Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Using SoilMoist™ Granules in Houseplants and Planters

I posted awhile ago about my waterball garden using Deco beads by the makers of SoilMoist™.  I was impressed enough with the Deco beads that I wanted to try the SoilMoist™ as well.  SoilMoist™ has been successfully used in the horticultural industry as a water management system.  Essentially what the granules do is absorb moisture like a sponge then releases it to the soil as the soil dries.  It is used for planting trees, shrubs and containers.  While it is used for transplanting edible fruit canes like raspberries to lessen transplant shock I've decided not to use it for any edible plant until I can be sure there are no issues with the polyacrylamide breaking down to acrylamide after several seasons of use.

SoilMoist™ packets
I bought 4 - 3oz (85 g) packages of SoilMoist™ online ($3) for use as a cutting starting medium and for water management in my non-edible containers.  According to the package you mix half of the required amount of the granules evenly in the plant hole, add the balance then backfill.  The granuals are added when dry then the plant is watered well.  If using to prevent transplant shock the granuals are hydrated first then the plant is dipped into the gel and planted in the prepared hole where the gel will give back moisture as needed.  The amount needed per container size or tree are on the back of the package.  It is important to not use too much as the gel when it expands can force the plant out of the container or tree out of the ground.

SoilMoist™ granules
I did a test run of the SoilMoist™ granules just to see how they would perform.  I placed 1 tsp of the granules in a 4 oz (125 ml) bowl then poured the 4 oz (125 ml) water over it.  The granules did not look like they would expand as much as they did.  These granules expand considerably faster than the Deco waterballs.  They also seem to hold a lot more water as I had to add more water.  I added water again.

The granules should be kept away from all drain systems as there is the potential to cause blockages.  They should also be kept out of reach of children and pets.  One of my concerns when using outdoors in planters is to be sure the granules are buried well below the soil surface.  Shiny objects tend to attract some birds but this is one item that should not be where birds could get at it whether it is hydrated or still in granule form.

SoilMoist™ gel
After about an hour the SoilMoist™ gel was over flowing the small bowl.  I ended up dumping the gel into a larger bowl then adding more water where to my amazement the gel pieces just kept growing.  I ended up with about 8 oz of gel from the 1 tbsp of granules.

The granules are a milky white hard crystal.  Once they expand they turn into a shimering clear jello-like substance looking very much like crushed ice except sparkly. It is easy to see from the expansion how the gel could push plants from the container when they expand.  I will report back on how the gel performed in my non-edible containers and houseplants.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for commenting. Your message will appear once approved.