posts : 244
Join date : 2012-03-10
Location : Oregon

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  Damon on 9/7/2012, 8:34 pm

I use both: greensand for the fertilizer, plain sand for soil structure.

I mean really there is no either/or with gardening. It's usually both/and. I don't see why so many are up in arms over using something other than vermiculite and peat moss.

Damon

Male Posts : 57
Join date : 2012-04-25
Location : Alabama

View user profile http://www.greenhorngardening.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  RoOsTeR on 9/7/2012, 8:46 pm

It's not that we're up in arms, but this is the Official Square Foot Gardening Forum, so of course our mission here is to support the method as layed out by Mel.
If you can come up with proven improvements to the method, I'm sure Mel and the foundation would love hear from you.
Also, when you received the message that you didn't have authorization, it was because the topic was reported by other users. When that happens, the topic is placed in another area for review.
Damon, by all means have a pod cast, but do it on your own site. That's not what this forum is here for.

____________________________


I am my gardens worst enemy.

RoOsTeR

Forum Administrator

Male Posts : 3879
Join date : 2011-10-04

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  Damon on 9/7/2012, 9:52 pm

Okay, great! Thanks. Although I do ask this is the Non-Squarefoot Gardening section, right? So the mission of the Non-Squarefoot Gardening forum is to only to support the Squarefoot Gardening method laid out by Mel? Is this logical?

(Agreed, the podcast episode would be only posted on my Web site.)

Damon

Male Posts : 57
Join date : 2012-04-25
Location : Alabama

View user profile http://www.greenhorngardening.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  RoOsTeR on 9/7/2012, 10:11 pm

The point of the Non SFG forum is to discuss other forms of gardening, not how you can adulterate the SFG method.

____________________________


I am my gardens worst enemy.

RoOsTeR

Forum Administrator

Male Posts : 3879
Join date : 2011-10-04

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  Damon on 9/7/2012, 10:51 pm

I apologize for the negative and non-supportive comments.

Has anyone heard of biochar? I wonder if that might be an alternative; although it seems it could throw the balance of potassium way off in the long run.

NOTE: The link is a wikipedia article.

Damon

Male Posts : 57
Join date : 2012-04-25
Location : Alabama

View user profile http://www.greenhorngardening.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  walshevak on 9/7/2012, 11:38 pm

In the Philippines where peat and vermiculite are not available, the locals mix rice hulls with their compost to lighten up the soil. BUT, they do what is called carbonizing. Basically, they roast the rice hulls over a charcoal pit until just before they catch on fire, like roasting coffee. This turns the hulls a nice chocolate brown.

Kay

____________________________

A WEED IS A FLOWER GROWING IN THE WRONG PLACE
Elizabeth City, NC
Find more about Weather in Elizabeth City, NC
Click for weather forecast

walshevak

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 4310
Join date : 2010-10-17
Age : 73
Location : wilmington, nc zone 8

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  southern gardener on 9/8/2012, 12:15 am

@walshevak wrote:In the Philippines where peat and vermiculite are not available, the locals mix rice hulls with their compost to lighten up the soil. BUT, they do what is called carbonizing. Basically, they roast the rice hulls over a charcoal pit until just before they catch on fire, like roasting coffee. This turns the hulls a nice chocolate brown.

Kay

There appears to be rice hulls in my pre made MM. They don't seem to do much? They don't hold moisture, and I'm not sure if they add any nutrition. Do they work well in the Philippines?

southern gardener

Posts : 1887
Join date : 2011-06-21
Age : 36
Location : california, zone 10a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  walshevak on 9/8/2012, 2:16 am

They seem to do the same thing that vermiculite does. sorta keep the mix lighter and fluffy. They do add nutrition. The orgainic teacher there had some good lettuce.

Kay

____________________________

A WEED IS A FLOWER GROWING IN THE WRONG PLACE
Elizabeth City, NC
Find more about Weather in Elizabeth City, NC
Click for weather forecast

walshevak

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 4310
Join date : 2010-10-17
Age : 73
Location : wilmington, nc zone 8

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Let's Work Together to Chart Alternatives to Vermiculite and Peat Moss

Post  Sponsored content Today at 11:06 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 3 of 5 Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum