Return to the Container Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Need Help with 'Wetting Agent' for Sphagnum Peat Moss

Posted by rnewste 8b NorCal (rnewstead@aol.com) on
Mon, Nov 16, 09 at 13:17

After trialing 30 combinations of Potting Mix, Turface, Bark Fines, Perlite, Redwood Compost, and Cactus Mix for the SWC EarthTainer, I have settled on a 3:2:1 ratio of Potting Mix, Bark Fines, and Perlite. Here is a photo of a Cherokee Purple taken yesterday in this mix. Perfectly green and healthy top to bottom:

One "improvement" that I want to now experiment with is to make my own "Raybo-Mix" of using "virgin" Sphagnum Peat Moss instead of a Commercial Potting Mix.

I understand that a "wetting agent" must be used with the Sphagnum Peat Moss for it to properly wick, which is essential in a SWC application. Can someone point me to where I can purchase this "wetting agent", and its proper use?

thanks,

Raybo


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Need Help with 'Wetting Agent' for Sphagnum Peat Moss

You don't need a wetting agent. Both the bark and the peat become hydrophobic around 30% moisture content. As long as they are not allowed to dry to this point they will readily absorb water.

In a SWC application it's very unlikely either would every dry to that point.


 o
RE: Need Help with 'Wetting Agent' for Sphagnum Peat Moss

If you did want to use a wetting agent have you thought of trying Safer Soap at say 1 tbs per gal.? I have never done this because I don't like peat moss in any of my soil mixes. Good luck, Jack


 o
RE: Need Help with 'Wetting Agent' for Sphagnum Peat Moss

The only time I've had difficulty is when I don't use a cover; I have a few containers that do not. I don't always fill the water holding area for various reasons (such as I am growing something that doesn't like being as damp as most mixes keep the container) so it can get dry on the top several inches before I'm ready to add water again. Because of the sunshine, it's really dry and the water can just roll right off. I do have a wetting agent I use at times for this, but it doesn't really happen often. Either Cocowet or EarthJuice Assist (I think I have the name right, it's not in front of me) work in these rare cases.

As JaG said, I don't have problems when I am keeping the container filled with water, as it wicks to the top and the mix only may get a bit dry on the top inch or less (if not covered - if covered, it doesn't dry out at all).


 o
RE: Need Help with 'Wetting Agent' for Sphagnum Peat Moss

Thanks all for the suggestions. I will experiment with a bale of Sphagnum Peat Moss over the Winter and see how it absorbs moisture and wicks. Pro-Mix BX is made up of 82% Sphagnum Peat Moss and they don't list a wetting agent on the Ingredients label, so perhaps they don't use any. In any event, I appreciate all of your responses.

Raybo


 o
RE: Need Help with 'Wetting Agent' for Sphagnum Peat Moss

A wetting agent is a surfactant. My favorite is the organic dishwashing liquid named Method Go Naked. You will find it at Target stores on the same shelf with other dish washing products. Inexpensive and double strength compared to similar products. Use one half tablespoon per gallon. Also excellent used as a 'sticker' in sprays at the same rate. Give it a try when washing windows, too. Excellent product for garden and home use.


 o
RE: Need Help with 'Wetting Agent' for Sphagnum Peat Moss

I do use peat in some of my propagation mixes. I store it in 33 gallon plastic garbage containers with a lock down lid. When I break up a bale of peat and fill the garbage container I add water as I fill it. When you need to use the peat it is a real pain to have to get past the hydrophobic stage when you need to make a mix. By keeping the peat always damp it is a lot easier to use. Al


 o
RE: Need Help with 'Wetting Agent' for Sphagnum Peat Moss

  • Posted by rdak z5MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 22, 09 at 10:03

Yeah, as mentioned, a few drops of any soap will act as a wetting agent.


 o
RE: Need Help with 'Wetting Agent' for Sphagnum Peat Moss

nandina,

I picked up a bottle of Method Go Naked liquid soap, and will give that a try. As Calistoga said, I will also let it soak in the mix for several days to thoroughly wet.

Raybo


 o
RE: Need Help with 'Wetting Agent' for Sphagnum Peat Moss

Old thread - but a question:

Does adding the soap have a permanent or semi-permanent affect on the soil/media?

Meaning, once it's "in there" does it become easier to wet, or, do you have to add it to the water any time it becomes too dry?


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Container Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here