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Old 18-04-2004, 11:02 PM
Laura J
 
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Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?

Hi all,

I'm a complete newbie when it comes to gardening and am trying to start a
plot using the concepts of www.squarefootgardening.com. He suggests a
mixture of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite and 1/3 compost. Problem
is I can't find the vermiculite and the guy at our local garden center says
it's because it's now illegal. I did some research on this group and see
that it's been discussed extensively but couldn't find any suggested
alternatives. What else would you put into this mixture if you couldn't
find vermiculite? In case it matters, I'm in zone 6a and am planning on
planting tomatoes, peppers, beets, arugula, basil, parsley, peas and beans.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

LauraJ



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Old 19-04-2004, 12:02 AM
John McGaw
 
Posts: n/a
Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?

"Laura J" wrote in message
...
Hi all,

I'm a complete newbie when it comes to gardening and am trying to start a
plot using the concepts of www.squarefootgardening.com. He suggests a
mixture of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite and 1/3 compost. Problem
is I can't find the vermiculite and the guy at our local garden center

says
it's because it's now illegal. I did some research on this group and see
that it's been discussed extensively but couldn't find any suggested
alternatives. What else would you put into this mixture if you couldn't
find vermiculite? In case it matters, I'm in zone 6a and am planning on
planting tomatoes, peppers, beets, arugula, basil, parsley, peas and

beans.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

LauraJ

I've always found perlite to be useful in applications similar to this.

BTW vermiculite is NOT ILLEGAL but it seems that some of the ill-informed
have decided that since vermiculite from one location in the US had some
asbestos in it that all vermiculite must be dangerous and that the sky is
falling and refuse to have anything to do with it no matter the source. If
you can find a vendor with the intelligence to know the difference you
should have no trouble buying vermiculite.

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/ve..._overview.html

--
John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
http://johnmcgaw.com


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Old 19-04-2004, 01:02 AM
H Hornblower
 
Posts: n/a
Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?

I was also told that vermiculite was illegal I then found it
at another garden store. It's also sold at builders supply stores that
sell to plasterers
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Old 19-04-2004, 02:02 AM
zxcvbob
 
Posts: n/a
Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?

John McGaw wrote:
I've always found perlite to be useful in applications similar to this.

BTW vermiculite is NOT ILLEGAL but it seems that some of the ill-informed
have decided that since vermiculite from one location in the US had some
asbestos in it that all vermiculite must be dangerous and that the sky is
falling and refuse to have anything to do with it no matter the source. If
you can find a vendor with the intelligence to know the difference you
should have no trouble buying vermiculite.

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/ve..._overview.html



I agree about the perlite. But asbestus litigation is a growing industry,
and with number of companies with deep pockets and actual liability
concerns dwindling, the lawyers are going after anyone who can even spell
"asbestus". I wouldn't sell vermiculite, even from a certified asbestus
free supplier; I don't an unscrupulous lawyer breathing down my neck 20
years from now when some gardener (who may or may not have been my
customer) gets mesothelioma and starts suing garden centers that
once-upon-a-time sold vermiculite.

Best regards,
Bob
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Old 19-04-2004, 03:04 PM
escapee
 
Posts: n/a
Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?

Okay, from my research into this vermiculite problem, it's the stuff they get
from Africa, not our local vermiculite which is the problem. However, lava sand
is a much more effective product, if you can find it.


On Sun, 18 Apr 2004 20:28:38 GMT, "Laura J"
opined:

Hi all,

I'm a complete newbie when it comes to gardening and am trying to start a
plot using the concepts of www.squarefootgardening.com. He suggests a
mixture of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite and 1/3 compost. Problem
is I can't find the vermiculite and the guy at our local garden center says
it's because it's now illegal. I did some research on this group and see
that it's been discussed extensively but couldn't find any suggested
alternatives. What else would you put into this mixture if you couldn't
find vermiculite? In case it matters, I'm in zone 6a and am planning on
planting tomatoes, peppers, beets, arugula, basil, parsley, peas and beans.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

LauraJ




  #6   Report Post  
Old 19-04-2004, 04:02 PM
Laura J
 
Posts: n/a
Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?

Okay, so it seems I just need to find the stuff somewhere. One problem I'm
having is that every source seems to sell it in a different measure, so
pounds one place, quarts or liters somewhere else. I'm looking for 3 or 4
cubic feet. Does anyone know how many pounds of vermiculite is in a cubic
foot? I think 4 cubic feet comes to just over 100 quarts which is a heck of
a lot of those little 8 quart bags they have at the one local store I found
which carries vermiculite. Does anyone have a trusty online source they've
used?

For the record, I'm planning on a 5x3 8" tall raised bed. I've bought 3.8
cubic feet of peat moss and I'm hoping to get about the same amount of
compost from the city (Boston) along with slightly less vermiculite wherever
I can find (and afford) it. Does this sound about right or am I totally
barking up the wrong tree? If I don't end up finding the vermiculite, I was
thinking of suplementing with something else (some kind of soil?) and just
throwing in a small amount of the perlite. What do you think?

Thanks for all your advice!

LauraJ


"John McGaw" wrote in message
. ..
"Laura J" wrote in message
...
Hi all,

I'm a complete newbie when it comes to gardening and am trying to start

a
plot using the concepts of www.squarefootgardening.com. He suggests a
mixture of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite and 1/3 compost.

Problem
is I can't find the vermiculite and the guy at our local garden center

says
it's because it's now illegal. I did some research on this group and

see
that it's been discussed extensively but couldn't find any suggested
alternatives. What else would you put into this mixture if you couldn't
find vermiculite? In case it matters, I'm in zone 6a and am planning on
planting tomatoes, peppers, beets, arugula, basil, parsley, peas and

beans.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

LauraJ

I've always found perlite to be useful in applications similar to this.

BTW vermiculite is NOT ILLEGAL but it seems that some of the ill-informed
have decided that since vermiculite from one location in the US had some
asbestos in it that all vermiculite must be dangerous and that the sky is
falling and refuse to have anything to do with it no matter the source. If
you can find a vendor with the intelligence to know the difference you
should have no trouble buying vermiculite.

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/ve..._overview.html

--
John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
http://johnmcgaw.com




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Old 19-04-2004, 07:02 PM
David Ross
 
Posts: n/a
Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?

See my potting mix recipe at
http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_potting_mix.html. The
necessary texture -- drainage, aeration, moisture availability --
is provided by the sand and peat. You only need a little compost
(real, not some commercial potting mix) to provide the friendly
soil bacteria that release the nutrients.

--

David E. Ross
http://www.rossde.com/

I use Mozilla as my Web browser because I want a browser that
complies with Web standards. See http://www.mozilla.org/.
  #8   Report Post  
Old 19-04-2004, 11:03 PM
escapee
 
Posts: n/a
Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?

I think you will waste a lot of money on vermiculite. I would buy several bags
of sand and put more money into buying compost instead of inert, lifeless other
stuff.

On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 13:49:20 GMT, "Laura J"
opined:

Okay, so it seems I just need to find the stuff somewhere. One problem I'm
having is that every source seems to sell it in a different measure, so
pounds one place, quarts or liters somewhere else. I'm looking for 3 or 4
cubic feet. Does anyone know how many pounds of vermiculite is in a cubic
foot? I think 4 cubic feet comes to just over 100 quarts which is a heck of
a lot of those little 8 quart bags they have at the one local store I found
which carries vermiculite. Does anyone have a trusty online source they've
used?

For the record, I'm planning on a 5x3 8" tall raised bed. I've bought 3.8
cubic feet of peat moss and I'm hoping to get about the same amount of
compost from the city (Boston) along with slightly less vermiculite wherever
I can find (and afford) it. Does this sound about right or am I totally
barking up the wrong tree? If I don't end up finding the vermiculite, I was
thinking of suplementing with something else (some kind of soil?) and just
throwing in a small amount of the perlite. What do you think?

Thanks for all your advice!

LauraJ


"John McGaw" wrote in message
...
"Laura J" wrote in message
...
Hi all,

I'm a complete newbie when it comes to gardening and am trying to start

a
plot using the concepts of www.squarefootgardening.com. He suggests a
mixture of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite and 1/3 compost.

Problem
is I can't find the vermiculite and the guy at our local garden center

says
it's because it's now illegal. I did some research on this group and

see
that it's been discussed extensively but couldn't find any suggested
alternatives. What else would you put into this mixture if you couldn't
find vermiculite? In case it matters, I'm in zone 6a and am planning on
planting tomatoes, peppers, beets, arugula, basil, parsley, peas and

beans.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

LauraJ

I've always found perlite to be useful in applications similar to this.

BTW vermiculite is NOT ILLEGAL but it seems that some of the ill-informed
have decided that since vermiculite from one location in the US had some
asbestos in it that all vermiculite must be dangerous and that the sky is
falling and refuse to have anything to do with it no matter the source. If
you can find a vendor with the intelligence to know the difference you
should have no trouble buying vermiculite.

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/ve..._overview.html

--
John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
http://johnmcgaw.com




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Old 20-04-2004, 12:02 AM
Olushola
 
Posts: n/a
Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?

Another question about square foot gardening; I noticed that watering is
very crucial as there is no place to the excess water to go. Does one have
to cover the plants when it rains to prevent root rot?

Olushola



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Old 20-04-2004, 03:03 AM
Tom Jaszewski
 
Posts: n/a
Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?

On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 12:49:47 GMT, escapee
wrote:

Okay, from my research into this vermiculite problem, it's the stuff they get
from Africa, not our local vermiculite which is the problem. However, lava sand
is a much more effective product, if you can find it.



Skip the Mell soils and follow this link
http://redhot.ncat.org/mirrors/attra...ub/potmix.html


Lots of great mixes without Vermiculite

Buy vermiculite from a Home Depot and save lots of $$$$ if you MUST
use it
Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets. To plant a pine, one need only own a shovel.
-- Aldo Leopold


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Old 20-04-2004, 05:02 AM
 
Posts: n/a
Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?

On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 17:02:03 -0400, "Olushola"
wrote:
Another question about square foot gardening; I noticed that watering is
very crucial as there is no place to the excess water to go. Does one have
to cover the plants when it rains to prevent root rot?

Olushola

Water drains out the bottom. I use a raised bed, works great, and the
water drains just fine. I guess it could be a problem if you're
lining the bottom, but why do that?

Swyck
  #12   Report Post  
Old 20-04-2004, 04:02 PM
escapee
 
Posts: n/a
Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?

On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 17:53:22 -0700, Tom Jaszewski opined:

On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 12:49:47 GMT, escapee
wrote:

Okay, from my research into this vermiculite problem, it's the stuff they get
from Africa, not our local vermiculite which is the problem. However, lava sand
is a much more effective product, if you can find it.



Skip the Mell soils and follow this link
http://redhot.ncat.org/mirrors/attra...ub/potmix.html


Lots of great mixes without Vermiculite

Buy vermiculite from a Home Depot and save lots of $$$$ if you MUST
use it
Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets. To plant a pine, one need only own a shovel.
-- Aldo Leopold


I don't use vermiculite, I use crushed or decomposed granite sand in my mixes.
  #13   Report Post  
Old 20-04-2004, 04:03 PM
Olushola
 
Posts: n/a
Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?


wrote in message
...
On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 17:02:03 -0400, "Olushola"
wrote:
Another question about square foot gardening; I noticed that watering is
very crucial as there is no place to the excess water to go. Does one

have
to cover the plants when it rains to prevent root rot?

Olushola

Water drains out the bottom. I use a raised bed, works great, and the
water drains just fine. I guess it could be a problem if you're
lining the bottom, but why do that?

Swyck


The raised bed seems to be a better way to go. However, if one lives in an
apartment, then I can see the value of lining the bottom.

Olushola


  #14   Report Post  
Old 21-04-2004, 03:03 AM
Laura J
 
Posts: n/a
Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?

So is the vermiculte only used to "lighten" the mix or does it add some
specific nutrient that might be missing if I use sand or whatever? Where do
you get decomposed granite sand? Is that something that is sold
specifically for gardening or can I get it at any old hardware store?

Thanks again,
LauraJ

"escapee" wrote in message
...
On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 17:53:22 -0700, Tom Jaszewski

opined:

On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 12:49:47 GMT, escapee
wrote:

Okay, from my research into this vermiculite problem, it's the stuff

they get
from Africa, not our local vermiculite which is the problem. However,

lava sand
is a much more effective product, if you can find it.



Skip the Mell soils and follow this link


http://redhot.ncat.org/mirrors/attra...pub/potmix.htm

l


Lots of great mixes without Vermiculite

Buy vermiculite from a Home Depot and save lots of $$$$ if you MUST
use it
Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets. To plant a

pine, one need only own a shovel.
-- Aldo Leopold


I don't use vermiculite, I use crushed or decomposed granite sand in my

mixes.


  #15   Report Post  
Old 21-04-2004, 03:02 PM
escapee
 
Posts: n/a
Default Vermiculite alternative for square foot gardening?

Vermiculite is inert, has no nutritive value to speak of and is used merely by
the greenhouse industry as a potting medium and seed germination product. It is
used because it is very lightweight and deliveries are easier and trucks can
haul more.

Compost is the nutritive value in soil structure, not the hard substances like
sands of any kind. I buy lavasand or crushed or decomposed granite in Home
Depot or Lowes. I don't know where you live or what your local retailers sell,
which is why plain play sand is also good to take up space and help drainage. I
don't know anyone who uses vermiculite in the soil, just in pots.


On Wed, 21 Apr 2004 00:51:09 GMT, "Laura J"
opined:

So is the vermiculte only used to "lighten" the mix or does it add some
specific nutrient that might be missing if I use sand or whatever? Where do
you get decomposed granite sand? Is that something that is sold
specifically for gardening or can I get it at any old hardware store?

Thanks again,
LauraJ

"escapee" wrote in message
.. .
On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 17:53:22 -0700, Tom Jaszewski

opined:

On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 12:49:47 GMT, escapee
wrote:

Okay, from my research into this vermiculite problem, it's the stuff

they get
from Africa, not our local vermiculite which is the problem. However,

lava sand
is a much more effective product, if you can find it.


Skip the Mell soils and follow this link


http://redhot.ncat.org/mirrors/attra...pub/potmix.htm

l


Lots of great mixes without Vermiculite

Buy vermiculite from a Home Depot and save lots of $$$$ if you MUST
use it
Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets. To plant a

pine, one need only own a shovel.
-- Aldo Leopold


I don't use vermiculite, I use crushed or decomposed granite sand in my

mixes.




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