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Discuss water requirements, "soil" (growing media) and suitable planting containers

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By Bug_cemetery
Posts:  208
Joined:  Tue Mar 08, 2022 11:48 pm
#415549
So far pool filter sand is the best option that I’ve found locally. Much more grain size than quickcrete silica sand and way cleaner than play sand. About $15 for a 50# bag.
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DA92ECFC-069D-42F3-BDD3-E36B863C4829.jpeg (77.88 KiB) Viewed 2459 times
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1967ADF8-583B-4B43-8733-97283CB491C1.jpeg (173.78 KiB) Viewed 2459 times
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By Intheswamp
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Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#415562
That looks pretty good. Are the darker grains translucent? There's not many of them. The grain size is definitely bigger than some "play sand" left over from one of my wife's previous projects.
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By andynorth
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Joined:  Fri May 12, 2023 9:08 pm
#446231
So was there ever a definitive answer to the original question? I am planning to put some of my Drosera's in a large pot together and have decided I would like to add some sand to my mix. I am however quite confused with all the options.
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By Intheswamp
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#446233
Andy, I'm afraid that you're looking for a unicorn. When I first started out with cps I looked for coarse sand. We even have a large silica mining operation "sorta" close to us...U.S. Silica in Hurtsboro, Alabama. I inquired with them about a coarse grade of sand. A nice lady responded that the pits there produce a finer grade of silica sand than what I was after. I've looked high and low for a coarse "horticultural" sand...no luck so far except for the bags of gold on Amazon.

Pool filter sand gets mixed reviews for cps...some people say that's what they use and that it works fine. Others say that it sinks to the bottom of the pots quickly. When I go to Lowes or Home Depot I usually try to make a loop through the "sand" section and look for torn bags...hoping to find a bag that might be a tad coarser than the norm. No luck so far. But, this year I've decided to go ahead and bag a bag of some type of pool filter sand...a good brand that is graded well for a #20 mesh (far from the #12 mesh that is usually recommended). Another option I'm considering is a creek me and a buddy hunted rocks in a few years back...it is heavy in quartz and a little bit of petrified wood. It seems that the sand there was somewhat coarse, but it's been a few years since I was there. I don't remember the sand sticking to our wet pants as we traversed the creek, at least not like beach sand does. It is often stated not to use river sand due to the impurities and I appreciate that warning. I'm heard of others using river sand with not big issues. I guess the thing would be to do a test with some to see how the plants respond. Anyhow, I'm thinking of grabbing my brain dead buddy (he makes a fair pack-mule<grin>) and taking a road trip to revisit our old hunting ground and check the sand out. Best I could hike out would be a couple of gallons unless I make multiple trips and that's not really an attractive idea to me. :roll: It would be interesting to see, though, if the sand is coarse or fine...it's basically a sand and gravel glacier sludge.

Poultry grit is another option. It is crushed granite and is reported to work well. You do have to be careful and avoid any that has added ingredients. The trend is to add "probiotics" to the grit to help the chickens' guts.<sigh> Just a plain-jane grit is what is needed for our use.

I've mentioned it before, and at the risk of being repetitive I'll mention it again...pumice sand. It is reported to work very well and is a regional product of the west coast.

The last option is to do a 50:50 peat and perlite main mix. Top that off with maybe a 1/2" or so of clean peat moss and then after planting top-dress it with a 1/2" or so of filter sand. I actually did something similar last year with a rectangular planter full of filiformis. I didn't want perlite floating everywhere so I added some well-rinsed "play sand" as a top dressing. This was indoors so it didn't go through heavy rainfalls but I wasn't really gentle when I'd water it either. Everything settles over time and soon the crowns of the plants were well exposed above the sand, perlite dispersal was kept to a minimum. Every now and then I'd get a "divot" where I poured water in too fast and hard and it would exposed the peat/perlite below...I'd rake the sand back over it and call it good.

Anyhow, maybe some of that feedback will help...it's worth *at the least* what you paid for it!!! :lol:
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By Hendre
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Joined:  Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:03 pm
#447173
I have mixed a decent amount (30-40%) sand into my mix for VFTs I was sent and a few weeks later they are still happy. Long term prospects I am unsure but have been advised by experienced growers that sand is fine.

I use 0.8-1.2mm graded pool filter sand at 30-50% of my substrate, mixed very well with wet peat so it makes a cohesive mixture. Fine sand can compact and large sand doesn't conduct water as well so this middling size is ideal. I use it so far for sarracenia seedlings, many drosera, and now vfts. Even neps "can" grow in it but far from ideal ;)
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By Intheswamp
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Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#447179
Most filter sand available here In the US is graded between 0.45-0.55mm. Coarse grade sand isn't readily available due to sandblasters stopping using it resulting in low demand for it. Use of coarse grade for sandblasting was stopped due to silicosis. I'm thinking of hitting a creek and see how coarse the sand is...it's very rocky/pebbly glacier sludge so it might work okay....then to do some "safety testing" on it....vinegar soaking, water soaking (TDS, pH, etc.), and maybe even a few test plantings.
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By andynorth
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Joined:  Fri May 12, 2023 9:08 pm
#447188
Hendre wrote: Fri Feb 23, 2024 9:06 am I have mixed a decent amount (30-40%) sand into my mix for VFTs I was sent and a few weeks later they are still happy. Long term prospects I am unsure but have been advised by experienced growers that sand is fine.

I use 0.8-1.2mm graded pool filter sand at 30-50% of my substrate, mixed very well with wet peat so it makes a cohesive mixture. Fine sand can compact and large sand doesn't conduct water as well so this middling size is ideal. I use it so far for sarracenia seedlings, many drosera, and now vfts. Even neps "can" grow in it but far from ideal ;)
Any chance of getting a pic of the sand you are using? I bought some pool filter sand but I think it is too fine, just not sure.
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By andynorth
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Joined:  Fri May 12, 2023 9:08 pm
#448046
OK. I think I finally found the perfect silica sand. Not too coarse, not too fine. It passes the vinegar test, etc. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0C5925KV6?re ... tails&th=1

Moving forward I will try using this sand.
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By MikeB
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Posts:  1934
Joined:  Sat Apr 25, 2020 4:13 pm
#448055
The grain size looks good. The seller says 10 pounds worth; what volume is that - a gallon, 2 gallons?

Be sure to rinse it well before use (tap water is okay for this). You want to get rid of debris, fine particles (what was dust before it got wet), etc.

Out of curiosity, I went to Google and searched on "farm supply store federal way washington". Are any of these within reasonable driving distance?

Coastal Farm & Ranch
Dels Farm Supply
Wilco Farm Store

You could get a cubic foot of filter sand (coarse) for half the cost of that sand on Amazon.
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By andynorth
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Joined:  Fri May 12, 2023 9:08 pm
#448092
Coastal Farm & Ranch is not far. Del no longer exists to my knowledge, unless they moved but they have not been in there in a bit. I will check there before I buy more. I do not want it too coarse which seems to be the issue I have had. Either too coarse ot too fine. Even some on Amazon that I have purchased in the past seemed to be too coarse, even though it says 14-20 mesh.
Not sure about Wilco. For volume, I would say about 2.5 gallons roughly.
I actually have some of it setting in water. I will rinse and test TDS and Ph when I get back from running errands. Seems to be quite a lot of very fine sand particles when cleaning.
Thanks for the tips and leads.

EDIT: What was it you searched for at Coastal Farm & Ranch? When searching for sand, pool filter sand or filter sand I get everything but.
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By MikeB
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Joined:  Sat Apr 25, 2020 4:13 pm
#448157
I was hoping they had something equivalent to this:
Bag of sand.jpg
Bag of sand.jpg (127.73 KiB) Viewed 596 times
It's what I use with my plants (used to do medium, moved up to coarse).
Intheswamp liked this
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