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Wanted Charcoal

Slippertalk Orchid Forum

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Repotting season is upon us and I was wondering if anyone has an outlet for AFFORDABLE charcoal. The amounts available in the prices I have found are making me think, I won’t use it this year. I guess Covid and supply issues have effected the price of charcoal more than some other items, but it is stupid expensive..:
 

richgarrison

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i haven't used it for a good 4 years now, but we had a local supplier we'd buy 50 lb bags from... Maybe look for a local supplier in the Nashville area? shipping is the killer...
 

Tony

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Sam mentioned in his talk for the Paph Forum that he has stopped using charcoal due to rising costs, I'm not convinced it does anything in a mix that can't be accomplished with an extra scoop of perlite.
 
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Sam mentioned in his talk for the Paph Forum that he has stopped using charcoal due to rising costs, I'm not convinced it does anything in a mix that can't be accomplished with an extra scoop of perlite.
Yes…I am not sure how important charcoal is. Timely repotting and good quality water…
What are some other people’s thoughts.
 

Linus_Cello

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Yes…I am not sure how important charcoal is. Timely repotting and good quality water…
What are some other people’s thoughts.

My recollection is that charcoal is only effective if it is laboratory grade (the most expensive). And it is effective for only a relatively short time (couple of months).
 

Maryanne

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Doesn't anyone make their own? Just have to burn some hard wood in the fireplace, wood stove or camp fire, well, if you have such available space. So sorry not all growers can do so, as it is fun, and you can cook a meal at the same time. Charcoal is a good space filler, and does not rot to quickly, and tends to keep the medium 'sweet' as the old farmers used to say... Best wishes to all...
M
 

TropiCool

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From my biochar research, charcoal is easy to produce, but the results are highly variable depending on type of wood and the combustion techniques used. That said, it provides many benefits beyond what perlite does. Given paphs prefer (or demand, depending) annual repotting, it seems unlikely any of the cultural downsides of charcoal would be at issue over such a limited time in the media.

Laboratory charcoal is 'activated' and uses bamboo, coconut shell or very hard wood as its stock. You can approximate the quality by using very hard wood, bamboo or coconut shell, and then shocking the still-glowing coals with water. This forces more pores to open up, giving the increased filtration and absorption characteristic of laboratory grade charcoal.

My recollection is that charcoal is only effective if it is laboratory grade (the most expensive). And it is effective for only a relatively short time (couple of months).
 

cnycharles

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Maybe someone will have to start growing sphagnum in a kiddie pool :) at these prices. Years ago when we enlarged one of the clay bottomed irrigation ponds at the golf course I worked at, sphagnum started growing from the side of the bank, presumably from a gooses foot
 

SuperPaph

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I´ve used charcoal since I grew my first Paph since 21 years ago. I add 1/4 at the medium. When reppoting, in two years, still pieces are in perfect state. Roots hairs are attached to, and I have to add water for separate them. In my country, charcoal is sold in the farmers. Near my house a farmer produce the charcoal. When he finisih to pick up all the best pieces, I pick up the small pieces, still hot.

Doesn't anyone make their own?

It is not so easy. A pyre is made with medium trunks, in a "volcano" form; later covered with earth, and a hole at the center. It begins to burn "internally", and when no more smoke is watched (four or five days), it is ready.
I promise to post the traditional procedure on next days.
 

Tom-DE

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I gave away a huge bag of it last year, probably 4ct...I guess my orchid friend got an extra xmas gift last year.
 

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