Nan's Nook : Archives : Substrate : Vermiculite
  Subtopic Posts Updated Creator
In Substrate  -    
in Casings  -    
Vermiculite Options  25   Kevin Smith
PF Tek for Simple Minds - Description/Sources ? 2/03
Vermiculite/Asbestos scare exposed.  25   Vitticeps
Does bagged verm contain moisture?  10   jared
How do you sanitize vermiculite?  18   jared
Verm colors  2   Patrick
Sources of Vermiculite And Perlite  4   Imok Urok2

By Nan (Nanook) on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 03:52 am:

Vermiculite FAQ

Vermiculite, Verm for short, is heat puffed mica, a nontoxic mineral. It is used in PF jar tek for the substrate mix, the "verm barrier" on top of the substrate, and in the double-ended casing Tek.

The problem is that during the verm scare many wholesalers dropped bagged verm from their product line. However verm is still sold and used as an insulation material and in horticultural mixes. It is available in several grades, all of which can be made to work: the "medium" grade being the best for substrate and verm barriers, the "coarse" grade the best for casings. The general agreement is that the fine grade is the least desirable in all cases.

Hunt around at mom & pop hardware stores and nurseries for 4 cubic foot bags under $20.00, most of em can order it up for ya if you ask em nice... Tell em your rooting plant cuttings for holiday gifts, or insulating a freezer full of corpses down in the basement. Something they will believe. Get the medium grade if you can, grind and mix coarse if you can't, and the fine stuff if you must. Nothing works like verm.

The coarse grade of verm can be milled in the blender. Don't blend much at one time, don't overblend. A mixure of fine and coarse particles works well. If you overblend the verm, you can mix coarse verm back in with it to get a good consistancy.

Don't breath the dust. Bad to have any mineral dust in the lungs.

Shroom Glossary

By george jeremy (Mofo187) on Monday, December 17, 2001 - 09:18 pm:

i just came back with a huge bag of vermiculite, to find that the particles are a bit bigger than the ones in the vermiulite i normally bought in small bags. does this matter? is one superior? can i still make my jars without concern? thanks

By quote: (Quote) on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 05:26 pm:

well, since i still have no idea how big they were in the small bags, i can't really tell if what you have now is ok.
use medium grade horticultural verm.
coarse is ok for substrate, but not so good for the vermiculite barrier/seal on top.
if you're worried, grind it up a little.

By Chris (Stuckonk) on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 - 07:03 pm:

I personally like the bigger chuncks of verm, one time though it was really coarse so I ground it up in the coffee grinder.

By Nugdumper (Nugdumper) on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 - 08:24 pm:

I also prefer the larger grade verm, easier to work with, and much less messy.

By Liberty_Caps (Liberty_Caps) on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 - 10:25 pm:

ah ha
I just bought 2 giantic bags of vermiculite this brand has never done me wrong "country cottage"
the bigger stuff I dont know why but when I used it I coulden't get my jars to colinize..
maby the syringes
so I got 2 syringes comeing right now frome PF
ahhhhhh I can't wait till I get some jars going I just bought a really nice bin perfect for growing.
I cant wait till I get to pack that baby.

By Dr. Cubesis III (Newbieshroomer) on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 - 11:17 pm:

Yea, I bought a bag of verm as big as me when I started up to!! Lifetime supply almost!!

By onediadem (Onediadem) on Thursday, December 20, 2001 - 01:38 pm:

I bought a huge quantity of fine verm, is there anything I can do to make it more open? like maybe using whole grain rice, precooked and mixed with it? think of anything, let me know, any help would be good for my next batch....

By quote: (Quote) on Thursday, December 20, 2001 - 06:00 pm:

fine should be ok to use, pj.

* Just shake it down, do not pack.

By Cragith Kilbonith (Kilborn) on Thursday, December 20, 2001 - 08:05 pm:

I purchased a 20lb bag at a local gardening department and I was very happy with the results, the grade was medium. I was using a larger course before the one that lowes carries.

By Some Body (Texasshroomer) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 12:30 am:

Does anyone here use Schultz vermiculite in their jars? And if so, how is your success?


By Dr. Cubensis (Shroomzilla) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 12:36 am:

Never heard of it.
But verm comes in 3 flavors in my experience.

fine medium and coarse.

Remember it is just a puffed rock......

But surely someone with experience in your brand will be around :)

By Cragith Kilbonith (Kilborn) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 12:50 am:

The shultz verm is fine for cakes but I think it would work better on casings. My preference is a more fine grade.

By Some Body (Texasshroomer) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 12:56 am:


It's funny you say that because I used pursell's vermiculite with great success and it is more coarse that the shultz verm I have now. Perhaps every bag of vermiculite, or different places where it was mined could have a unique effect on size? Perhaps each bag could vary slightly in size?

Thanks for the feedback.


By ion ewe (Ion) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 02:24 am:

Schultz's grades change with their suppliers. They are actually re-sellers of verm, not producers. I've seen it be sandy one year, and medium chunky the next.
It's all what's available from the current mines in operation.


By Brettiejams (Brettiejams) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 03:08 am:

Ion... I'm not being sarcastic either, do you know everything, man?


By ion ewe (Ion) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 04:04 am:

Nope. Always learning new and wonderous things...

Maybe I need to use more emoticons. I think people are getting the impression that I'm a smartass, self-righteous prick with too many answers...

It pains me to think so, but the few compliments I receive seem to be forced out of sheer respect for my brain or something. I still like them and feel appreciated... It just feels like I'm on the outside looking in, ya know? Probably just my own paranoia. Never understood and all that sappy shit.

Maybe I'm just sour about not making Dr's list...

C'est la vie.


By Brettiejams (Brettiejams) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 04:09 am:

I like you....

You just know a lot of stuff, you know?

By plinkerdink420 (Plinkerdink420) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 04:34 am:

but even when you're outside... you're actually inside. aren't you?. ... 'cause you're always inside your head...

By ion ewe (Ion) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 05:18 am:

Thanks, Brettie. I just think it tends to scare people off...

Don't get me started, Plink! I'll get on that crazy train and ride it right into oblivion, my friend...


P.S. I don't mean to be a sap, guys. Just feelin' kinda low, lately. Thanks for the love...

By Rhiz Lamellae (Annulus) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 05:45 am:

Hey Ion. You gotta admit that you do seem to have a lot of answers. I for one can say that I've learned a lot from you and have laughed my ass off at some of your shit too.


It's a joke, son! A joke! {Foghorn Leghorn tone


Thank you Ion and thank you everyone else.

Oh, and Tex - Never used Schultz. I use Uni-Gro (it's the only local supply). It says it's organic. Isn't all vermiculite organic? It's just puffed up rock...

By onediadem (Onediadem) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 06:15 am:

Ion, I admire the hell out of that brain of yours, and also believe "you" lead me to the inside.
You are AWSOME!
Not blowing smoke either.....
Cheer up! No one could have had a lousier day than I. Besides, I like all that freaky Jason talk, and look forward to your posts. Things to make you go hmmmm.
Your up there on the top of my list, and Zilla just had a brain fart.
Soooo, Live long,

By ion ewe (Ion) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 06:55 am:

{three shades of purple} Aww, shucks, girls! Now I feel bad for stealin' Tex's thread...
Thank you, everyone.

And, Tex, my buddy used Schultz's about 5 years ago while in TX. It was medium, then, but recently the stuff's been like dust. Don't be fooled by the picture around the border of the bag! That's what it used to look like, but the stuff inside is most likely dust. Feel the weight. If it's pretty heavy, it's either really fine or wet (sitting outside in the rain). If you pick up the bag and say, "Wow! It's like packaged air!", then it's prolly the medium.
Fine is good for contaminant barriers and casing (when mixed with other stuff, like peat).
Medium is good for substrate and casing (not mixed).

Verm is measured in the industry by numbers 1-5. 5 is super fine (like the newest Schultz) and 1 is about the diameter of a man's thumb. When I say medium, I mean a 3 or 4.


By Hatcher (Hatcher) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 06:59 am:

Don't care for Shultz, the verm's too big,(this yr. anyway ion!), and the perlite's got crap in it. Got it at Lowe's I bet?? For cakes, in my area anyway, I can get Hoffman's and Ferti-lome in January, work just fine. Look for middle-of-the-road stuff...

By An guy (Boomer) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 07:12 am:

just aas an aside, sorry texas, just a second and I'll be done....


i for one, like you for your body.....

By Imok Urok2 (Imok) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 08:14 am:

Of knowledge right?

By Doc Thirst (Doc_Thirst) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 05:21 pm:

I use Shultz simply because it's the only brand available in most of the larger stores (Ace, Lowes, Home Depot <= no longer carries cause of abestos I understand). I have had no troubles at all, lately it all seems to be rather finely ground with makes for harder cakes, but still works fine. I have used it for cakes and casting without problems, so a big thumbs up here.

By Some Body (Texasshroomer) on Friday, January 25, 2002 - 05:18 am:

Someone posted about asbestos in vermiculite. I've heard from some people that there is no asbestos, and today when I bought some at Lowe's (pursell's brand, which I like), and old plant vender there said that it may have asbestos.

Any truth to this?


By An guy (Boomer) on Friday, January 25, 2002 - 05:48 am:

ion- I knew there was somethign to that ascii drawing, but I still ain't got it...

texas- there si s bit of asbestos in most verm, but not at toxic levels.

years and years ago, up in libby montana, there was a mine that produced verm that had a toxic level of asbestos to it. it was put out of business several years ago, and was recently, just a couple weeks ago declared a superfund site.

from the research i've done and been pointed to, all of that toxic verm is out of the supply chain by now, and any verm you buy is going to be safe.

By ion ewe (Ion) on Friday, January 25, 2002 - 05:51 am:

Oh, god... No. It was a big mix up because a mine in Georgia had found a lode of asbestos near their verm cache. The mine was closed immediately. The verm was tested (no asbestos), but the media had already spun the word far and wide...
"Vermiculite is carcinogenic!"
Then they renigged and said it had asbestos in it.
Then they said it might contain asbestos.

With every subsequent lie, the voice got smaller and smaller until nobody could hear it, anymore...

All bullshit.


By ion ewe (Ion) on Friday, January 25, 2002 - 08:42 pm:

That Montana thing probably helped fuel the fire, too. Mica and asbestos live in the same rock strata much of the time. Usually, though, there is no real mixing of the two unless something moved. When asbestos is found to have contaminated verm deposits, they bury the stuff or use it for some commercial purpose where it doesn't matter. Where a dust mask if you are concerned... it can't hurt, especially since verm is dusty and can get in your lungs, itself.

The drawing is a cordyceps fruit growing from my dead head... sheesh! I really am a nerd!