If you are just start your large beds for square foot gardening, you really need the giant 4 cubic foot bag of vermiculite. It will loosen your heavy soil and improve drainage. But these days, I only need a small bag per year to get seeds going (vermiculite is like a sponge and keeps moisture right around that seed where it needs to be!).
Several people e-mailed asking where to find it. I used to get the big bags at Home Depot annually, where the garden manager told me they only ordered 4 per year. Now you should be able to find the smaller bags for about $3.50 at Home Depot, Lowe’s or WalMart – usually in the houseplant area. However, Home Depot has let a lot of people down this year providing only Perlite which is not as good and looks way less natural in the soil. But Lowe’s has it in stock.
Weird, but true find
I was passing by the winter clearance at Lowe’s, as well and found something labeled “Realistic Ash Bed.” It further explained:
For vented logs, place realistic ash bed material in burner pan and completely cover burner. May also be used to decorate fireplace floor.
And guess what it is??? That’s right folks: vermiculite. It doesn’t say it anywhere on the bag, but trust me: I know my vermiculite! It was about 99-cents a bag.
Good luck on the search…J
VERMICULITE: A mined mineral that expands when heated. Resembles mica in appearance. Great for seed germination, a clean, suitable source for rootings and cuttings, and good to use in potting mixes.