Darrell's (dw1305's) soil thread

dw1305

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Hi all
That's interesting :) It's literally soil dug up, burnt and sieved.
is 100% correct. I've got quite a lot of soil samples, out of the furnace in the lab (this burns out the OM at 500 oC to give you the percentage organic for your soil) if any-one wants to experiment with them?

The technical term is "calcining", and it is how they create "hydroleca", "Seramis" "Turface" etc. The advantage is that the clay is irreversibly converted to a solid (for example bone ash and Kaolinite calcined at 1200oC is "bone china"), but if the process is not at too high a temperature it retains it's CEC.

The reason these products tend to be red is if the soil contain any iron it becomes fully oxidised (same reason is why "house bricks" are red).

cheers Darrel
 

Steve Smith

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

Interesting stuff! So does that mean you could theoretically create one of these expensive soils using any soil, to give the same product (more or less) or does the contents of the soil matter in the first place?
 

dw1305

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

Hi all,
Yes I think it does. I collected some fairly heavy acid clay with the intention of calcining it in the lab. furnace, unfortunately I can only do small amount at a time, so I rolled the clay into balls (with added "growmore") to use as slow release substrate fertiliser tabs. I've used them in the tank, but not in a scientific manner, and it maybe that the NP&K had vaporised in the furnace.

If you had access to a potters kiln, for example, you could pellet a large amount of clay soil through a sieve and make any size of pellet you liked.

I should have some 2mm sieved calcined calcareous clay if anyone wants to have a go with it?

cheers Darrel
 

ghostsword

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

dw1305 said:
Hi all
That's interesting :) It's literally soil dug up, burnt and sieved.
is 100% correct. I've got quite a lot of soil samples, out of the furnace in the lab (this burns out the OM at 500 oC to give you the percentage organic for your soil) if any-one wants to experiment with them?

cheers Darrel
Hi Darrell,

I would like to experiment with it.. :)

How much to post a 5kg to London?
 

dw1305

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

Hi Luis,
I'm not sure how much I've got, it probably won't be 5kg. Don't worry about the postage, I've got your address, so I'll post a sample.
cheers Darrel
 

ghostsword

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

Thanks Darrel,

Much appreciated.. :)

I will use the sample you send on the 20cm cube to enter the ADA comp, give it a name, as I would like to list it as substrate on the description.

Thanks.
 

dw1305

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

Hi all,
Just to apologise to Luis really, I've been really busy but I'll try and post his DIY "Not Oliver Knott" substrate to him over the weekend.
cheers Darrel
 

ghostsword

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

dw1305 said:
Hi all,
Just to apologise to Luis really, I've been really busy but I'll try and post his DIY "Not Oliver Knott" substrate to him over the weekend.
cheers Darrel
Hi Darrell, no issue, it is worth the wait... :)
 

flygja

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

I hear rumours that ADA's Aquasoil production facility is just around the corner :lol:
 

dw1305

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

Hi all,
Another apology really, but I have eventually posted the calcined soil to Luis, and it should be with him today or tomorrow.
cheers Darrel
 

ghostsword

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

Fantastic Darrel,

I will setup a old tank I have at home to take this soil, will place there the 100 odd Staurogyne's that Tom Barr is sending me.

Will be really good to see how the plants take to your soil, however will top it up with sand, so avoid cloudiness.

As Staurogyne grows with medium light, a 11W arc pod should be enough for a 20L.
 

FishBeast

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

flygja said:
I hear rumours that ADA's Aquasoil production facility is just around the corner :lol:
If so than with a little luck we could expect a price drop without the middle man.... I wouldn't hold my breath though :D
 

flygja

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

FishBeast said:
If so than with a little luck we could expect a price drop without the middle man.... I wouldn't hold my breath though :D
I'll put down 5 bucks - your face will turn blue before there's a price drop :lol:
 

ghostsword

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

dw1305 said:
Hi all,
Another apology really, but I have eventually posted the calcined soil to Luis, and it should be with him today or tomorrow.
cheers Darrel
Hi Darrel,

I got the soil, and I am very happy with it.

I placed it on a glass with some water, and it does not turn to mud, it has a mixture of grain size, which is great for plants to take hold on.

How much would you charge for a 10kg bag of this? I have been using Tropica Aquacare, but this substrate seems better for the sort of plants I keep, such as lilaeopsis brasiliensis and hairgrass carpet mix.

I am sure that my amazon's would take good hold of this, will try on two Rubin plantlets I got.

Many thanks once again.
 

dw1305

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

Hi all,
Hi Luis, good it's arrived (I was a bit worried as I posted it first class last Monday, 17th May, and it hadn't arrived yesterday). About a kilo posted first class was £4.50, (and £4.12 as a parcel), so you would need a carrier for larger amounts.

I'm not sure about the cost of firing, I only ever get little amounts (because it is out of the small furnace in the soil lab.), and it builds up over time. A clay source would be needed as well, all though I'm pretty sure you could use a "potters clay" base and a "special" additive, crushed pumice would be cheap or bentonite/montmorillonite clay. Prices here:
http://www.scarvapottery.com/opencontent/default.asp?itemid=222&section=PRODUCTS
it is pretty cheap -TC10 - £25.50 for 100kg.

and Bentonite http://www.webpetstore.co.uk/products-page/sodium-bentonite-cat-litter/

I think to go into small scale production I'd probably have to find a potter and fire a large amount in their furnace (and at a fairly low temperature c. 500oC). It would need pelleting as well. A school art department might be a possibility for somewhere with a furnace.

There is also packaging (not sure about a picture of Luis with cheesy grin and his thumbs up? or possibly an official UKAPS product in a tasteful bag? we will have to see how testing goes)

I'll try and get an approximate cost.

cheers Darrel
 

ghostsword

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

Try to get some pricing.. :)

I will see how much a furnace costs, 500C is not a lot of heat, some ovens do that (I think!), so there maybe a possibility.

The result is very good, and what you sent me will be used on 20cm cube, got enough cuttings to try out on this new substrate.

There may be a business here.. :)
 

ghostsword

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

Someone I know has a kiln, his mother makes pottery.

Now, should we add nutrients to the soil when is it being baked, such as trace mix?

Would 500C change the chemical components of the mix? It shouldn't, as the soil around volcanoes is pretty fertile, and they get hotter than 500C.. :)

I will actually try to make some substrate, probably make a mix of clay, cat litter and bat guano. :)
 

nayr88

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

im liking where this is heading :D
 

dw1305

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

Hi all,
I worked on the theory that the soils should contain trace elements, but you definitely can mix them in to oven baked material. I may still have about 500g of "micro-nutrient fritted trace elements" somewhere. This is powdered glass where the trace elements have been added to the glass as it cools, but is still molten. <http://www.frit.co.uk/eng/editorials.asp?pcat=2&c=17>.

Wessex Water calcine dried sewage sludge at about 500oC and used to sell it as fertiliser - "Biogran", so it must retain some nutrients. I'll need to look into this, it may be the secret ingredient we need to mix with the terracotta clay. I saw the plant at Avonmouth and I'm pretty sure it was very hard, black shiny pellets. http://www.50connect.co.uk/home_and...herb_and_veg_gardens_archives/biogran_natural

However I like the sound of dried Bat Guano, we could intimate it is the secret of success for a "legendary Japanese/Dutch/German Aquascaper", no names mentioned.

cheers Darrel
 

ghostsword

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Fantastic.. we will get there, and maybe achieve the perfect soil, without the cheesy grins.. :)

Bat guano is currently being used on hydroponics, so maybe sprinkle some as the soil hardens would work.

It is quite cool that someone is using cooked sewage as fertilizer, it does make sense.
 
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