Soil freeze test

Kullas

Shohin
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Me just being curious. I took 2 samples of Napa 8822, 2 samples of turface and 2 samples of tractor supply saf t sorb.
One sample will set in full sun and will get soaked every time I water my plants. The other sample will get soaked every day. Allowed to drain for 1 hour and put in the freezer over night. The next morning will set out with the other samples all day in the sun.
I screened the samples to 1/4" and 1.4mm. At the end of the test I will screen again and check the breakdown.
 

Kullas

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I did snip 4 small drain holes in the containers will just take a visual on the drainage to see if it declines over time
 

PA_Penjing

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As someone who lives up North I can save you some time. Nothing should change in 30 days (or three freeze cycles) where I live it's normal to be above freezing during the day and below at night. This can happen everyday for a month and a half without exaggeration, As well as all the days before and after that time too. Maybe 60 times total each winter (as an estimate). You'll probably have to freeze and thaw these particles many many times before you see much change. I can tell the 8822 you have is the soft stuff so that might start to go fast but the other two are going to be marathon experiments. If you are up for it I'm excited to see the results
 

Kullas

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As someone who lives up North I can save you some time. Nothing should change in 30 days (or three freeze cycles) where I live it's normal to be above freezing during the day and below at night. This can happen everyday for a month and a half without exaggeration, As well as all the days before and after that time too. Maybe 60 times total each winter (as an estimate). You'll probably have to freeze and thaw these particles many many times before you see much change. I can tell the 8822 you have is the soft stuff so that might start to go fast but the other two are going to be marathon experiments. If you are up for it I'm excited to see the results
Sometimes I dont post what I'm thinking. Or it dont come out right :)
I'm only going to check them every 10 days. The samples going into the freezer will have a freeze cycle every day overnight then back in the sun for the day.
So in 30 days it will have 30 freeze cycles.
 

PA_Penjing

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Sometimes I dont post what I'm thinking. Or it dont come out right :)
I'm only going to check them every 10 days. The samples going into the freezer will have a freeze cycle every day overnight then back in the sun for the day.
So in 30 days it will have 30 freeze cycles.
ahh right on, never used safe t sorb so im glad to get an idea whats up
 

Kullas

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I'm going to give it a go and see what happens
 

Kullas

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Pulled out of the freezer this morning and set out with the other 3 samples. Watered this evening, drained for an hour and back in the freezer.
I did notice the 8822 had rose in the center about a 1/4 inch above the rim of the container. The turface had risen to about the rim and no notice in the saf t sorb.
I'm guessing the 8822 was holding more water.
 

Kullas

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Added another sample of each to be kept filled with water. Cups has no drainage holes
 

Pyewacket

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In my test the sample of 8822 that I had was noticeably easier for me to break with my fingers after 1 cycle. I didn't bother any further than that and just used up what I had with some Stall Dry (the pumice one) and the other stuff that was supposed to go into the so-called "gritty mix". I was more interested in what actually happened to the plants. Everything in the gritty mix eventually died; everything in my Growstone/bark/peat mix thrived. I did manage to transfer about half the gritty mix plants into Growstone mix and did save them but they were half the size of their Growstone buddies.

This was many moons ago. I was at loggerheads at the time with the Gritty Guy, who had pretty much taken over every freakin' gardening forum. Apparently he read the same soil science book I read in the 80s, but never got past that one chapter. Everything he spouted came out of just one chapter in that book. I guess he's still around. I just ignore him.

I have never been able to get my hands on actual Turface so maybe that's ok, but I won't use 8822 again due to variability in the product - I spoke with a techy science guy there about said variability and it pretty much boiled down to luck whether you got the better stuff or the worse stuff, but for my purposes (not doing bonsai at the time at all) the particle size was just to small. Ditto the Dry Stall.

I have some expanded shale that I posted about a bit ago that IS of acceptable particle size and I'm trying various sizes of lava (I'll be trying to crush some of the larger lava pieces using some 1x pieces and a piece of hardiebacker, well, and me as a weight LOL!) and I now have a handle on getting some not horribly expensive actual pumice, which I COULDN'T get before when I was living like 15 miles from an actual pumice mine. Though that may have gone up what with shipping costs (*sigh*).

Even vaguely acceptable bark is now long gone at all the big box stores and its generally stratospherically priced at nurseries. I can get a 3.5 cu ft bale of sphagnum moss (NOT peat) at one nursery in town for $90. It is the only bag they have and I bet they've had it awhile, but I just paid something like $13 for a tiny bag so ... I'll likely be picking that up pretty soon. I have orchids.

Same nursery has real pine bark but its very large pieces, haven't decided about that yet . They have real cypress and cedar mulch that is just bark - stuff at the big box stores is now labeled "bark MIX" and has junk in it. Cypress @ 11.99, cedar 15.99 for 3 cft. The giant pine bark was mondo 'spensive (didn't write it down). They have cotton burr for 9.99/2 cft, stuff isn't good for much but soil conditioner as far as I can estimate. They claim it is pesticide free.

And Growstone is a thing of the past. I had bags of it that I bought when I found out they had gone out of business. Lost in my recent move daggum it. It was great for my murraya koenigi, whatever it might have been like for bonsai, as well as my container veggies. My jasmine died in the gritty-like mix.

There is some stuff called Berger Bark Mix 7 that is NOT FOR BONSAI but looks really good as regular potting media at that nursery. I'll get some of that ($24 for 3 cu ft) for my regular plants. I guess twice as much (cost) as Miracle Gro (as in its a miracle anything grows in it) isn't bad.

I will try Safe-T sorb and the Optisorb, which is available at a local Grainger for $11 instead of the $18 at the auto parts place. I'm also seriously considering calcining cat litter when I get my new kiln (I'm a potter) but that'll be awhile. Allegedly there is some cat litter at WM that people claim is TOO BIG for their kitties, so I'll get a bag of that and see. It's probably too small. I could also just calcine the various -sorbs as well LOL! That ought to take care of the variability issue.

I'll lay odds the 8822 was "holding more water" because it is basically un- or at least under-calcined clay.

I'm interested in your results. Means I won't have to run those tests LOL!
 

Kullas

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Thanks for the info. Things has went up everywhere on everything. I suspect I'm going to come to the same conclusion on the 8822. I belive it is going to break down. So far the top looks the same. The drainage is about the same also so far its still holding up but its still early.
 

Kullas

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Update.
We are almost to 10 days do I thought I would give a mini Update.

Turface, is holding up no noticeable difference and drainage is good

Saf t sorb, not any noticeable difference on the top. Drainage has slowed just a tad. May be dew to breakdown or just some of the smaller prices settling into the smaller drain holes. Will find out on day #10

Napa 8822, surface particles are getting smaller and drainage has slowed way down. Also what drains is got a white tint to it. That tells me it is breaking down.

So far the schedule is staying the same. Will update some results of the sifting on the 10th maybe the 11th depending on time.20220427_155035.jpg
 

Kullas

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Today I let the freezer samples dry out and ran through the 1.4mm screen. Here is the results after 10 freeze cycles. First pics of them still wet.20220501_114913.jpg20220501_114907.jpg
 

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