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Re: seedling mulch

Thanks for the lesson Jim.  Some of that was already floating around in my
brain.  When I water anything I water deeply and that's why I thought the
salts went out the bottom.  And I'm not particularly gentle about it, which
is why I like capillary matting for seeds ;+)  Also the fact that this crust
was black......well, I thought salts were white.  Still, I can understand
the possibility of salts building up and will consider this when I water
containers that have osmocote. I'm just not well-organized enough to use
liquid fert every other week.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "James R. Fisher" <garrideb@well.com>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Friday, August 06, 2004 6:05 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] seedling mulch

> Kitty wrote:
> > Thanks Jim,
> > Sorry, I'm just not up to chewing on it.  But I will see about popping
> > out of the flat and potting up.  The reason I use Osmocote is because I
> > I will forget to fertilize if it is done weekly.
> > I use a 9 month Osmocote with minors.  I had always thought that salt
> > buildup on the surface was from water soluble fertilizers; didn't think
> > would be an issue with osmocote, especially as it's not on the surface.
> > salts rise to the surface from the osmocote?
> >
> > Kitty
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>     Yes, or no, depending on how you water. Suppose you have a new pot
> mix + osmocote. You water gently to settle the soil and plant seeds.
> When the top of the pot gets dry, you water again lightly, and repeat
> as the seedlings grow and the pot dries at the top. Note I said _lightly_
> at each watering. This is the worst possible case. With each watering,
> of the fertilizer is leached out of the osmocote and builds up in the
> interstices of the mix. As the water evaporates a the top, the fertilizer
> tag along, precipitate at the surface, and lo, you get crust as the salts
> can't go into the air along with the water vapor.
>     To prevent this, you have to water thoroughly so the water drains
> from the bottom. This is why I use a soluble fertilizer as it's easy to
> water every other time with pure/tap water and so flush residual salts out
> bottom.
> -jrf
> -- 
> Jim Fisher
> Vienna, Virginia USA
> 38.9 N 77.2 W
> USDA Zone 7
> Max. 105 F [40 C], Min. 5 F [-15 C]
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