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Discuss water requirements, "soil" (growing media) and suitable planting containers

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By Intheswamp
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Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#446276
I think what elaineo was getting at is that if the mold/algae/greenslime grows on the perlite it's going to grow on sand, too. I think what you're trying to do is get something (like sand) that will be less visible/noticeable (smaller grains) and maybe not as white as the perlite that shows a greater contrast between white and green as, say, tan or brown to green...maybe? I get the green perlite down here, too. As long as the plants look okay I'm not really concerned...kind of the natural order of things. ;)

Did I ever mention that I'm a "thinkin' man"? :mrgreen: :lol:
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By andynorth
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#446336
Intheswamp wrote: Sun Feb 04, 2024 10:13 pm The description says “extremely fine and round” so I think it wouldn’t be so good.
I was unable to cancel the delivery of this. I tried to do a return but they do not want it back so I now have some free sand. I am thinking I will give a small quantity a try. I do not plan to use a whole bunch so hopefully it will work.

In short, what exactly is it that we try to achieve with sand? Is it to make the soil so it is aerated more or is it supposed to help retain moisture or a little of both?
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By andynorth
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#446348
andynorth wrote: Sun Feb 04, 2024 7:59 pm Is this sand suitable for CP's?
So yes this is indeed very fine sand. It might be good to add to some beach grown plants of which there are a few but I am not sure just how fine that is. Since they gave it to me for free I have decided to try an experiment with it and if it works out I will come back here periodically and post updates.
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By MikeB
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#446351
andynorth wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 9:08 pm In short, what exactly is it that we try to achieve with sand? Is it to make the soil so it is aerated more or is it supposed to help retain moisture or a little of both?
Improved aeration, better drainage, loosen the soil (compared to pure peat moss). If you top-water your plants, then the sand will help the water flow through the soil and bring oxygen with it.
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By davinstewart
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Joined:  Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:29 pm
#446378
I'd argue that adding sand actually encourages compaction since it adds significant weight to the soil column. If you want to lighten and aerate the soil then I'd mix in perlite which should help with compaction. Sarracenia Northwest published a youtube video on the effect of various ratios and I think the ideal was something like 1:1, which is what I use.

If you want to improve drainage (which I define as the movement of water through the media) then adding either sand or perlite should help.

Please note that even with either of these additives there will likely still be a perched water table in the lower 1" of the pot which may never go away if the pot doesn't dry out sufficiently to consume that extra moisture. In this case, it's possible for that layer of soil to go anaerobic even if it's draining water out of the bottom each watering. If you want to eliminate that perched water table and fully aerate the soil column then the best way I've found is to insert a couple inches of string in the very bottom of the pot and let it dangle out of the bottom. It's important that it hangs down a couple inches so that it'll act as a wick to pull the perched water table out of the soil column. This should eliminate the perched water table in a couple hours.

I also reccommend bottom watering with immersion up to the top of the soil column. That should force out most of the air in the soil and pull in fresh when the water drains. If you top water then typically the water just finds the fastest way to the drain holes and runs out. Sometimes this is fine but sometimes the soil simply forms channels allowing the water to drain too quickly for absorbtion. By bottom watering, the entire soil column is ensured to get a good drink.

Hope that helps!
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