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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.

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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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2 - Vermiculite (size/grade) question Toplef102 - Vermiculite (size/grade) question 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.

2 - Vermiculite (size/grade) question I22gcj102 - Vermiculite (size/grade) question 14dhcg10

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Vermiculite (size/grade) question

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Dan in Ct
cherylLun
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Post  cherylLun 9/19/2019, 11:02 am

I have between 80-90 cu ft of mix to put together. I obtained 28 cu ft (7 bags) of vermiculite yesterday which was labeled as #3 coarse.

However, after looking at it, it seems like the particle size is quite small (compared to images I've seen posted). None larger than, let's say, the size of broken pencil leads.

How critical is the size... should I return these and look for another source?

THANKS
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Post  Dan in Ct 9/21/2019, 8:47 am

Hi cherylLun, I think you have the right size or an agricultural grade of vermiculite but there is no standard grade/size chart. I will include a link to a manufacturer that has both perlite and vermiculite in its line. Upon reading they recommend perlite for outdoors but perlite and vermiculite although some of their characteristics are similar have some that different and because of those are used in different applications. It seems everything is all about the app now a days. Here is the link.     http://www.schundler.com/hort-prod.htm    I am in no way endorsing this company or any of its products. I am just making the information at their website available from the horses mouth so to speak.
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Post  sanderson 9/22/2019, 3:45 am

CherylLun, You may have Medium or Fine if the vermiculite is the size of a broken-off piece of #2 pencil lead. Coarse is the best for Mel's Mix. I'll try to take a photo tomorrow of coarse vermiculite in my hand. Meanwhile, contract your supplier to discuss your concern that it is too fine to be coarse. The term "agriculture grade" doesn't mean anything regarding the size.

Grade 3 is what you would want from this company. https://www.uline.com/BL_3801/Vermiculite?keywords=Vermiculite

Or, this product from Amazon with free shipping. https://www.amazon.com/Coarse-Vermiculite-cubic-foot-bag/dp/B015RXB9HW/ref=sr_1_11?crid=1UO5FPJULI21Q&keywords=vermiculite&qid=1569138270&s=gateway&sprefix=vermicu%2Caps%2C202&sr=8-11

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Post  sanderson 9/22/2019, 4:46 am

I just looked at my bag of vermiculite. Therm-o-rock #2 coarse grade. The #3 is medium grade. So you can see the labeling is different for each company, this one being in Arizona.

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Post  donnainzone5 9/22/2019, 12:16 pm

I like U-Line's Grade 4.
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Post  sanderson 9/22/2019, 3:52 pm

@donnainzone5 wrote:I like U-Line's Grade 4.
Can you describe how big are the particles? I've wondered if it would be acceptable to use.

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Post  donnainzone5 9/22/2019, 6:08 pm

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Post  OhioGardener 9/22/2019, 6:30 pm

A.M. Leonard has 4 cu ft Palmetto Vermiculite on sale for $22.48, with a 10% discount on orders over $100 (Code 9C19PW).  They sometimes have free shipping, but they don't have that right now.

https://www.amleo.com/a3-coarse-grade-vermiculite/p/PVA34CF/

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Post  plantoid 9/23/2019, 7:02 am

Don't get too anal & hung up on particle size  ,  it will work well long enough for you to use / make your own quality woody quality compost that keeps the  medium open for air and water . Mad well your compost won't all decay in a year but get consumed by fungi & bacteria over  seven or so years . So long as you keep feeding this sort of compost  when you take out a harvested plant or clear a bed you will " build the soil " so that by year five or six you will have just about the  best soil less growth medium around . 


 You can see I've been doing Mel's Mix  ANSFG since I joined the site ( actually did it for much longer at another home ) , I changed over fully to the totally soil less way two years later IIRC. 


 I've found the vermiculite eventually breaks down from granules into flakes then into a dust like substance , there is now very little recognisable vermiculite granules or flakes in any of my beds . It percolates through the bed every time you turn it over by digging .  This micro particle vermiculite adheres to  every single fibre of decayed vegetable/ plant matter and still has the same effect of stabilizing the moisture and helping to take air in to the area of the fine hair plant roots .
  My beds are 36 inch deep raised beds about 18 inches down the older medium formed a packed pan that allowed water to drain through with ease . Once dug up and put to one side I simply rubbed it between my hands over the top of the same bed for it to start the cycle again .  


Tip 


Rinse off root crops in a bucket of clean water and pour the wash water on the lawn if you have one or better still  put it back over a veg bed so the particles stay in your beds and don't go down the plughole.  It cost you money after all , so why throw it away ? 
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Post  cherylLun 9/23/2019, 8:07 am

@OhioGardener wrote:A.M. Leonard has 4 cu ft Palmetto Vermiculite on sale for $22.48, with a 10% discount on orders over $100 (Code 9C19PW).  They sometimes have free shipping, but they don't have that right now.

https://www.amleo.com/a3-coarse-grade-vermiculite/p/PVA34CF/

That's the product I wanted to get - and found it in Orlando for $18.60/bag (BWI Apopka), but they don't offer delivery, and are only open till 5 M-F. That was a no go for me, unless I wanted to wait several weeks. Went with what I had.

--------------

Thanks for all the input - you guys are a wealth of information!
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