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Polystyrene beads

Posted by stimey 6 (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 14:21

I use 511 regularly, my question is about gritty mix, I just happened upon some poly beads about 3/16 diameter, could this be used as the grit fraction in gritty mix? What I mean by grit is the the granite, or large sand fraction of the mix, the beads seem to be nearly inert, feel free to educate me. Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Polystyrene beads

I suppose. Are the beads slick and smooth? That could work against you as the angular coarseness of the granite serves a useful function in creating nooks for air/water/nutrient particles and root penetration.

I think Al said once you can successfully grow a plant in a pot of broken glass if you sufficiently understand the principles of drainage and air/nutrient/water application and retention.


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RE: Polystyrene beads

Thank you for the reply, I have been a member for some time, and have learned primarily from all the great info that this sight has to offer. These beads I guess are really not a bead per say, they are a 3/16 round extrusion that has been cut to a 3/16 length, I would not say they have an angular coarseness as granite would have, but you just brought something else to light, I also have a good resource for ground glass that I can run through a reel type screener that will dictate size dependent on what screen I put in it, I know that the glass is going to be heavy like the granite, but the resource is even more available then the polystyrene extrusions are. I am able to really zone in on particle size with the equipment that I use, of course glass could really be an issue if you like getting your hands into your work, lol with a little reasoning a person can usually answer there own question. I sure appreciate your input, in my line of work I have a good supply of different types of inert as well as reactive materials I don't know if reactive is the correct terminology, by now you probably guessed that I am wanting to reduce the weight but maintain form and function of the mix, I'll stop here and thank you again for your input.


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RE: Polystyrene beads

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 17:06

It should work reasonably well, but you might want to skew the 1:1:1 ratio to favor a little more Turface. If you had that material in .125 x .125 it would be better. And you'll probably need to fertilize a little more than if you were using granite.

Al


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RE: Polystyrene beads

Thanks for the info Al, I do have some polyethylene extrusions that are virtually 100% inert and with in .125 x .125 fraction size. I feed with foliage pro every watering 1/2 strength, so I will see, I am always playing around so I will stick something in the mix and see how it does. I have already used the polyethylene beads added to a Ball pro mix and seen improved drainage, but that has only been a short while since I done that mix so time will tell. Thanks again!


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RE: Polystyrene beads

And please report back with pics!

Josh


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RE: Polystyrene beads

Can you tell us please : Where do you get those Polystyrene beads from ? And what is the cost, say per cubic feet?

Thanks.


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RE: Polystyrene beads

Horticultural cork is a good substitute for granite, but it is hard to find, and expensive. It does not absorb water. I suppose it may break down after awhile. I need some gritty mix this season, but won't be using turface, as many know I'm not a fan. Pumice will be used instead. I will be using granite for small plants. For larger plants no gritty mix will be used. These beads sound like a good substitute.


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RE: Polystyrene beads

Randomly I had a dream about this last night, except it was pulverized styrofoam (which is also polystyrene) instead of the polystyrene beads. The same issue came up in the dream--spent potting soil usually gets dumped in the compost & used polystyrene can get recycled, but this mixture would make non-compostable garbage. Incinerating it is a possible solution. Personally I'd try to avoid using plastic if possible but it is all in how you use it.


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RE: Polystyrene beads

"Personally I'd try to avoid using plastic if possible but it is all in how you use it."

I tend to agree, I like to recycle my potting soil into my raised beds. So it won't work for me. I also would like to get away from perlite as it adds nothing once it breaks down. Everything else is useful in some ways. Peat, bark, coir, and cork are organic. Granite, pumice , will still work in raised beds and do not harm the environment.
So far the best replacement for granite is cork! I may have to shell out the money for it to at least try it. i would save my wine corks and make it myself, but most are fake cork these days!


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RE: Polystyrene beads

Drew51 and sf rhino, thanks for the reminder! your correct we should not add this to a compost pile, I guess I will keep this in mind before I seriously consider using this. Here is a little work I done today, Polystyrene beads dry have a BD of 23.4 lb/ft3, I took 12ea. of these beads and soaked in water for 48 hrs and they weighed 0.7 g 12ea. of the dry beads weigh 0.4 g, do what you want with that I have nothing to compare that with since I don't have any granite or perlite at the moment. Something else I done was screened some calcined Diatomite over a 12 mesh screen, supplier was EP minerals Oil dry product BD of the +12 screenings were 21.4 lb/ft3 the -12 was 22.6 lb/ft3. I found tables on the net that says Crushed Granite is 97 lb/ft3, purposed substitute for granite is the poly beads. Turface MVP is 36 ± 2 lb./ft³ purposed substitute calcined Diatomite. I am posting some pics if I can figure this out, I have not figured out how to apply more then one pic per post so anyway here is the beads.


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RE: Polystyrene beads

+12 Calcined diatomite


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RE: Polystyrene beads

-12 Calcined diatomite


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RE: Polystyrene beads

-3/8 Pine bark


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RE: Polystyrene beads

Pond garden its covered in snow today, it don't look like that now. seysonn I really just salvage these from test that we do for customers, these are just leftovers, and probably not readily available to general public, I don't know, I sure will find out though.


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