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

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By Apollyon
Posts:  1493
Joined:  Tue May 05, 2020 2:49 am
At some point or another, I'm sure everyone has heard/read they should rinse peat moss prior to planting to remove any harmful minerals that may reside in the medium (also to prevent algae growth in seedling pots). I have to admit I'm pretty lax with this and perhaps it's the brand changeover in peat but I'm finding my pots to be worse for wear or in need of being flushed much earlier than I used to. I'm gravitating towards rinsing peat in earnest but the process is pretty tedious so I thought "Is there a way to automate this process" and then I landed on building a supported container with a durable mesh bottom where I would dump the peat into the box, and have mother nature flush it out over the course of the season (no shortage of rain here) and put a finer mesh on top to keep out the pests and dwarf any would be plants that'd try to use it as a bed. Rinsing or no, I have never had trouble outside. Has anyone had any experience doing something like this?

What are some of your ideas for rinsing peat? I usually have to repot around 20+ plants at a time so the "Fill, Soak, Squeeze, Transfer" concept isn't really practical.
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By Panman
Posts:  2909
Joined:  Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:41 pm
I've yet to rinse the peat I use. I get the big bales at Home Depot. On the other hand, my plants are all outside from Aprilish through October so they get plenty of rain water flushing through the pots. I think that is how I've gotten by with using 72ppm water from the tap all of these years.
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By nimbulan
Posts:  2267
Joined:  Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:03 pm
I've thought about building a big screen box like that and letting rain take care of it, but I don't really have the design knowledge necessary for that. Right now I just soak it in a bucket, then pour it into a paint straining bag then wring that out, which is much much faster than manual transfer between containers.

Personally I've had so much trouble with unrinsed peat (down to seeds not even germinating,) I don't understand how anybody can actually successfully grow CPs without rinsing. That goes for both consumer grade and professional grade peat.
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By ChefDean
Posts:  4752
Joined:  Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:44 am
I take the lazy approach.
I mix up my peat mixture and hydrate it. I then put some old LFSM in the bottom of a pot and top with the peat mix. My tap is about 100 ppm, and I use that to rinse the pot. I then do a final rinse with distilled water.
This approach works well when only doing a few pots at a time, but I may have to find a more industrial type of contraption like yours in the near future.
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By NightRaider
Posts:  114
Joined:  Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:01 am
I've rinsed all the peat I've used because I try to be a do it once and do it well kind of person, but it's still a massive pain. I just chuck some in a cheap pillowcase, toss that in a 5gal Lowe's bucket, and run some water from my rain barrel in it and swirl it around a bit and dump the water. Rinse and repeat a couple times (or more for germinating seeds), and it's not too bad to do in bulk. Problem is, I haven't found a good way to squeeze the excess water out afterward. So far I've just been doing it by the handful, but I always worry what the neighbors are thinking when they see me squeezing handfuls of dirt and chucking it into a trashcan for 4 hours straight. Maybe a couple plastic storage tubs that stack into each other with holes drilled in the bottom of one, idk. Tried it with nesting buckets but I couldn't get enough force on it to accomplish much. Of course just wringing the whole bag out gets rid of a good bit of water, but still not really enough to prep for long term storage. At this point laying a board across it and running over it with the car somehow seems like it could have potential, but I'm definitely open to any better ideas.

I am a little intrigued by your idea though, but, and I'm not sure whether it'd be justified or not, but I'd be a little hesitant personally to use peat that was left outside to dry naturally for an extended period of time as germination substrate at least since it'd be collecting whatever fungal spores were floating around in the meantime.
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