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Jun 9, 2022 2:55 PM CST
Warren County, Kentucky, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Birds Butterflies Dahlias Sempervivums Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Come along with me as I perform my first agricultural growth test!!

I am testing forest product compost (Beyond Peat Raised Bed Mix), paired with LECA, an expanded clay product used in hydroponics, as potting medium.

I am using two net pots and two rooted chicks of S. 'Black', both with stolons forming new chicks.

Thumb of 2022-06-09/FPF/885cce

I started with two cups LECA, 1/2 cup compost, for each pot, before taking one batch of the LECA and breaking it with a hammer.

I reserved enough of the LECA from each batch to also use as top dressing.



Thumb of 2022-06-09/FPF/117504

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First observation is a little counter to what I expected: The crushed LECA takes up more room. I thought smaller pieces would be more compact. They're not. I could not fit the entire two cups of crushed LECA into the pot; about 3 tablespoons were left over.

They will get watered with Quick Start solution tonight after it has cooled down outside.

Here are the potted chicks, side by side:



Thumb of 2022-06-09/FPF/a29c4b

Initial conclusion: It looks to be more economical to crush my LECA before using it. Thumbs up

I'll let you know how things go!
Previous Zones: 3b, 7b, 8b, 9a, 9b.
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Jun 9, 2022 2:57 PM CST
Warren County, Kentucky, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Birds Butterflies Dahlias Sempervivums Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
PS: that should say instead of Pumice, but there must be a character limit. Shrug!
Previous Zones: 3b, 7b, 8b, 9a, 9b.
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Jun 9, 2022 4:29 PM CST
Moderator
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
This is going to be interesting. Hurray!
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Jun 14, 2022 10:35 AM CST
Name: Ed
Georgetown, Tx (Zone 8b)
Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Houseplants Sempervivums Region: Texas Garden Ideas: Level 1
I learn something day. LECA is something I did not know about.
I read up on it and it sounds like something I should try.
I usually mix in Perlite.
Looking foward to your updates
Plants are like that little ray of sunshine on a rainy day.
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Jun 14, 2022 2:42 PM CST
Warren County, Kentucky, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Birds Butterflies Dahlias Sempervivums Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Thanks! So far, both chicks are looking the same.
No differences, and also no crisping in our heat, yet, which was a concern with a net pot and LECA.
I'm really hoping that the LECA holds enough moisture to balance out the hot days with the rainy days.
By which I mean not holding so much it encourages rot, but holding enough to get the plants through some hot weather.
Previous Zones: 3b, 7b, 8b, 9a, 9b.
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Jun 14, 2022 2:55 PM CST
Moderator
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
I am glad you are doing this test FPF, it may be the answer to high temps and humidity. Crossing Fingers!
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Jun 14, 2022 3:15 PM CST
Warren County, Kentucky, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Birds Butterflies Dahlias Sempervivums Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
I hope so, too, thank you!!
Here's today's weather and today's picture of our test subjects.
Thumb of 2022-06-14/FPF/f242ab
Maybe a little more affected today. Loss of some outer leaves that had already shown stress before I pulled them from the parent, but really not bad, considering. Especially as the stolons and chicklets on the chicks still look good.
Thumb of 2022-06-14/FPF/a50438

Picture of the parent plant in the planter. Looking a little more stressed than the chicks, but part of that is from the last heat event a couple of weeks ago.
Thumb of 2022-06-14/FPF/d2cf04
Previous Zones: 3b, 7b, 8b, 9a, 9b.
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Jun 14, 2022 4:32 PM CST
Moderator
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
The new growth coming from the center of the rosette is looking very good. Thumbs up
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Jun 14, 2022 8:38 PM CST
Name: Ed
Georgetown, Tx (Zone 8b)
Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Houseplants Sempervivums Region: Texas Garden Ideas: Level 1
@ffp I have done some more reading so need to ask do you have a suggestion for fertlizer to supplement the Lica .
Plants are like that little ray of sunshine on a rainy day.
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Jun 14, 2022 10:07 PM CST
Warren County, Kentucky, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Birds Butterflies Dahlias Sempervivums Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Great question! At Valleylynn's suggestion I have used forest compost with the LECA. My mix for this test was 2 cups LECA and 1/2 cup compost, mixed together with enough of the LECA reserved to use as top dressing. Since it's my understanding that sempervivum do not need nor want a lot of rich nutrients, I am expecting that to be enough, paired with the Quick Start that I'm using to get them going.
It may be that I will need to adjust the amounts of forest compost in my mix, but this is just the start. I won't know that for a little while yet.
Previous Zones: 3b, 7b, 8b, 9a, 9b.
Last edited by FPF Jun 14, 2022 10:24 PM Icon for preview
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Jun 14, 2022 10:13 PM CST
Warren County, Kentucky, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Birds Butterflies Dahlias Sempervivums Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Also, just to make clear, this is hydroponic expanded clay, which is slightly less uniform and has a rougher exterior than the LECA typically used for orchids.

If you would like a better picture of the bag, I can take one tomorrow. As it is, the only picture I have is this one:
Thumb of 2022-06-15/FPF/bdf444
Previous Zones: 3b, 7b, 8b, 9a, 9b.
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Jun 15, 2022 12:21 PM CST
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Container Gardener Garden Art Sempervivums
Looking forward to following the progress FPF!
Sounds like the irregularity of the crushed LECA has lead to the creation of more air space between the granules, in addition to testing the LECA itself I think that'll be one of the more rewarding conclusions of your test, especially since you've used net pots, "how much do sempervivum benefit from root aeration?".
Thanks for the info, I'll be staying tuned.
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Jun 20, 2022 2:11 PM CST
Warren County, Kentucky, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Birds Butterflies Dahlias Sempervivums Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Today's S. 'Black' chick progress report:
New root growth seems fairly even. Stolons of one chick are mich more advanced, but the other chick does have one stolon present and several forming.
Thumb of 2022-06-20/FPF/76c8e9

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Side by side they look very much the same:

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Previous Zones: 3b, 7b, 8b, 9a, 9b.
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Jun 22, 2022 1:49 AM CST
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Container Gardener Garden Art Sempervivums
Cool detail shots of the roots FPF,
At this point I'm betting the equal growth is most likely the result of relatively even energy stored in the rosettes as opposed to a response to the medium.
Just a thought,
-Sol
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Jun 22, 2022 3:08 AM CST
Romania, Mures (Zone 6b)
Region: Europe Roses Sedums Sempervivums
GeologicalForms said: Cool detail shots of the roots FPF,
At this point I'm betting the equal growth is most likely the result of relatively even energy stored in the rosettes as opposed to a response to the medium.
Just a thought,
-Sol


I'd be guessing the same.
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