Rinsing Dirt Roots the Easy? Way
This is the method I used to clean soil roots. It may be a little quicker and easier than other methods I've heard people using. I've been transplanting soil to hydro and hydro to soil for over a decade, so this isn't really anything new for me.
Use two buckets of the appropriate size for your root ball. I used 5 gallon buckets for a root ball from a 3 gallon pot. It was a bit of a tight squeeze, but everything worked out in the end.
Initial Breaking of the Root Ball
(This part is new to me, usually I gently tickle all the soil off the roots for transplanting. lol)
Understanding The Physics Saves Time
- Fill the first bucket with tepid water and your root ball
- Let the root ball soak until moist
- Cut or tear out chunks of the root ball and pinch them underwater, to break up the soil in them
- Swish the chunk of roots around to get most of the loose soil to rinse out
- Squeeze the soil/water out of the chunk and toss it in the other bucket
- Repeat this until the root ball is gone
You now have a bucket of soil/roots on the bottom and soil/roots floating at the top. Roots sink and float up slower than soil particles, use this to your advantage. When you agitate the top mix of soil and roots, the soil will float up first and the roots will form a loose mat underneat this layer. The same happens with the bottom, with the soil dropping fast and the roots making a loose mat on top.
- Stir the floating mass of soil bits and roots so it mixes with the water in the middle of the bucket
- Let it sit for a few seconds
- Put your hand through the floating layer and gently scrape the root buildup from the bottom of the floating soil mat
- Squeeze the soil/water out of the mass and toss it in the other bucket
- Repeat until you're only grabbing floating soil
- Stir up the bottom layer of soil/roots and let it sit for a minute
- Gently scrape the loose mat of roots off of the bottom soil layer
- Squeeze the soil/water out of it and toss it in the other bucket
- Repeat until only soil is left
I repeated these steps through 6 total rinses. I then tore the roots up by hand, picking out the larger bits of leftover soil, and put them in a crock pot.
I added about 3/4ths of a cup of olive oil and topped it up with water. I put it on high for an hour, and it's been on low overnight about 18hrs now. I just checked the temp and it's 210F... Ouch!?!? I don't remember anything about heat limits or minimums, so I hope I didn't cook anything.
When it cools down to working temp I'll be using a garlic press to squeeze the roots out (Tedious, I know, but I don't have a potato ricer). I'm also planning on cooking them again for a few hours with another 3/4ths cup of olive oil. See if the second extraction works as well, better, weaker, not at all?