General Discussion:

anyone had experience using polymer crystals?


Messages posted to thread:

From:Date:Zone:
Grace06-Feb-05 11:31 PM EST 2b   
Donna07-Feb-05 06:52 AM EST 3a   
Grace07-Feb-05 11:51 AM EST 2b   
Nancy07-Feb-05 01:49 PM EST 5   
Grace07-Feb-05 02:31 PM EST 2b   
Patricia08-Feb-05 06:25 PM EST 5   
Donna09-Feb-05 04:03 PM EST   
GlenT09-Feb-05 09:28 PM EST 7   
Donna14-Feb-05 06:41 AM EST 3a   


Subject: anyone had experience using polymer crystals?
From: Grace
Zone: 2b
Date: 06-Feb-05 11:31 PM EST

I wondered whether anyone tried using the crystals in hanging baskets to keep them from drying out as quickly.


Subject: RE: anyone had experience using polymer crystals?
From: Donna
Zone: 3a
Date: 07-Feb-05 06:52 AM EST

Hi Grace...I use the Pro-Mix mixes that contain the water crystals in all my containers. Been using for a few years now and would not use the mixes that don't contain them. They are just great. By using them I have cut down on my watering so much and the plants in them don't suffer stress with drying out.


Subject: RE: anyone had experience using polymer crystals?
From: Grace
Zone: 2b
Date: 07-Feb-05 11:51 AM EST

Thanks, Donna. I'll be getting my baskets made by a lady who has a greenhouse nearby. I suppose I could buy her some crystals to put into my baskets as she makes them up for me. How much should she add to the soil? Should she add them wet or dry? Do you know of a good website that explains how to use them?


Subject: RE: anyone had experience using polymer crystals?
From: Nancy
Zone: 5
Date: 07-Feb-05 01:49 PM EST

Can't help with those baskets, but a trick I learned from one of our local gardening gurus (Vicky Taylor-Scott, I think it was) is to use the inside bit from disposible diapers in the containers. Diapers use the same type of water absorbant crystals as you can buy in the packets in the nursery, but are much cheaper. I just shred up one diaper liner into each large pot and mix it with the bottom half of the soil before I plant. I added them dry.


Subject: RE: anyone had experience using polymer crystals?
From: Grace
Zone: 2b
Date: 07-Feb-05 02:31 PM EST

Hmmm...now THAT's an idea, Nancy. I can just get a few disposable diapers from my DD. ;-) Those crystals ARE expensive. But I might as well use up what I already have.


Subject: RE: anyone had experience using polymer crystals?
From: Patricia (iris1@rogers.com)
Zone: 5
Date: 08-Feb-05 06:25 PM EST

We used the Pro-Mix last summer, not in hanging baskets, but in large tubs on our full-sun patio. It worked fine. Can anyone tell me why the mixes say that polymer crystals should not be used for growing anything to be eaten? Last year, we wanted to grow beans in large tubs on our patio but we read that we should not use the soil containing polymer crystals. Why is this?


Subject: RE: anyone had experience using polymer crystals?
From: Donna
Zone:
Date: 09-Feb-05 04:03 PM EST

Patricia, do you remember where you saw that mentioned? I was on the Pro-Mix site and could not see anything mentioned about that. I wonder why you cannot use it with above ground edibles. I will have to see whether I can source this out by going to them directly.

Grace... When I pot up my containers, and they are deep ones, I fill the bottom up with compost then put Pro-Mix in the top half of the pot because most annuals don't go down that deep anyway. Then in the fall all of this goes into my compost pile for the next year. It is a bit more expensive than other soils but I have been trying various ones throughout my gardening years and have never been able to go through 30C weather and not water my pots for three days in a row.


Subject: RE: anyone had experience using polymer crystals?
From: GlenT
Zone: 7
Date: 09-Feb-05 09:28 PM EST

Grace and all--I have added crystals to my tubs and baskets for a couple years now with good results. Easier to mix in dry, then moisten after the container is filled...remember it will expand so leave a bit more room at the top of the basket or it will be hard to add water without it spilling out.

Regarding food crops, check out http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/%7ELinda%20Chalker-Scott/Horticultural%20Myths_files/Myths/Hydrogels%20too.pdf

Glen


Subject: RE: anyone had experience using polymer crystals?
From: Donna
Zone: 3a
Date: 14-Feb-05 06:41 AM EST

Hi Patrica...I sent a note off to Pro-Mix on this and as I understand it...the crystals that are put into the mix in the US have been officially approved or recognized as not harmful by the US, but here in Canada whoever makes the crystals for Pro-Mix has not bothered to get official approval that they are ok for food crops.

It has nothing to do with safety of Pro-Mix but rather it has everything to do with the crystal manufacturer not going through the Canada Agriculture approval process because it is a costly process.

This is what is on the bags in Canada 'For Canada only, this product is not registered for use to grow EDIBLE PLANTS. To grow vegetables and herbs, use instead PRO-MIX for Potting & Seeding or PRO-MIX for Organic Growing.'

Hope that helps ...


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