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GardenerX
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makeing Bonsai Soil with $20

Hello,

ok all I have right now to spare is $20 and before I go and spend all I have on stuff I don't need can someone tell me the ingredients for a good soil where I can buy the ingredients at a local store like Walmart because where I live, there unfortunatly isn't much around, but I heard in Houston there are alot of Bonsai stores, Houston is about 30 mins away from me...

maveriiick
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https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basicscatlitter.htm

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Gnome
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GardenerX,

Be careful with cat litter, it is not all the same. some have perfumes and clumping additives. Some is not fired at a high enough level and will break down into a nasty mess. If you can locate a good one it can be a good source of an inexpensive medium but it may take some effort to locate an appropriate one.

Walmart may have a product called [url=https://www.profileproducts.com/en/lawn_garden/category/item/30]Schultz's Aquatic Plant Soil[/url] which is similar, perhaps even identical, to [url=https://www.profileproducts.com/en/sports_fields/category/item/37]Turface,[/url] which is high fired (baked at high temperatures) clay. I know the first link seems to go to a different product but I believe that Schultz's is actually a Profile product under a different name.

You will still need an organic component. Look for aged Pine bark, preferably in smaller sizes. You may not get much from a bag due to size but you can always work on that if you need to.

Alternately, since you are close to Dallas, look [url=https://www.dallasbonsai.com/store/potting_medium_index.html]here.[/url] This save you the trouble of locating this stuff yourself, which can be frustrating.

Also, make sure to read [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3422]this[/url] and to follow the links.

Norm

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GardenerX
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thx guys oh and Norm I do have Pine trees all around my house so do I just go find the biggest one and take some bark off of it and grind it into small peices???

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GardenerX
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Hello,

ok I went out and got alot of bark, we have been cutting down trees in our yard so LUCKY ME and they kept the pines and burned everything else so LUCKY ME AGAIN anyways I'm letting them dry before I try to mulch them up...

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GardenerX
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ok guys I was looking about the litter and I found this stuff it's at my local Petco :arrow:

[img]https://i549.photobucket.com/albums/ii365/dragondude_2009/9761275004B.jpg[/img]

also :arrow:
[img]https://i549.photobucket.com/albums/ii365/dragondude_2009/96316700512altb.jpg[/img]

do you think one of these would work

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GardenerX,

From what I can see I like the looks of the first product better than the second. I Googled it and found that it is Fir bark. This is a good choice, some growers prefer it to Pine bark What have you found for the inorganic portion of your mix?

Brent Walston uses a very simple mix that is basically half bark and half Perlite.

https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/soils.htm

Norm

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GardenerX
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hey Norm,

I'm not sure what would be good with that bark, maybe some potting soil from Miracle-Grow srry I'm not realy sure what inorganic is, I mean I know it means that it has stuff added like plant food or root hormone I just don't know what would go with the bark.....

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GardenerX
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also Norm,

have you seen my Tutorial on makeing a garden tool heres the link if you haven't

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=19480

I find it useful maybe you will to

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GardenerX,
I'm not sure what would be good with that bark, maybe some potting soil from Miracle-Grow
No, no , no. You're halfway there, don't mess it up now. Potting soil is too fine and will clog up the medium that you are trying so hard to keep free draining.

In this context inorganic means essentially small rocks. The kitty litter you mentioned earlier is inorganic as are the aquatic soil and Turface I linked to above. I had a source of Haydite, which is expanded shale, but they no longer carry it. Lava rock is a good inorganic component but is difficult to find in appropriate sizes. This material is easy to find in big pieces but I have only found small sizes over the net.

Perlite is a volcanic material the resembles Styrofoam beads, you have probably seen it in potting mixes. The problem with this is that the bags you are likely to get at places like Walmart will likely contain too much material that is too fine. Expect to throw half of it out. It's not terribly expensive but you will need a screen to sift out the fines.

You can even get grit from a local creek bed if you have one close, but again, screens will be required to remove the large pieces and fines. There is a product called oil-dri sold at Napa stores, this is diatomaceous earth, used to saok up oil spills. I have never used this and the same issues of size is always important to keep in mind.

Traditionally, Akadama or Kanuma were used by the Japanese, but these must be imported and are therefore relatively expensive.

These are all examples of inorganic materials as opposed to bark or peat which are organic. Keep looking, something will turn up. Try to locate a piece of screen with openings about 1/8". This is used as mentioned above to sift out the stuff that is too small.

Norm

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GardenerX
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ohhhh DUHHH haha ok thx Norm i'll try it, I'm going to a creek tmorrow to drop off a turtle I rescued today, poor guy got hit by a car a peice of his shell got torn off :cry: on the up side I was able to get him home before somethng else happened to him :) anyways i'll grab some small pebbles from the bottom then run to Walmart and grab some perfume free kitty litter with nothing added no clump or anything......

[img]https://i549.photobucket.com/albums/ii365/dragondude_2009/004-4-1.jpg[/img]

thats the damage on the shell

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GardenerX,

I commend you on taking care of the turtle. The picture is a little blurry do you think he has a decent chance?

Make sure to test the kitty litter before you commit to using it and mix up a bunch. Put some in a jar of water and observe it carefully. Does it begin to break down into a sludge or remain stable? Let it stay in the water for a few days to make sure.

I have not found a good one in this area but I have not tested many. Make sure you keep notes of the brand so that next time you'll know if this one is good or not.

Also, the creek rocks will need to be sized and the muck washed out. I did a couple of buckets worth once and I actually like the material but the process is not much fun. If you're low on cash it can work.

When doing this sort of thing I stack my screens with the smallest on the bottom, place the material on the top then, using a garden hose, I wash it out keeping the various sizes separate. The most useful size goes through a 1/4" screen but stays on top of a 1/8" screen. I have other sizes but these two are the most useful.

If you are going to make a lot of your own soil a set of screens in various sizes is almost a necessity. Here is a picture of one I made from scrap lumber.

[url=https://img237.imageshack.us/i/screenab0.jpg/][img]https://img237.imageshack.us/img237/7767/screenab0.th.jpg[/img][/url]


Norm

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GardenerX
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thx for all the advice Norm, and about the turtle he is very active so I'm sure once he gets back out there he will be fine I called a pet store to ask them they said its normal for this to happen to just take him and drop him off near water....

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bonsaiboy
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As for the soil, I usually have had great success with a 50 50 mix of Turface and screened pine bark. You can also order pre-made bonsai soil from some nursuries, see https://www.hollowcreekbonsai.com/productCat25273.ctlg I have found the tropical bonsai soil to work the best for me, but that is only my opinion.

As for the turtle, if you still have it you should take it to the vet. They can clean its wound there and place a patch over it to help it heal.
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