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Old 07-19-2021, 08:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question To sift or not to sift; small stones okay?

Okay, so I just discovered a gold mine of leaf mold in front of the shop. Problem is that at some point, my idiot next door neighbor tossed a bunch of gravel in there while doing yard work for my dad (one of the many reasons he's banned from doing anything else here). Why he didn't realize gravel belongs in the driveway and not the effing yard, I'll never know.

So, I started digging it out yesterday, and there is a bunch of gravel in there, as previously stated. I'm sifting it through 1/2" hardware cloth to get rid of the big rocks and roots, but smaller pieces of gravel are still getting through. Ideally, I'd prefer no stones in my mixes at all, but I'm also thinking it might help with airiness a smidgeon. Any thoughts on this? Leave as is, or get a finer mesh?

You can clearly see the amount of gravel I'm having to contend with, and the small stones left in the mix, but look at the color of this stuff! It's beautiful. So, resift it or not?

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Old 07-19-2021, 10:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: To sift or not to sift; small stones okay?

Depending upon what kind of gravel is there, it might actually be beneficial to the plants. Usually it mostly quartz, which when broken down has beneficial silica. That is very important to producing stronger fibers within the leaves and stems, and its roots. It helps to blunt the effect of stress on plants. Only issue is that some have heavy metals in them.
Sand which is primarily silica, is so tightly bound, that bacteria in the soil cannot "skuff" off ions, rendering sand useless as a source. So another rich source is beneficial.
I have noticed in the past that plants that have some small amounts of rocks in their soil grow better. Just a personal observation.
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: To sift or not to sift; small stones okay?

Good stuff, thanks! What we have here for gravel, is gray granite. Better or worse?
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Old 07-19-2021, 12:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: To sift or not to sift; small stones okay?

I can't really say for sure, but its probably fine. Especially if your using biochar.
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: To sift or not to sift; small stones okay?

I do believe, I could be wrong, granite is a common component of glacial rock dust used as a soil amendment. My understanding is that soil microorganisms will 'skuff' , as AaronTT described it, minerals from the stone's surface which eventually gets to the associated plants. If it were me, I probably wouldn't bother re-sifting unless there is an inordinate amount of stone in the mix. I do all my sifting with 1/2" hardware cloth and have never felt the need to go finer.
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Old 07-20-2021, 06:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: To sift or not to sift; small stones okay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronTT View Post
I can't really say for sure, but its probably fine. Especially if your using biochar.
Okay, I'll take the Nestea plunge.
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