Capillary matting system for seeds?

lucille(Houston)January 4, 2014

I am thinking of using a capillary mat system for my seeds this year. I researched here and at some African violet sites where capillary matting is used for watering sometimes. I found that at the violet sites, a significant change in the composition of the growing mix often includes a higher percentage of perlite.
Has anyone used those types of violet mixes and successfully germinated and grown seeds in pots on capillary matting?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

JMO for what it is worth but I have tried various types of capillary matting in the greenhouse on several occasions in the hopes of stabilizing soil moisture levels with less personal attention required.

But I always ended up with the same problem - unless very closely monitored it way over-watered most any soil media I tried. At times, to the point of sopping wet pots and drowned plants.

But I have never used violet mix as it is unique for those plants where good drainage is mandatory between waterings and I don't grow them.

When germinating most flower and vegetable seeds minimal moisture is required to begin with. It should only become an issue after germination when growing on. But even then, even with established plants in pots, careful monitoring is needed. Don't leave the wicking end in a constant supply of water or IME you'll likely soon find sopping wet soil in your pots.

Dave

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 2:35PM
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lucille(Houston)

I read your previous post about the subject Dave which inspired the question about varying the mix. I think your advice about not leaving the wicking end in water is good, I may water via wick because it is easier, but perhaps use only the needed water and not as you point out leave the wicking end in resulting in constant moisture.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 2:41PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I know there has to be a way to do it successfully since i have talked to a few growers who are happy using it.

Apparently the length of the wicking piece and the distance in height between the water source and the plants is the key to controlling the amount of water that actually reaches the plants. I've just never figured It out correctly. Good luck with it.

Dave

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:29PM
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lucille(Houston)

After a couple of days of thinking about it, I removed the capillary mats.
It did not make sense to me (after the first wave of resistance and rationalization because I had by then bought the mats and set up the system) to flirt with overwatering, the factor which leads to much seedling death.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 8:17AM
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