Media Experiment I

Discuss water requirements, "soil" (growing media) and suitable planting containers
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Naja002

 
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Media Experiment I

by Naja002 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:16 am

Hey Everybody,

After swapping some communications with Steve, I thought I would do a bit of a media experiment this year.

For those of you not familiar...this is my Planter Bog setup. All of my VFT growing occurs in there. It is helpful at eliminating variables. The pots are all identical, shaded by the rim and/or other pots, with the plants fully exposed to the sun most hours of the day, watering occurs identically whether from rain or the reservoir, etc, etc, etc. Image

This is what it looks like today--the 9 pots (3 x 3) on the left are the experimental pots:
Image


This experiment is centered around used Coffee Grounds. The media in the pots are as follows:


1) Peat/Sand/Perlite/Coffee Grounds = 45/22/22/11

2) Peat/Sand/Perlite = 50/25/25

3) Eco Earth/Sand = 67/33

4) Eco Earth/Sand/Coffee Grounds = 56/33/11

5) Peat/Sand = 50/50

6) Peat/Sand/Coffee Grounds = 39/50/11

7) Procoir/Sand = 67/33

8) Procoir/Sand/Coffee Grounds = 56/33/11

9) Procoir/Sand/Pine Needles et al = 39/28/33

^^^#9 above was a throw-in to give me a 3 x 3 layout and setup just for fun. I'll explain more about it later. Image

I consider the controls to be:

2) Peat/Sand/Perlite = 50/25/25
5) Peat/Sand = 50/50

We all know that VFTs will grow well in those, so they are the controls...and help give a direct contrast to the results of the coffee grounds in:

1) Peat/Sand/Perlite/Coffee Grounds = 45/22/22/11
6) Peat/Sand/Coffee Grounds = 39/50/11


All media was washed/cleaned well (coffee grounds via original brewing) in my soak stations.

The Procoir and Eco Earth allow a comparison to each other, and the Peat based medias.

In the mixes with Coffee Grounds, the sand/perlite were maintained and the coffee grounds were swapped with peat or coir.

I collected over 3 lbs of dried, used coffee grounds. :mrgreen:

There are 4 different clones in each pot...explained further below.

All components of the mixes were measured out with this 33 oz. cup. Not sure where I got this cup, but it has participated in many projects over many years: Image
Image

The pots used hold 9 of the cup above, so each portion works out to roughly 11%. The top-dressing layer of sand is not included in the media mix ratios. It equals 1 of the cup above and works out to roughly 1/4" - 1/2" layer.


So, while swapping emails with Steve to get the plants needed, and waiting to get some ducks in a row on my end. I decided to check some things out:

Image


I made little mixes of RODI with Procoir/Eco Earth, and both of those with the used coffee grounds. RODI water is so pure that it is difficult at best to get an honest pH reading, but here are the results:

3 oz. solo cups filled with 2 oz of RODI and 1 teaspoon of appropriate media(s):

RODI
2 ppm
6.05 pH

Coffee
56 ppm
5.95 pH

Procoir
5 ppm
5.95 pH

Procoir w/ coffee
86 ppm
5.47 pH

Eco Earth
13 ppm
5.58 pH

Eco Earth w/ coffee
117 ppm
5.71 pH


6 hr soak:

Procoir
18 ppm
6.75 pH

Procoir w/ coffee
107 ppm
6.21 pH

Eco Earth
21 ppm
7.11 pH

Eco Earth w/ coffee
135 ppm
6.12 pH

I don't have much faith in the pH results. The ppm rise in the mixes with coffee grounds concerns me, but I am curious how quickly that will wash out and/or simply how the VFTs will respond to whatever the coffee grounds have to offer. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of people seeing benefits by adding "leftover" coffee to CP pots - even with VFTs, but it seems that the main benefit is seen in neps and sarrs. I guess we will find something out here...one way or the other.
Image

Keep in mind that I've chosen to add the coffee grounds directly to the media mixes. I could have possibly socked up the coffee grounds, added them to the reservoir and "fed" the VFTs that way...but that would eliminate the controls, etc. I'm just saying that there is more than one way to approach this "coffee grounds" idea...this is simply what I have chosen to do. Image
Last edited by Naja002 on Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:13 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Naja002

 
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Re: Media Experiment I

by Naja002 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:17 am

Let's take a quick look at the Eco Earth v. Procoir. In short, the Eco Earth appears to be a bit more refined and not quite as coarse...could go either way on benefits:

Image


Eco Earth:

Image

Image

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Procoir:

Image

Image

Image


They both seem to clean up the same, so even though I'm not really expecting to see any difference in growth between the 2...we'll just have to wait and see...Image
Last edited by Naja002 on Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:44 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Media Experiment I

by Naja002 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:17 am

So, after the USPS folks quit playing football with it...a package arrived in the mail:

Image


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Thankfully all of the goodies inside were not harmed:

4 different clones:
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And a bunch of them:
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However, with freezing weather on the horizon (down into the teens) these plants went straight into the fridge.

6 days later (2-14-12) I got out the Vigorous, Maroon Monsters and the Red Piranhas...still lookin' GOOD! Image


Vigorous:

Image


Graded by size:

Image


Image


Image


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Maroon Monsters

Image


Image





Red Piranhas:

Image
Last edited by Naja002 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Media Experiment I

by Naja002 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:23 am

And, on the 7th day I rested. No, no, wait. That's a different story! :mrgreen: In this story I got out the Jaws!
(2-15-12)


Image


Image


Image


Image



Think Steve hooked me up? Image
Image




So, after 6 and 7 days in the fridge, I got the plants out and got them planted in the following configuration in each of the 9 pots:

Image
The "?" denotes that 6 of the pots have an extra Jaws in the middle and 3 do not.


6 of the pots have the extra Jaws...like this:
Image


And 3 do not, looking like this:
Image
Last edited by Naja002 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:54 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Media Experiment I

by Naja002 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:24 am

So, I got them setup temporarily until I had some time to re-arrange things properly:

Image


Which is one of the things I did today. This is their new home in their permanent location:
Image


The pots numbered and the ones with an "*" have coffee grounds in the mix:
Image

A quick rehash of which pots contain what mix:

1) Peat/Sand/Perlite/Coffee Grounds = 45/22/22/11

2) Peat/Sand/Perlite = 50/25/25

3) Eco Earth/Sand = 67/33

4) Eco Earth/Sand/Coffee Grounds = 56/33/11

5) Peat/Sand = 50/50

6) Peat/Sand/Coffee Grounds = 39/50/11

7) Procoir/Sand = 67/33

8) Procoir/Sand/Coffee Grounds = 56/33/11

9) Procoir/Sand/Pine Needles et al = 39/28/33
Last edited by Naja002 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Media Experiment I

by Naja002 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:25 am

Now let's step sideways for a minute and take a look at the oddball...pot #9. It's a Procoir/Sand/Pine Needles et al = 39/28/33. The Pine Needles et al consists of the following:

Image


Image


I broke the pine limbs into pieces, tore apart the pine cones and included the cores, and chopped the needles up with scissors into ~1 1/2" pieces +/-. That worked out to 3 of the orange cupfuls, so = ~33%. Mixed it up real well with the Procoir and sand....and away it goes!


I did a little experiment with some of the pine components. I simply put some into a pint sized mason jar, vacuum sealed it and let it sit for about 3 days. The vacuum sealing helps to drawn out the oils and other "stuff" inside the pine...speeding up the results process:
(2-5-12)

Image


Again, I don't really trust the pH results because of the RODI, but here they are:

RODI:
2ppm
pH 5.83

3 days vacuum packed:
68 ppm
pH 4.37

10 more days not vacuum packed:
99 ppm
pH 4.04

I just revacuum-sealed it, and I'll let it sit for a while...check it again later.
Last edited by Naja002 on Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Media Experiment I

by Naja002 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:26 am

Now to the individual pots themselves. Not sure how I am going to demonstrate the differences for each and every pot...yes, pictures, of course, but trying to present past v. present; A v. B, etc can turn into quite a mess. So, we'll all see how it works out.

As of: 2-18-12

The pots are numbered on their plant labels:

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Image

Image

Image

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Image

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Not sure if I've forgotten anything. If so, I will have to add it later. So, right now it seems like it is time to just sit and wait...Image

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Re: Media Experiment I

by Eric » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:40 pm

Wonderful experiment! Dare I ask how much it took to obtain all of those VFTs? :D
-How do you know, were you there?
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Re: Media Experiment I

by Veronis » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:56 pm

One question. Why so few pictures? ;)

Bookmarking..

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Re: Media Experiment I

by Matt » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:42 pm

This has to be one of the best laid out and thorough media experiments I've seen posted on the web. I really look forward to following it through the growing season!
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Re: Media Experiment I

by Steve_D » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:13 am

Naja-- THANK YOU so much for doing and documenting this great experiment (like you have documented your planter bog engineering and construction process). I'm sure that a lot of people will find this discussion thread and your experiment very interesting and follow it closely. What a great thing to do and share with everyone. Thanks again! :mrgreen:

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Re: Media Experiment I

by swat007j » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:45 am

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! your so lucky

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Re: Media Experiment I

by 95slvrZ28 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:40 am

Man, this experiment looks TERRIBLE! Some guy can just throw potting mix together, buy a bunch of plants and take pictures and suddenly he's a hero *sigh* What the world is coming to these days... ;)

Really though, thanks for taking the time and effort to think out and document this so well! I'm very excited to see the results! I'm hoping for good results with the pine needles. They are quite abundant around here and it would make a pretty easy to get potting media for me. Looking forward to updates!

swat007j wrote:WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! your so lucky

*you're...
Seriously though, work hard in school and someday buying a gigantic box of plants won't seem like that big of a deal to you!

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Re: Media Experiment I

by Steve_D » Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:05 pm

Eric wrote:Dare I ask how much it took to obtain all of those VFTs?

Matt and I do sometimes accept wholesale and bulk quantity orders at FlytrapStore.com. Such orders might depend upon what we have available at the time and how overstocked we are. Info here--
http://www.flytrapcare.com/store/wholesale-venus-fly-traps

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Naja002

 
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Re: Media Experiment I

by Naja002 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:31 pm

Eric wrote:Wonderful experiment! Dare I ask how much it took to obtain all of those VFTs? :D


In all fairness, since Matt and Steve do not have a published bulk order pricelist, I think it's up to them. I will say that between the $$$ amount and the plant sizes....I'm a very Happy Camper! Image




Veronis wrote:One question. Why so few pictures? ;)

Bookmarking..


Well, ya see....and then because...so, if it really....and then...so, yep, that pretty much sums it up! I'll try to do better next time though....Image





Matt wrote:This has to be one of the best laid out and thorough media experiments I've seen posted on the web. I really look forward to following it through the growing season!


That makes 2 of us. I am looking forward to it also. I'm not quite sure what to think atm!





Steve_D wrote:Naja-- THANK YOU so much for doing and documenting this great experiment (like you have documented your planter bog engineering and construction process). I'm sure that a lot of people will find this discussion thread and your experiment very interesting and follow it closely. What a great thing to do and share with everyone. Thanks again! :mrgreen:


Thank YOU and Matt for providing the quantity of top-quality plants at an affordable cost. Without that...this wouldn't have happened! Image






swat007j wrote:WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! your so lucky


Lucky to have found Matt, Steve, Leah and the VFTStore!

Image






95slvrZ28 wrote:Man, this experiment looks TERRIBLE! Some guy can just throw potting mix together, buy a bunch of plants and take pictures and suddenly he's a hero *sigh* What the world is coming to these days... ;)

Really though, thanks for taking the time and effort to think out and document this so well! I'm very excited to see the results! I'm hoping for good results with the pine needles. They are quite abundant around here and it would make a pretty easy to get potting media for me. Looking forward to updates!

swat007j wrote:WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! your so lucky

*you're...
Seriously though, work hard in school and someday buying a gigantic box of plants won't seem like that big of a deal to you!


Thanx, Blake! I think we are all interested in the outcome...especially the pine. One thing I've noticed is it seems that everyone has focused on pine needles. Well, it dawned on me when I was collecting the needles that pine branches, pine bark, and pine cones all wind up on and in the ground, so why not include those too? I've read recently that they (needles) will initially lower the pH and eventually turn around and raise it, so I'm not quite sure what to think of that!





Steve_D wrote:
Eric wrote:Dare I ask how much it took to obtain all of those VFTs?

Matt and I do sometimes accept wholesale and bulk quantity orders at FlytrapStore.com. Such orders might depend upon what we have available at the time and how overstocked we are. Info here--
http://www.flytrapcare.com/store/wholesale-venus-fly-traps


There ya go, Eric! :mrgreen:

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