Tuesday, April 06, 2021

I never dreamed I would make my own orchid bark

I have been growing orchids for about 45 years. Sometimes I have more of them, sometimes less. Right now I have about 16. I have been upping my orchid game lately and bought a wonderful LED grow light panel. The one thing that has eluded me in the location I live now, is a good supply of orchid bark mix. There is literally nothing available on Gabriola Island and there is only one brand available in ALL of the garden centres in Nanaimo area. I hate to complain, but it is horrible. They seem to have completely cornered the market as there used to be bags of plain fir bark chips you could always get in any garden centre to make your own mix, but no more. The available ‘mix’ has pieces of wood that can be skinny slivers or wide chunks 4-5” long right down to almost powder. I have found what looks like dried long grass in every bag. There is so much very fine charcoal and perlite, that half the bag is more like sand than orchid mix. I thought I got a bad batch and bought two more bags but they are exactly the same. So... I planned to contact the Victoria Orchid Society next time down island and buy some from them. It is beautiful. But that didn’t help me now. 

Then my garden buddy said... “our neighbour has a whole pile of fir bark that he said we can have, that I could chip and see if that would work for you”. So yesterday we flashed up the wood chipper and I’ll be darned, it worked. We used a screen and sifted it into two basic sizes. So I have a huge container of roughly 1” pieces and another of fine. That should take care of my orchid needs for years. 

Chipper at work

Sifted out larger pieces

Fine pieces

Repurposing our old recycle bucket for bark storage

My lungs can’t take wood dust at all, so one of the masks 
Mom made for me for Covid works just perfectly 

Pile of raw fir bark slabs. Raw beauty.


Beach Bum said...

Good for you Erin! Necessity is the Mother of invention! Learning new things all the time ��

Erin said...

It is true!!! It NEVER occurred to me to make my own. It’s so exciting.

Anonymous said...

Way to go! Starting up a new business?��

Erin said...

Good thinking. I’m looking for something fulfilling to do in retirement. 😁

Gardeningbren said...

My smart beautiful friend!

Erin said...

Thank you Brenda. I repotted almost all my orchids the past two days. Phew.