Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Post  greenfingers on 9/10/2010, 9:51 pm

This is a photo shot down the barrel of my vintage microscope.It is a carrot root hair tapped into a cavity (water resivor) This explains one of the many reasons vermiculite is a superior medium in Mel's mix.
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Post  Chopper on 9/10/2010, 9:53 pm

Awww. No photo. And I would LOVE to see it.
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Post  greenfingers on 9/11/2010, 3:34 am

This is the photo.Vermiculite Root_h10
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Post  Furbalsmom on 9/11/2010, 11:45 am

Greenfingers, thank you so much for sharing that great picture. It is amazing to see the vermiculite with that root hair.
Vermiculite is hard to find here on the Oregon Coast. The only source I found on the southern/central coast was $44 for 3.2 cu ft. and there was no grade listed on the bag. It looks awfully fine to me.
Even going into the Willamette Valley region of OR, you can find medium, but not coarse, but at least it is a little more reasonable at $19.00 for 2 cu ft. Amazing that even HD and Lowes in our area (within 80 miles) do not sell Vermiculite at all. Must have coarse so we can get that wonderful water reservoir for our plants.
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Post  Aub on 9/11/2010, 6:33 pm

Is the verm. we should use different than what you get in the insulation dept at Menard's? A 3 cu ft bag is less than $15.
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Post  Furbalsmom on 9/11/2010, 11:50 pm

Wish we had Menards here. I loved Menards when I lived in Omaha, NE.
Locally we have the Grange (3.2 cu ft $44.00) , hardware stores and grocery stores and wal-mart that do not sell vermiculite except in 4 qt bags. The coast does not have a lot of options.
If I drive 80 miles, I have Home Depot (perlite only) Lowes (perlite only) Jerrys (2 cu ft $18.99) The Willamette Valley is an agricultural area and I don't understand why there is none available. There must be other sources, but I sure can't find them
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Post  greenfingers on 9/12/2010, 1:30 am

If you google "Why is vermiculite outlawed in Oregon?" will help you understand the reason why.
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Post  Furbalsmom on 9/12/2010, 1:07 pm

Greenfingers. Amazing, there you are in New Zealand, and you were able to come up with this info. I never even thought to check Google like that.
The plant location in Portland is now asbestos free, though the Vermiculite plant is no longer in business. Maybe I will have to go to Washington State and purchase some when I visit my son and new grandson next month. I know Boffer never mentioned a shortage of Vermiculite in his area of WA.
Thanks so much for your input.
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Post  boffer on 9/12/2010, 3:55 pm

I didn't know either that Orgun had restricted sales for a while. In our database, there are several locations in Portland listed, as well as one in Salem.

Come to WA, we'll make sure you go home with a car full of vermiculite!
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Post  LaFee on 9/12/2010, 4:46 pm

What's even more amazing is that this continues to perpetuate itself!

There was a mine in the US producing vermiculite that came from a vein that ran right next to a vein of asbestos. That mine was closed completely back in the 1980s (due to the asbestos), and ALL vermiculite in the US is now certified to be free of asbestos...and has been for at least the last 15 years.

And remember...Mel specifically says that he doesn't use perlite because it makes him sneeze...he never says not to use it, he only says that he doesn't like it!

if it's all you can get...perlite will do just fine.
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Post  PNG_Grandma on 9/12/2010, 8:27 pm

We bought two more bags at OSH today...2 cu.ft bags @ $17.95 each for the coarse stuff. They said they can't keep it in stock. HD only has the fine grade and it's $19.95 for the same size bag here in Modesto, CA. Lowe's doesn't carry it here. The brand we've found at HD was Thermagro but the stuff we got today is Uni-Gro and sold through a nursery supply place in San Bernardino, CA. OSH had their "we pay the sales tax" weekend so we made use of that too...every little bit helps! Now we have some extra Vermiculite for when we need it. I know OSH stores aren't in every location but maybe another store in your area carries the Uni-Gro brand too. Hope this helps! Smile
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Post  greenfingers on 9/14/2010, 4:19 am

Next time you pull the roots of plant out in the SFG take look at the root hairs holding into the vermiculite craters.Here is another photo shot down the barrel of the microscope showing those nooks and crannies in course vermiculite.

Vermiculite Vermic11
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