Viewing rjuddharrison's Garden Diary: Using Lava Sand in Soil
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Lava sand/soil/clay uses and applicationLava soil first came to my attention last year in the brug forum, location
The discussion was focused on the fertilizer number that worked best on brugs, and evolved to soil composition. The contribution from a member in Europe indicated that Lava soil was used in potted brugs. Hawiita is brand name- The description is:
HAWITA Flor pot plant soil is a ready-mixed substate blend with added lava, high-grade humus, quality compost and buffering clay. While providing balanced water management, the large proportion of highly-absorbent volcanic clay makes this soil a very safe choice for cultivation...
Since nothing similar has been located in the U.S.- I am attempting to make my own. I have been able to locate Lava Sand, which is a red dense sand. Squeezed, it becomes clay like. I have selected this sand from the makers of GreenSense, also the companies name. As described by HAWITA, the composition of the lava traps water which facilitates a greater absorbtion rate of nutrients by the plants roots. . Normal watering of potted plants tends to wash through the pot too quickly taking nutrients with it. I hope to collect data from other members using pumice, or other volcanic matter and posting it here. For now these observations are for Lava Sand. Keep in mind that locations, elevation, and humidity may render differences to my observations.
It should be noted that the single most important observation I have made using Lava sand so far is temperature. When the temperature is 70 and under, a less amount of the lava mixture is recommended. This is because it changes the drainage ability of the lava, and keeps the water trapped longer which could be detrimental to the root system. I am still observing the effects higher temperatures have on this particular brand I am using. I have observed the lava soil drying quicker above -70 degrees, and drying completely in small pots (8-10 inch) above 80 degrees. It seems plausible that the lava sand or particles I am using absorbs heat faster than soil, in turn drying out the soil at a certain temperature range. This seems to be the range of degrees that the lava sands performance would be optimal- transferring nutrients and moisture to the plants roots system at a rate that is better suited to the plants ability of absorbtion, simultaneously meeting the drainage needs of the plant. These observations seem to be in tandem with many tropical enviornments composed of volcanic matter. - Warm average temperatures + plentious mositure + volcanic minerals and organic matter + good drainage, = Jungles.
The second most important observation is using clay pots for potted plants unless the location is a fairly arid enviornment. I do use plastic pots for Brugmansias that are 2 feet or higher.
FEB 2007: Continuing the studies of LAVA, on some PWT thread indicates that aeration to be a big factor as the lava sand is very dense. Will try a new mixture with some recommended Calcined clay aggregates. Read direct comment from Al regarding mixture. http://davesgarden.com/forums/p.php?pid=3185955.
Experimental mixture 1
Ingredients mixed in a wheel barrow
Bag = 40 lbs
1 pint........compost peat **use peat items sparingly w/lava
1 -...........40 lb bag of regular potting soil 1/4..........bag composted manure (cow)-
1/4 -1/2....bag of leaf mold, or other organic compost
1.............pint of alfalpha pellets *earth essentials SW fertilizer
1-............gallon of perlite or other drainage
1.............pint of Lava Sand -GreenSense
1.............cup of minerals - GreenSense
1/2...........bag of pine bark -pine bark fine if possible
Here is an interesting link discussing perched water table (PWT) and the mediums at which Gravitational flow potential (GFP) affects roots and plant growth
The makers of GreenSense Lava Sand
Direct link to Lava sand description
Also used is Minerals Plus a supplement, consisting of lava sand, Texas Greensand, Zeolite, Sulfur, Potassium, Iron and Magnesium.
and Humate- for description on what it does -
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
LAVA INFORMATION LINKSGlossary of garden terms
AdzsumPlus™ a soil conditioner- minerals
Picture of the Lava Sand - what it looks like. Alohahoya in Hawaii mentions that it is very high in iron, so following the plant world rule of thumb- A little, is alot!
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Lava sand mixingI have reduced the amount of lava sand a bit, increased leaf mold. Transplanted plants in the front garden give it leafs up so far. Truth is, it's spring and I don't think anything is going to hold them back now. Morning glories definately like the lava sand, leaf mold mix. I even scrape up some leaves in the back yard..ooh..my whole back yard soil smells so deliciously rich.. when I threw the leaves around the morning glores the perked up. Then again, longer days..we got rain..I'll just let nature keep on tricking me! Indeed, finding the right balance with the lava sand seems perceptible to me.
Wednesday, March 8, 2006
Lava sand mixed in soil for seedlingsI have repotted this week incorporating Red Lava sand in to the potting mix. Much like cooking, no exact measurements were used, but an estimate would be:
1/2 half bag of compost peat
1/2 bag potting soil
1/4 bag of cottonseed compost
1/4 bag of composted manure
1 bag of perlite
5 double hand fulls of lava sand --!!!!- too much / change to 1 double handful -3/29/06
all mixed into a wheel barrow.
The items re-potted are listed under seed propagation.
but will list here as well to monitor which plant succeeds, and those that do not.
1 coconut sprout ALL PLANTED MAR 6th
6 Red Hibiscus cutting
4 Yellow Hibiscus cutting
3 Blue Ginger cutting
1 Red Ginger cutting
1 Pink Ginger cutting
1 Red Ti cutting
1 Green Ti cutting
8 Bamboo orchid cutting
Macadamia nut tree
2 australian fern balls
several varities of morning glories.
10 brug cuttings of hybrid brugs
rangoon creeper cutting
2 butterfly clerodendrum cuttings
4 chalice vine cuttings
4 stargazer cuttings (from Jills shrub/tree) we need proper i.d.
2 Tecoma Stans
4 Clitorea Butterfly Peavine
1 white Hibiscus (Tawainese)
20 rose mallow mini hibiscus
4 christmas rose mallow
2 Liberian fuz pods...(from 1970s - no i.d) miracle sprouts!
The plants listed above were planted with a higher mixture of volcanic sand- at the time, the temperatures were in the 80s range with a accelerated growth activity. The temperatures then changed to 60s for a sustained period of 2 weeks, at which point the growth activity as slowed. Some plants were relocated to a covered area to avoid rain and allow a controled watering schedule. Others were left in the enviornment, and in my opinion are too soggy. Were I to repeat this - I would relocate all plants to the green house until the temperature maintained 70 degrees. This weekend temperatures will again reach 80 degrees for 3 days or longer. I expect that the small potted containers will again dry out - and re invigorate growth.
Repotted all hybrid Brugs- the lava sand used was too much in the previous potting-
have used just a handful in this repotting. This is related to my theory of temperature affecting the balance of drainage. When the temp is 70F or higher...the pots dry out quickly- when under that- they stay too moist. I should also note, that I do not use drainage rocks with brugmansias- but previous experience using drainage rocks and lava sand makes no difference.
The one thing nearly all of these items have in common - is that they can be found in tropical regions that have heavy composition of volcanic soils.
I have pretty much concluded that lava sand in brug cuttings does not allow enough oxygen for the cuttings. While some cuttings like clerodendrum ugandense does well in the mixture, some do not. I think the brug cuttings require more oxygen. Now I could be using the H202 watering the brug cuttings, but lets not get too complicated. Mature Brugs on the other hand are an entirely different story. They seem to thrive on the mixture, so if I am keeping potted brugs, it will have the lava mixture. The problem with potted brugs here is that they out grow pots in a matter of weeks. Since then I have had to keep them in the ground, and then they are too much to keep up with. I intend to mabe keep one brug in a pot on the deck- we'll see.
Saturday, March 4, 2006
MINERALSThis site offers Minerals from the SEA