Making Muck

Making Muck

Now is the time to make "muck" if you plan to use trays or very shallow pots for your bonsai later this spring.  Below is the recipe that I have used for several years and which seems to be very good for longevity and stability.

4 parts sifted mushroom compost or composted cow manure

4 parts sifted good grade commercial top soil

1 part drilling mud

Use the parts of the compost and soil that goes through a sieve of screen wire.  The drilling mud can be obtained economically from drilling companies and adds viscosity to the mixture, greatly reducing your time kneading.  If drilling mud is not available, omit it.  

Combine the components listed in a tub or bowl. Cover with water and mix thoroughly.  Add more water to cover the mixture and leave to soak for several hours or overnight.  

Pour off excess water and begin kneading the mixture, adding an additional part of dry mushroom compost or composted cow manure.  Continue kneading until the mixture becomes "slick" to the touch and adheres to any surface.  If drilling mud is used, this may take 15 to 20 minutes; if no drilling mud, possibly half an hour or more.  

If the muck is to be used to make "dams" for a slab or shallow tray, add 1 part uncut dry long fiber sphagnum moss and incorporate thoroughly.  If it is to be used to anchor trees, stones, etc, use as is.

Muck becomes better if aged so make a batch larger than needed and store the remainder in a sealed container to be used in future years.  Lee

© Fort Walton Beach Bonsai Society (FWBBS) ELF 2017