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A Moist Vermiculite

A Moist Vermiculite

Moist Vermiculite

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Vermiculite is often used in gardening as a potting soil. But did you know that it can absorb up to four times its weight in water?Seeds of all sizes can be sown directly into 100 per cent vermiculite. Alternatively, you can use a 50:50 mix of vermiculite and seed sowing compost. You can also sow just using sowing compost, then cover the seed tray with vermiculite after sowing. Covering a seed tray with vermiculite helps to keep the compost moist and also helps to ward off the fungus that causes damping off. It also helps to insulate against temperature and humidity changes in the greenhouse. The life of a bag of perlite begins as volcanic glass — but not any type of volcanic glass. It’s formed when obsidian contacts water, creating a unique type of volcanic glass with a high water content. When manufacturers apply heat to perlite, it puffs up into little white balls. Often times they’ll mix these little white balls — what we call perlite — into potting soils to aid with soil aeration and water retention. It retains some water but also air on the surface of the little balls in all the hidden nooks and crannies.

Mix

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Mixing perlite into the soil in your outdoor garden beds or combining it with potting soil or another medium is the most common way to use perlite. To start seeds, use a mix of half perlite and half peat. Cuttings can use this mix too, or you can up the perlite to 100 percent. For garden beds, spread a two-inch layer of perlite, then mix it into the top six to 12 inches of soil. Potted plants can use a third perlite and an appropriate potting soil for the rest. How much perlite to add depends on what you want to grow. For seed starting, use half perlite and half peat. Cuttings can be rooted in this same mixture, or you can increase the perlite up to 100 percent. For potted plants, use one third perlite and two thirds potting soil. Garden beds get a two-inch layer of perlite mixed into the top six to 12 inches of your garden soil.

Vermiculite is commonly used by those in the gardening trade to root cuttings. It can be used in various ways, either used alone, mixed with soil, or combined with bark for a soilless potting mixture. Whether used alone, or in a mix, propagating a cutting with vermiculite will promote anchorage for new roots, and speed up root growth. If you want to encourage a more rapidly rooting cutting and a higher propagation success rate, vermiculite is the preferred material to use (The Vermiculite Association). Vermiculite is a versatile, naturally occurring mineral that can be used alone or mixed with other growing mediums to improve plant health and plant growth. It helps with soil aeration and greatly improves soil quality, but where it really shines is with its ability to retain moisture, thereby ensuring roots have the moisture they need while preventing overwatering. Vermiculite can be expensive to buy but may prove itself to be priceless when it comes to the health of your plants. (Source: www.trees.com)

 

 

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