Gel in container garden soil?

lily2521June 20, 2014

Hello - I am new to container gardening, this is my first year trying it. I went to check on my plants, and found a gel like substance all over in my soil - does anyone know what this could be? Is it safe? I'm not sure if it'll affect the vegetables I'm trying to grow? I attached a photo for reference. Thanks.

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lily2521

Here's another picture

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 3:41PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Could it be that water-retentive moisture gel?

Josh

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 5:23PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

Polyacrylamide gel.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 6:55PM
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calistoga_al

Did you mix your own soil for your container? Moisture retaining gel could not be in your soil unless someone put it there. It is not normally used in vegetable growing. Al

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 10:07AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Looks like the trail of a slug or a snail. Have you seen any leaves or stems that look damaged? If that's what the problem is, you can eliminate them with an organic pesticide like Sluggo.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 10:40AM
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lily2521

Thanks everyone - that must be what it is. I looked at the bag and it says "water-holding polymer "crystals" (potassium polyacrylamide copolymer)"

So my next question - is it safe to use this in container gardening with vegetables we're going to eat? I saw the comment saying it's not typically used in vegetable growing. The soil I bought says 'flower & vegetable garden soil with fertilizer' on the bag.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:33PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

It's safe, but it causes the soil to be more damp. Many veggies don't like to be too wet so you just need to pay attention that it doesn't get too soggy.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:38PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I would disagree vegetables like moisture, it's fine to use. Nothing likes to be too wet well except carnivorous plants, nothing likes to be too dry except maybe cacti.
Every plant every vegetable is different, has different needs, requires different soil, and different nutrients.
No one size fits all.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 10:43PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

Scroll down to the bottom for info on the gels.

Here is a link that might be useful: Horticultural Myths

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:03PM
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lily2521

Thanks for all of your help - I'm so new to this! Learning as I go...

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 9:28AM
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