Rock Wool + LECA

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When I grew in a greenhouse, it was not at all necessary, as I kept the humidity high enough that evaporation from the medium did not outdo the wicking. Here in NC, out on my deck, the RH is usually high enough that it’s not a problem, either, but indoors now is a bit of a challenge.

I prefer to simply water more often to compensate, but have played with any number of “top dressings”, ranging from gravel, to sphagnum, to rock wool, to clear plastic disks.

Hey Ray so far what technique for mixing has worked best for you?

1. LECA+ ROCKWOOL evenly mixed in top to bottom
2. Leca + Rockwool alternating in layers. Leca, rockwool, leca, rockwool.
3. Leca 66% bottom 33% rockwool on the top.
 
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I have been using #2 (the parfait method) for the last year and I think it works well for the plants in it. I think it preserves aeration and gives good resistance to evaporation. I have settled on an every five day watering schedule in my indoor/LED lighting setup. I may keep large Cattleyas in #3, but I am going to compare 2 and 3 with some of them.
 

Ray

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Hey Ray so far what technique for mixing has worked best for you?

1. LECA+ ROCKWOOL evenly mixed in top to bottom
2. Leca + Rockwool alternating in layers. Leca, rockwool, leca, rockwool.
3. Leca 66% bottom 33% rockwool on the top.
Most of the 2-component experiments have been with a “uniform” mixture of the two ingredients; it’s the ratio I’m playing with most.

I’ve only tried the “parfait” method on one plant so far, comparing it to a sibling in the blend. Too early to discern a difference, and it’s might hard to draw any solid conclusions from such a small comparison.

I’ve never tried #3.
 

NYEric

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1. Both of Ray's photos show a layer of Leca on the bottom, Is this up to the level aeration holes?
2. I am using the first method but with Diatomite in the mix. Our apartment must be super dry because we water a couple times a day. If we miss 2 days the reservoirs are dry. Does anyone have a source for Diatomite?
 

Ray

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1. Both of Ray's photos show a layer of Leca on the bottom, Is this up to the level aeration holes?
2. I am using the first method but with Diatomite in the mix. Our apartment must be super dry because we water a couple times a day. If we miss 2 days the reservoirs are dry. Does anyone have a source for Diatomite?
The drawings (not photos) were merely meant to indicate the concept. In practice, in the case of the mix of components, there are both LECA pellets and rockwool cubes in the reservoir.
 
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I need to be clear that I am not using a reservoir/SH method. I use Aircone pots for maximum aeration and water from the top. I want maximum aeration and a fertigation schedule that is about every 5 days. This is because I want to be able to be gone for a week without watering. With plants acclimated to watering every 5 days I can do this.
 

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In the end, it's only about the air/water balance in the environment, so changing the container may have as much impact on this balance as the medium. Change to clay or basket and you can use a wetter medium.
 
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