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Article: Garden Myths Busted: Artiifical Light, Milk Spray, The Bottom of the Pot: Gravel

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Forum: Article: Garden Myths Busted: Artiifical Light, Milk Spray, The Bottom of the PotReplies: 5, Views: 95
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Baja California
(Zone 11)

December 26, 2012
12:25 PM

Post #9367637

> Adding gravel can create the water-logged state it's intended to prevent.

The only way this happens is if the drainage hole is blocked or obstructed. The bottom of a pot is by definition the place where moisture persists, because of gravity. Gravel can help break up the mix at the bottom of a pot and help avoid the oxygen deprivation and supersaturated conditions associated with poor root health, especially when a pot is too deep for the roots of a plant. It does not absorb water, though it may trap some. But by no means will gravel create a water-logged state if the water is allowed to exit the container.
Garland, TX
(Zone 8a)

December 26, 2012
4:49 PM

Post #9367877

edited because I misread a sentence in the article... sorry!

This message was edited Dec 26, 2012 7:51 PM
Oklahoma City, OK

December 31, 2012
4:14 AM

Post #9371077

I started using coffee filters in pots many years ago when I ran out of gravel for some outdoor pots I was filling. It works beautifully.
Fairfax, CA

December 31, 2012
6:32 AM

Post #9371183

old window screen or weed cloth over the holes in the bottom of the pot works very well and doesn't disintegrate the way coffe filter does. I especially like weed cloth for pots placed on the ground since it excludes small critters but allows free drainage.
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

December 31, 2012
12:33 PM

Post #9371478

I have used Gravel, Broken crocks (pots) as drainage for over 50 odd years of gardening, believe me, it does prevent water log, allow's air into the soil, IF as I am prone to doing (large scale growing in Greenhouse) over and excess watering of pots set out in large shallow trays, the gravel / Crocks ect help prevent the plants roots sit in any water gathered in the trays after watering, Obviously with only a few pots you don't over water as often, but when your working with maybe several dozen plus of pots in trays, it is easy to over water as you water along the rows of trays.

Unfortunately, there are no gardeners that I have met over years, am in contact with, or worked along side, and travel widely in the different continents, my own years of gardening and include years of trial and error, would I stop using the bottom gravel in pots method,.
You have to take into consideration the type of compost / soil that is used at planting time, I have used shop bought compost and it has acted like a sponge, used different manufacturer's compost and water almost runs through it and I do know even natural garden soil varies in the same way from place to place.

What I do agree with is, NOT ALL PLANTS require this extra drainage, NOT ALL SOIL types require this extra gravel drainage and NOT ALL Gardeners will agree with one method or another.

Gardeners once adept at the basic do's and don't, will find there own methods and will not be convinced of better / other methods regardless of how much scientific evidence is given out, that's because Gardening is not a science in the real sense of science, but is more a-tune to nature, environment, soil type TEMP / LIGHT and even water quality but, that does not mean that what your tests showed is wrong, what is says is, for A LOT of people, you don't need to add gravel to every pot IF you have soil that is fast draining without added help. You May find there are a lot of gardeners who already new that fact through time tested gardening. Others like myself learned from 2 generations of family gardener's who went by soil temp, or sun / moon positions, added manure / garden waist, and elbow grease, constant working with soil in different seasons will soon tell you IF you need to add extra drainage to wet soil OR add extra manure / compost to help retain more moisture/ air ect. I think time and practice teaches it all, and ofcourse, listening to others like yourself who do those tests for us even IF we agree or disagree, it's all part of learning.
Best wishes WeeNel.
George Town
Cayman Islands

January 1, 2013
9:28 PM

Post #9372877

I personally use seived beach sand (free here in the islands) because potting soil is so expensive here. $15.00 (in our local money, almost $20.00 in American dollars). I put the coffee liners,or weed block fabric in the bottom of the pots, 3-6 inches of beach sand, depending on size of the containers, then the potting soil in my containers, which all range from standard clay pots to my old recycled wheelbarrow! Works great here in the constant heat, pots retain enough moisture and plants are all happily growing. Thanks for all the wonderful articles. Happy New Year.

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