Diaper Experiment

ILoveMySoldier(Zone 8, SE AL)March 1, 2003

I read on container gardening about using stuff out of diapers to help hold moisture in pots, so I did that, and then was bored, so I used a newspaper pot, filled it with only the diaper gel and planted 4 cuke seeds in it. I did that last Sunday, I got sprouts on Wednesday, LOL.

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Yes, it works! Also, clean diapers can be used in the bottoms of hanging baskets and pots to retain moisture.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2003 at 7:58AM
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Violet_Girl(z9a TX)

Yeah, but the stuff is still so NASTY...

    Bookmark   July 5, 2003 at 1:52AM
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lov2garden(VA 7b)

Even easier than clean diapers is using hmmmm, "maxi" pads! I cut them in thirds and place them in the bottom of planting holes for annuals. Ofcourse, it can be embarassing next year when you go to plant more and you dig up last years' maxis! It does help retain moisture and helps keep moisture from draining out of sandy soils so quickly. I have also used larger cut up squares of "blue pads" for large, water loving perennials. Again, it's a little funny when you go to divide a big hosta and have to peel plastic off it's bottom!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2003 at 7:40AM
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Diapers are so expensive and you need so little of the crystals, why bother with the diapers and maxis when you can get a 17 oz container for around $9.00. That 17 oz container will pot a LOT of plants when using the recommended 1/2 tsp (4" pot) to 2 tbs (5 GAL pot). You can also use the crystals to make your own cool ties. (I use from 1/2 tsp for smaller crystals to 1 tsp for larger ones for each cool tie. I think I can get about 60 ties out of a 17 oz container of crystals!)

Be careful of the attitude that "more is better" when using the crystals (or diapers, etc.). If you use too much and the pots are in a spot where nature waters generously, when the crystals swell they will pop the plant right out of the pot!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2003 at 9:31PM
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garden_witch(z6a MI)

I picked up a package of "hydra-crystals" at a yard sale a few years ago, and finaly got around to using them this year. I love them! I tried to find them online with no success, so I posted a query in the sources forum. Some one gave me this website, and I will be ordering soon!

Here is a link that might be useful: watersorb

    Bookmark   July 8, 2003 at 7:48PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I purchased the box of 24 diapers for 1.99 at Big Lots. If you have 40+ pots the diapers idea was cheap. They are no name but I do not think the plants notice. Cannas and Elephant Ears love a lot of water.

It cut the watering to once a week if it does not rain. I do not have time to water so the idea was perfect especially for the hanging containers that dry quickly with the sun and wind.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2003 at 9:27PM
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    Bookmark   July 20, 2003 at 11:42PM
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lov2garden: ROTFL!...;-)

    Bookmark   November 12, 2003 at 9:59AM
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Great now i know what to exchange for seeds when my kids are out of diapers and potty trained and i have a few extras lol. giggles.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2003 at 2:30PM
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I have to wonder if diapers would work as well as paper towels for germinating seeds.Will definitely try them.Posy Pet

    Bookmark   January 8, 2004 at 6:52PM
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soundgarden(z8/ New Orleans, La)

Can the diapers be used or do the crystals have to be dry?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2004 at 8:01PM
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Nelz(z5b/6 NW PA)

Are we saying I'd be okay tilling a 48 pack of Huggies into my garden?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2004 at 11:09AM
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Nelz(z5b/6 NW PA)

I was kidding!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2004 at 12:56AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

As long as people are peeing into their compost piles over on the Soils forum, they may as well be composting their kids diapers, too.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2004 at 3:06PM
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Old_West_Aussie(Perth foothills)

As long as they take the kids out of them first...


    Bookmark   March 10, 2004 at 7:53AM
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last year I got sick of transplanting peat pots into bigger pots, so this spring I successfully used 1:1:1 watersorb crystals:peat moss:vermiculite in 3.5" deep root pots and successfully started veggies and impatiens and petunias. I also have germinated seeds outside in pure watersorb (a 1" layer on top of potting soil). The little roots grow right through an individual crystal, so it's like it's own little hydrophonic garden. in a potting mix, watersorb keeps everything nice and moist, and since all the pots are set in a deep plastic pan, I just keep water in the bottom and only occasionally mist the seeds/seedlings. I'm going to try grinding the dry crystals to a finer size and broadcasting them with direct sown seeds in areas I won't have time to daily water.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 5:42PM
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ok, here's a question, how long do they last?? and can they be replaced for that vermiculite?? ya know for that sq foot gardening??? i know the idea is to water less, well one of them is, so could this help and would it be a little cheaper?? probably not!!??? LOL i do know how good they are when a diaper explodes in the washer when ya accidently put it in there!! WOW i like to of never got that stuff out!!! LOL

1 Like    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 11:04PM
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>how long do they last?? More than five years apparently !
I did this back when it first came up in this forum... I just tipped out some old, big, heavy pots today to completely refresh..and there they were. Perfectly preserved ! Looked exactly like they did when I placed them there. so.. what they say about these things filling up our land fills must be true.

Yes.. They did help with keeping the pots more consistently watered... no problems with use. I used some very cheap..about $2, house brand diapers....sold at either Walgreen's or Rite Aid.

Now even stranger...I logged in after all this time. Hit my user name and pass word on the first try. Really didn't think I had a chance.. but it worked. It's a GardenWeb mircle I tell ya. hahaha....

The diaper exploding in the washer story was my inspiration. TY . :D

1 Like    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 3:56AM
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The subject of hydrophilic polymers is currently active on the Container Gardening forum: Hydrophyllic gels . . .

Also, check this out: Super-absorbent water crystals  are they really so "super?"

Apparently, there are some potential problems with this technology in the garden.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 12:10PM
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I have used inners of diapers in my hanging baskets that are on the south side of our deck and low and behold for the past two seasons I have had flowers blooming all season long in my petunia baskets Yes , diapers are cheaper than the jars of crystals by far in Canada anyway. Got to love them but was kind of emmbarrasing buying them in Walmart when I wasn't knowing what size to buy so got extra large just incase. cut the watering down to once every other day instead of twice a day

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Could you use them for vegetable pots or would the chemicals in the diapers be absorbed by the plants?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2015 at 7:29AM
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Good question! That's what I've been wondering also! I'm planning on trying a straw bale garden this year and was curious about the idea of putting some of the crystals in the bales to help with water retention. Everything I've read says that the crystals are non-toxic.....so growing veggies with them would be safe.....still not sure!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 10:14AM
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ok, i will try it is flower pots but not sure with veggies or in the garden.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 9:46PM
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Such an old thread, but it's been fun watching you newer members.

Update: Original pot diapers in 2003 because of this thread, then last report on my diapers was 2008. Now in 2015 the story is still exactly the same.

When do I declare these vintage pot diapers ? LOL

I'm still diapering pots here and there, plus once in awhile I dump our a pretty old pot that's been sitting unloved and forgotten, only to find some of the original diapers ...still in fine shape since those were annual pots.

Every time I find one, I just set it over, put in fresh soil and put the diaper right back. Such good shape they stay in, you remember the debates over cloth vs. disposable and which is worse for the environment. Looks to me like when they say these things last in the landfill forever...must be true. Sitting in a pot in soil, undisturbed, years later they look exactly like they did when I put them in there. :(

As far as safe or not for veggies, well if your growing for market and advertising organic, you might have a problem since I doubt the manufactures have gone through the process of being organically certified. But they certainly must need to prove these are safe to be in contact with tiny babies bare, vulnerable skin, with the possibility of that baby's bottom skin having terrible diaper rash with open sores. Babies with some allergies have problems this way when exposed to something they react to. The diaper manufactures and consumer oversight is aware of these possibilities, so I would feel safe assuming these are most likely safe. Certainly safer than lots of other things our veggies and our bodies are exposed to everyday.

I'm assuming all of you are also aware using an older used pot diaper would only work well as long as the ex-plant was healthy. No bugs or diseases. Died of natural causes, got moved to a bigger pot or such. Shouldn't have to say that, but better to be clear I suppose.

Good luck with your pot diapers everyone. : )

ETA: Just realized a baby born when this thread originated will be a teenager this spring :p Have we said it all yet

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 4:05AM
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