If you’re not familiar, muck is used in slab and stone plantings to provide an organic “glue” to hold rocks in place and provide an independent edging barrier to retain soil. It’s a self-adhering clay, like sticky mud, which solidifies some after drying. A good muck is permeable enough for water and roots to penetrate, but solid enough for firm support.
Virginia Boka’s recipe, adapted from Martha Goff’s Tropical Green Sheets:
Combine 1 box of cornstarch and 3 quarts of tap water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick like glue. Cornstarch can burn easily so be careful and stir constantly. Set aside when done. Then, grab a mixing bucket and mix thoroughly equal parts of soil, peat and one-inch lengths of sphagnum moss. Once the cornstarch mixture is cool, add small portions of the cooked starch mixture (a little at a time stirring thoroughly) until the muck is very thick and sticky. Be sure to wear rubber gloves. Heavier soils like cow manure or worm castings work the best.
From the Bonsai Society of Brevard:
Mix one part Bentonite with 5 parts Black Kow [a popular brand of composted manure], and one part sphagnum moss cut into one-inch lengths (be sure to add the moss before any water is added to the mixture). Add water. The resulting mixture is still sufficiently sticky, easy to handle, stays in place, is quite easy to rewet if it dries out, and can be reshaped on the slab if it is moist. Wear gloves.
Bonsai Society of Brevard
For more detailed information contact our Brevard based Bonsai club.
The Bonsai Society of Brevard is one of the many clubs within the Bonsai Societies of Florida.