Spring has sprung, and the Snook and I have been busy making plans for our garden. This year we’re going to give Square Foot Gardening a try. The idea is that instead of trying to condition our poor soil, we simply build raised beds and use “Mel’s Mix” to fill them. Mel’s Mix is the magic. It’s composed of 1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 peat moss. So last weekend we headed out to check prices at Bunnings and the Annandale Garden Center. We came away pretty disappointed. Neither of them had vermiculite in bags greater than 5L, and we couldn’t find any peat moss at all. (We calculated we’d need about 200L of each.) This was going to be difficult.
I spent the week trying to track down the bulk materials. Vermiculite was easier; it gets used in hydroponics so I found it at a few places. But man, I had the hardest time finding peat moss. I must’ve rung every garden center in Sydney and none of them had it in quantities greater than 5L bags (at ridiculous prices). We toyed with the idea of substituting Cocopeat, which is more readily available and is arguably more environmentally sustainable. I didn’t want to stray too far from Mel’s recipe though if we didn’t have to. Friday the Snook found Garden City Plastics, who supply big 235L bags of peat and 100L bags of vermiculite. So I called them up to find out how we could get our hands on some. Unfortunately they’re only open on weekdays, and their warehouse is in Rouse Hill (way, way far away). We could pay for delivery, but one of us would have to stay home to meet them here. Again, it seemed we were at an impasse. Then the salesman had a brainwave. GCP supply Ace Ohlsson, who have a permanent stall at Flemington Markets. We could drive out there and buy it from them!
So that’s what we did. For the benefit of future Googlers, when you drive through the main Market entrance and come to the roundabout, turn right and drive past the Flower Market. Keep going straight and you’ll find Ace Ohlsson down on the right. We were able to get two bags of vermiculite and a big 220L bag of NZ Peat Moss for $80 less than it was going to cost us to have it delivered. I’d recommend them for anybody in Sydney who needs bulk garden products at cheap prices.