Local Soil Suppliers

Figure it could be useful to create a thread where people can say where they get their soil components from.

Western Washington
Small Pumice and Small Lava Rock

Diatomaceous Earth


Northern Indiana

We don’t have a good supplier that I know of so I usually pick it up from Mark Fields in Indianapolis. He usually has a good amount of: Akadama (various sizes), Pumice, Lava


I’ve read from several sources that the DE from O’Reilly is slightly larger and has less dust. I haven’t tried the NAPA stuff, but I did purchase the large bag from O’Reilly and got 5 gallons of usable material from the bag. Oh, and I noticed that both get their stuff from the same manufacturer, EP Minerals.

If you are in the Southern California / Arizona area, Yuma Nursery has great lava rock at a good price. They have a 2.5 gallon bucket of 3/8" lava rock that they sell for under $3. They call it red cinders, and the guy at the counter will tell you that their smallest size is 1/2", but the 3/8" stuff is out there and the same price. I just pay for the bucket and they let me pick out the one I want if I ask. After sifting, I end up with just under 2 gallons of lava rock. It’s a little bit of work, but you can’t really beat the price. I don’t think they ship, but if you are in the area, it may be worth the day trip.

I can confirm that the NAPA DE will be about 40% 1/8 40% 1/16 and the rest dust. Nothing close to 1/4 tho. I will try the O’Reilly DE next batch. I have also found that LadyBug brand expanded shale is very nice for my needs. Very little waste sifted at 1/8. It is very uniform in size and is available at the box stores. HD and Lowes. I use it in place of Lava. I order Pumice online from this CA company. http://www.generalpumiceproducts.com/order-here/
Great stuff, little to no waste and free shipping.

As far as I’m aware, EP Minerals is the single source for all DE in the US. Napa’s 8822, O’Reily’s Floor-Dry, and Optisorb are all the same thing, any variance is just bag to bag. At one point Napa’s DE was different, but I believe EP acquired that company a few years back.


I’m a big fan of purchasing from Jonas at Bonsai Tonight

Link to Bonsai Tonight Soils

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I am prepping for a talk on soils to our club in Spokane (with lots of good stuff from the live stream) and did a little research to share. I got a bag of O’Reily Floor Dry (DE from EP Minerals) and the sample was 61.15% +1/8" -1/4" (mostly just over 1/8"), 37.15% +1/16" - 1/8", and 1.7% -1/16" so it looks like they cleaned it up a bit. The sample from a bag of Down to Earth Diatomite Rock was 39.9% +1/4" -1/3", 59.5% +1/8" -1/4", 0.4% +1/16" -1/8", and 0.2% -1/16". According to their website, their distributors are all in Oregon or Vancouver, WA, but Marle Worm Growers (MWG) in the Spokane area carries their full line. MWG also carries Concentrates Inc. products (Portland, OR) including their pumice which is from a supplier in WA. The bulk sample I got looks like a mix of the fine (-3/16") and medium (3/16" - 5/16") and was 2.3% +1/3" -1/2", 8.8% +1/4" -1/3", 25.7% +1/8 -1/4", 25.7% +1/6" -1/8", and 37.6% -1/16". It was not completely dry which will change the percentages a bit.

I forgot to mention that the DTE Diatomite rock (mix of 1/16" to 1/14") absorbed 98% of its weight in water after a 2 hour soak and the O’Reily’s Floor Dry (1/8" - 1/14") absorbed 116% of it’s weight in water after a 2 hour soak.

I purchased by horticultural pumice from Concentrates, Inc in Portland. Great place for organic fertilizers too. Previously they only did wholesale, with a small shop if you were local. But it looks like they are expanding their mail order business to include more “small batch” amounts.

I picked up some lava rock (scoria/cinder) from a local landscape place. Mostly bigger rocks (1/2"+) that will need crushing at home before I can use it. Are there any concerns with using “landscape grade” versus “horticultural grade” scoria?

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Yes I have heard this too, but even if they’re coming from the same place I have noticed a huge difference in particle size between brands. I bought about 8 bags of Napa 8822 last spring and it is almost entirely 1/16 to 1/8 for usable particles and a pretty decent amount of fines. OK for a shohin mix but not ideal for a standard mix. I purchased a number of bags of optisorb about a month ago and optisorb has a lot more of its particles in in the 1/8 to 1/4 range, making it more more ideal for a standard 1/16 to 1/4 mix. There’s a fair amount amount of dust caked on the particles that you need to rinse off, but at 9 bucks for a 50lb bag I will gladly deal with that. It’s probably all coming from the same source but at least those two brands are definitely graded differently.

I buy haydite by the cubic yard from the manufacturer. The 3/16" grade has anywhere from 20% to 60% loss. I figured out how to specify how they bag it for me to keep the loss closer to 20%. I also get the 1/4"grade. It’s much cleaner. Depending on what people want, i make three grades of soil. For a good all around mix, I blend half of each grade to make a medium grade.

Grainger is a good source of Optisorb. No shipping cost if you have a Grainger location nearby.

I am about to buy three pallets of red and black lava rock, 50 cubic feet each, in half cubic foot bags. I’m getting it from the quary. I’m rolling the dice on this purchase. Everyone knows me as having haydite soil. It might be nice to have another inorganic component.

The market here is mostly haydite/pine bark soils. Akadama turns into sludge and blocks the drain holes.

I get pine bark soil conditioner from local nurseries. 30% to 40% waste. $3.50 per bag.

I’m just a backyard business, by the way. Only sell at local events.

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