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Re: Apology


No apology needed, it was my failure to use quotation marks.  I share your
flippant humor, and I deserved this one.  These highly decomposed remains of
coastal Spartina marshes called "organic peats" from the eastern regions of
the US are almost "inorganic peats."  They are OK as soil additives, but are
much too heavy for artificial mixes to be used in containers.

For those of you that like to have the basis for my statements, here is the
theory behind water in artificial  growing media.  When you add water to any
soil, gravity pulls the water down until it reaches the water table or the
bottom of a container.  A small amount of water remains bound to the soil
particles by surface tension.  In soils in the ground, how long the water
remains near the surface is directly related to the soil porosity (often
called "the perk" of the soil.  Clays soils drain slower than sandy soils).
In containers, some of the water drains out of the holes in the bottom, but
because of surface tension, much remains in the container.  This means that
there is a standing level of water in the container after watering (sort of
a mini water table).  This is because gravity can not pull on the
interrupted column of water.  The problem can be alleviated by two things.
One is use a deeper container that has more soil that is free of the water
(it is above the standing level).  The other is use a very porous soil that
lowers the standing level of water in the container (less surface tension to
hold the water up).  Also, porous media loose more water to evaporation.  In
shallow containers such as seed trays, the standing level of water can be
just below the surface or at the surface of the soil.  This is not good for
your seedlings.  Your only choices is to use a very porous mixture with a
fairly large particle size.  This keeps the standing water level away from
the surface where your seedlings are.  One reason we use shagnum peats in
media is that they are porous, but also can hold water above the standing

OK Rich, do you now feel punished for your comment?

Jim Anderson

----- Original Message -----
From: <HoroRL@aol.com>
To: <hosta-open@mallorn.com>
Cc: <jmanise@WinterberryFarms.com>
Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2000 10:15 AM
Subject: Apology

> Good morning:
> Yesterday, Jim Anderson, Winterberry Farms, posted us on soiless seed
> starting mixes.  He recommended not using "organic peats."
> I  asked Jim: "are there inorganic peats?"  I want to openly and sincerely
> apologize to Jim for my 'George Carlin' sense of poor humor.  My glib
> question was unwarranted and senseless.
> Hostally,
> Rich Horowitz
> Stoughton MA
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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