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Old 05-23-2011, 04:36 PM #31

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kool thnx Hammerhead
I recalculated and will b using 10% perlite

Marcellas what is BATCO?
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:17 PM #32

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Originally Posted by Sickleg View Post

Also, why would anyone reuse soil??? The return you get on plants is so great that the cost of soil isn't even considerable.
you've got to be kidding me. years of organic amendements are building up a fertile bed of soil. my best producers came from my oldest beds...each year I add more amendments. you're not too bright my friend.
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:00 PM #33

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I donít know if I would call perlite a byproduct as it is a mined ore (rock) which is broken up and then fired to expand it. It is used in many areas - a huge amount in horticulture as virtually every potting mix out there uses it. It is also used for filtration and absorption of all types of chemical and fuel spills because it has a very high absorption capacity. It is used in insulation as a fireproof product. It is used in construction as filler for lightweight concrete and for plasters, and formed products but as far as I can tell, is not used in drywall. If you really want to understand the product and itís uses - check the Perlite Institute - See the horticulture section on the benefits such as great aeration, canít overwater and because of itís super water holding capacity, it holds on to water and nutrients until the plant needs it and cuts down on irrigation water use. There are uses for soil improvement, potting mixes, hydroponics, etc. The larger it is, the quicker it will dry out. And something I didnít know until recently, is before use, you should soak the perlite in water and fertilizer solution until fully soaked. If not and used from the bag straight, it may pull all available plant root moisture hydrating itself. It is also recommended to use a light layer of pea gravel on top to prevent any later floating. Note, in the orchid recommendations, they arenít using anything but perlite. See the article on use with orchids at the Charles Island Gardens by Dr Wally Thomas and Barb Thomas. utilizing a hydroponic reservoir system and includes a nutrient chart. Excerpted - ďPretreatment - Horticultural perlite (about 1/8 inch, 3mm in diameter) is pretreated by pouring perlite into a tub of water and fertilizer solution. The perlite is pushed into the water several times and the floating perlite is skimmed off. This wet perlite is a wonderfully easy material with which to pot. Such pretreated perlite shows no evidence of compaction after three years. Watering/Fertilizing - Pots should be heavily watered before they dry. One cannot overwater with the perlite system. Charles Island Gardens has experienced no disease in five years and the system offers the potential for simple and inexpensive automationĒ

It runs in many sizes depending on the industry. The above website talks about sizes and screen mesh sizes. For larger than general horticultural use, well at least for orchids, it is called spongerock and depending on the plant can use grades 2-4. I would think you guys would be the same in you want it as large as possible. I know everything I read says (in the larger sizes, you canít overwater. Perlite comes in sizes from 10 mm down to .025 mm but can be customized. This is the link to a chart of sizes in millimeters, inches, microns and general description (size of a pea, grain of salt), typical use and US mesh size. I believe the last is also the grade though I wouldnít bet my life on it. It starts at Mesh 2 and goes in size down to Mesh 550 which is tiny at .025 mm or .0009 inches.

Perlite companies are in a number of states across the country. I would check to see what the closest processor is to you and contact them - they can do custom sizes and it could be they are already doing the size you need and you can contact that particular industry supply stores. Here is a list of members with their location.
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:23 PM #34

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Maybe he meant potting soil which typically you would change out due to disease. Even in soil, you rotate crops, i.e. don’t grow tomatoes, peppers, or potatoes in the same place each year. If growing corn you follow with soybeans for a year to give time for disease to clear out. Some crops may not have this issue but others (mentioned) are highly sensitive to the same spot each year. But, you are right about organic amendments, it takes 2-3 yrs plus to really start working and getting microbes going as they are all slow release. Sometimes people get discouraged with organics because it isn’t that immediate release of nutrients that chemicals give them but they just need to hang in there and not forget cover crops with legumes like clover, alfalfa and green manures like peas, buckwheat, clovers, annual rye, sugar beets, etc. when preparing a new plot along with things like alfalfa meal and blood meal which works a little quicker. I also like mycos, seaweed meals, cottonseed meal, green sand, and rock powders from as many different areas as I can get, And I like compost teas made from earthworm castings, composted manures, bat guano, and molasses due to the iron, magnesium, calcium, etc. not to mention it feeds the microbes but you need to let it sit for a couple days with aeration the whole time. Don’t forget that every time you use chemicals whether synthetic or natural pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, algicides, or tap water which contains chlorine, chloramines etc - you pretty much kill all the microbes you have built up and you have to start over. if you grow in pots and use tap, set up an outside 5 stage filtration system to remove as much of the bad stuff as you can. It isn’t RO but it doesn’t waste water either. Better yet, use rainwater. A 1000 sq ft roof in a 1” rain storm generates over 600+ gallons of rainwater. You can’t reasonably bubble nor evaporate chloramines from tap water due to the ammonia they add it to keep these things from happening for a much longer period of time.
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:42 PM #35

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Iíd go with 50% perlite iin the largest grade size US mesh 2 which is the size of a pea. But general perlite just called horticultural perlite will work also as an amendment. Iíd rather water more than be waiting for the mix to dry out but thatís me. See my other reply about the Perlite Institute. I donít do weed soI donít know how it handles dry or wet but if using hydroponics, I canít see why you couldnít use 100%. I use 199% for all my cuttings of shrubs and perennials until well rooted. The perlite used this way is cleanable and resuseable because it isnít contaminated with any of media like bark, peat, etc. If using just as amendment to potting mix and watering - then you wouldnít want over 50% total (including what is in the prepared mix) and maybe back down to 30% based on watering techniques as it does provide lots of aeration and dries quick. Remember, perlite holds a lot of water and nutrients too. It is very porous, has a strong capillary action and can hold 3Ė4 times its weight in water. Most bags of perlite cover a range of sizes. Hope the info provided helps - donít forget to check out the Perlite Institute and read the various articles under horticulture.
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:31 AM #36

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Lava rock is mostly superior and way cheaper. 50$ a yard. It doesn't break, Doesn't float and separate, and it is usually larger in size.
It is heavier and i do still use perlite, but my mixes are more lava rock and less perlite then ever. Probably 23% lava and 10% perlite. I may stop using perlite entirely.
I think 1/3 drainage material (perlite,lava), 1/3 compost, 1/3 fluff (coco, bark fines, peat) is pretty close to ideal.
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