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Mineral/Medium resources

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Good Morning cacti enthusiasts.

I know the topic of soils and mediums has probably been done to death here, but I was hoping to get a little information, not on composition but on suppliers of particular minerals in australia. I used the search engine and cannot find similar topics, please post a link if I have missed it......

I have recently been putting a lot of time into moving to an all mineral medium for some of my collection. I am having the best time and am truly stepping up into obsessive territory.... I am now seeing rocks when I close my eyes... love it!! ;-) I am sure others can relate lols

anyways I have been concocting brews, potting up, writing down recipes etc using ideas from reading and a splash of intuition, one thing I can't get a handle on is where to obtain all of the ingredients from in australia.....

It would great if there was a horticultural warehouse where I could order bagged products and have them delivered- but... there doesn't seem to be an online store that will stock more than one item I am looking for...

 

So far I am looking for the following (but please add any reccomendations!!):

 

Zeolite - I am currently using pool filter ZEO-Clor- I am hoping to obtain horticultural or similar product > 2mm. I see the zeo-clor reccommended a fair bit, but it seems too fine to me..?

 

Bentonite Clay - I am using a kitty litter that, when at the shop I read 'made of 100% australian Bentonite', I saw that and grabbed it, only to find out when I got it home that it is fucking MINTY fresh... so I had to wash it and then dry it and recrumble it..... a step I'd like to do without..... the grain size seemed nice though in the kitty litter... would have been nice if I didnt have to wash it, maybe other brands??? I bought mistys....

 

Diatomite - I am happy with the mt sylvia calcined diatomaceous earth sold as kleensorb- bought 35 ltr bag for around 18$ i think which isnt too bad, but would like a better price if I continue to use it...............

 

Vermiculite - love to buy in 100ltr bags..???

perlite - love to buy in 100ltr bags..???

 

Things I'd like to get but havent come across yet............

pummice

limestone chips

Akadama

andesite

dacite

mica/mica shist

etc............................................

 

Also, I am getting expanded clay and coir from the hydro shop which I am cool with because I am not using it alot atm, can anyone can direct me to cheap sources for future reference????

 

Looking forward to any input, thanks :-)

 

 

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http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/VERMICULITE-100-LITRE-BAG-OF-GRADE-3-HYDROPONIC-GROWING-MEDIUM-100L-/121519609667 

 

The postage price on that link is a killer, but maybe your local to Carina, Queensland and can pick it up. 

 

I've been paying approximately $40 per 100L of Vermiculite @ my local hydro shop, sometimes they dont have it in stock, but they happily ordered the larger bags in for me. 

 

Another hot tip for sourcing Vermiculite, If you know someone who works in an industry that has to deal with large scale chemical spills, its very possible they have access to a warehouse full of the stuff and can put a few 100L bags on the back of their ute just before home time....  :wink::P

 

Edited by Change
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ooh thankyou Change :-) I am reasonably local to carina....

at $40 for 100l of perlite I would buy from a hydro store, as I like my local store I will quiz them and happily support them :-) however that 28$ a bag is pretty good from the ebay shop!!!

 

I have been using vermiculite from work out of the chemical spill kits, I have been washing and drying prior to use... just in case, do you think this is necessary change???? This source is ok for the time being, however if I get anymore serious here I will need to start purchasing :-)

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re bentonite most ag supply stores will sell it , gets used as an animal feed supplement and also they usually stock engineering grade (used for sealing pipe pathways in dams and keyway foundations, water bores etc).

Engineering grade is milled like flour, feed grade a bit coarser- sometimes pellitised..

 

some of those rocks you are chasing I get straight from the source quarries down here. A search of some state mineral/mining website might put you onto a quarry or two? That said it all depends on your "local" geology on what can be sourced.

 

Good tip above on vermiculite, lol...I've sourced it in a similar way before:wink: I've been made to take it to job sites to use in the case of oil spill etc as condition of job site entry.

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6 minutes ago, waterboy 2.0 said:

some of those rocks you are chasing I get straight from the source quarries down here. A search of some state mineral/mining website might put you onto a quarry or two? That said it all depends on your "local" geology on what can be sourced.

Cheers mate, i noticed from my google searches that tassie seems easier to get some of this stuff :-) most local quarries are granite here, i have been playing with deco for the bulk of my substrates.

 

8 minutes ago, waterboy 2.0 said:

 

re bentonite most ag supply stores will sell it , gets used as an animal feed supplement and also they usually stock engineering grade (used for sealing pipe pathways in dams and keyway foundations, water bores etc).

Engineering grade is milled like flour, feed grade a bit coarser- sometimes pellitised..

 

I can get my hands on bentonite through work as we use it create under ground bunds etc it is as you mentioned a fine powder, i will try ag shops to try and find something granular... :-)

 

14 minutes ago, waterboy 2.0 said:

Good tip above on vermiculite, lol...I've sourced it in a similar way before:wink: I've been made to take it to job sites to use in the case of oil spill etc as condition of job site entry.

do you think there is a need to wash this source WB????

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even if you get it coarser mate it will collapse/disperse down to fine particles pretty quick. Easier to work with but got to be careful it doesnt form a massive clump of clay that seals out water in pot.

 

The verm I used didnt need washing as such, its good to mist it down though to keep the dust down. Some bags are more dusty than others, I just put that down to rough treatment during freight/storage (?).

 

If I want to minimise fines (such as hydro applications) I will wash it, but havent done it for soil mixes unless its the bottom of the bag or really dusty/fines batch.

 

And with all that shit , dont want the dusts in your lungs, I've worked with blokes that developed silicosis and other fucked lung conditions from occupational dust exposures. Only takes a second to put a mask on and and a bit of mist keeps dusts down:wink:

Edited by waterboy 2.0
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I never thought to wash the bags of Verm i was given because they were the same brand i was buying from my local. 

Havnt had any issues with it, all my mature cactus are in 1/3 verm, 1/3 sand and 1/3 compost and are growing happily. I germinate seedlings in 50/50 sand/verm and they are growing alot nicer than previous years of 100% sand.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, waterboy 2.0 said:

even if you get it coarser mate it will collapse/disperse down to fine particles pretty quick. Easier to work with but got to be careful it doesnt form a massive clump of clay that seals out water in pot.

 

Cool, i was sort of thinking... or hoping if the clay is in granules it would sit in the voids. i also thought one benefit of clay is that it holds its form unless agitated or something...??? 

 

I have been lazy with dust masks as I haven't been doing a whole lot, but i should and now prompted WB i will make sure it is a common practice, thanks :-)

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Change said:

I germinate seedlings in 50/50 sand/verm and they are growing alot nicer than previous years of 100% sand.  

 

 

Thanks Change, i will try this  :-) - i read of a gardener using seed raising mix of 90% diatomite 9% coir and 1% gypsum that I want to try also..

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I had alot of trouble trying to find those minerals in the stone eaters book and gave up. Atm for seedlings im using

1/5 scoria

1/5 zeo-clor 

1/5 crusher dust (granite)

1/5 river sand

1/5 seedraising mix (for trichocereus only) 

 All washed and sieved max 7mm, smallest 0.5 mm.

Im experimenting with coral ruble in place of limestone chips as i cant find any, ive seen marble chips for sale which should work ok but coral was way cheaper. Also was thinking activated carbon might work, it has great porisity. 

 

I had good results with diatomite but its far to expensive. I'd love to try pumice but same deal. 

 

Also spongolite is another one to try find, its quite good.

 

Works into a very airy mix. 

 

20160820_232019.jpg

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I just saw bags of scoria at Bunnings, it had been hard to source where I live.

 

I also use crushed up brick and terracotta in my mixes as they hold water nicely.

 

I soak the terracotta chips overnight in water to 'soften' them, then smash it up in a dolly pot. Let it dry and sieve out the dust.

 

I also like to smash up those expanded clay balls a bit, to get a better surface area, and I always add a little charcoal to keep my jive fresh.

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Make sure you get the right scoria, some of it is treated to be water repellant, I confirmed on the website itself for each brand they had in the item details. 

 

Bps landscape Scoria is treated whereas Tuscan path doesn't Appear to be

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Pumice washes up on beaches around here quite a lot, about 2 years ago there was so much of it. I collected loads of bucketfuls after sieving sand, but I gave up after one trip as it needed a lot of washing to get rid of the salt.

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On 30/08/2016 at 4:36 PM, Bedofspines said:

 

I had alot of trouble trying to find those minerals in the stone eaters book and gave up. Atm for seedlings im using

1/5 scoria

1/5 zeo-clor 

1/5 crusher dust (granite)

1/5 river sand

1/5 seedraising mix (for trichocereus only) 

 All washed and sieved max 7mm, smallest 0.5 mm.

Im experimenting with coral ruble in place of limestone chips as i cant find any, ive seen marble chips for sale which should work ok but coral was way cheaper. Also was thinking activated carbon might work, it has great porisity. 

 

I had good results with diatomite but its far to expensive. I'd love to try pumice but same deal. 

 

Also spongolite is another one to try find, its quite good.

 

Works into a very airy mix. 

 

 

Thank you very much BOS, i'll give this seedlings mix a shot, i assume if not trichs you are are just going 4 equal parts of the others??? and are you sowing in this mix???

 

On 30/08/2016 at 9:11 PM, nrivers said:

http://www.australianperlite.com/our-company/

This place seems a commercial supplier for vermiculite, perlite, pumice. They might deal direct. Bonsai suppliers might have akadama if you ring around.

Thanks Nrivers, Im awaiting and email from ausperl re: vermiculite, perlite and pummice, I will post any relavent  information when they get back to me :-)

 

13 hours ago, Halcyon Daze said:

I just saw bags of scoria at Bunnings, it had been hard to source where I live.

 

I also use crushed up brick and terracotta in my mixes as they hold water nicely.

 

I soak the terracotta chips overnight in water to 'soften' them, then smash it up in a dolly pot. Let it dry and sieve out the dust.

 

I also like to smash up those expanded clay balls a bit, to get a better surface area, and I always add a little charcoal to keep my jive fresh.

 

Thanks Hal, mate those bags of scoria Ive bought before, but its super exspensive this way, I cant find any landscape supplies that sell by the m3 in brissy......

As for terra cotta and crushed brick, I have no idea where to get these from, I am using expanded clay balls in place of these ingredients, but havent bothered smashing them up, But I agree it would be much better if i did.

Where on earth do I buy charcoal from these days... we still mine shitloads but I havent seen any since i was a kid.......

 

 

12 hours ago, theuserformallyknownasd00d said:

Make sure you get the right scoria, some of it is treated to be water repellant, I confirmed on the website itself for each brand they had in the item details. 

 

Bps landscape Scoria is treated whereas Tuscan path doesn't Appear to be

Hey D00d, are these bagged products you are talking about??? can u give a little more info please??? 

 

 

 

11 hours ago, Glaukus said:

Pumice washes up on beaches around here quite a lot, about 2 years ago there was so much of it. I collected loads of bucketfuls after sieving sand, but I gave up after one trip as it needed a lot of washing to get rid of the salt.

Cheers man, I imagine it would be nearly impossible to remove all the salt being its so porous.... I'm sure your feet were lovely with all that pummice lying around though :-)

 

 

I'm still moving through my mixes but I am starting to get jack of washing deco.... need a better source of stone.... anyone used and reccommend bluestone gravel?????? it is usually available around the 7mm mark...

 

I also found that garden city plastics do 100ltr verm and perlite bags in a few different grades @ around $30, they are handy for a few hort supplies.... I went out yesterday to check out the showroom-

 

Thanks all for the input :-)

 

 

 

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Thats right db. Although ive tried a few others lately ( loph, astro) including the seedrasing mix and I must say they are growing much quicker. But fungicide was required, without the fungicide i get pots full of fluff. 

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41 minutes ago, Bedofspines said:

Thats right db. Although ive tried a few others lately ( loph, astro) including the seedrasing mix and I must say they are growing much quicker. But fungicide was required, without the fungicide i get pots full of fluff. 

I think I will try your mix with coir rather than the  seed raising mix, can you see any problems with that BOS????

 

I have just got some good info back from ausperl... thaNKS nrivers :-)

 

ausperl are wholesalers they sell to the public and some others that distribute around the country... for eg, they supply FERNland at the sunshine coast, which looks like a great shop FYI http://fernland.com.au/

 

They sell verm and perl in 100L bags various grades at around 22$ a bag, down to 19$ a bag if you buy a pallet which is 30 bags. (all horticultural so it is well seived and graded.)

 

now the interesting part! they sell 25kg bags of horticultural grade pummice, imported from NZ

Price per bag was around 25$, with a pallet of 40 25kg bags for around 500$ these are all ex gate prices.....

They will ship a pallet up to brisbane, i'm looking at 700$.... but I think I can freight it up cheaper than 200$... They do bulker bags and ute loads etc, as well, but I made no enquiries there.... 

I am looking at fernland now to get some prices and if the mark up isnt too bad I'll buy from there........

 

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i cant comment on the coir, the seedraising mix is fairly sandy. It might be ok though. Most the coir ive used has been super acidic. Fernland is a good find, i wish i had the room for a pallet load of pumice lol.

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Heres some astros in that mix, with seedraising mix. Seeds germinated  14.5.16, i think one of em is doing something funny. 105mm pot.

20160901_141336.jpg

 

 

 

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Every time ive tried using coir in seedlings mixes, the cactus have always stalled growth very earlier, after several tries with different ratios i wont ever be using it again. 

 

Here are some astros growing on 50/50 sand and verm, they were germinated in march of this year. 

 

astro%20seedlings_1.png

 

 

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GoddAMMit!! I was keen to use coir, oh well there are other things I can use it for :-)

Astros are looking sik dudes!!

 

Some pricing from Fernland, this is reg pricing, can do better on bigger quantities...

 

from the rep-

Diatomite products         (2-7mm) 35 Litre Bag    $23.10ea      /      (0.9-2 mm)  or (7-15mm)20 Kg Bag    $37.40ea

 

Pumice products              (1-4mm) or (1-7mm) 25 Litre Bag    $34.10ea

 

ZEOLITE products             (1-3mm) or (2.2mm +) 15kg bag    $19.80ea

 

VERMICULITE products  Fine or Medium, 100 L Bag     $29.15ea

 

Perlite products                Fine, Medium or Coarse 100 L Bag   $29.15ea     /    Super Coarse 100 L Bag   $31.90ea       /    Jumbo 100 L Bag     $39.60ea

 

 

pretty competitive i guess

Edited by doublebenno
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Hey DB, sorry man can't offer more info. Yeh they are bagged products, if you go to Bunnings website and search scoria, in the product details / stats it will declare if it's water repellant or not. I've never bought bulk scoria only in bags. The Tuscan path product (what you want) is also smaller from memory, like clay balls 

 

another line of thought.. Has anybody tried using a fairly non exotic mix of perlite/vermiculite/gravel and supplemented with rock dusts of its various forms? I guess it would be like a pseudo organic hydro. Maybe those European fertilisers are worth a look? 

 

I guess it all depends what were each trying to achieve?

 

 

Edited by theuserformallyknownasd00d
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I'm still not sure what I'm trying to achieve  ;-) having fun anyway... I guess i am chasiing the exotic stuff because i am not doing huge quantities, im glad the other big root plants i grow arent that finicky :-)

Thanks for The Scoria info mate.

I recall reading something along the lines of rock dust were to be avoided, it is too fine, at the recommendation of whatever I was reading anyway.. But the perlite and verm should hold nutrients well enough..?? I'd love to hear that blue stone gravel was the go :-)..

 

So I know this wasn't supposed to be another medium examination thread, but I thought this worthy enough to post...

Same seed bag, same container, 2 different mediums... Day #5

This one has 1 sprout..

tmp_5872-IMG_20160909_1737371028590711.jpg

deco 20%

Diatomite 20%

Verm 20%

Sand 10%

Seed mix 10%

 

This one is killing it!!!!

tmp_5872-IMG_20160909_173723367312123.jpg

 

90% diatomite

9% coir

1% gypsum (powdered)

 

 

 

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Those mediums both look sick to the eye man! The Rock dust wouldn't be a medium per se, maybe 1-3%. It's a mineral fertiliser, or as I understand it feeds the beneficial bacteria in ya medium. Maybe using be rock dust with easy to get beneficials like fish, seaweed and gogo would really boost growth is soil less mediums? 

 

Your right tho I'm not sure either what I'm trying to do, but the more I read the more side by sides I try to set to lol

 

edit : let's try and keep this the permanent medium exploration thread! I'll upload some pics tomorrow of my not so exotic mix that's been my best so far (only 25% organic matter). 

Edited by theuserformallyknownasd00d
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Hey db, I get my charcoal from bunnings too, it sits with the orchid mixes etc, also they have big bags of charcoal lumps for burning in those outdoor fire pits. I also just collect my own from the fire place and sieve/wash it.

 

Also you can check out different landscape supplies and fill up a bucket for 3 or 4 bucks. You never know what they might have.  Go for the dusty stuff at the bottom and sieve the grainy stuff out of it when you get home. Discard the super fine dusty stuff and keep the grainy stuff only!,  then just add some charcoal (25%) and finally some peat moss or coir etc (5 - 25 %).

 

 

 

I use a lot of different sieves which I have collected over the years. I got about 10 of those lab sieves for free back in the year 2000 and they are still as good as new :) 

I'm always looking around the secondhand shops for different size sieves.

 

I don't worry about sterilising it either, not worth the hassle. Just sow in a number of separate cells and if one goes bad then toss it. (never happened to me yet).

Try 2L milk bottles for pots, they rock. The high sides are very beneficial.

 

Also I can't recommend highly enough my crushed (and sieved) Terracotta. I may be the only one who does it, but it is the greatest additive the universe has ever known. I use the 20 cent sized stuff for orchids and the grainy size for cacti. Just smash/ crush the terracotta with a hammer, and sieve out the dusty fines.

 

Give it a go bro, you'll swear by it :) 

Edited by Halcyon Daze
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Where do I get my hands on terracotta

?? I'm not smashing my pots :-)

 

 

@Halcyon Daze

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