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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Size does matter when it comes to vermiculite Toplef10Size does matter when it comes to vermiculite 1zd3ho10

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.

Size does matter when it comes to vermiculite I22gcj10Size does matter when it comes to vermiculite 14dhcg10

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Size does matter when it comes to vermiculite

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sanderson
dixie
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Size does matter when it comes to vermiculite Empty Size does matter when it comes to vermiculite

Post  dixie 2/6/2019, 11:18 pm

Since starting my SVG gardening adventure several years ago, I have had amazing success.  We redid some beds & added a few more last Spring and could not get Coarse vermiculite & went with what we could find, which was small texture.  Bad decision.  This was the most pitiful garden I have ever had.  I guess we ended up with way too much vermiculite, even with the correct ratio of vermic, compost & sphagnum moss using a shovel to measure. 

We also had a very unusually rainy and cool spring & early summer last year, until the drought came.  

I got no cukes, zucchini or squash, very few tomatoes, finally just pulled my pole beans up & called it quits. 

But this is a new year & I'm praying for better results.  I'll be sowing lettuce, snow peas, leek & onion seeds this next week.

I hope everyone else had a great 2018.
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Post  sanderson 2/7/2019, 2:17 am

Dixie, I have to agree that coarse is better. Over time and activity, it does get broken apart into smaller pieces so starting with large is best.

My oldest beds are 6 years old and I am seriously considering adding 1/2 to 1" of coarse vermiculite to "refresh" the MM. The amount depends on the headroom of each bed. I will use up the medium grade in the MM I use for starting indoor seeds in the spring.

Has anyone else refreshed their older beds with new coarse vermiculite?

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Post  OhioGardener 2/7/2019, 11:53 am

sanderson wrote:
Has anyone else refreshed their older beds with new coarse vermiculite?

I did two beds last fall - I spread a heavy layer of coarse vermiculite (1/2" to 3/4") and a layer of Coir on top of the bed, and then turned it under into the top 6" of the soil before spreading the winter cover crop. These beds had become almost all compost.

I am going to do 3 more beds this spring, but only because I plan to add Biochar to them and figured I might as well refresh the vermiculite and Coir at the same time. A.M. Leonard had free shipping on the 4 cu ft bags of coarse vermiculite a while back, so I stocked up to have enough on hand for this spring's use to add to the beds. When doing things like this is the only time my beds get "tilled", as I prefer both no-til and leaving the old plant roots in the soil when crops are done.

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Post  yolos 2/7/2019, 8:52 pm

Yes, I refresh my beds periodically with Vermiculite but not peat moss.  I hate peat moss.  It dries out and take forever and a day to rehydrate.
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Post  dixie 2/7/2019, 9:44 pm

amen to the peat moss.
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Post  DorothyG 2/10/2019, 10:52 pm

Last week we received a catalog at work from a packaging company called Uline.  They sell vermiculite for packaging and chemical spills.  Their website has pictures of the different sizes of vermiculite that you can buy from them; from super fine to coarse.  They are a wholesaler so don't know if individuals can order from them or not.
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Post  dixie 2/11/2019, 3:17 pm

Uline does sell to the public.  Thanks for the info.  I can usually find coarse locally, but last year they didn't have it.
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Post  sanderson 2/11/2019, 4:54 pm

I looks like Uline sells to the public at a minimum order of two 4-cu ft bags. I didn't check the shipping costs.

The place I normally buy vermiculite at $45 per 4 cu. ft. was out of coarse. Today, I finally found some local coarse at $27 per 2 cu ft bags. Not too bad for California. It will amend 48 sq ft at 1" thick per square.

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Post  OhioGardener 2/11/2019, 5:08 pm

sanderson wrote:The place I normally buy vermiculite at $45 per 4 cu. ft. was out of coarse.  Today, I finally found some local coarse at $27 per 2 cu ft bags.  Not too bad for California.  It will amend 48 sq ft at 1"  thick per square.

That is interesting, Sanderson.  A.M. Leonard - a local company where I buy mine - has the 4 cu ft bags for $22.99.  I checked their shipping costs for 2 bags to my son's address in California City, CA, and for 2 bags the shipping is $39.99.  So, 2 bags @ $22.99 plus shipping at $39.99 would total $85.97, which is $4.00 cheaper that your cost local.  With their current 10% off code, it brings the cost of 2 bags with shipping down to  $81.37, which isn't much but every little bit helps....

A.M. Leonard Coarse Vermiculite


I checked on shipping of 2 bags to the same address from Uline, and their cost isn't to different.  Their 4 cu ft bags are $35.00 each, and shipping for 2 bags to California City is $23.50.  So, 2 bags @ $35.00 plus shipping at $23.50 would $93.50.

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Post  sanderson 2/11/2019, 5:29 pm

OG, thank you for the info. I'm 200 miles from CA City so I would expect a bit more shipping costs. I feel I have to buy the two bags I had set aside for me, but will definitely keep these 2 shipping sources in mind. Very Happy

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Post  Davard 2/11/2019, 6:40 pm

I'm new here, having just discovered SFG (I came across Mel's Mix last year when I was looking for what to use to fill my terraces, which are deep boxes: 42" x 36" x 12-15" deep, but the author didn't mention SFG). 

I found on my Google search that Wally world sells 4 cu.ft. bags for $38 + $6 shipping here in KS, but the company that actually sells it, Greenhouse Megastore, actually sells the same bag for $25 + $11 shipping + tax(?). They have two locations, one in IL and one in CA (Sacramento). 

I wound up using "topsoil" from the city green recycling center (mostly silt and wood fines) with peat moss, perlite, cow compost, my compost, and a shovelful of native clay per wheelbarrow. The topsoil was $17 for ~2 cu.yds.
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Post  sanderson 2/20/2019, 4:05 pm

I finally bought the 2 bags of coarse vermiculite and topped off a fewl beds with 1 inch before the rain.  I just turned under 4 of the squares and I feel it refreshed the older Mel's Mix, making it lighter.  I hope it holds water better this summer. Size does matter when it comes to vermiculite Vermic10

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