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Re: True Grit, or, The real nitty gritty

 I hate grits too.  Turkey grit and chicken grit are crushed granite.
apparently birds need these stone bits to help them grind up and digest
their food.  Found this definition:  "What is grit? It is small stones that
the bird stores in its gizzard, where they act like teeth and are used to
grind up food."

However, all good British propagation books mention using grit, but I couldn
never find it in a local garden store.  I eventually came across an
explanation - may have been Marge but I think it was b4 I started on this
list - and purched it at the local county Co-op.  You can try any feed
store.  I think I paid about $8.00 for a 50 pound bag.  50# may seem like a
lot, if your'e thinking in terms of topping seeds.  But this is really handy
stuff.  If you grow plants that require sharp drainage - toss some in the
mix.  If you grow any plants that hate wet crowns, use grit around that area
to help keep the crown dry.  If you have critter problems, mix some grit in
the bottom of the hole and the surrounding soil.

Oh!  found a uk site that sells several kinds of grit.  Descriptions:
A range of grits suitable for use in composts are available.
Shingle (6mm) - a brown to yellow local, lime-free grit screened though a
6mm mesh producing a material with dimensions up to around 1cm which
contains no fines.
Cornish Grit (3-5mm) - a grey to white grit from the South West which is
smaller than the above but with low fines. Useful in propagation mixes.
Cornish Grit (6mm) - a coarser grade of the above with no fines. For use in
potting mixes
Potting Grit (5mm all in) - a yellow grit with a particle range from 5mm
through to coarse sand. Used in John Innes type composts. "

then I found, also uk:  (Jim, looky!)
[from]"Hints on growing cacti & other succulent plants
Many different types are available commercially, ranging from John Innes
soil based composts to peat based and recycled garden composts. Add
horticultural grade sand and grit to make the mixture porous; the final
compost contains between 30% and 70% grit. You may have to experiment a
little to find the best proportions of compost, sharp sand and grit for your
growing conditions and using locally available materials."

And from a Bonsai site:
"Good drainage. If excess water is not able to drain immediately from the
pot, the rootsystem will be prone to rotting. Drainage is normally provided
by the use of grit or small stone which keeps the mixture 'open', allowing
excess water to pass through the mix freely. Good drainage also allows air
to penetrate the compost, which is required by the plant."

From Marge's Aroid friend, Ellen Hornig:
"Arisaema Seed Germination
Germination mix
The mix must be free-draining; soggy conditions promote rot. I use three
parts Fafard Super- Fine Germinating Mix to one part granite chick (starter)
grit. The Fafard mix contains peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and a starter
charge of fertilizer....Sowing
I fill the pots and water...After the pots drain, the seeds are sowed...The
surface is then covered with approximately one cm of chick (starter) grit."

And lastly - from a Toronto Bonsai group:
"Chicken Grit - We've used this substance for years and swear by it.  You
can purchase it  by the bag from your local feed or farm supply store
already separated into the correct grades.  Chicken grit is composed of
fragments of crushed granite which farmers feed to their chickens to help
them grind up corn. (As it turns out, chickens have no teeth).  The particle
size in any given bag will vary depending upon whether it is intended for
baby chicks or full grown turkeys.  Unlike the turface or haydite, crushed
granite absorbs no water. It is, however, completely inert, neutral in pH
and has sharp edges on each particle which cause fine feeder roots to split
and divide when they hit them.  A word of caution.  Make sure the chicken
grit you are buying is granite.  We have found certain brands that are
composed totally out of crushed sea shells, which would be highly pH basic
and disastrous  in a bonsai mixture.  We have also seen chicken grit which
is pink granite with white flecks.  It works fine mechanically, but is not
aesthetically pleasing in a pot."

That should do it.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard T. Apking" <richa@midlands.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 6:26 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] seedling mulch

> Thanks Jim, Kitty's reply showed up after I'd asked Marge,  I'll try the
> feed store.  Still hate grits though!
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "james singer" <jsinger@igc.org>
> To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
> Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 2:21 PM
> Subject: Re: [CHAT] seedling mulch
> > Not Marge, but taking a clue from Kitty, you might ask at your local
> > feed store.
> >
> > On Thursday, August 5, 2004, at 07:10 PM, Richard T. Apking wrote:
> >
> > > Hi Marge,
> > >
> > > What is grit (I know and loath what grits are) and what brand name do
> > > I look
> > > for???  Rich in Z-5
> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > From: "Marge Talt" <mtalt@hort.net>
> > > To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
> > > Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 12:56 AM
> > > Subject: Re: [CHAT] seedling mulch
> > >
> > >
> > >>> From: Kitty <kmrsy@comcast.net>
> > >>> Thanks, Dan.  I was planning on picking up some grit for planting
> > >> with bulbs
> > >>> for critter control.  I'll just buy it now rather than later.
> > >> ----------
> > >>
> > >> FWIW, Kitty, I prefer the starter size for seedpots and the grower
> > >> size for mixing in potting soil.  Just make sure the grit has no
> > >> additives; I understand that some is sold with them.
> > >>
> > >> I always top all seedpots and flats with grit; even use it outside
> > >> when I sow in prepared seedbeds; love grit:-)  If you have very fine
> > >> seed or seed that requires light to germinate, you can just sprinkle
> > >> it on top of the grit and water - the water washes it into the grit
> > >> just enough - seed loves rock bits....
> > >>
> > >> Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
> > >> mtalt@hort.net
> > >> Editor:  Gardening in Shade
> > >> -----------------------------------------------
> > >> Current Article: Corydalis
> > >> http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/shade_gardening
> > >> ------------------------------------------------
> > >> Complete Index of Articles by Category and Date
> > >> http://mtalt.hort.net/article-index.html
> > >> ------------------------------------------------
> > >> All Suite101.com garden topics :
> > >> http://www.suite101.com/topics.cfm/635
> > >>
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> > >
> > Island Jim
> > Southwest Florida
> > 27.0 N, 82.4 W
> > Zone 10a
> > Minimum 30 F [-1 C]
> >
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