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Thread: Sand

  1. #1

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    Hi, I need your opinon on what brand of sand works the best in your potting media. I also have peat moss, dried lfs, and perlite available. People often said sand works best so I want to try sand, except I don't know which brand to buy. Just don't say silica, play, or washed sand, please give me a good name brand that sells sand in around 50lb bags and please quote me a price

  2. #2

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    Sorry, that is not possible. Sand is gathered from many parts of the country, so brand names are not a dependable thing. Silica sand is white, either as fine as table salt or as coarse as sugar.

    If you have a construction supply co. near you, they sell silica sand for sandblasting. If you ask for "sandblasting" sand you should be ok. This is a fine grade of silica sand which is acceptable. I prefer a coarser grade, or a mix of the 2.

    Coarse silica sand may be had from swimming pool supply companies who seel it for its use in swimming pool filters. This is an excellent grade sand.

    Neither one is washed. You have to do the chore yourself by putting the sand in a bucket, adding water and swishing. Drain the water out and repeat. Do this until the water looks nearly good enough to drink. Tap water is fine, but I would do a final rinse with rain or other pure water.

    When it comes to good cultivation of Drosera, you have to keep everything squeaky clean, and strive to avoid adding anything to the mix that might support the growth of algae and bacteria.

    Certain algae and bacteria have the capability of taking nitrogen from the atmosphere and puttinhg it into the substrate. Nitrogen fixation is bad when it happens in CP mediums.

    I make up my pots of mix well in advance of needing them, and I leave them out in the rain to leach over the spring and summer, using the oldest pots first. I do this in addition to rinsing the sand before using it. This process of weathering usually insures that I have a clean medium when it is time to sow or transplant. The best place to store your "mix" is in pots, and outside. Let Mother help!

    I find the best peat is a light brown in color, and fluffy. It sort of looks woody....not muddy or dark. The best LFS is New Zealand or Chilean sphagnum, although I harvest a very good type from the local bog here which is very clean as well.

    Pearlite also should be rinsed. I don't care for its look or the fact that it floats, and algae always seems to come from my using it, although others have sung its praises. In any case, it too needs to be washed.

    I also frequently change the water in my trays for wet loving species, or allow other species to sit dry for a day: a little drying out is good as it creates some aeration to the mix which discourages anaerobic bacterial processes. It also prevents mosquito larve from establishing.

    The use of sphagnum, red wood mulch, red cedar mulch as a "sump" at the bottom of the pot also acts to discourage bacteria. I would hesitate to use paper products. The goal is to not add anything that is not required, and often chemicals are used to process paper.

    Be careful using water from rain barrels that have not been kept in the dark, as algae establishes in these and is introduced to your meduim with watering. If there are few nutrients (see above) it generally does not establish itself. Keep the rain barrels covered.

    Occasional top watering with distilled water is advisable to remove any accumulated salts or nutrients. I pour water through the mix equal at least to the volume of the pot the plant is in for a good "flush". Healthy plants may also be left out in a gentle rain, they will quickly recover their dew. Many Drosera may be submerged for days, and actually be the better for it.

    In all cases water should generally have a very low ppm: distilled, RO, or rainwater are safe. Tap water above 25 PPM I would turn my nose up at.

    I have found deep pots are better for virtually any species, but especially so for South Africans with thick roots, Australian pygmy and tuberous species, D. binata, D. regia, D. graminifolia.
    D. spatulata does well in smaller containers, as do most of the thinner, fiberous rooted species.
    Pots must plastic or other non absorbative substance.

    General repotting is best done within 2 years to keep the plants happy long term. Some species have indeterminate life spans, growing in size and beauty year after year, so it is good to take the long view. Others are ephremal, lasting a season or two, and dying.

    Very high humidity is required by very few species (Queensland and some of the Brasillian species being the exception), but light and air circulation are important. The dew on Sundews is not dew, and given good conditions it will not evaporate. Plants should be kept out of hot dry winds to be sure, but RH 40%+ will suffice. High humidity with good air circulation is certainly optimal, but there is much leeway before the plants will be stressed.

    Drosera need 4-5 hours of hard light minimum (the kind that casts a shadow) if not supplemented by additional lighting in order to achieve typical coloration and form. They are fully as light hungry as cacti. If grown exclusively under artificial light, the plants should be as close to the tubes as possible and with as little between them and the tubes as possible. Glass cuts of a large percentage of useful light. Plastic film like saran wrap is little better. Light is probably the most critical factor for the health of this genus. Without it, they will weaken, etiolate, and be very susceptible any fungal or insect attack.

    Changes from one growing protocol to another, whether it be humidity, light, or temperature should be done in gradual stages. Avoid sudden radical changes. The plants also prefer to be left alone once they are growing. If a plant is growing, avoid changing its position.

    Optimizing growing conditions will always produce the best plants. Little differences produce big results.
    "Grow More, Share More"

  3. #3
    VFT and Drosera lover vft guy in SJ's Avatar
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    Wow.. as usual I just learned something else new from one of Tamlins posts.
    Thanks Tamlin [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]
    Steve
    There are only 2 infinite things... the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not too sure about the universe.

  4. #4

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    Quote
    I make up my pots of mix well in advance of needing them, and I leave them out in the rain to leach over the spring and summer, using the oldest pots first. I do this in addition to rinsing the sand before using it. This process of weathering usually insures that I have a clean medium when it is time to sow or transplant. The best place to store your "mix" is in pots, and outside. Let Mother help![/QUOTE]

    I left a potting mix with perlite and sphagnum outside. There was a huge amount of rainwater in it. I think it got infected by a bacteria increase. Cause it started to smell really really bad. So I have it in a huge pot hoping the water will drain but something clog the pores so its not draining anymore. So, I think I'll throw out that mix soon.

  5. #5

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    Adding some sphagnum to the base of the pot will allow the pot to drain.
    "Grow More, Share More"

  6. #6
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    Quote (vft guy in SJ @ Aug. 21 2003,06:58)
    Wow.. as usual I just learned something else new from one of Tamlins posts.
    Thanks Tamlin [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]
    Steve[/QUOTE]
    veru true , thanks tamlin .

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    A fount of wisdom.
    I am just like a Super Hero, but without the power or motivation.................and the funky suit.

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    Just one question re garding the prepared soil mixes. If I were to leave it out in the sun, should I have some sort of cover on it since rainwater will contaminate the mixture?

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