Water retaining gel for pots - Free!!

Discussion in 'Freebies, Offers & Bargains' started by Dave W, Jan 14, 2022.

  1. Dave W

    Dave W Total Gardener

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    If you are using Covid lateral flow tests, they come with small packets of desiccant which is water absorbing, but also water retaining and pretty much the same stuff as you'd buy to keep pots moist.
    So save the little packets and mix the contents with your potting compost. You won't save a fortune, but as they say up here - 'mony a mickle maks a muckle.' and its better than throwing them in the bin.
     
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    • pete

      pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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      Silica gel.
       
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      • Dave W

        Dave W Total Gardener

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        Yes, the same stuff as may be found in disposable nappies :blue thumb:
         
      • pete

        pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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        Yes, come across some of those in various places.:frown:
         
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        • flounder

          flounder Gardener

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          I wished some one had told me you shouldn't use used ones!:nonofinger:
           
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          • Selleri

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            That's the 2-in-1 version, with fertiliser. :biggrin:

            I'm not too sure how efficient the silica gel is, but the gel crystals in nappies certainly do work. It's basically the same stuff that is sold as water crystals, they absorb a lot of moisture and swell up to gelly blobs.

            Then again, silica gel feels like it could also work as grit in the compost.

            Interesting idea, worth some experimenting :blue thumb:
             
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            • pete

              pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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              Just done an experiment and the silica gel doesn't seem to be swelling like the water storing crystals or the stuff in nappies.
              Its just stayed hard and gritty.
              DSC02275.JPG
               
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              • Selleri

                Selleri Koala

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                What a dedication Pete :heehee:

                Yes, if I remember my days in a lab, the stuff captures moisture thanks to it's porous structure rather than absorbs it. In the lab it's heated up to evaporate any moisture, then quickly poured into a desiccator, and the stuff to be dried is placed on top, and the lid is sealed tightly.

                However, silica might work very well in potting compost to add porous, gritty inert material in. Never thought of that, and the little pouches come with anything you buy so win win. :)
                 
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