TOPIC: soil experiment

Re: soil experiment 6 years 6 months ago #1271

Pinkham you must be careful of using potting soil alone.. I thought it was alright till i recently saw my leaves on my acacia looking bad. The reason was because it was not draining enough. Also, when i repotted the acacia i noticed maggot like worms in the soil and my cousin said that he's had those before too and its because of not enough drainage and poor nutrients in the soil. Those worms eat roots. Im not sure about the potting soil in the US but rather make your own soil mix using fine gravel, wood chips and a bit of potting soil. I had the ratio and recipe but i had to give the book it was in back to my cousin.
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Re: soil experiment 6 years 6 months ago #1272

hein wrote: Sorry if I am imposing here on your thread.

I've read a lot of times where people use mushroom compost. If I mix that with some course gravel, will the bonsais be able to live from that.


On another forum a guy mixes mushroom compost, potting soil, perlite and coco peat.


Not sure about the mushroom compost but my cousin uses palm tree peat in his mixture and his trees are thriving
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Re: soil experiment 6 years 6 months ago #1273

I won't put my trees in small pots with soil alone.It doesn't drain fast enough and it retains too mush moisture. this was just an experiment to see how each one would grow. when the trees are ready to go in to training pots I'll use diatomaceous earth(napa oil dry) and some organic mix.
Napa oil dry is a very good substitute for Akadama. It's far cheaper and holds up better.
there are TONS of soil recipes online and everyone seems to think theirs is the best. My advice to you is experiment and use what works best.
I must say, you are lucky to have a group of enthusiasts around you. I live in Maine and don't know any one with experience.
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Re: soil experiment 6 years 6 months ago #1278

Hi Lance! :cheer:

Gee it's good to hear from you...I thought maybe you'd fallen in a hole some where and just...disappeared! Whew! Glad you're still with us!

I am extremely interested in this experiement and using cat litter in place of akadama. Any bonsai supply store is quite a trek from where I live and I'm finding it quite frustrating; until I can get some supplies to work with, there's not much I can do with my plants. Also, if the cat litter is actually better than the Akadama, that would sure help me as I'm on a pension and every penny counts. The "diatomaceous earth (napa oil dry)" you speak of, is it actually "cat litter"? If you have anymore info or links to share so I can learn more about the cat litter thing, I'd very much appreciate it if you could pass them on...please?

Although I just joined a Bonsai Club which is close to an hour's drive away, it is a small group of about 15 with an average of 10 people coming out to the summer weekly get togethers. I've only been to two of the backyard get-togethers so far however, I'm feeling quite frustrated because a) they don't have the supplies I need like soil and training pots and, b) I'm not getting the help I need. There is one person I know of who lives in my city who practices bonsai. I spoke to him breifly on the phone once and he belongs to a much larger bonsai club even further away than the one I belong to. I didn't get any suggestions or offers from him to get together to talk bonsai sooo...I can really relate to your feeling of isolation. I need guidance and I'm just not getting it. :( Other than being isolated, I hope all is well with you.

Leslie
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Re: soil experiment 6 years 6 months ago #1291

Hey Leslie,
Everything I have read says that diatomaceous earth works as well if not better than akadama. Its far cheaper. Napa oil dry is about $8.00 a bag, akadama is $30.00+. Read the back if it doesn't say it's diatomaceous earth, don't buy it. It will turn in to clay. as we know that isn't good for any tree.
I have a suggestion concerning your club...stay with me.
picture this....Brewer Maine, 2011....
I found a local nursery that sells bonsai supplies.(urban garden center) They answer questions..and ask some too. What I think I'm going to do is ask if I can put up a sign to wrangle up a few more enthusiasts to start a club here. A club where people can come to share their experience and ask questions without fear of judgment. Since the club in my area isn't active I think there may be a few interested people floating around. You may want to call nurseries and see if anyone around sells bonsai supplies and do the same thing :)
I'm sure there are people in your area that are in the same situation as you.
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Re: soil experiment 6 years 6 months ago #1295

Thank you so much, Lance.

Is there any nutrient value in akadama and in the diatomaceous earth or is it just for drainage purposes?

Your idea for wrangling up some enthusiasts is a great one. Unfortuntely, I've checked around at various local nurseries and no one sells bonsai supplies. There is one garden centre who had a couple of Juniper bonsai trees and Home Depot gets them in from time to time however, they do not sell any other bonsai supplies and they know nothing about bonsai.

However, I may be able to post a sign at the one nursery that I deal with (and trust) as we have chatted about bonsai. I will ask her, if I am able to gather enough enthusiasts to create a club, would they (the family) consider carrying bonsai supplies. I will also drop in to speak to the fellow (that I mentioned previously) who owns a shop in town to see if he would be interested in helping. It might even be worth putting a small add in one of the local papers and in a free, local, online buy & sell site.

So...are we doing this together?!! :woohoo: Thanks so much for your help and inspiration!
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Re: soil experiment 6 years 5 months ago #1852

For anyone interested...

I finally found a product that is 100% Diatomatious Earth! I live in South/Central Ontario, CANADA so anyone living in Canada and maybe even the US of A, here's the scoop:

The product if called "UltrSorb" made by Moltan Company; product # 8818; for info. go to < www.moltan.com >. It's fairly light-weight and I purchased a 15 lb./6.80 kg bag for $13.89 CAN. at a CarQuest Auto Parts store. Yahoo! :woohoo: I'm so excited!

Previously I had searched several brands of cat litter and found one that was a mixture of diatomatious earth and clay. After testing it by soaking in water for 48 hours, I was able to squish the clay between my thumb and forefinger. Test results: no good...the clay is not stable.

Hope this information is useful to someone. ;)
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Re: soil experiment 6 years 5 months ago #1874

Interesting Experiment will be watching to see how it goes.

For my trees in training pots I am using a mixture of eco-traction, www.ecotraction.com/ a bit of soil, and a bit of beach sand, - not the kind that is fine, but the kind that settles on the edge of the shore small pebbles about 2 - 3 mm in diameter.

So far it is the best mixture I have come up with, this fall I purchased some Akadame and have included it in a pot for a white pine I purchased so far so good.
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Re: soil experiment 6 years 5 months ago #1880

Hi Artmyth,

Welcome to the forum! So glad you could join us! :cheer:

Wow! That Ecotraction sounds like a miracle product. I read and watched all the videos on product information. I've sent in a question asking if it is safe to use as a soil replacement for potted plants and how long will it last before it begins to break down in the pot. I'm quite interested in this stuff.
Adadama, from what I've heard is very expensive and difficult to find. Diatomatious Earth (DE) is so much cheaper, more easily accessable and, according to what I've read, considered to be superior to adadama by experienced bonsaists. I think we're onto a good thing, here! ;)
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Re: soil experiment 6 years 5 months ago #1881

PS ~ Artmyth...if you like, please feel free to go the Bonsai Cafe section of the forum, find the "Introduce Yourself" thread and share a bit about yourself, where you are from, how long you have been into the art of bonsai and anything else you think may be of interest. We would love to hear about you. It's great to have you on board! :cheer:
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