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Author Topic: When to water pots with grit on top  (Read 4554 times)

Corinne

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When to water pots with grit on top
« on: January 30, 2007, 05:43:30 AM »
Being a novice I must ask:  When the pots of Alpine seeds
are covered with grit, how does one know when the soil is
drying and need water?

Thank you,

Corinne  ;D
Iowa, USA, Zone 4

PEAK

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Re: When to water pots with grit on top
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2007, 06:53:58 AM »
A very good question Corinne! I am not considering me a novice anymore, having sowed alpines for some years now, but I still have this problem! My solution was to stop to add the grit, I just cover the seeds needing cover with the usual seed compost or perhaps a little vermiculite.
Per-ke Lfdahl Bulb Enthusiast
Stockholm-Sweden

annew

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Re: When to water pots with grit on top
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2007, 08:27:19 AM »
Try lifting a dry pot, then a moist pot, and get to know the different way they feel. You'll soon get to know that a light pot means water is needed.
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Corinne

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Re: When to water pots with grit on top
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2007, 08:37:33 AM »
Your responses are appreciated.  I suppose I shall have to
weigh the pots, and weigh the benefits of using grit on top.

Maybe I could use a soil moisture reader.

Away I go!  ;D
Iowa, USA, Zone 4

Thomas Huber

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Re: When to water pots with grit on top
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2007, 08:46:44 AM »
Corinne, its not only the weight of the pot!
Press it softly and you will feel the difference
between wet and dry!
Thomas Huber, Neustadt - Germany (230m)

David Pilling

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Re: When to water pots with grit on top
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2007, 12:28:15 PM »
I add a measured amount of water to the compost and then put the pot in a plastic bag - without saucer so condensation gets recycled.

Snags - some things will not stand a long period growing in such high humidity, so you have to remove the bag once they start to grow. OTOH other things will happily get quite big under plastic with corresponding saving in effort.



David Pilling at the seaside in North West England.

Corinne

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Re: When to water pots with grit on top
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2007, 12:54:04 PM »
I understand, and I thank you for your advice!

Corinne
Iowa, USA, Zone 4

Anthony Darby

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Re: When to water pots with grit on top
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2007, 09:28:50 PM »
I suppose that's one advantage to living in central Scotland. My pots are either wet or very wet!
Anthony Darby, Auckland, New Zealand.
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Lesley Cox

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Re: When to water pots with grit on top
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2007, 02:26:13 AM »
I can't emphsize too highly, the BENEFITS and ADVANTAGES of covering larger seeds with grit and sowing tiny ones into the grit covering already placed on the pot surface. Grit discourages slugs and snails, discourages liverworts and mosses (nothing totally eliminates these) and makes the removal of small weeds much easier. If seeds are placed out of doors in all weathers (and most alpines prefer this) the grit keeps the pot surface damp and oat an even temperature. It also protects the seed from heavy rain or splashing and from hardening or "caking" when the sun is too hot.

It truly is just a matter of experience and the "feel" of the pot that tells you when the pot needs watering. Or you can always push a little amount of grit aside from the side of the pot and have a look and a finger feel. But provided your seed pots have a very free draining mixture (and provided you don't live in central Scotland) the pots should be at no risk from a good watering quite frequently.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2007, 02:28:37 AM by Lesley Cox »
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Diane Whitehead

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Re: When to water pots with grit on top
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2007, 03:32:07 AM »
I have a few thousand pots and there is no way I am going to lift them up to check their weight or move some stones to see what's going on underneath.  I can see by the colour of the compost whether watering is required.

I  have  bad results from seedpots from friends who use a peat-based mix with grit on top.

 Even worse are the results when I have bought plants with a grit covering hiding the fact that the compost is actually almost 100% pumice.  I think nurseries are set up to use excessively free-draining compost because they have automatic watering systems and water almost daily.

I think the most important thing is to keep to a system that works for you.  Mixing systems is not a good idea.
Diane Whitehead        Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

Maggi Young

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Re: When to water pots with grit on top
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2007, 10:14:08 AM »
With experience, one does get an "eye" for gaugeing the state of the pots. One point made by Diane is especially important, and not just from the watering point of view: Diane writes of difficulties she has found with pots with compost from other people, friends or nurseries, whatever: thepoint is that everyone uses a compost that is "good" for them, their purpose: but WE need a compost that works for us, in our climate, our garden etc: therefore I recommend that whenever new plants are obtained, you take them out of whatever mix they are in ( with due care and attention to minimise root disturbance etc. ) and get them into your own compost mix so that you will only have to worry about that, not about what bugs there may be in there, or how it is reatining water, and so on. We always bare root and repot new plants. If it is impossible to do this right away, we at least keep them apart from our own pots until we can  repot. This reduces the risk of any transfer of pests etc and also means we can easily see which pots are not in our own mix, and keepa closer eye on their status.
Hope this helps. :)
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

Corinne

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Re: When to water pots with grit on top
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2007, 11:35:33 AM »
Yes, thank you, your message helps me.

All the replies to my query are very helpful, and I thank you all!


Corinne
Iowa, USA, Zone 4

Maggi Young

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Re: When to water pots with grit on top
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2007, 11:43:10 AM »
You are most welcome, Corinne.
By the way, these avatars are so small that I cannot see very clearly: is your ID of a Dobermann ?!! :D
 Why not show us more in "Let me introduce myself?"
If you are too shy to show us your picture, we ( I) would like to see more of the dog! And where you live, and so on. Please?!! ::)
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

Corinne

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Re: When to water pots with grit on top
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2007, 03:35:51 PM »
I am trying... ::)
Iowa, USA, Zone 4

 


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