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Re: Limestone Substrates

  • Subject: Re: Limestone Substrates
  • From: Brian Williams <pugturd@windstream.net>
  • Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2010 20:54:34 -0400

  This is very interesting.  I have been for the last few years put out 
a sign for fall leaves here at our nursery. People bring tons of leaves 
every year and I use them to mulch up plants and to make a huge compost 
pile for soil to use in future beds.  This year I had to bring in a 
number of tender plants into our heated greenhouses. Running low on soil 
and knowing that the plants would be thrown back in the ground come 
spring I decided to use a leaf compost mix as I have in years past. 
These leaves are usually only 1 to 2 years old and are half way to 
pretty much composted.  In years past I found that the plants sitting in 
these pots of leaves would not produce any new roots and that in most 
cases would rot. Which has been upsetting to say the least.  I have been 
wondering why and blaming most of it on the cold roots. This year I 
added 2 bags of lime dust to the mix as well as small Styrofoam 
pellets.  The Styrofoam pellets were found at a local styrofoam 
recycling center that has a certain type of sytrofoam they cannot 
recycle which are slightly heaver than normal. These styrofaom pellets 
are then throw away or are sent to be used in bean bags apparently they 
have no other use and the recycling center was happy for me to take a 
ton off of their hands. I found this helps keep my soil very airy and 
drainage much better and plus they are free and in a sense are being 
used once again in my beds.
  I have never thought about really using this soil mix as a potting mix 
for my collection or prized plants sense I have had multiple problems 
with it in the past.  It has always been used as a very cheep 
alternative for storing my summer collection for another season.  But 
this year after moving a few plants into this mix and placing them into 
the greenhouse I have noticed roots already growing out the bottoms of 
the pots in just a few days time. It makes me wonder with many of these 
aroids such as Amorphophallus Alocasias and others that grow naturally 
in  small limes stone pockets in leaf litter are getting a taste of home 
in this mix.  I plan to test this further, I still have a lot of 
questions myself especially over how weedy is this mix and how the soil 
will act once it really decays in the pots.
   Still adding the lime dust and styrofoam has made me look at this mix 
completely different and as having much more potential than I had 
expected.  Plus the total cost for pile 6 feet tall was 6.00 due to the 
fact I bought the lime in small bags rather than bulk and used the 
bobcat to mix it up.  I will try to write down some ratios as I test the 
mix further to see what works best. I am a bit worried as it seems a bit 
to easy for it to work this well.
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