Jump to content
The Corroboree
Sign in to follow this  
irabionist

Where do I get my soil from?

Recommended Posts

Alright so I've had this dilemma for a while. I use to get my soil, rock, etc. from places like Bunnings, Masters, local nurseries, but everything that was there sucks...
The cactus potting mix has too much bark and organic matter in it, the propagating sand is too fine and solidifies into a rock when germinating seedlings, the scoria rocks are just a little to big for anything in a pot...
Now, the soil isn't too bad for Trich's, the propagating sand is fine when mixed in with other stuff and i guess the scoria makes a nice decorative topping, so maybe I'm having a sook...

Now when it comes to slow growing cacti and other sexy babies that I need to take care of, I CAN'T FIND ANYTHING I WANT, when it comes to specific media.

I live in the northern suburbs of Melbourne and there's jack shit up here and I sadly don't have a car to drive places or the money to get the amount necessary to have things shipped to me.

Wondering if anyone here could point out great places to get great soil, that way we can compile a nice list of dope places around Aus for people to get fancy with their Cactus growing!!!!

Personally, I'm looking for Coarse RIver Sand and Hard Akadama Soil in the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne or even anywhere around the CBD!!!!

post-12907-0-82152900-1409452504_thumb.jpost-12907-0-45896200-1409452507_thumb.jpost-12907-0-16066200-1409452508_thumb.j

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*reserve this for a sexy list on soil dealers*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you wash the brunnings propagating sand then you get "coarse" sand, but that's a pretty expensive way of doing it i guess,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What size amounts are you after? best bet ive found is just getting bulk from landscape supplies, half a tonne too a tonne lasts ages. prices shouldnt be to excessive think last time i got a tonne of organic loam was like $30 or something. helps if you got a ute or trailer so dont have to pay transport. should have stuff like river sand

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have tried ll kinds of thing and occasionally repot something and uncover soil from years so which makes me cringe. Anyway things have died in my 'good' soil and my 'crappy' soil as a standard for trichocereus I just use the cacti mix from bunnings or sometimes the premium stuff if I don't have anything else ( it could be debco ?) if I feel a bit fancy for the more arid cacti I add a few hand fulls of course river sand or perlite If i need to get rid of some. My all time favourite Is washed decomposed granite. It's basically lots of little rocks stuck together with superfine dust. Wash the dust off and it's good to go!

And I agree standard cacti potting mixes from hardware stores are pretty crap. But I don't have the space and time to do anything else. And they work ok for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i started using akadama in my soil mixes about 2 yrs ago and i gotta tell ya the stuff is great

i have seen some really noticeable improvement in my plants since using it

W.A. is the worst though we dont have shit you wont even find scoria in bunnings or anywhere

the rest of my soil mixes are pretty much made up of the usual shitty old cacti mix from bunnings with all the big bits sieved out

and i collect river stone from a friends property where theres a nice creek running through with plenty of good stone in it

which im able to grade into 3 sizes the smallest stuff i use for seedling mixes and the rest go's into larger pots

i also occasionally buy a load of scoria and pumice off ebay which i only use for certain things

i gotta say soil mix really is a bitch i think most of us just have to take what we can get and improvise our own mixes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bulk landscape supply is where I got my 3 tonne of cactus/succulent medium, only cost $120 too haha. 2:2:1 river sand, organic compost, top dressing. I also got em to turn it for me with the bob cat and also had "rock dust" added, 3 pales full to the whole 3 tonne. came out really neat, HEAPS of drainage and good composted organics like chicken poo and mushie compost. The top soil just balances the organic matter a bit with some fine sand and standard dirt.

One tip is the test the soils PH before you buy a tonne. I waited for the next load once when the ph was 8.3, next one they got was 7.2. Most places source it frkm heaps of places including local tips etc so it's best to shop around for this component. The rest seems the same everywhere you go. The place you get all this MIGHT also have a bagging machine which makes things pricier but oh so more convenient! You could also customize your mix if any of there small pebbles etc take your fancy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2nd for the landscape joint.. u can even go in with a couple of buckets and ask them to fill them or i find the local freswater river has the best sand :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any nursery that sells alot of bonsai should have akadama for sale aswell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want good soil, you gotta do the hard work! Most mixes totally suck and need lots of intervention (pesticides). I want a pesticide-free soil that looks-after itself, so I went with nutrient-packed inorganic (mineral) soils, but it took about 30 hours to make about 200 L of mix!

I spent hours crushing bricks, limestone, and andesite etc with a hammer and paver, then sieved it all to a consistent grade of between 6 and 2 mm (to avoid it stratifying/settling out). Luckily, I am also surrounded by a soil which seems very similar to akadama, it is a naturally granular volcanic clay which is exceptionally fertile, it retains a gravel form, but has porosity similar to pumice, and fertility surpassing loess. And it looks super pretty unlike akadama (full of yellows, blues, pinks, whites, greys, blacks). I use that at around 60%. Even during winter this mix is fully drained in a matter of seconds/minutes, but holds a very small amount of moisture which it releases slowly over several weeks. Results so far are simply outstanding. Everything is exploding in growth and is flowering like a meadow, I've never seen my cacti flower even a fraction as much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all nothing wrong with pinebark imo one of the best organic ingredients to base a mix off.

I visit landscaping supply, more specifically fultons to buy bagged prop sand and 7mm scoria.

sage Hort in moorabin also stock MVP I think its called calcined clay or something. Its exxo bit spose to be tops, I've got a bag haven't used it yet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A landscaping place is probably your best bet, but I'm sure there are crap ones of those as well. I wouldn't be able to give any decent recommendations for Melbourne but other members from there might be able to. I always used to just use one of the brandname potting mixes from Bunnings (used to use Scott's Osmocote til I found out their ferts contained nasty chemicals - then I started using an organic one) as my base for a mix - with a little work and a few extra ingredients they can be turned into great mixes. For cacti I'd just sieve out the bark and crap with one of the cheapo soil strainers they sell at bunnings, then add some coarse sand (sieved to remove the fine particles) and mix it in the good ol' trusty ratio of 70/30 potting mix and sand. Then throw in a few handfuls of something like Alroc granular mineral fertiliser, maybe a little charcoal or something. It's not absolutely necessary but you do want to give many cacti that extra mineral boost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely give a landscaping supplies place a go if you are able too. Half a tonne is a good size workable amount depending on how much stuff your potting up and or size of area planting out. Decent organic loams are a good base for general purpose mix to help spread bag mixes and or other stuff like coir, perlite, worm casting, compost etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×