masterlow- I personally would soak them first but it's probably not as crucial as with a container.
bio-forte- my understanding is that the polymer crystals absorb water and a crystal will only release moisture once the air/material surrounding it is dry enough to "absorb" it. I'm not sure it would make an overly wet situation worse, but it certainly wouldn't help matters. I live in a very arid environment and am pretty much forced to use the crystals. If that weren't the case, I'd skip them personally.
As a sidenote, the properties of these crystals are such that they absorb a TON of water and release it VERY SLOWLY. When I first started messing around with these, I put about 1 teaspoon of crystals in the bottom of a pint glass jar and then filled the jar with water. A few hours later, the jar was FULL of crystals. All the water had been absorbed by the crystals.
I then set the jar out with the lid off to see how long it would take for the crystals to release the moisture they had absorbed... a week later the level hadn't gone down at all, so I gave up and added the crystals to my soil mix.
I apologize for rambling. Fast fingers.
Last edited by Dignan; 08-23-2007 at 04:42 AM..