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Thread: unusual compost

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  1. #1
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    Default unusual compost

    hello when i went to the rhs orchid show last year i met a chap who knew somebody who live in somerset uk who grew cattleyas in vermiculite the main points he told me were he had a tall glasshouse he didnt use much heat he grew them in builders vermiculite he grew them in bowls and they grew so large he had to transport them by wheel barrow this last year ive grown them in med grade vermiculite which good results it has been easier to ascertain when watering is necessary compared to leca the disadvantage is that ive had to wire them in and if i used stones at the bottom of the bowls the dry weight estimation was difficult i used individual pointed sticks in each bowl reversing the ends each day in this case ive just got some coarse builders vermiculite 5-12 mm to try next year

  2. #2
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    Jack
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    Outside 24/7
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    Bulbophyllum and the rest!
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    If it is working like you want it too then I would say keep at it.

  3. #3
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    Ray Barkalow
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    Porch/Patio.
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    Default

    Keep a close eye on vermiculite! It is an expanded silicate product, very closely related to mica.

    The material is heated, driving off chemically-bound water, which is what binds the layers tightly together, allowing it to fluff up. Once you start routinely rewetting it, the water infiltrates the spaces, and slowly begins to react with those old binding sites again, eventually re-collapsing the layers. When that happens, it becomes a root-suffocating mess.

  4. #4
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    thank you raybark for your reply ive been growing in vermiculite for a year and have found that there seems to be a consolidation especially if excessively watered but this has been counteracted by the heavy rooting if i had to choose between leca and vermiculite i would marginally choose vermiculite mainly for judging when to water

  5. #5
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    hello when growing in leca and watering with maxicrop in off the roof rain water that after a period of time with a change of ph and conductivity of the maxicrop that increased growth occurs i keep fish and the way i keep the water clean ie free of ammonia is passing the water through fresh leca beads it takes a while before sufficient bacteria is formed but if a fresh leca is used it can be seeded with a small amount of of contaminated leca the time is reduced to a few days

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