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Thread: How to wash soil?

  1. #1

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    Unhappy

    What method do you use to wash soil? My method: (I think it stinks) I use a bucket and fill it half way (distilled water), then swirl the soil around. Yet, two months later I still have algae growing so that must mean I have minerals still in the peat, right? You can also tell that something is wrong with the soil as the plant looks horrid (just threw my last sundew I transplanted away. So that makes it 0 for 4 in peat). When ever I buy cps the soil turns green aka algae. How do kill the algae, in other words get the minerals out? [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif[/img] I have no problem with sphaghnum moss, it is peat that is the problem.

    Travis

    ps
    I use the peat/perlite combo.
    \"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.\"
    -- Oscar Wilde

    http://www.nasarracenia.org/

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    Steve L's Avatar
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    Hey Travis, Algae growth dosn't have much to do with the minerals. It is a product of the wet conditions in which we grow CP. LF sphagnum doesn't get alge as easily because its naturally resistant, but when it starts to break down I do see it start to get slime. What are you growing? I like to grow VFT's, for example, in 100% Canadian peat, but I let the water in the trays dry up between waterings and that seems to keep the algae down a bit. If you are growing in a terrarium, you may need a bit of air circulation. Are you sure its an algae? Algae is kind of like green jello on the serface of your soil. I have more problems with moss then algae. But I grow in greenhouses with pretty good air flow...
    Steve L
    "I'm Lucky enough to get paid to do this!"

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    Hi Steve, sweet you live in Grand Rapids, MI! I live in Newaygo about an hour north of GR.

    I have grown D. Adalae's and vft dente in the peat/perlite combo. Of course they all died in due time. The other cps I have do great with no slime/algae. I do have a common and a dente with no soil problems too. Most of the time when I do see algae it is not a good sign. The soil they are in is the soil which came with the plant. I also have a 4 to 5 inch vent that seems to keep air moving enough. I do have moss going in some pots but never had a problem with moss yet.

    Travis:blues:
    \"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.\"
    -- Oscar Wilde

    http://www.nasarracenia.org/

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    Steve L's Avatar
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    Travis, Anytime you would like to see the CP collections at Frederik Meijer Gardens, Just give me a shout. I am the Manager of Indoor Horticulture and in charge of the CP here.

    I think your problem may be with the peat and perlight. I know this mix works for some growers, but I have never liked it. I think it stays far too wet. I would recomend finding a good source of silica sand. and useing a mix of peat and sand. You can then add a bit of LF sphagnum if you want a coarser mix. It has been my experience that the straight peat/perlight mix is nothing but trouble. Good Luck.
    Steve L
    "I'm Lucky enough to get paid to do this!"

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    Travis, i've had the same trouble, and i'm almost ready to believe that it's the particular bag of peat i had. It's killed plants in both peat/perlite and peat/sand mixtures. I'd like to think it won't happen with the new bag, anyway. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]
    There's no 'a' in perlite.

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    Yeah, I do not know why I go back to the same mix (peat/perlite)...I have said it on this forums that peat/perlite is a bad combo but here I am posting a topic about it. I just do not understand why cps at store have it in peat/something else and the plants do just fine. I try it at home and they always look weak and ready to die any day (well in my case they do die). [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif[/img]

    Steve, that would be sweet to go. Just need to plan a weekend or so. I was at Frederik Gardens once about 3 or 4 years ago. Looked around but had no cps.

    Travis [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/blues.gif[/img]
    \"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.\"
    -- Oscar Wilde

    http://www.nasarracenia.org/

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    Hi Steve,

    Nice to see you here buddy!

    I have to disagree about the mineral salts in peat though. An initial rinse of peat with RO water produced a high TDS reading of close to 300! (This experiment was confirmed by other growers as well). This may not affect Nepenthes too much, but for Drosera it is not good at all.

    Peat may be rinsed placing it in a 5 gallon bucket, and add pure water (distilled, rain, or RO) until it forms a goop. This is scooped up, wrung out and placed in another bucket and the process is then repeated until a low TDS reading is achieved, usually 2 rinses does the trick. My own method is to make up pots well in advance of their use, and let the seasons rains leach them out for me.

    With a low TDS, there is much less algae and bryophyte problems. It still happens occasionally. If you are getting a lot of bryophyte germination, then it is a good indicator that all is not well with your mix.

    Also, peat stelilization in the microwave on high for 4-6 mins will destroy any spores. I use this method for seed with a potential for a long wait to germination, but keep your eye on it to make sure it doesn't dry out and burst into flame.

    I agree with you regarding pearlite, and greatly prefer silica sand to make the mix in all but a few instances where greater aeration is needed, and I use it only because I have no access to pumice or laterite. Note that the sand or pearlite likewise should be rinsed for optimal results: as far as total dissolved solids go, the lesser the better.
    "Grow More, Share More"

  8. #8

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    Thanks Tamlin. I was not sure about the minerals but thought something had to make the algae grow. I never thought of having the rain wash the perlite, that is a great idea. I also think perlite is ugly in any combo.

    Travis
    \"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.\"
    -- Oscar Wilde

    http://www.nasarracenia.org/

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