Tomatoville® Gardening Forums


Member discussion regarding the methods, varieties and merits of growing tomatoes.

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old February 9, 2010   #1
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Central SC
Posts: 3
Default Substitute For Vermiculite

Can anyone tell me what would be a good substitute for vermiculite? I want to make a square foot garden this year and this was supposed to go into mix with peatmoss and compost. Too expensive and hard to find large quantities.
shingman3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 10, 2010   #2
David Marek
David Marek's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: St Charles, IL zone 5a
Posts: 142

Are you near rice growing areas? I used an experimental potting soil which used rice hulls to replace perlite and vermiculite (and lower the cost), with good results. Very strong, healthy root systems. It is organic material, so will need to be added periodically, but like the compost I'll bet it supplies some good nutrients as it breaks down. I have not used them as a soil amendment outside, so I don't know if they need to be composted first.
David Marek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 10, 2010   #3
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Central SC
Posts: 3
Default Thanks!

Thanks For Reply! I don,t live near a place that has that. Thanks!
shingman3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11, 2010   #4
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: PNW
Posts: 4,750

crushed lava
bark fines
rice hulls

These would be some alternative products to look for.
(I doubt that turface would be cheaper than vermiculite,
but it should last a long time.) Over time, bark fines and
crushed lava (small size red or black lava) may change
the pH of your beds.

There is still a rice grower over in Darlington, SC, by the way.
I do not know if they have mountains of rice hulls that people
can load up for free. Bark fines are simply pine or fir bark in
fairly small pieces (screened to remove big chunks).

The idea of vermiculite is to provide something with a larger
particle structure than most sand (to add air spaces to the
soil and improve drainage) that still holds a little water. You
could check local landscape materials suppliers to see if they
have pumice, but unless you have a nearby volcano, I doubt
that this will be cheaper than vermiculite.

Your best prices on bagged products will probably be perlite
or bark fines.

(I see bagged gypsum sometimes that has particles about the
right size for this. Adds calcium, too.)
dice is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:59 PM.

★ Tomatoville® is a registered trademark of Commerce Holdings, LLC ★ All Content ©2017 Commerce Holdings, LLC ★