Hydroponics Online Home Home Store Blog Forums FAQs Lesson Plans Pictures

Go Back   Hydroponics Forums Discussions > Hydroponics Discussion Forums > Hydroponic Nutrients and Mediums

Polymer crystals


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-21-2011, 05:20 PM
chattiesmom chattiesmom is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 5
Default Polymer crystals

Are polymer crystals a feasable hydorponics medium? I did a search and came up with no info on polymer crystals.

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-22-2011, 07:54 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,831
Default

Do you have a link to some?
__________________
Website Owner
Home Hydroponic Systems
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-22-2011, 10:10 AM
chattiesmom chattiesmom is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 5
Default

I generally purchase from ebay. Handy to have around the house.

Back to my question - will they work as a medium for growing hydroponic lettuice.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-22-2011, 07:06 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,831
Default

If I had a link to see what they are, and to know if what you are referring to is the same thing I found when I looked up the term, then I could give a reply. But I don't really want to reply without knowing exactly what I would be replying on. If it's what I found when I did a search, I would say yes they can be used as a growing medium. But I would want to make sure there was no unwanted chemicals in them (another reason I wanted a link). Though I don't know if it would be economical even so. That's about the best I can say without being able to see what it is were talking about.
__________________
Website Owner
Home Hydroponic Systems
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-22-2011, 09:24 PM
chattiesmom chattiesmom is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 5
Default

Here's a link: 1 lb WATER ABSORBING CRYSTALS Super Polymer 2-4mm size | eBay
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-23-2011, 01:41 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,831
Default

chattiesmom
I would certainly give them a try. They say they are potassium-based rather than sodium-based, and were specific for agriculture. So I don't think there is anything in them that's harmful to plants. Although without having some in my hands to see how solid they are when saturated with water, it's hard to say that small pieces wont eventually break off and clog a pump or filter. But I'm sure you could design the system to take that into account. Like creating a catch screen using furnaces filter screening/swamp cooler screening etc., in the overflow/return back to the reservoir, making it easy to clean out regularly. Or even just using a water culture type system, or even a wick system rather than a system that needs a water pump. You may also want to use a light strength nutrient solution (something in the range of 50%-80% strength) at least at first, until you can judge how the plants are doing.


If I'm not mistaken they may even be reusable, I think they are supposed to shrink back up to their original hard form when dried out. If so, that may make it fairly easy to separate the roots from the crystals after the plants are harvested. However, sanitizing them for reuse may be a problem because they absorb any liquid they come in contact with. I would probably try using H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) for that, but because they absorb so much liquid that may take a lot of H2O2 even diluted with water. Boiling water would do the trick, but may damage or disintegrate the crystals, same with bleach water. But considering the price, they sound economical even if you don't reuse them. They seem about the same price as coco coir.

P.S.
I would make sure they were not exposed to light, because I'm sure they would grow algae fairly quickly. Mainly because they are clear, making it easy for light to pass right through them. The nutrients are the food source, and food+water+light= algae.
__________________
Website Owner
Home Hydroponic Systems
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-23-2011, 09:43 AM
chattiesmom chattiesmom is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 5
Smile

Thank you so very much for your detailed reply. The polymer crystals have a consistency of jello. I am going to soak the crystals in a nutrient solution (weak commercial fertilizer) and use them as a substitute for soil. Maybe it will work well enough to grow some tasty lettuice for salads.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-24-2011, 10:53 PM
brentgag brentgag is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 2
Default Polymer Crystals for a Medium

Yes, these are a good medium. They come in various sizes. I use the larger crystals for regular potting and the fine powder-like crystals for cloning, although I have been using the fine crystals with a special Net-Pot Liner that I make and it is working very well. This product was originally developed by the USDA as a means to grow crops in a Desert environment. I think I have a little over 1,000 pounds of this stuff, so maybe I should go find me a Desert...hahaha!

And yes, it is reusable. Plus, it will hold the water for at least a week, which is great if you happen to go on vacation.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-25-2011, 03:52 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,831
Default

I would be interested in seeing how they work out.
__________________
Website Owner
Home Hydroponic Systems
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-25-2011, 04:07 AM
brentgag brentgag is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 2
Default Polymer Crystals for a Medium

Hey! Gps... give me your address and I'll send you some so you can try it yourself. You should have my e-mail cause I just signed up this evening.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-25-2011, 09:20 AM
chattiesmom chattiesmom is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 5
Default

Bent, thank you so very much - your posts were encouraging. I "planted" my lettuice yesterday - can't wait for my salad! My crystals are medium I am thinking about taking the hydrated crystals and whizzing them through my blender to make a finer crystal.

Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:23 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.