What is vermiculite for, its use in gardening

what is vermiculite for its use in gardening Blog

Horticulturists and florists usually additionally use organic fertilizers, growth promoters, chemicals to control pests and diseases, and other tricks to get many good harvests. You often hear about adding vermiculite, an environmentally friendly mineral, to the soil. What is this for?

Vermiculite contains a huge amount of microelements, due to which the fertilization of plants with nitrogen, potash and phosphorus fertilizers is prolonged due to the gradual replenishment of mineral reserves. It does not contain toxins and heavy metals.

It has a porous structure resembling scales, which improves air exchange in the soil, soil crust does not form and water does not stagnate (100 g of vermiculite absorbs 400 ml of water). When the roots of plants run out of moisture, vermiculite absorbs excess moisture and thus maintains the desired moisture level. This medium is widely used in hydroponic growing. Vermiculite prevents drying and cracking of the soil. Reduces soil acidity.

The mineral is fine-grained, shiny, swampy, black, yellow-gold or brown. Vermiculite is most often added to soil mixtures in a proportion of 1/3 of the volume. Mixtures with peat or sand are taken in equal parts.

How to use vermiculite

Vermiculite is used to germinate seeds. To do this, moisten the substrate, mix it with the seeds and put everything in a plastic bag. In a warm and suitable environment, seeds will germinate quickly. Then fill the prepared container with potting soil mixed with 1-2 mm vermiculite in a 2:1 ratio.

If the cuttings are going to be planted in individual cups, vermiculite should be added to the potting soil to facilitate rooting and settling. Mix garden soil with vermiculite in a ratio of 3: 1 and pour into carrying cups. This mineral is an excellent protection for young seedlings against root rot and black leg rot, the most common seedling diseases.

Gardeners recommend vermiculite for growing vegetables outdoors. A substrate is laid out on a flower bed at the rate of 1 tablespoon for every 10 cm or 3-4 tablespoons per hole, for example, for growing potatoes.

The use of vermiculite does not imply a complete rejection of other organic fertilizers, on the contrary, it is mixed with peat, bird droppings, slurry, straw. For 10 kg of compost there are 3 kg of vermiculite.

In a vermiculite substrate, cuttings take root faster. The root system is stronger, which means that in the future the plants will be healthier.

When planting seedlings in the hole, pour vermiculite in the amount of 1/3 of the hole volume (fraction 2-4 mm).

The cellar often stores vegetables, plant bulbs or fruits. To increase their storage, vermiculite is first poured onto the bottom, and then 2-5 cm of the mineral layer between the layers allows the material not to deteriorate or rot, while maintaining all the values ​​of the product.

Vermiculite is also widely used in houseplants. Mixed with potting mix, vermiculite prevents clumping and compaction of the soil. After watering, an earthen crust does not form. Flower roots receive enough oxygen and moisture. The water does not stand still, but is absorbed by the mineral so that it can gradually enter the plants. To grow indoor flowers, it is enough to add 1-2 mm vermiculite, mixed in equal parts with peat or potting soil.

Vermiculite can be stored for a long time, while its properties and structure will not change.

The only downside to vermiculite is that it’s hard to find commercially, and if you manage to do so, buy it without question. Dry crushed vermiculite forms a strong dust, so before work it should be moistened with glasses, a cotton-gauze bandage or a respirator on the face. We do not consider this a disadvantage. Pure vermiculite is not used.

The size of the vermiculite fraction depends on the size of the plants. For plants with a delicate root system, flowers and succulents – 1-2 mm, for shrubs and trees 3-4 mm. Unground vermiculite is used in construction for insulation and soundproofing panels.

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