Vermiculite & Perlite

OldJake1
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12:16 AM - Jan 30, 2004 #1

Although I only use two or three 5 litre bags bags of Vermiculite and Perlite a year I find them invaluable help in compost mixtures.
Earlier this week I was pleasantly surprised that the price at Wilkinsons per bag for the third year running is still only 1-29, especially seeing how much cheaper it is compared with prices for 25 litre bags at garden centres.
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MacT1
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12:24 AM - Jan 30, 2004 #2

I only ever use Perlite ...I like it for rooting cuttings but I pay over a 1.50 for a small bag up here
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8:51 AM - Jan 30, 2004 #3

I have only recently starting using perlite and vermiculite (fine grade) with great results. My brug seeds are doing beautifully on top of the vermiculite and the coral tree germinated happily in the perlite. All my geranium seeds germinated in 4 days in vermiculte with no sign of mould (which is what I go with seed compost). I'm definitely converted.

Sue
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scotia10
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1:24 PM - Jan 30, 2004 #4

Sue !
Could you elaborate on your use of perlite/vemiculite please
I ask this simply because I have only ever used perlite as part of a compost mix and vermiculite as a seed covering.
I get the impression you use all (100%) one or the other, depending upon what you are sowing.
http://www.thegardenersalmanac.co.uk
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salli c
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3:31 PM - Jan 30, 2004 #5

Like Scotia, I have only ever used Vermiculite (never tried Pearlite) as a compost mix or as a seed covering layer. I do find it lessens the likelihood of damping off though.


xx-Sal-xx





xx-Sal-xx
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10:42 PM - Jan 30, 2004 #6

Hi Scotia
Using vermiculite and perlite is quite a recent thing for me. I looked up some information about growing banana seeds and someone very knowledgable said they only sowed their banana seed in 100% perlite so I decided to. I put pots in plastic bag and the perlite stays moist. I decided to use vermiculite instead of seed compost as I was having trouble with mould round the seedlings. I use it purely for sowing seeds and it is so clean to use and it holds just the right amount of water. I have not kept the seedlings growing in it yet but I think I heard somewhere that these two products do have some sort of nutrients in them but don't quote me on that! I kept the coral tree seedling in the perlite for some while and it was very healthy. I shall leave some seedlings in for a while and see how they do and let you know.
Sue
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DeeDee571
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11:04 PM - Jan 30, 2004 #7

Sue, I agree, I tend to use vermiculite for lily scales, works much better than anyting else I have tried.
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trevor211
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11:16 PM - Jan 30, 2004 #8

I use vermiculite. Have tried perlite and this went green.
For seeds I use 50/50 mix vermiculite and multipurpose from Focus cheaper than B&Q.
For potting on I use 4 multipurpose 4 cambark or a Bowers chipped and composted bark 1 vermiculite.
I have found that all plants I grow are happy in my mixes,
Orchids I use just the cambark or Bowers chipped and composted bark.

Trevor
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scotia10
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12:00 PM - Jan 31, 2004 #9

Thanks Sue,
Might give that a bash, never to old to learn..cheers
Which reminds me its the last Saturday of the month.
Its the day of the month a few of us meet up and chew the cud and discuss a lot of garden topics. I might try and get other views on this method.
Have made a copy of your method and Trevors too, thanks to you both.
http://www.thegardenersalmanac.co.uk
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OldJake1
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12:25 PM - Jan 31, 2004 #10

Re: Perlite,
Sue, I grow a number of seed in nothing but Perlite as I find that the delicate roots of the tiny seedlings are loose and easy to then pot up in a mixture of compost of fity fity vermiculite and and compost as Trevor does.
Tell you what, I've never had such success with this method as this when germinating Parsley, as you know this is notoriously slow in germination despite pouring boiling water in the seed drill. What I do is dampen the Perlite in a washed-out, disused potoato salad pot. Seal it, using the lid and leave it somewhere warm -in our case on the kitchen worktop (I am the cook of the house ) under the under-cupboard strip lighting. Very germination within 7 -10 days, take the lid off so they get maximum lighting for a few hours before, without any resistance on the roots, pot up the the seed mixture mentioned above.
Trevor I quite agree about the Perlight turning green but find this so when moist and subject to light. That doesn't bother me I merely tip it in the sack of compost and it gets used in plant potting compost.
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kitty58
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2:57 AM - Feb 01, 2004 #11

Well OJ Sal only taught me about the Vermi stuff today....I shall go to Wilkinsons rather than Wyevale now. Thanks

Kitty



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scotia10
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12:35 PM - Feb 01, 2004 #12

Back again........sober......and a bit wiser.
I was reminded of something Unwins did a few years ago where they sold 'seed packs' which consisted of a small tray (3"x 4"x 1" deep approx) with a clear plastic lid, and filled with vermiculite, a mini propagator if you like, this was accompanied with a packet of seed.
The instruction advised you on how many spoonfuls of water to put in the vermiculite and how to grow the seeds on.
As I recall I didn't particularly like the method, it was too fiddly. This is not to say that the idea wasn't a good idea, it just wasn't for me.
The other thought is; the idea didn't seem to take off so perhaps it was not a viable proposition, cash wise for the producer..........fickle lot we gardeners
We discussed the mould on top of the compost.
Here we determined it was due to bad drainage and/or possibly poor compost.
This is why I use either river sand, silver sand, perlite or vermiculite as a compost conditioner. I make my choice of which, after I have opened the compost bag to see what condition it is already in, then I alter the texture to suit the seed I intend sowing if necessary.
Regarding 'growing on' in Perlite/Vermiculite I think this would be rather a futile thing to do, simply because there are no nutrients in the mix,unless you put them there.
Vermiculite & Perlite are inert volcanic residue and as such may have a trace of minerals in it, but these same minerals may not be of a type to feed plant life.
When one compares these products with 'seed compost' the only similarlty is there are little or no fertilisers in them.
Hence the advice given by most experts of 'pricking them out when large enough to handle'
i.e. get them into a 'potting compost'
Regarding perlite turning green this is simply a case of too wet and in too much light, eliminate this then you will eliminate the 'green algae' the same can be said of compost.
Well that it till our next get together ... cheers!
http://www.thegardenersalmanac.co.uk
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OldJake1
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12:55 PM - Feb 01, 2004 #13

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Regarding 'growing-on' in Perlite or Vermiculite, I think this is rather futile...
Quite: As I said I find germinating some seeds in these materials preferable so that when "I prick them out..." the tiny roots do not anchor themselves into compost with the risk of any damage, but because I don't sow vast numbers of seeds like Scotia it suits me fine.
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salli c
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5:48 PM - Feb 01, 2004 #14

I just wanted to add to this that I use an old spice jar (one that has half the top covered with a plastic thingie inside) for sprinkling just the right amount of vermiculite over seeds.
Also: I have always used Multi Purpose Compost for seed sowing (albeit a very fine one) and think I have had reasonable success with germination (an average of 60% on the 92 varieties I grew last year). Do you think I would have better success if I was to use Seed Compost?


xx-Sal-xx





xx-Sal-xx
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10:36 PM - Feb 01, 2004 #15

Hi All
I have not had any problem with perlite turning green, even with the pots in sunlight. Also no problem with over watering as the excess just drains straight out the bottom. I sowed 3 types of banana seeds, about 12 in total, some in perlite and some in vermiculite and 9 have rooted in under a month. Maybe the bag of seed compost I bought was pretty bad quality and put me off using it but I do like the vermiculite and perlite because of its ease of use, cleaness and I don't make so much mess with it!
Sue
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OldJake1
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11:32 PM - Feb 01, 2004 #16

Salli,
In answer to your question, I personally use ordinary multi -purpose compost adding vermiculite, for much of my seed sowing, but of course it's a personal choice, bearing in mind that nutrients in the none soil composts only last weeks.
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