Coco husk - red water extract

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Brabantia

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Since many years I use CHC to prepare my Cattleyas substrate. I add to the bark mixed with a few clay balls around 25 to 30% of CHC. The CHC I use is the one sold by garden centers for mulching. By precaution I let this one soaking three times 24 hours in rain water in order to eliminate possible sodium. All these water extracts have a red color. In this reference (Clik Here) I found many informations about the nature of the water extract constituants. I noticed that the Cattleya roots can be colored by these water extract. My questions are:
Are one or many other products identified detrimental for the orchids roots and especially Paphiopedilum?
When you use CHC to prepare your substrate how do you prepare it?
Many thanks in advance for your comments about this subject.
PS: I remember me that Eric Muehlbauer wrote many years ago that he had never had good results using CHC as substrate but we never know for which reason. The Wellenstein affirmed the opposite.
 

Ray

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The link didn't work for me, but I always soaked my chc in a solution containing about one or two tablespoons per gallon each of calcium nitrate and Epsom Salts. It's a similar process to that of a water softener - the NaCl replaces the dissolved minerals in the water, and they are all nutrient ions anyway.
 

Brabantia

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The link didn't work for me, but I always soaked my chc in a solution containing about one or two tablespoons per gallon each of calcium nitrate and Epsom Salts. It's a similar process to that of a water softener - the NaCl replaces the dissolved minerals in the water, and they are all nutrient ions anyway.
Thanks Ray for your response. How many hours are you soaking CHC with the salts solution ? Do you also observe the red color of the solution after soaking ?

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Tom-DE

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For Paph or Phrag, I soak the CHC 3 times(8-10 hours each time), but for Cattleya and other species that are not so sensitive to salts, I only soak the CHC once overnight.
 

Brabantia

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Usually overnight. The soak water is pigmented, but more like weak tea.
Do you use CHC special for hydroponic culture other the one you can buy in garden centers ?

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Brabantia

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The link didn't work for me, but I always soaked my chc in a solution containing about one or two tablespoons per gallon each of calcium nitrate and Epsom Salts. It's a similar process to that of a water softener - the NaCl replaces the dissolved minerals in the water, and they are all nutrient ions anyway.

Here is an other article speeking about the red water extract from CHC:
http://journal.iisc.ernet.in/index.php/iisc/article/viewFile/2721/2806
 

Brabantia

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I'm never used CHC, but I'm curious, did you measure EC/TDS after soaking?
I stop soaking CHC when the conductivity of the solution is below 200 micro-siemens. This value is reached usually after three soakings with rain water. My question is not about salts residues but about organics extracted ( polyphenol in particular) who cause the red color typical of phenol partially oxydized.

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Stone

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I would be careful about using that water for anything. Even if it has some stimulating qualities, it may also have undesirable ones as well.

I soak my CHC for about 4 months with a water change every month. I use gypsum in the water. After that there is no more colour in the water.
After that I grow ferns in it for one year before I wash it and use it. It's the physical characteristics that are the important qualities. You want to neutralize the chemical qualities as much as possible IMO. The ferns help to remove or at least balance out all the K and Na left in it. Another thing that waiting this long seems to do is decompose away any material that is less stable. About 1/3 of it. Any mycelium that would attack the fresh stuff has done it's work (usually the hard skin is the first to go) and no longer appears. After all this it seems to be an excellent material at about 20% of the mix - with my watering habits.
 

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