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horticultural garden grit 2-6 mm

In the UK it is easy to get and is used for potting bulbs and to improve clay soil. In Holland it is found nowhere as such. What would be a good substitute (for the flower garden): hen grit? vermiculite or perlite (both not biological destroyable)? 
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  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336
    It might be worth looking for aquarium gravel (aquarium grind?) as that seems available on some .nl sites.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • josinebakker2003josinebakker2003 Holland, LeidenPosts: 17
    Thank you very much for your reaction, I already looked for the aquarium grit, but it is extremely expensive: 11 pound for 10 kg (7 pound for 25kg horticultural grit in the UK).
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,436
    Perlite is good (better than grit for drainage and aeration) but too expensive to dig into the ground. (In fact I'm sceptical about digging grit into the ground in general, as you would need huge quantities to have the desired effect).
  • josinebakker2003josinebakker2003 Holland, LeidenPosts: 17
    I use perlite mostly in the pots, to cover it up with horticultural grit is merely a cosmetic thing, but clay needs something to make it more friendly. Otherwise it is impossible to grow a delicate plant as for example the Sissinghurst white Japanese anemone.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,025
    Organic matter is the way to improve clay soil. Manure, compost , leaf mould etc added at regular intervals is how you create a better medium.
    Grit is fine as another addition, but as @Loxley says, that's a very expensive route. Perlite and vermiculite are the same in that sense. They're really for pot culture as in growing on cuttings to ensure good drainage, or for covering seed.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • josinebakker2003josinebakker2003 Holland, LeidenPosts: 17
    Thanks Fairygirl!

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,422
    I agree with @Fairygirl about organic matter.  Last year, in this new garden, I started digging out beds from the lawn and found the soil to be soggy clay.  Splashed out on a tonne of municipal compost (from green waste) and spread about a 5cm layer over the clay before planting.  The effect on the clay was like magic... somehow it stopped puddles appearing when it rained, and the soil was much more workable, and full of worms.  I guess I'll need to repeat the application - got some home-made compost to add this year.   :)
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336
    Yes, it's the worms that do the 'magic', especially Anecic worms!  They pull organic matter down and convert it into the perfect plant food with their tunnels creating drainage. :)

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • josinebakker2003josinebakker2003 Holland, LeidenPosts: 17
    Thanks a lot, it brings me further on my search and also further away from this costly grit!

  • LTobyLToby Posts: 184
    Fairygirl said:
    Organic matter is the way to improve clay soil. Manure, compost , leaf mould etc added at regular intervals is how you create a better medium.
    Grit is fine as another addition, but as @Loxley says, that's a very expensive route. Perlite and vermiculite are the same in that sense. They're really for pot culture as in growing on cuttings to ensure good drainage, or for covering seed.
    i prefer organic way myself 
    Aberdeenshire, Scotland
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