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Re: Lots of Questions
Chirs Simmons wrote July 16:
>Hi i have been readinding this post for quite some time now and i have a few
>questions. I am looking to make a "richer" substrate for my plants...what do
>you guys recomend to use (kitty liter, etc.)....i am looking for the easiest
>way to go here!!!.......... <remainder snipped, or could I say, pruned>
I presume that by "richer" substrate you mean richer than washed gravel.
Laterite is low in organic matter and high in iron. Kitty litter, at least
the kitty litter I have seen should also be low in organic matter.
However, I don't think it has as much iron as laterite because it has a
gray color, rather than a reddish or yellowish color due to iron oxides.
Dan Quackenbush swears by it, and you can find a lot of discussion about
kitty litter in the aquatic plant digests, V.II, numbers 600 to 700.
Topsoil has more organic matter, but a lot of the undecomposed organic
matter can be removed by mixing the topsoil with water until the mix is
soupy and then filtering that through window screening or a rice strainer.
I use this "soil soup" with some gravel on top for plants that I suspect
don't like a lot of organic matter, such as the Aponogetons. For the rest
of my plants I use a 50:50 topsoil to peat mix. The topsoil I use is not
what you would buy in a bag at a garden store. I get it from my garden or
from a nearby woods. There are people who get excellent growth using
potting soil, which has practically no mineral soil at all, consisting,
instead, of partially composted tree bark and wood chips. Actually, you
may be able to grow plants fairly well with just washed gravel as long as
you supply chelated iron.
Paul Krombholz Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS 39174, in
Jackson, Mississippi, where the rain in July always seems to fall somewhere