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Re: more red clay stuff
Onis wrote some good stuff. It's pretty hard to improve on it.
For those who test art clay by stirring it in water and seeing if it
all settles, good luck. If the clay is any good at all, it won't!
I buy the already-wetted artist's clay. I roll it out into long rods
about 3/8" in diameter and cut it into short "Tootsie Rolls." When
those are baked in an ordinary household oven, until dry, you have a
sort of "greenware." They look and feel like little rocks, and are
really easy to place in a new substrate, or even poke into an old one.
They will soften and dissolve into the soil/gravel after a while, but
the only turbidity I have ever seen from them is when I rip up the
substrate. Even then, it's not too bad. Nothing the filter can't
The function of the iron in laterite is to be there for a very, very
long time, at low level. Don't expect it to register on an iron test
any time soon, for iron oxides aren't very soluble. Let the plants
break the oxides down and chelate them over time. I suspect they may be
better at it than we give them credit for.
Wright Huntley (408) 248-5905 Santa Clara, CA USA huntley at ix_netcom.com