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Re: Limestone Substrates

Ah, good. I was afraid that I was off here in the ozone all by myself.

There are definitely chemical issues here, as well as ones of
extremely localized "pockets" of organic debris that may be insulated
from surrounding karst (a type of calcium carbonate rock). In acidic
environments, iron is more readily available. But so is soluble
aluminum, which can be a toxin at those pHs. On the alkaline side,
other nutrients become more available, while iron becomes limiting.
The subject is complex to say the least.

My interest lies in presenting a possible alternative for plants that
are reluctant to grow despite seemingly perfect aroid growing
practices. I have plants like this. On one level I have plants that I
just have no luck with. Others grow fine, but will not flower despite
my best efforts. I was hoping that something as simple as the addition
of agricultural lime or dolomite (a calcium and magnesium carbonate
double salt) would work. It looks like it's worth a try. Certainly
agricultural liming has been proven successful for certain soils for a
thousand years. Why not for aroids?

Ted Held.

On Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 8:54 PM, Brian Williams <pugturd@windstream.net> wrote:
>  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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