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Thread: Wash your soil ingredients?

  1. #1
    I've got a magic window! elgecko's Avatar
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    Talking

    I usually wash my sphagnum peat moss before using, but not always..........

    I was out of sphagnum peat moss so I went and bought some by Scotts.

    I thought; lets have a bit of an experiment. Since I have a TDS meter lets see if washing the sphagnum peat moss will make a difference.
    I took 12.8 cups of sphagnum peat moss and placed it into my bucket. I then added 1 gallon of collected rain water. All the rainwater I used in my experiments read between 0 and 1 ppm.
    I mixed it all up. I took at least 5 reading while I let the sphagnum peat moss soaked in the water for a hour and a half. I got an average reading of 98.29 ppm. I was shocked how high this number was. Did you ever wonder where all the algae and slime mold comes from?
    I wrung out the sphagnum peat moss and placed it into another bucket. I then added 1 gallon of rainwater and mixed. I left the sphagnum peat moss in the water for around 10 minutes, as I do not do a second wash. I only did this to take readings with my TDS meter. It came out to an average of 19.71 ppm.
    So this little experiment does show that washing your sphagnum peat moss makes a huge difference to the amount of TDS in the soil.
    I will always wash my sphagnum peat moss before use now.


    But wait there's more.............


    I also decided to check Scotts perlite.

    I took 6.4 cups of perlite and placed it into my bucket. I then added 9.6 cups of collected rain water and mixed. I took a few readings over a 10 minute time period. I got an average of 16.4 ppm.
    I then tried to get most the water out of the perlite and placed it into another bucket. Again I added 9.6 cups of rainwater and mixed. I took a few readings over a 10 minute time period. I got an average of 6 ppm.
    Again, washing your perlite will help to lower the amounts of TDS in your soil.

    Now this was a bit strange. I was going to dump out the bucket I used the first time to wash my perlite. I noticed a lot of sludge at the bottom on the bucket. So of course this meant sticking the TDS meter in the water again. What I find odd is that it read 44 ppm. When all the perlite was in the water, it measured much less, 16.4 ppm.
    So then I remove the perlite from the second bucket. I measured that water. It measured 14 ppm. Again when the perlite was in the water it read 6 ppm.
    I'm not sure why this is, but it does show one thing for sure. That washing your soil ingredients lowers the amount of TDS in your soil.

    Hope you find this interesting or, useful.


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  2. #2
    Norhtern Michigan Dragway Mama *Barracuda_45*'s Avatar
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    [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img] Thats very intresting elgecko, i always wash most of my potting mix befour using it, i wash off the perlite alot the peat i will start giving 2 rinses to, but have not rinsed the spag. The sand i use i just put it in a big bowl pour distilled water over it mix it with my hand then drain the water out. Thanks tons for the heads up and info. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_m_32.gif[/img]
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    Good advice with experimental evidence to back it up.

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    goldtrap2690's Avatar
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    what's TDS ?

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    Jeremiah Harris's Avatar
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    Total Dissolved Solids I believe.

    -Jeremiah-

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    Moderator Schmoderator Fluorescent fluorite, England PlantAKiss's Avatar
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    Its "Total Dissolved Solids" which could loosely be translated as "the bad stuff". And for anyone interested in this subject, there is an article on washing peat by William Dawnstar posted in the Articles Forum. Many people are advocates of this technique but there are also those who think its a waste of time. But I've known a lot of people who test the TDS in and swear by the benefits of washing their potting media.

    Don't forget about the Articles forum. Lots of good information there and we are adding to it whenever possible. It is a good resource. You will also find a link to BobZ's site with tons of photos to help in CP ID and general enjoyment. I see posts all the time asking for photos of such-and-such a plant. When you think "photo"...think BobZ! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]

    And yeah, I wash my peat and also leave my peat and sand bags out to leach in the rain.



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  7. #7
    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    That should put the final word on Scott's brand and the general concept of, "to wash or not to wash".

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    白人看不懂 Drosera36's Avatar
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    Gulp....that's good to know. Does this explain my plant?
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