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river sand anyone ?

Posted by oakleaf33 (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 14, 10 at 22:28

I am considering using river sand in my next setup considering the excellent drainage capabilities. Let me know your ventures on it !!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: river sand anyone ?

I have not used sand as a growing medium, although I'm also considering it. I understand that is what they use as a growing medium in Epcot Center for just about everything. I don't know if there is a specific size, or type they use. But I believe it gives excellent plant support (even for trees), and is free of any organic material that can break down over the long run. That would be important for long term plants like bushes or trees.

Although I have not seen the setups first hand, but I assume that the type of setup (and how it's built) is important. For instance a typical flood and drain system would likely wash most of the sand away or liquefying the sand (undermining the plant support), if proper precautions were taken. Also clogging of pumps and filters may be a problem if proper precautions were not taken. Again I have not seen the setups myself, and think there might also be some perlite, or vermiculite mixed in also.


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RE: river sand anyone ?

I can see the possibilities of using it in a hybrid DWC set-up. We had a large tobacco field along the OH river just downstream from Ripley. It was extremely fertile, thanks in large part to the river flooding every year.

Mike


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RE: river sand anyone ?

I understand that is what they use as a growing medium in Epcot Center for just about everything.

For their non-aeroponic plants, yes. I'm not sure if it's a higher risk with sand or is just a general precaution, but they have pretty strict nematode control measures there (everyone who walks on the sand has to use plastic booties)

I don't recall whether they used surface drips or underground. It certainly wasn't a "flood" system.

I do not recall seeing any perlite or vermiculite mixed in. It looked like plain old sand.

The neatest thing they had was the tomato tree. It was an unusual indeterminate variety they got from China which could tolerate very long vine lengths. They had it growing over a raised trellis where it formed a veritable tree; when I was there, they said it had produced 32,000 tomatoes that weighed nearly 1,200 pounds. Pretty neat ;)


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RE: river sand anyone ?

Yeah you guys are right btw I think I seen on you.tube that video of the epcot center "that's bananas" wish I worked there. River sand should work well in a drip irrigation setup I would think. As long as you have some mesh screen ath the bottom of the pot to prevent any pebbles makin there way back to your pump. Oh hey I meant to tell everyone in case you notice my spel chekkeur dozent work ha ha I do most of my entries from my p.o.s blackberry but it gets the job done till I can get my computer out of the hospital lol. So no I'm not a spammer!!


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RE: river sand anyone ?

Wouldn't the use of fertile sand (or soil) defeat the purpose of hydroponics. Soil, especially fertile soil has lots of nutrients in it. Hydroponics is "growing without soil." cleaned and sanitized sand is not fertile sand.


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RE: river sand anyone ?

The sand at Disney was sterile, and they went through significant measures to keep it that way.


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RE: river sand anyone ?

Thanks karenrei, I have no doubt that Disneys sand is sterile. Just so you know, I was referring to wordwiz's comment about the sand downstream on the OH river being extremely fertile. I personally have not been to Epcot (although I would love to go). I just know someone who has taken the tour of the hydro setups there and has told me some about them. I have also seen a video of that tomato tree, that was quite interesting. I have been trying to find a link to a website about Epcots Hydro setups to learn how they do things, but have never found one just about the hydro. If anyone knows of there direct link (if they have one),I would love to know what it is.


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RE: river sand anyone ?

homehydro,

Wouldn't the use of fertile sand (or soil) defeat the purpose of hydroponics. Soil, especially fertile soil has lots of nutrients in it. Hydroponics is "growing without soil." cleaned and sanitized sand is not fertile sand.

In the grand scheme does it make any difference, if one can grow more productive plants? I don't know if it would be better, worse or the same. I do know it is easy for roots to grow in sand - very little resistance. But will their constantly "wet feet" lead to their downfall? Again, I don't know, especially if the water is aerated and has the nuits the plants need. It certainly merits a trial test.

Mike


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RE: river sand anyone ?

I don't know about a link, but I could possibly answer questions. I've never worked there, but I didn't just take the river ride -- I paid extra for the "behind the seeds" tour; I got to see everything from where they bred leafminer parasites to the lab where they cloned plants from free cells.

They don't do just a single type of hydro, although the majority of stuff is drip irrigation in sterile sand. They also had some nft and some aeroponics. They also did some farm raising of fish, but they didn't use the water to grow plants.


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RE: river sand anyone ?

Thanks karenrei,
I don't know that I have any specific questions. I was mostly interested in reading up on what they were doing and how they were doing it. I especially was wondering about growing trees, bushes (raspberries, blackberries and boysenberries) and other long term plants. Dealing with the maintenance issues, like drainage clogging from root growth, and replacing plants that develop problems etc..

I've seen a few videos, and many pictures from Epcot, and it looked like they mostly use drip drip systems, although I assume the round vertical tubes are aeroponics. I haven't seen any NFT systems from there, although I have no doubt they are doing them.

I'm also interested in their climate controls, especially nutrient temp, and how they deal with it. Although I would guess that most of the system is underground and not a problem, and even whats above ground is climate controlled. I assume they have water culture systems (large ones), and how they aerate them efficiently and cost effectively. I'm also wondering if they use supplemental lighting, or just natural light, and cost efficiency.

Anyway, I wont be making the trip to Florida any time soon, and I do have a lot of questions (many more), but I always like to learn how the big guys do things. They have gone through the trial and error process (although it never ends), and weighed the pro's and con's. So I simply like learning from them.

P.S. wordwiz
Fertile sand or soil, what's the difference? If it has nutrients in it, it can cause nutrient problems. Why not just use potting soil for a growing medium in hydroponics then? Sure you can use sand, soil or even regular dirt with nutrients already in it, but controlling the nutrients is extremely difficult. That's why in hydroponics an "inert" (without nutrients in it) growing medium is simply the norm. But there's no reason you can't test other things, I just wouldn't do it expecting good results. Of course "good results" can mean anything from "not dead," to "perfect." But I mean better than growing in soil to start with, and without nutrient deficiencies or toxicities.


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RE: river sand anyone ?

My understanding, concerning Mike's comments, is that the sand in the southern parts of Indiana and Ohio are also loaded with organic matter and sit on huge deposits minerals that were pushed down by glaciers and further carried by melt off and flood waters. The sand provides excellent drainage and oxygenation of roots while the organic matter and minerals are constantly carried up when it rains. As the water recedes, it leaves behind new nutrient rich matter. I went to one of the nature centers on the Ohio a few years ago and there was video demonstrating the whole process.


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RE: river sand anyone ?

Yeah I'm with Joe Jr on the sand it seems to have drainage and cappallery action that is incomparable. Oh that one post was so long I lost track of who even started. I think home hydro said P.S to word wiz about a comment the post said. . "that why hydroponics is inert" (wich is without nutrients) now someone please blast me all over the page if I'm wrong but isn't inert meaning and usually pertaining to a growing medium that has no chemical change caused by the molecular compositions of the compounds and ions etc of the nutrient solution... i.e plastic. Now I could be wrong and if I am I totally apoligize but for argument sake we all are here for love of hydro ... We can't be handin out bogus info can we lol but home hydro my apologies if I'm wrong. But none the less in my part of the country we have this beautiful white very course grained river sand just there for the takin lol as long as the dnr doesn't catch me ha ha ha !! Also homehydro is right about using a soil sub not much differnce there true!!! But I believe it would work well in a hybrid system of some sort


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RE: river sand anyone ?

It is a fallacy to say using dirt (or nutrient rich sand if you will) as a medium excludes it from being hydroponics. Will you be able to as accurately control the nutrients provided to the plants? No. Is it still hydroponics? yes.
I do not condone using soil as a medium, but just because it has a little organic material in it does not exclude it from being considered hydroponics.


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RE: river sand anyone ?

Grizzlyman
How do you come to that conclusion? Then just using miracle-gro (or any nutrient) on my potted plants is hydroponics. The definition of hydroponics is "growing plants without soil." That's not a fallacy, that's a definition.

Cultivation of plants in nutrient solution rather than in soil

Hydroponics, Wikipedia
"Hydroponics (From the Greek words hydro, water and ponos, labor) is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, mineral wool, or coconut husk.

hydroponics definition
"the science of growing or the production of plants in nutrient-rich solutions or moist inert material, instead of in soil"

Dictionary.com,
the cultivation of plants by placing the roots in liquid nutrient solutions rather than in soil; soilless growth of plants.

"now someone please blast me all over the page if I'm wrong but isn't inert meaning and usually pertaining to a growing medium that has no chemical change caused by the molecular compositions of the compounds and ions etc of the nutrient solution"

Not exactly, In soil there are many chemical reactions taking place. These chemical reactions continuously break down the organic material (decomposing it) into the nutrients the plants can absorb. An inert material lacks these chemical reactions within itself, but is not referring to any reactions with the nutrient solution. Therefor the only nutrients the plants can absorb come only from the nutrient solution, and none from the growing medium (again, the definition of hydroponics).


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RE: river sand anyone ?

Who cares? My goal is to grow the most productive plants I can and I really don't give a rat's behind exactly how they grow - completely in water, completely in soil, or some mix in between. If "hydrosoilics" works great.

Mike


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RE: river sand anyone ?

Some people do consider everything from self-watering containers to hay bales with funnels stuck in them to be hydroponic. I suppose that would make lawn sprinklers aeroponic, (LOL). But take potting MIX as opposed to potting SOIL for example, the potting MIX contains Organic materials like bark and sphagnum peat moss that decompose into nutrients but the nitrogen comes from those tiny little time released beads mixed in it. Whereas the potting SOIL contains the kind of nitrogen rich dirt that would make an earthworm happy. The Potting MIX could make a satisfactory organic hydroponic medium if the little beads were removed but I would just laugh at anyone if they said they were going to use potting SOIL and call it "hydroponic".
Just my thoughts.
Ken


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RE: river sand anyone ?

I suppose there have been enough on topic posts, so why not go off on this definition of hydro tangent, right? I'm game.

Personally, I find it funny how fast definitions change. People like to claim that hydroponics is really, really old. Like Babylon old. The hanging gardens used dirt. It was hydroponics because of the irrigation system and the fact it was contained and therefore controlled. The word, as homehydro points out, comes from the greek for labor of water. Yes, potted plants are a form of hydroponics. However, most consider hydroponics to be when you have it contained AND the watering is automated to an extent by pumps or gravity systems. Nothing about the word indicates soilless. It has just become standard due to the benefits of going soilless. Someone pointed out on another forum the fact that we have to have standards for understanding words, particularly in written communication. I think it stands to reason that when people are in the hydroponic forum they are not referring to stuff with soil. That is what separates it from the container gardening forum and the raised bed forum. That is why today the word has a different definition today than originally. FYI, in 1937, when it was first given an official definition in the English language, it was defined as being "with or without an inert medium". No mention of actual soil in the definition. Gotta love etymology. Times and technology have changed to make it necessary to change the definition in order to have more precise understanding in everyday communication or we would have to preface every conversation with a review of definitions just to be on the same page. Now that would be ridiculous.

All that said, I'm with Mike. If there is a method that works best, share it. Progress is a wonderful thing.


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RE: river sand anyone ?

From the greek words hydro and ponos meaning water labor. There is reference to the medium used in the basic meaning of the word.
Do you do all your hydroponics in a lab? do you regularly remove you plants from their inert medium and wash the medium to remove dead roots? If not, then your medium is no longer inert. I suppose it is no longer hydroponics. If you strictly use MG to produce large crop plants, you have to have some bacterial action to break down the ammonia. does that mean its no longer hydroponics? (bacteria are organic, they die, they settle on your medium) same thing with "organic" nutrient solutions. the name in itself implies non inert material. as soon as you pour in onto your medium, poof, it's no longer hydroponics.
In a very esoteric meaning of the word, just watering your lawn is indeed hydroponics. Water is in fact always required to do some of the labor of growing plants.
Now lets stop being argumentative for the sake of argumentation and consider the practical application of media in hydroponics.
Any medium is just a source of plant support and/or water retainage. whether or not it harms or helps the plant is a mattter of perspective dependent on a persons desired level of control. To me personally if you are relying on your medium to solely supply your nutrients, it is not hydroponics. being aware that your medium supplies some nutrient value but not relying wholly on it the support the plant does not exclude it from being hydroponics.
Consider a person who chooses to use dirt as a medium, but still focuses on using water soluble fertilizers in a DWC system to grow the plants, its still hydroponics. Will the plants still be affected by what is in the dirt? certainly. good or bad? who knows. That person likely isn't as concerned about being able to exactly replicate the same environment consistently. He or she just wants to grow plants.
At the other end of the spectrum is the mad scientist who only uses true aeroponics so there is no influence from any other source than the nutrient itself. he probably doesn't recirculate his system, instead letting the solution drain to collection where he tests it to see exactly what has been consumed and then re-balances it back to an ideal condition before returning it to the reservoir.
Is one of their systems more or less hydroponics because of their choice of medium?
Where in that spectrum do you fall? I am certainly not at either extreme.

On a side note; indeed one of the largest problems with this forum, now, is there are too many folkz who lean to the mad scientist extreme (at least in their minds) and have no tolerance for the guy who just wants to grow plants.


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RE: river sand anyone ?

Judges Joe Jr 317 said it best the jury rest and court is now adjourned !! Dismissed !!


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beat me to it

You beat me to the punch, Joe.


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RE: river sand anyone ?

Sorry, perhaps watering your lawn was called hydroponics thousands of years ago (I'm not that old), but is simply not the definition of hydroponics in this centenary. I didn't make up the definition, the scientific community did. When it was stated that it was a "fallacy to say using dirt (or nutrient rich sand if you will) as a medium excludes it from being hydroponics" there was obviously a need for some clarification as to what hydroponics is (for those who wanted to understand), and it's definitely NOT a fallacy to say that growing with nutrient rich growing medium (of any type) is NOT true hydroponics (by the standards of the last 50 years or so). And I never said you cant use anything you wanted as a growing medium. So I guess that leaves it right back with my original statement before it was called a fallacy.

"Fertile sand or soil, what's the difference? If it has nutrients in it, it can cause nutrient problems. Why not just use potting soil for a growing medium in hydroponics then? Sure you can use sand, soil or even regular dirt with nutrients already in it, but controlling the nutrients is extremely difficult. That's why in hydroponics an "inert" (without nutrients in it) growing medium is simply the norm. But there's no reason you can't test other things, I just wouldn't do it expecting good results. Of course "good results" can mean anything from "not dead," to "perfect." But I mean better than growing in soil to start with, and without nutrient deficiencies or toxicities."


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RE: river sand anyone ?

Being able to control the nutrient is not a requirement of hydroponics.
It is what most of us strive for, but it is not required.

I personally don't use soil because:
  • a. its more likely to clog things,
  • b. it harbors all kinds of nasty bacteria/virus/fungi that I don't like dealing with,
  • c. a lot of moths would just love to lay their eggs right next to the stem of my plant.
    But then, the systems I run don't rely on the medium to do much other than hold the seedlings in place and keep the sun and mosquitoes off my nutrient. If not for the above mentioned problems, I probably would use soil as a medium. It is certainly easy to come by.

    you seem unwilling to accept that using a nutrient rich soil as a medium does not mean you're using it as a source of plant nutrition, thus the source of this roundabout disagreement. Again, I am not saying it won't put a wrench in the cogs. I am saying that doing so does not exclude it from being a hydroponics system. this is very synonymous to your argument that if a single drop of water forms in an aero system, its no longer aero. (actually a rebuttal you amde but you should still get the point)We all have to decide for ourselves at what point a system is or is no longer a hydroponic system. I am saying a system with dirt in it can still be a hydroponic system. it really depends on what you're using the dirt for, as I explained previously.

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    RE: river sand anyone ?

    I'm not arguing that it cant be used, or is wrong to do so if one chooses to. I originally just wanted to point out the possibility of nutrient problems if a nutrient rich growing medium is used. At least we both agree that it would "put a wrench in the cogs" as you say. But we do disagree that by definition using nutrient rich growing medium (of any kind) weather it's intended to add nutrients or not (for whatever reason) DOES by "definition" exclude it from being a "TRUE" hydroponics system. Simply because weather it's intended to be used for nutrients or not, it still happens. You simply cant control what nutrients are used from it once you have chosen to use it as a growing medium. And Again I didn't make up the definition, I just passed it on, even if you don't agree with it.

    Also, I know it's just about imposable to keep any organic material out of an inert growing medium like fallen leaves, dead or dying roots etc, but there's a difference in accumulating the organic mater after the plants have been started, and intentionally starting with it in the medium in the first place. You can control what you start with. And at least we both agree with reasons a. b. and c..

    As for the argument about aeroponics verse soakaponice, that's actually a good example. Even though I don't necessarily agree with the definition that was posted (it being an opinion as far as I know) of the particle size of the water droplets (but I do think it's reasonable). I do agree that there is a point in which it stops being a "TRUE" aeroponics system. I just haven't looked into how the scientist define it. On the same token there's a point where hydroponics stops being a "TRUE" hydroponic system (that's defined by growing "without soil"). But that doesn't mean that anyone cant do things there own way, just that there's a reason for the scientists definitions.


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    RE: river sand anyone ?

    In one of my organic raised beds I have a 3/4" x 10' pipe buried 8" deep with a cap on one end and an elbow on the other. It has slits cut into it at three inch intervals. Above ground is a 8'long X 7'tall trellis on which I grow Neves Azorian Reds and Big Zacs that consistently exceed 4lbs. and often approach 5. I dispose of my spent hydroponic nutrients via a funnel stuck into the elbow at the end of the pipe. It works. I refer to it as my Nutrient Down-cycling Fertigation System. It's my pipe, in my garden, and that's what I prefer to call it. When you buy your own pipe and bury it in your own garden feel free to call it a True Hydroponic System or whatever else your heart may desire.


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    RE: river sand anyone ?

    I hear ya homehydro.
    My only points of contention are:
    you said using soil defeats the purpose of using hydroponics. Which, BTW, I somewhat agree with but the use of soil does not make it not a hydroponic system. To imply otherwise could lead those new to hydroponics astray.
    you jumped on the "without soil" part of the definition as meaning to exclude soil all together. If you read the first three definitions of the first link you posted (I didn't bother to look at any of the others) you should notice they don't say soil is not permitted to be used in any way. they all talk about using a nutrient solution as the source of plant food versus from the soil. This of course goes back to what I said previously. Thus, if your plants are not growing predominantly in soil and/or they are not predominantly dependent on soil as a source of food, they still qualify as a "true" hydroponic system. Again, the degree to which you want to control environmental factors is a matter of the growers desire or intent and does not dictate whether or not a system is classified as hydroponics.
    I promise you if you put soil in a 2" net pot and grow a plant in that in a DWC system, where 90%+ of the roots system is in water and not soil, there is not a scientist in the world who would say it was not a hydroponic system. They might point out the soil adds a certain level of unknown to your nutrient consumption documentation, but that would not exclude any research from being valid (assuming that is what you were doing). scientists makes presumptions all the time when doing research. . . wait, I'm getting off on a tangent.
    Lets just say if you don't agree with what I'm saying, then please agree to disagree.


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    RE: river sand anyone ?

    Yes Grizzman,
    I believe there is really only one point that we don't see eye to eye on. And I guess you (and others perhaps) may read the definition different than I do. My intention is not to discourage anyone from trying what they want to do. I only intended to try to warn about possible problems they may encounter by doing so when I can. Thanks for understanding that. Reading hydroponic forums, almost half the posts are related to plant problems, so I just try to help new people to get started on the right foot before they have problems and then get discouraged. A lot more than just the original poster reads the posts, many read them and never even join the forum (so I'm always thinking with that mind-set also). And yes, I can certainly agree to disagree.


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    Not to beat it to death

    Sorry not to beat it to death, but something was bothering me about this statement:

    "You said using soil defeats the purpose of using hydroponics"

    I had to think about it a bit to understand what you meant, and I think it was because of these questions I made:

    "Fertile sand or soil, what's the difference? If it has nutrients in it, it can cause nutrient problems. Why not just use potting soil for a growing medium in hydroponics then?"

    I wasn't meaning that it defeats the purpose of using hydroponics. I was just making a comparison that if it didn't make a difference, why bother using a inert growing medium instead of using soil.

    P.S. I'm not trying to start anything back up, so feel free to disregard this post if it does not apply, even if it does, I still agree to disagree.


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    RE: river sand anyone ?

    It's all good.


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    RE: river sand anyone ?

    Much ado about nothing........


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    RE: river sand anyone ?

    Here is about "something" I guess.

    River sand or fine gravel is in fact an excellent medium from my point of view if used with an appropriate setup. Btw: I have actually never been able to make or see the difference between these terms (SAND/GRAVEL) and how they are referring to a specific grade or size. I've used sand/gravel successfully for years, especially in my own shallow sand bed technique. And yes, as it comes in several calibration - size really matters. If taken directly from rivers or in mixed calibre, it has to be sieved and washed well before use. Very fine sand is unsuited as it compacts too much when wet and to coarse isn't suited either. A mix of more coarse and medium and perhaps even some "finer" particles is well suited for the shallow beds I'm using with a drip system. With Aquaponics "pea sized" gravel has proven to be the best substitute for expanded clay and a much cheaper alternative. Btw: I guess here one actually refers to "dried pea size". The way it is used with aquaponics is anyway a good indication how sand/gravel is able to deal with decomposing organic matter. And Sand having good filtering qualities is best knowm as well.

    By it's nature sand is also supposed to contribute to lowering pH, - depending on different factors and environmental conditions I guess. In case it's actual quartz based sand, It is indeed a acidic mineral.

    At any calibre (except actually volatile particles) sand will not actually be drained away with a E/F system nor clog anything, as long as the E/F process is taking place slowly and with a week pump. Never the less fine sand particles should anyway be sieved and washed out. A coarse filter covered with a handful (or more) of more coarse sand will then prevent any medium sized particles to get through or drained away. Here again particle size matters. I once have designed a sand based E/F system (with a week pump) and I can tell that you can avoid clogging with little means if you chose the right calibre or/and sieve out fine particles in the first place.

    As for the "definition of hydroponics" I remember reading with "the history of hydroponics", that the hanging gardens of Babylon were referred to as probably being the first hydroponics in history. And if this isn't a legend but a historic fact it is indeed very likely that these hydroponics were based on FERTILE sand from the Euphrates River. Anyway, when we refer and insist on definitions, as in a culture without soil - we shall keep in mind that there are two distinct materials: soil is soil, and and sand is sand although soil may contain some sand as sand may contain soil as well. Here also we have an unmistakable definition handy on what is what, and which applies here.

    SAND IS NO SOIL - We can't switch to a double standard as we need it, can we?

    Anyway, definitions are sometimes needed and useful, but sometimes they simply don't fit and become rather useless - or worse: a set of mallets in the hands of some overambitious pedants. I don't need to agree with any definition, either if it is provided by Wiki, Britanica or any other "authoritarian" source - even if it has been decreeted by his holiness the Pope. If the context just tells me differently - that's good enough for me to simply drop any definition like a hot potato.

    A Philosopher Who loved good food, good literature, fine wines and tobaccos once put it this way:

    "Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations."
    -Alan Watts-


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    RE: river sand anyone ?

    Lucas
    You contradict yourself a too many times to count. But anyway.

    "SAND IS NO SOIL - We can't switch to a double standard as we need it, can we?" and "there are two distinct materials: soil is soil, and and sand is sand although soil may contain some sand as sand may contain soil as well."

    Nobody ever said otherwise, the problem comes from separating the two from each other. And river sand, directly from river beds contain both. And I am well aware of the hanging gardens of Babylon (and such) being the first hydroponics. But in case you have not noticed there have been a couple of improvements in the past few thousands of years. Going by the Babylonian times, there is no difference between hydroponics, and watering a plant. Therefor, no need for this forum if that's the standard you want to go by.

    "A Philosopher Who loved good food, good literature, fine wines and tobaccos once put it this way:

    "Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations." "

    I cant wait to try telling that to the judge when I'm on trial for murdering my next door nabor. Gee judge I was told NOT to make comparisons between right and wrong. Ya lets just see how that goes. You can drop any definition you want to, but that doesn't make them go away. If anyone wants to make up there own definitions, don't be surprises if I don't recognize you as an authority. I can make up my own definitions too, I guess that would make them legitimate and me an authority also. You cant ask for documentation, then simply through it out the window if you don't like it. That was to Lucas specifically, because he always demands proof of the simplest of things, and if he didn't make it up or agree with it, he wont recognize it's existence.


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    RE: river sand anyone ?

    I don't contradict myself because you say so. Please stop discrediting me by principle and repeatedly in a fallacious way.

    Indeed, If we refer to soil in some context, we may refer to a local soil and in some case it would in fact be more or less sand - but there is no contradiction here yet. Because in this context we obviously have to distinguish between inert and free from organic matter or mixed with it or containing any sort of 'contaminants'. As soon as sand is washed and "purified" (as explained extensively) we would, without any contradiction or hesitation refer to it as an inert and inorganic medium, as quartz (in most cases) well suited for hydroponics and very different from soil. But we wouldn't and couldn't do so for any other common soil, would we?! Yes we could wash and clean any loamy soil until there only was a few grains of sand, some undefined coarse residues and a hand full of pieces of gravel left. LOL

    If we (in another case) deal with "fertile river sand", we still and basically have the same medium and inorganic matter, with the sole difference that it contains some part of (more or less decomposed) organic matter which we can call fertiliser or whatever. Hence speaking about organic hydroponics,- where would we make a difference (in the definition or from a practical point of view) between already naturally fertile sand (gravel) - or firstly cleaned and then "re-fertilised" sand or gravel. With Aquaponics such principle and demystification of what actually is soil-less becomes even more obvious.

    About the example with Babylon and some contemporary standard of nowadays, - you got that part all wrong too. Principles don't change: we have only two (actulally 3) components then and now; a medium which is clean or cleaned sand (not soil, neither loamy nor sandy) and fertiliser plus water. The later is either mineral chemical or actually organic for some. NOTHING has changed since with these simple principles. Is Aquaponics a rather antiquated technique, or is it in fact recent and actually still in development?! Is the standard of "a CLEANER way of doing it and a set of more refined or stadardised medium" more advanced and more contemporary? Well for some it might be, for others it simply isn't.

    The example and quote of Alan Watts obviously refers to certain THINGS as they are -and (also warns of the unnecessary use of a double standard in some specific case) - but it ONLY refers to the definition of THINGS, - NOT to actions, deeds, ethics, law or morals - and certainly not to any behaviour. Well - I may indeed have targeted a quite pedantic debate style or some extremely inflexible definition of hydroponics. ;-)

    If YOU want to talk murder and/or any deviant, criminal behaviour, the definitions about right and wrong in whatever sensitive context, plus the related ethics and moral mind set (which we don't deal with at all in this forum as far as I know) - you are free to do that but please do it elsewhere. Thanks.


     o
    RE: river sand anyone ?

    Wow, I just hit on something!
    Things are as they are, DIRT is DIRT. Looking out at the universe at night, DIRT is still DIRT. We make no comparisons between right and wrong DIRT, nor between well and badly arranged DIRT. DIRT will always be DIRT.
    My Zen master once told me that enlightenment is rediscovering what you already know.
    How True.


     o
    RE: river sand anyone ?

    You are deadly right hardclay, if you cut the crap - there is a cheap, clean and suitable medium for hydroponics left ... We were talking SAND and GRAVEL here, weren't we? So, anyone interested in using it, cut the crap and the Zen and you have got it! LOL


     o
    RE: river sand anyone ?

    OK then - I understand that people don't actually understand (thus not figure it out as it is for real) if they haven't actually seen something. But then again I guess that some people will not even accept ever and keep on arguing and babble, because it is what they do anyway instead of delivering valuable information based on experience. Well, I can always try to get the more reasonable part convinced... ;-)

    Here I have got both, a E/F and a drip system with sand as a medium.

    Now, is Sand a true medium for hydroponic and is this real hydroponics - or isn't it?!



     o
    RE: river sand anyone ?

    Lucas
    You are so full of yourself.
    First off we were not talking about using cleaned and purified sand. I was referring to using "RIVER SAND" fresh from the river bed. Second I was not talking about that as part of your contradictions. There were too many of them to list, so I just didn't bother.

    Aquaponics is aquaponics, and hydroponics is hydroponics, there is a difference even if you don't think so (all be it not a large one). And organic hydroponic nutrients are derived from organic sources, but still are mostly broken down into there raw elements. But their exact composition is not as predictable because they rely on nature to completely break them down. Last I knew "soil" was a solid object, not liquid, even compost tea is a liquid. But does it fall under the definition of hydroponics, well is it "soil-less"? It does to me.

    As for your babble about Babylon times, nothing wrong there either. They were not using clean medium but rather soil (not "soil-less"), and over time they started using compost teas for fertilizer. And well dah, what plant do you know that grows without water (then or now)? The quote of Alan Watts obviously IS making a comparison of actions, "we make no comparisons" (we) being humans, and (comparisons) being an action and/or judgment. I guess I need to explain this also, I am NOT considering any illegal or deviant acts, that was JUST a COMPARISON (not that you would know what that is). Most people don't go up in front of a judge unless they did something illegal, I could have just as easily said for steeling. But that was not the point of the statement, something you will never figure out I guess.


     o
    RE: river sand anyone ?

    Why can't some people get it,
    You take Two (2) big rocks and keep mashing them together and they become smaller rocks, stones, gravel, and eventually sand. (which all drain very well.) Keep rubbing the sand particles together and they become silt. (which has both moisture retaining and draining properties.) If you were to continue wearing those particles down smaller do you know what they Become? Come on now, my first grader can answer this one. Alright, For the benefit of those who haven't been able to figure it out, It's called clay and it drains poorly. For our next lesson we'll see what happens when we add organic matter. IT'S CALLED DIRT, IT ALWAYS HAS BEEN DIRT, AND IT WILL ALWAYS BE DIRT, BECAUSE DIRT IS DIRT.
    Any questions?


     o
    RE: river sand anyone ?

    The key phrase there is "add organic matter" and it's called dirt (dirt, soil, same difference). I certainly don't disagree with that. I just don't make the jump to dirt being a good growing medium for hydroponics.

    Also I took ceramics in high school all 4 years, and our clay had fine organic matter in it, well except the porcelain, that I'm not positive about. Especially the high grade porcelain. I mostly stuck to stoneware clay because it was $3.50 for a 25 pound bag, some was more cores than others depending on the grade. Our ceramics teacher even had a couple places that he dug his own clay directly out of the ground. He kept the locations secret, but I know he got it from the California desert somewhere.


     o
    RE: river sand anyone ?

    You know I've been using "dirt" as a hydroponic medium for years. It's called a Nanny Pod. You remember them. As long as you keep the different roots seperated your fine. I have several pictures of Nanny Pods this year that are good examples of what your talking about. The nutrients are sucked out early so there's just bio mass left. "Inert bio mass but inert bio mass that will transfer nutrients to the roots. Of course you have to add those nutrients.


     o
    RE: river sand anyone ?

    Lucas, how long are the plants able to grow in that system you show? Is that just for starting? It looks as though it would be quickly outgrown. As far as your sand, that doesn't look like what we in the US would generally refer to as sand. It looks like pebbles. I'm not correcting you, as I don't know what definition you are using, but what you have there would have much better aeration and drainage than what I believe most here would consider to be river sand. River sand is generally of a finer texture (<1mm) and therefore weighs a lot more per volume, too. That makes it a little more cumbersome, of course. I think river sand in that system would likely get very loaded with algae in no time. I like the system, though.


     o
    RE: river sand anyone ?

    Hi Joe,
    Right, the system may look like it was more of some nursery or if the rather shallow growing bed wouldn't allow you to grow most plants to maturity. Although a comprehensible thought, it's in fact a false impression. -> see attached picture!

    As for the definition of "sand" or even river sand and the grade or calibre, it actually varies with a natural occurrence. In fact I have tried from fine sand (the one you probably are referring to when talking "common and finer sand" ), to what could clearly be defined as gravel or pebbles. As mentioned earlier, "Pea sized" gravel as it is used with Aquaponics. As for the actual river sand as it naturally occurs, it normally (I've seen it like so in Europe, Middle America and Asia) mostly comes as a conglomerate or a mix of heterogeneous sizes. You may actually find some elevated banks with finer sand and deeper spots with rougher calibres. But mostly it's more like a mixed conglomerate of various grades as soon as you dig and scoop a more important quantity. Here is where the sifting that I mentioned earlier, comes in.

    The weight in relation to the calibre (grade) doesn't vary that much, at least not for the purpose. But gravel/pebble grade aerates better and finer grade holds more moisture. Also, seedlings start better in finer grade or a mix. As explained earlier, I actually prefer some self made composition of several grades, with the finer parts sieved (and washed) out of course.

    Algae are in fact a minor problem, - as the good thing is that they don't have much affinity for sand. And if taking care with dripping, the surface hasn't actually to be moist. Here also one is tempted to anticipate algae would become a problem - but they are actually not. Compared to perlite for example algae are clearly a more neglectable issue. I was pleasantly surprised about that part myself.

    In this picture you can see over two year old fig bushes, small Neem trees one Moringa and hidden among them a few pepper plants. They indeed grew (up) in a very shallow sand bed only 2-3 inches deep. This setup uses in fact a mix of sand and gravel including rather fine particles). In the meanwhile, you bet, the roots of the fig bushes have already grown down to the reservoir (and mainly feed from there).

    One plus with this system also is, that this kind of setup has truly proven to be "heat resistant" as it seem to generate and work as a "open soil like" heat evaporation circuit. To perform so, it needs to be placed in "half shadow" and not fully exposed to sunlight, though.


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