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Thread: Wash your media?

  1. #9
    xantius's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. I appreciate the feedback. Looks like I should skip out for most things and I think I will here in the future. For those who wash things such as sand, do you use RO water or tap water?

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    David F's Avatar
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    Tap water 1-2 times, then pure water. The benefit is sustaining plants (especially seedlings) for long periods of time in wetter, damper conditions without having to worry about the pots being taken over by mold, algae or pests. I sort through LFS for anything that isn't LFS, as well as rinsing it, sand and peat. The soil compacts less towards the surface, and smells a lot less funny after repeated use.

    Allowing pots to drain (and discard the drainage) as well as emptying and cleaning trays. It's worth it to keep our overall setups clean. Allowing the PPM and available nutrients to climb is not conducive to a CPs native environment, and in order to best replicate those conditions I highly recommend washing soil materials.

    In sundewman's youtube channel, many of his sundews have not been potted out for YEARS yet their soil still seems fluffy, without a spec of algae or mold, and just starting to release nutrients that mature sundews may extract.

    Hope this helps

    -Dave

  3. #11
    Oregoncp's Avatar
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    I would imagine using tap water would negate the point of rinsing. you are rinsing to wash away minerals and such that the tap water could just add right back in.

  4. #12
    David F's Avatar
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    First to loosen up the soil and get rid of any excess ppm, as well as dissolving nitrogenous materials. Soaking might be pointless, but rinsing is going melt away that annoying tannin. Especially with sand, rinse it with any water, and it becomes clear there are weird substances (like dust particles that float and give "suspicious" colors/hues") these are good enough reasons to me to give a cheap and preliminary rinsing.

  5. #13
    richjam1986's Avatar
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    I wash my sand first with tap water until the water rinses clear, THEN I give it a couple extra rinses with RO water at the end to rinse out the minerals from the tap water. If you do the whole process with RO water, you'll waste a lot of RO water.

    I think a general rule as far as washing goes, at least for me, is if you think it probably has excessive minerals in it, it's better to be safe and wash it. But with organic soil addatives we use, such as peat, sphagnum, and orchid bark there's no reason to assume they have excess minerals. I mean, peat and sphagnum come from CP habitats in the first place for crying out loud! And pine or fir bark doesn't accumulate excess minerals. If you're using coconut coir though, It MIGHT be worth rinsing (I haven't used it, so I don't know).

    Perlite by nature is sterile, chemically inhert (non-reactive) and virtually nutrient free, so no need to wash it. I also use red lava rock with some of my plants (helis and neps). It's fine without washing it.

    Sand and other mineral soil addatives, on the other hand , come in various purities and degrees of contamination. If you can find a good supplier of clean sand, you may not need to wash it. I use silica blasting sand I bought from home depot (http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/cata...gry=Search+All -The 100 lb bag of quartz sand, $7.87. Highly recomended). It is overall very clean to begin with compared to other sands I have tried, but I thnk it's still worth washing. There are so many suppliers out there it's generally a good idea to wash it as a precaution. I've also used granite pebbles in some of my soils. Granite is an inhert stone that won't leach minerals into the soil, but the bag of granite I bought had dust and dirt of unknown nature mixed in with the pebbles, so naturally I washed it.
    Da' mishu
    Provo, Utah.

    My Growlist: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...29#post1089429

  6. #14
    richjam1986's Avatar
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    in response to David F's comments. I've used sphagnum with twigs and bits of grass in it for many years with no negative effect. In the Savage Garden, even Peter D'amato says not to worry about the twigs and grass in Sphagnum. There's no use in spending that energy when many people have shown plants grow fine with the twigs, etc. mixed in.

    I also think it is a good idea to change out the tray water occasionally to get rid of excess minerals, but peat and sphagnum don't start out with many excess minerals when you buy them; so, again, no need to rinse them! And the tannins don't hurt anything. I don't know why they're "annoying". I will periodically top water my plants to flush out any accumulating minerals and change my tray water every few months.

    Edit: I can see the possible benefits of washing peat or Sphagnum to wash out some excees nutrients (NOT minerals), which would help inhibit algae growth if you're starting seeds or something, it's just that most people don't have the time and the benefits are minimal (IMO). If you want to try washing organic soil additives DO NOT use tap water, because organic products are able to hold onto minerals more, and the minerals from the tap water won't rinse out as easily as they will in sand.
    Last edited by richjam1986; 04-05-2013 at 09:42 PM.
    Da' mishu
    Provo, Utah.

    My Growlist: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...29#post1089429

  7. #15
    heatherfeather knows the weather! lil hokie's Avatar
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    Psh, I just wash with tap water and then when I mix with the peat I use rain water. Since all my plants are outside they will get rained on and the minerals will flush out anyways. I call it a mineral boost haha. They don't mind.

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    David F's Avatar
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    @RichJam

    There are large chunks of fibrous roots I remove from the moss, as well as large bits of twig, though some remains in the media, and as you said seems to have no ill effect on quality. (huge sticks and roots bother the crap out of me and I have to pull them out.

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