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

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By Intheswamp
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Posts:  3108
Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#424910
I've got some sundew and sarrs seeds that will be coming out of stratification in a week, or two,...or three. :roll: :) I've also got some leaf-cuttings of some filiformis that I'm getting antsy about transplanting to lower populated pots.

Today, I decided to go ahead and put together a 50:50 peat/perlite mix. As usual, I did my OCD rinsing of the peat moss. Several 22ppm rainwater rinses, then a 1ppm rainwater rinse, and finally a 1ppm boiled rainwater rinse. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

That left the perlite to be rinsed. I started to use a paint strainer bag to rinse the perlite in, but for the batch of growing medium I was doing the bag would barely hold enough and then there wasn't room to get water in it to rinse it good. So, I dumped the perlite in a 28-quart sterilite container and poured rainwater in. A container full of water and floating perlite is *so* much fun!!! I don't know how I missed this water sport as a kid...it would have been a wonderful summertime activity that *everyone* would want to take part in!!! :roll: :lol: Anyhow, I rinse it well and retrieved all the floating perlite from the water. Naturally, the water was thick, milky-looking. I can't help but think this fine silt and whatever else might not be good for the plants. But, when I poured the "milk" off I found almost a double-handful of heavier "gravel" at the bottom of the container. This is Vigoro branded perlite, a nice, big bag I ordered from Home Depot. Taking the perlite out of the bag it looks super bright with no impurities seen. Below are some shots of the rinsed perlite and the debris that was left in the bottom of the wash container. Except for a few pieces of perlite mixed in the heavy debris pictures were at the bottom of the water while the perlite was floating (as it should). It just caught my attention, so, according to my OCD'ish self I figured I'd post this. :mrgreen:

Btw, some how or another I managed to make exactly enough 50:50 mix to fill a 28-quart container, though I didn't plan it that way! Even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while! :lol:
Attachments:
Heavy debris left in wash container.
Heavy debris left in wash container.
IMG_6753 (Custom).JPG (408.18 KiB) Viewed 2990 times
Washed perlite.
Washed perlite.
IMG_6755 (Custom).JPG (349.45 KiB) Viewed 2990 times
Washed perlite.
Washed perlite.
IMG_6751 (Custom).JPG (352.37 KiB) Viewed 2990 times
Heavy debris left in wash container.
Heavy debris left in wash container.
IMG_6750 (Custom).JPG (467.73 KiB) Viewed 2990 times
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By Intheswamp
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Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#424912
...the rest of the photo story. :lol:
Attachments:
"The Bag".
"The Bag".
IMG_6761 (Custom).JPG (435.63 KiB) Viewed 2989 times
Close-up of 50:50 peat/perlite mix.
Close-up of 50:50 peat/perlite mix.
IMG_6758 (Custom).JPG (866.12 KiB) Viewed 2989 times
28-quart container of 50:50 mix.
28-quart container of 50:50 mix.
IMG_6757 (Custom).JPG (826.72 KiB) Viewed 2989 times
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By Intheswamp
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#424924
I dunno. I think growsundews.com was one of the first places I landed on and the website recommends rinsing the media so I did. After seeing the milky rinse water from perlite, finding some of the gritty stuff on the bottom of the buckets, and reading about the manufacturing process of it using whatever water was cheap and onhand...dirty water, salty water, whatever water...I decided to rinse the perlite. ;) Then, I read about reducing algae/mold/mosses by rinsing the peat moss... And, well, here I am..."OCD-Me"!!!! :lol:
By jetfire245
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#424930
To this day. I have never rinsed my peat or my perlite. I'm really not sure how I get away with it. I presume because the brands I buy just happen to not be screwed up enough to mess with my plants.

Anyhow, I recently started using coco coir instead of peat (highly recommended you make the switch) and I rinse my coco coir through a little process before finally using it. In this case though, I always test my incoming coco coir to check for high salt content.

Yeah - but like I said, I'm not sure why it's recommended to always rinse your media. I guess because it really helps eliminate your questions on soil contamination and/or something bad happening from stuff you didn't wash off.
By Gary
Posts:  409
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2022 3:23 pm
#428852
Yeah, I like to rinse both the screened peat moss and Perlite as well. I have a Zero Water tank that I use for watering the CPs. I do a 3X rinse on the peat moss and maybe 2X on the Perlite. The Perlite runoff is usually really milky in color at first but clears up quickly. After rinsing I mix the two and fill the pots.
Intheswamp liked this
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By andynorth
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Joined:  Fri May 12, 2023 9:08 pm
#438791
I learned the hard way to clean media. Several my Sundews and VFT's seemed to have been getting chemical burn. I decided to repot to fresh cleaned media and that was the issue. I top watered the pots and tested the water with my PPM meter. Came in around 280. My water is about 55. After several runs through the faucet I have it down to the same as my tap water. Will definately test each time now even after cleaning.

@jetfire245, did you make the switch to the coco coir and how's it working?
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By wcrosman
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Joined:  Thu Apr 14, 2022 2:03 am
#438793
jetfire245 wrote: Wed Nov 30, 2022 3:24 pm To this day. I have never rinsed my peat or my perlite. I'm really not sure how I get away with it. I presume because the brands I buy just happen to not be screwed up enough to mess with my plants.

Anyhow, I recently started using coco coir instead of peat (highly recommended you make the switch) and I rinse my coco coir through a little process before finally using it. In this case though, I always test my incoming coco coir to check for high salt content.

Yeah - but like I said, I'm not sure why it's recommended to always rinse your media. I guess because it really helps eliminate your questions on soil contamination and/or something bad happening from stuff you didn't wash off.
Would you please provide more detail how you test for salts and your rinsing/bathing procedures for coir?
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By andynorth
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#438804
I too would like to know. I use hot water for rinsing my LFSM and Peat moss. Seems to do the trick. I use a PPM tester and run hot tap water through the media in a pot. I test the water and then rinse several more times with hot water until the PPM shows the same as when I started.
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By Intheswamp
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#438807
My tap water is well north of 325ppm so I have to use precious rain water. I'll give the peat a rinse or two and call it good. So far I haven't had a major problem with unwanted algae or moss growing. When I first started tinkering with carnivorous plants I microwaved the peat moss that I was going to use for starting seeds. I haven't done that since when I first started and can't really tell much, if any, difference in germination and seedling growth. I have heard that heat can cause peat to be quicker to breakdown/decompose.
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By Intheswamp
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Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#438810
I dunno...maybe I'm mellowing or growing lazy, but I'm not as picky(?) as I was. :mrgreen: I've always filtered my rainwater through a cotton handkerchief laid on top of a coarse cotton towel. Here lately I've been dipping straight out of my rain buckets when watering the outdoor gang. I figure...they're already out there getting "whatever" rainwater so why not? I do try to let the first really dirty rainwater rinse off the roof before catching it, though. I may back off of rinsing my peat moss much but I think that I will always rinse the perlite...that milky, hazy film that rinses off of it just...bugs me. :?

Except, as you mentioned, Panman...when planting seeds. That mix gets rinsed well. ;)
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By andynorth
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Joined:  Fri May 12, 2023 9:08 pm
#438811
I never cleaned any of my media before until several of my plants seemed to be experiencing chemical burn. I tested the water sitting in the tray and it was roughly 250 PPM. I then tested the rest of my media and they were all pretty much the same. I had plenty of soil mixed up so I ran it through hot tap water and when it was to the same number as my tap water (45 PPM) I top watered using distilled water. Seemed to do the trick as I no longer have chemical burn. So from now on I will top water my planters before planting anything using distilled water and test. If too high I will clean.

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