Growing Medium Types of Organic Media A Sphagnum Peat Moss 1 the remains of dead plant materials harvested from peat bogs 2 1/25th of an inch of compressed moss equals one year of growth
3 Most is imported from Canada. (only 5% of worlds supply is in the U.S.) 4 very high water holding capacity makes it important for horticultural use a weighs 6 lbs. per cu. ft. when dry
b weighs approx. 100 lbs when saturated c can hold 15 to 20 times their weight in water 5 very high in pore space B Sawdust 1 replacing peat in some areas 2 certain trees contain harmful substances (walnut and ceder)
3 bacteria that decompose sawdust rob the soil of nitrogen C Sand 1 deep-mined white mountain sands are mainly silica 2 free of diseases, seeds, and
insects 3 increases porosity D Perlite 1 volcanic rock mined as an ore 2 heated particles expand like popcorn
3 pH of 7.0 to 7.5 4 improved aeration and drainage 5 is dusty and does float E Vermiculite 1 Mica-type mineral expanded by heating
2 flat plate-like mineral expands like an accordion but can be destroyed 3 holds 500% water by weight 4 high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium F Coconut Coir
1 made of the outside shell from coconuts 2 increases aeration and drainage II Composition of the Growing Media A Solid material 1 approx. 50% 2 organic or inorganic depending on soil type
B Liquid 1 approx. 25% 2 too much water and plants become water- logged, causing fungus or fertility problems C Air space 1 approx. 25% 2 too much and soils cannot hold water
3 too little causes restriction to rooting III Advantages of Soil-less Media over topsoil A consists of material with known properties B typically more consistent C easier to handle and mix D fertilizers and pH can be adjusted
to desired levels E correct drainage and water- holding capacity are adjusted F sterilization is generally not required G cheaper to prepare IV Soil Moisture
A Three forms of water 1 - Gravitational Water temporary and drains from a soil by gravity 2 Hygroscopic Water mostly in vapor form and unavailable to plants 3 Capillary Water water held between soil particles by capillary action
B Field Capacity the amount of capillary water that is available to plants after gravitational water has drained C Wilting Point the amount of water present when plant starts to wilt; soil particles typically hold water with 15 atmospheric bars of pressure
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