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Re: baking clay balls

Roger Oconik <rogereo at altavista_com> sez
> A few days ago someone wrote about baking soil.  The benefits being
> that it would be sterile.  Is it also necessary to bake clay balls or
> can you just let the clay dry up.  Does it help the ball hardern more
> if it is cooked? I'm looking to make some this weekend.
> Does baking destroy any of the chemicals that we want the plants to
> have.
> Initially I had some trouble getting the clay to stay in a ball.
> Anyone have a good "recipe"

I have made clay balls with non clumping, unscented, unflavored :) cat
litter.  I just mixed it about 75% clay and 25% "Ironite" granules, and
added just enough water to make it bind (sort of).  It will help if you
grind up at least half of the clay with a mortar and pestle (or an old
blender), but it will also work if you start only part of the clay and
make the mixture too soupy; then add the rest of the clay.

I roll them into little marble-sized balls and just let them dry
thoroughly.  I doubt that you have an oven hot enough to fire the clay,
and baking it to a lesser degree just seems like a waste of time and
energy.  These balls will eventually disintegrate under water, but they
hold up well enough that you can stuff them down in the substrate
without clouding the water.


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