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Soil Alternatives?

What are some good soil alternatives? You see, I want to grow a simple bean plant, but I  can't use any soil (since I will eventually make a mess in my apartment, and it'll be hard to clean it up).

Question by GreenSkys    |  last reply

Leaking PVC Soil Pipe

The PVC soil pipe under our bathroom has developed a slow leak. This pipe is inaccessible as it runs under a platform that lifts the bathroom above the concrete floor of our enclosed garage. It may be a crack in the pipe (unlikely) or a connection between the tub and the main pipe (more likely). Is there a liquid sealant that I can pour into the tub drain that will seal this obviously small opening?

Topic by GorillamoRex    |  last reply

Top soil needed FREE if possible

I am in need of top soil with no clay as it would be used for an allotment in my back garden I will come and collect if not to far from Tiverton Devon. if you want some top soil taken away give me an E-Mail

Topic by dazzer730    |  last reply

Potting soil formula? Perlite substitute?

I want to formula my own potting soil - 50% soil, 50% compost, but how much perlite? And possibly substitute something else for the perlite - more "green", more natural, cheap as "dirt", just as available?

Question    |  last reply

Soil for sandy sink hole areas

Our home is on sand, lime, sink holes. It helps to direct rainwater away from the structure to prevent sink holes. My question is if there are recommended soil treatments for sand. If it will help to coat the perimeter with two feet of soil and sod, I'll do it. I really like landscaping and I just wanna make sure using a few feet of fertile soil and sod is an option without making things worse. Any other recommendations would be very much appreciated. Thanks all.

Topic by Sovereignty  

Need a semi upright soil sifter.

Hi Is there a design plan out there for a semi upright soil sifter. The type I need is one that stands sloping and you use by shovelling the soil onto the top of the sloping sieve and as the soil runs down it the fine parts go through the sieve and the larger parts drop down to be re sifted or discarded. I hope you know what I mean. I just want a simple frame with two legs. Cheers  Daniel

Topic by daniellouwrens    |  last reply

Zigbee Soil moisture project issue

In a project I am doing, I have to send analog readings of a soil moisture sensor through zigbee. I have connected the sensor Vcc to 5v and ground; the zigbee Vcc to 3.3v and ground. The analog pin of sensor to Txx pin of adapter on which the zigbee is mounter. On the coordinator zigbee, i/o packets are being recieved..but it is always giving value of "020a" or "020b" irrespective of the data from sensor. I have also fed the analog data of sensor through voltage divider to keep it within 1.2v range..can you suggest what I am doing wrong??

Topic by kahoko22    |  last reply

How do you make a good compost tea ?

I would like to make a wonderful brew for my vegetables to thrive on and introduce nitrogen to the soil.

Question by niceribs    |  last reply

seed germination process in water without soil ? Answered

Hello , I am reading about hydroponic system. How do I start tomatoes from seed. . I did not want to germinate seed in soil and then Put into water. Is it possible ?

Question by vead    |  last reply

Do plants use less water in absence of soil? Answered

I know this isn't a DIY project-type question, but I found it interesting to notice that a coleus clipping I planted in a water bottle with nothing but water in it tends to use less water then plants usually seem to do when they are planted with soil (I've had it planted since mid/late-June or earlier and the water has barely gone down, and some of that missing water would've been from evaporation). I'm guessing that it is using the same amount of water, but it seems like it uses less because plants with soil drain and spread out the water through the ground, making it necessary to water the plants more often than if you plant them in nothing but water, because most of the water drains away from the plant and into the surrounding area instead of being kept confined into a bottle/vase with the plant. Is this correct or do plants just use less water in the absence of soil? 

Question by ALogan97    |  last reply

does anyone have some potting soil i can have

Does anyone have some free potting soil i can have. or a link where i can get some or free/

Topic by minecraftpotato    |  last reply

mushrooms growing in my garlic plant? Answered

i have an indoor garlic plant and little mushrooms are starting to grow in the soil, is this something i need to worry about? what should i do?

Question by embochner    |  last reply

Is it possible to grow a plant in a bottle? Answered

I just got a great idea that I would like to try. I tried searching the web for similar ideas, but found nothing. So, I have decided to try it and post an instructable. My idea is to insert some garden soil into a 1.5 liter plastic bottle then drop in a seed and cover it lightly with some more soil. Then, I will punch a few holes in the bottle cap and screw it on. Will the seed germinate and grow? Thanks.

Question by j0rd4nkzf    |  last reply

1 Arduino + 3 or 4 LM35s?

I am a total beginner, having logged about one hour here (the last hour). Does this sound OK for a first Arduino project? I want to sample and log the temperature outside at the surface and at depth for a total of 4 readings to a depth of around 50cm (20"). The reason is to consider if I should provide my daughter's pet rabbits with an underground burrow as relief against the next heat wave. It seems a nicer option than running a swamp cooler all day. Though I suppose I could use an Arduino + LM35 to turn on and off the swamp cooler :) It looks like I can do it with 4 x LM35s, an Arduino One, some sort of data storage, a 9v battery and a bread board. Any recommendations for if I should use WiFi or an SD card for storage? My guess is the SD card is simpler to programme and maybe less of a battery drain. It seems I just need to hook up the data out of the LM35s to the analogue ports, then loop over the inputs and write the outputs to a file somewhere. And calibration too. Any pointers on how to turn the LM35s into probes that can be buried in the ground? I was thinking I could bind all the probes onto a dowel, dig a hole and bury it. How to extend the LM35 pin outs? Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Question by FargingIcehole    |  last reply

how to extract from rust form rust rich soil? Answered

OK, so I have this big water treatment plant around me and there is a huge pit where the soil is deep orange and filled with rust. I know its rust because the people who work there told me its rust. If you just touch it your fingers are orange. So I went down there with a plastic bag and gathered up some chunks of soil that were dry and orange. I was wondering how i could extract the iron oxide(rust)  from it so there is no dirt in it and I have a pile of rust. I want to use it for thermite. Thanks alot!

Question by ostomesto    |  last reply

Nodemcu esp8266 possible to connect multiple soil moisture sensors ?

I'm planning to make automation of my garden to check moisture, temperature, etc.. I got a query is there any possibility to connect multiple soil moistures to one nodemcu. If possible then please help me understand how to design it.

Question by yogesba    |  last reply

Arduino moist sensor with email function

Hello! I would like to do a project with an Arduino one including soil sensors and wifi options. I have all the materials (i think) needed for this but i would need some help with the code. The idea is to connect atleast 2 soil sensors to the arduino that also has an LCD on it. I want to be able to monitor the current state of the soil on the LCD in percentage of how moist the soil is. As for example, when i just watered my plants the LCD would show close to 100% of moist. And for example when the moist drop below 25% i would receive an email depending on which of the sensors that sent the alarm. If i have both tomatoes and peppers in 2 different pots, i want the arduino to know the difference between theese 2 so i can get an email specifying which pot i need to water. I could however see this on the LCD aswell since it would always show me the current moist percentage of both sensors but i would also want it to be specified in the email.  So let's say i'm out of town and my tomatoes run low on moist, so the sensor alarms the arduino and it sends me an email saying "Moist in Tomato pot is below 25%, water them" or something alike. I could help write the code and modify it afterwards for my needs. I just need someone to help me get started with it :) Thanks!

Topic by vivering    |  last reply

Hi any body know arduino compatible soil ph sensor and salinity sensor?

Hi any body know arduino compatible soil ph sensor and salinity sensor?i'm looking to developed a soil ph meter and soil salinity meter. please help me friends.

Question by Rangam3    |  last reply

looking at earthbag with soil/clay fill , what area is considered cold? ?

What is the R factor of an earth bag wall

Question by mike poind    |  last reply

Best practical way of making biochar for soil improvement on commercial scale?

I need help to build a cost effective biochar retort that will produce at least 500 kg biochar/day to use for soil improvement on my dairy farm. It must also be moveable to move to new sites. I've got access to a lot of forestry waste all over the district. Here is my initial idea: From 3mm sheet metal manufacture cylinders (drums of say 200 lt) one bigger than the other so that one fits into the other with a 100 mm play all round. Bigger cylinder has a lid with a chimney on top and close ended at the bottom with air inlet holes around the base and completely isolated with fire proof material. Smaller cylinder (that goes inside) is open ended and stand on bigger cylinder baseplate with airtight lid that gets closed after filling with wood chips. It has 50mm outlet at the top that connects to a metal pipe (coming through the side of the outer cylinder) that leads woodgas to the bottom of the next retort and maybe have a drain to catch bio oil. The idea being that I can duplicate the retorts to increase production using woodgas from the previous to pyrolize the next. I then only have to burn wood in the first retort to get the process started. Please suggest improvements, or complete new more viable system. What can I use for isolation material? Can I collect other products off the woodgas instead of pyrolising the next batch?  What other byproducts might be valuable?

Question by HMST    |  last reply

I want to set up a hydroponics system but don't want to buy commercial nutrient or medium. Answered

Can i just flood the soil the plant is growing in for a temporary portion of the day? I don't have a problem with the pump, just buying the nutrient / medium. Can i just use soil and wet it down really well once a day and then drain it (out the bottom)? Would floating soil in the water being circulated through the system work? I could empty water / put more soil in on a regular basis.

Question by Toulouse    |  last reply

Is aluminium lose its electrical conductivity when it is oxidised ? Answered

I have a soil moisture probe that is generally use for gardening projects. So I read some articles that tell about oxidation of this probes in a week. I wanna make soil moisture sensors that I can use it in my experiments and you know inexpensiveness is important rule of DIY :). I planned to use aluminium plates as resesitive soil moisture sensor but I have still some doubt that oxidation of aluminium affects to conductivity or not ?  I will use the sensors for a year or at least 7-8 months. So I worry that couldn't measure soil moisture properly.

Question by JeoleX    |  last reply

Grow 4 Show!

Hey everyone, I wanted to let everyone know that I have just created my very first blog and would love everyone to check it out and give me some feedback. Its all about Gardening, anything from the classic soil growing to hydroponics.  I will be updating just about everyday. lots of pictures being updated daily. Have a look and happy growing!

Topic by IIwootII  

Bio-Char Pellets

I didn't see a speel on this topic yet so now we have one. I wrote this to a forum for bio-pellet maker's and thought that I would pass it along to you to read. Enjoy. ______________________________________________________ Hello, I am new to the forum and to pellet making altogether really. I am an open researcher of the net at the present time have become interested in many topics I come across. The downfall of the net, for some, is that there so much information, it can boggle the mind. I ran across the videos put out by the web site on YouTube and decided to pose a question to the site administrator. They still have not gotten back to me, but I think from the posts on the forum you are a pretty busy group - he is likely looking into it. The newest thing on the 'Save the World' front is Bio-char. I asked if the pellet machine would be able to convert bio-char into a pellet form. I do know that the bio-char can be hand pressed, or screw extruded into briquettes. This is done in many countries around the world. What I think would work the best is the small pellets that your group are making. I will give a little bit of back ground for my idea. Researchers who have explored the rain forests of the Amazon have come across a soil type which is man-made. They call it 'Terra-Preta' or 'Dark Earth'. I have found out that the soil of the rain forest is not particularly suited to growing vegetation (this surprised me) and the ancient civilizations in the area would treat the soils. These plots of land they are finding today are estimated to be 100's of years old (in terms of last use) and are amazingly fertile as compared to other soils in the immediate area. They only run 4-5 feet in depth and cover the known growing plot area of the period. Today’s natives actually hunt out these plots and sell the fertile soil as an income. The keys to this fertile soil is a high carbon content and pottery chards. Both materials are very porous in nature. What happens is the nutrients that come to the treated soil gets trapped in the pores of the material and are held there, rather than being washed straight through the soil. These nutrients are then extracted from the material be the root systems of the plants as they grow. As the spaces in the material open up again they are refilled with newly arrived nutrients. This material has proven that it can remain in the soil for 100's of years - as is found in the 'Terra-Preta' plots. By the way these plots are not isolated to the Amazon they are found around the World in different areas. The thing is that the way they are made - the technique was lost. These plots around the World are being used up and the farmers are running out of nutrient rich natural (organic) soil. Some feel that the burning of the fields in the way to go as it has been done that way for ages. Well, the soil is dying and it working. The soils are being depleted. Plant matter which is made of carbon, takes its building blocks from the soil and therefore the soil is lacking carbon after centuries of use. But, because we had one lazy, or work saving generation, who knows how long ago, we have lost the technique of how to care for the soils. Tests run in Africa are showing an amazing 500+% increase in crop yields in the first year. They are still using un-organic fertilizers as that is what they thought they needed, but that can change now. Their soil is so bad in some areas that nothing would grow. If any farmer could get a 20% increase in annual yields they would be happy. The reason that the use of chemicals came into large use was because of the depleted soils. If the chemicals did not wash away (trapped in the carbon for future use) there would be less need in the future. Ideally there would be none needed in the future. So what are we doing? At present we grow plant material, burn it, and release the carbon into the atmosphere. I don't go for the global warming thing, but do feel it is not a good thing happening. The dirt on my car every day tells me that things are changing for the worse - I didn't see that as a child. What we can do is grow the plant material, burn a portion of it to covert another portion of the material back into carbon, and put that carbon back into the soil. This cuts emissions to the air (from that aspect of society) to 50% of what it was. Pellets can play a big part in this. My idea was to convert plant matter to char and the char to pellets. The pellets would be good as they are finding in test fields that the microbes in the soils like to grow in the larger pieces. 'It makes the soil happy' - they have a community of their own. You do not want too large of chunks as that makes the soil difficult to work with. Too small of piece (on surface soil) will be blown away on windy days. The windblown soil may not seem like a big thing, but the carbon has the nutrients now remember. Keep all you can on the fields instead of the forest. If you wish to recarbonize the forest soil, spread it through the forest in your spare time. It should be said here that the carbon upon introduction to the soil will deplete the soil of nutrients at first. This is the carbon 'charging' itself. The pores of the carbon are filling and will have the nutrients there; it just looks like the nutrients are gone. This is why it is a good idea to pre-charge the carbon before introduction to the soil. Mix it with compost or manure for a couple of weeks and let the pores fill. The nutrients will then be added to the soil with the carbon. This where the pottery chars they find in 'Terra-Preta' come from. They are the holding vessels from the indoor urinals and toilets - charged and stinky they were broken in the fields. This may not work as far as making pellets from bio-char goes. What about bio-char from pellets. This would be easy to test for you people. You have the machines and the wits to do it. The market is there if you want to sell the end material. Every back-yard composter, in every city will want this stuff. I hope I wasn't too long winded on this. It is an important topic, especially if you are a rural resident. City dwellers with a green thumb can help, but the rural residents hold a majority of the bio-matter. For more information Google 'bio-char' also 'making charcoal from wood' you can get into the worm castings and all that, but once the nutrients are in your soil the rest of the good things will come and live there without help.

Topic by strmrnnr    |  last reply

Unable to send soil moisture data to through serial communication.The code is provided below

The hardware connection is done properly but even though the sensor data can't send through wifi after including apikey and other relevant information.

Question by DEO Kumar das    |  last reply

Solar Capillary Irrigation

I was thinking: If you used a post hole digger and made 2' or 3' holes throughout the garden, then dropped an old pant leg or other scrap fabric down the hole, filled it up with soil while leaving some fabric exposed above the soil, covered the fabric with an inverted clear plastic or glass bowl, would this draw enough moisture through the fabric to irrigate the plants near the bowl? I'm thinking the sun would heat things up for condensation on the glass which would drip down the sides to the soil while capillary action would draw deep soil moisture through the fabric to the surface where garden plant root zones are. Anybody try this before?

Topic by robbtoberfest    |  last reply

Can I use a solar panel, a lawn garden battery and some sort of copper wire to warm my garden soil for earlier planting?

I have a cloche set up but want to keep my soil warm at night inexpensively.

Question    |  last reply

How to test for nickel levels in soil, water and plant based food? Allergy sufferer needs serious help.?

I have an allergy to nickel. It causes severe blisters so I must avoid it at all costs. Unfortunately, nickel is present in soil and water at varying levels and is absorbed by all plant based foods. There is some literature out there that lists which foods are worse, but are vague at best, and simply avoiding all plant based foods is not a realistic option. I would like to know if there is a way to test soil and water for nickel and determine how much is present? Or is there a way to test plant based foods for the nickel levels they have absorbed? I have researched this extensively and can only find information about getting tested for metals within the body. Confirming this would not change my dilemma. I have to work diligently at avoiding any further exposure to nickel as I understand there is no way of removing this metal once it is ingested. I have seen many specialists and their help is not only expensive, but limited (due to a lack of research in this area).  Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. If anyone needs reference material regarding nickel in soil, water and plant based food should Read This from Ohio State University.

Question by canucksgirl    |  last reply

What I could do to my soil to reduce oxalate content in my garden vegetables?

Tomatoes and beans are high oxalate foods and a problem for some people on a low oxalate diet-(me, lol) Unfortunately, they are my favorite veggies to eat and grow. Certain growing conditions cause variances in the oxalate content, but what those are, I don't know.

Question by gluless    |  last reply

I read an article that pvc is not agood idea in the food garden.Why? Does it leach chemicals in to the soil?

I saw some ideas for watering pots using pvc--good ideas--organic garden--

Question by Claude3    |  last reply


Does anyone have any information reguarding tomatoe rot, particularly on the bottom? thanks

Topic by nana13    |  last reply

Homemade-Hand scrub, extremely cheap, from around the house ingredients, that works for all people? No matter how dirty.

Where can I post a cheap, excellent working hand scrub recipt that works exceptionally well? Made from household ingredients,Cleans hands no matter how soiled from dirt to grease.

Question by bullfrogs    |  last reply

How do I protect against tomato blight next summer after terrible problems this year?

Should I sterilize my potting soil for my cherry tomatoes? How should I dispose of infected fruit and plants to avoid contamination next season? Will the soil need any work, or will the freezing temps of winter take care of the viruses?

Question by daphnek    |  last reply

Harvesting voltage difference between xylem and soil of plants with LTC3588 nanopower energy harvester? Please help :)

Http:// - here is a link for more information about the LTC3588-1 that I was planning on using. What would I use this with? An Arduino board or something similar?  It's for a research project trying to get energy from plants and trees and things. Basically I want a circuit that can store energy from voltage difference in a plant.  Any tips or advice for how to go about it? What materials, knowledge and techniques will I need to use? Thank you so much for your input and thoughts. 

Question by tryingtoscience    |  last reply

Can i put potting mix or dirt of soil in water forming a slurry and use it as hydroponics nutrient solution?

I recently saw videos on hydroponics and wanted to set it up my self on a budget, 0$, just as an experiment i cut the cone top of a small mineral water bottle put it upside down like a diy minnow trap and used tissue as substitute for rock wool, filled bottom with water till it just touched the tissue, then plopped a bean in it. I then forgot after putting it behind a fish tank. After 3 days it looks like this. I need nutrient in water so i was thinking about just dumping a palm full of soil, would it work?

Question by Atharva1    |  last reply

Do cheap pH meters work?

I have seen $10-20 pH meters for testing soil in garden stores, home improvement/hardware stores. I was wondering do these give accurate readings? I am looking for a cheap and accurate way to test pH. Any suggestions even for other ph testing methods are appreciated. Thanks!

Question by rendermatt    |  last reply



Question by prasanth reddy    |  last reply

question on clay

Recently I descovered my property has a lot of clay soil deposits, with that said how would I use that to make clay jars,pots,cruiclibles? And I have lots od sand, so exactly I know you mix the soil, sand and water but I dont know in what order or fashion so some websites might help. with this I am planning to make a clay crucible for forging, and an oven while I'm at it. Thanks

Topic by CyrusII    |  last reply

hanging tomato buckets

I imagine a 5 gallon bucket with soil and water weighs quite a bit. Thinking of using a ladder. Any suggestions?

Question by javoynovich    |  last reply

I want to make Compost from a 55 gal plastic barrel that contained "Built Liquid Alkali", if washed will it be usable? Answered

 I recently acquired a couple of blue plastic 55 gallon barrels in the hopes of making my own rotating composter(s) and upon doing some reading via I-net found a lot of people saying "Only use food grade plastic barrels".  The barrels contained "Built Liquid Alkali", which is a silicated alkali builder designed for when combining with laundry detergent it makes for better soil removal and improves whiteness retention. Cautions read: Industrial use only, may cause burns, keep away from eyes mouth and skin. The first aid instructions are to use plenty of water to flush or wash affected area(s), leading me to believe that this is water soluble. I am hoping that possibly using OxyClean or some other suitable cleaner that I can make these barrels usable for what I need them for. If anyone has knowledge on this chemical and can provide some insight it would be most appreciated.

Question by WV_Kokamo_Joe    |  last reply

Can plants be grown by using only water vapor, no soil either? the thing is to limit the weight to the plant alone.?

To create a system of plants and greenery, which is useful and productive, not just decorative, but which has limited weight. this would allow for various levels of plants needing only wire supports, increasing the effective production over a given area.

Question    |  last reply

is it worth it to plant a veggie garden directly in ground?

Is it worth it to plant a veggie garden directly in ground or should i just go with one of the planters from the site? my soil is real bad and would require a lot of working. its hard as clay and filled with rocks.. it would be more accurate to say that i have a bunch of rocks with some bad dirt... should i just build a few planters (i have the wood and tools handy) and fill with store bought soil or are three advantages to planting directly in the ground?

Question by evan_124    |  last reply

How do you force a flower bulb to bloom in the winter?

What kind of bulbs can be forced? Can they be forced in water, or does the bulb need soil?

Question by porcupinemamma    |  last reply

Homemade hydro excavator?

I recently stumbled onto a website that sold a special hose and powerhead that allowed a typical pressure washer to be used as a sewer jetter (unclogging sewer lines).  I was blown away.  So simple.  Pure genius. Then it occurred to me:   A standard pressure washer could be used as part of homemade hydro excavator -- a digging tool that liquefies soil and removes it with a vacuum.  These machines can excavate around pipes without damage and make surgical-style incisions in the earth. Very precise. Very fast.  Factory made hydro excavators are *very* expensive and they typically rent for $350.00+ per day.   To turn a pressure washer into a hydro excavator, you'd need an economical homebuilt vacuum tank to suck up the liquefied soil and a vacuum hose attachment for the wand.  The excavated liquefied soil is very heavy -- so weight considerations and spoil removal are engineering issues to work on. So ..... anyone know how to build an economical vacuum tank?  

Topic by eric1967    |  last reply

How to root woody viburnum.

I have a favorite viburnum that I'd like to root. I've used rooting powder and loose soil but I haven't succeded. Can this plant be rooted from a cutting?Thanks,Tim?

Question by x7c00    |  last reply

what is the best green house i can make for my red pitcher plant?

 the green house needs to be easy and not messy. This type of plant needs a special type of soil to live in.

Question by Mo321500    |  last reply

Best analog multiplexer IC for NodeMCU or other 3.3v microcontroller?

I am looking for an analog multiplexer IC in a DIP package that I can use with a NodeMCU. I would like a minimum of 4 pins, but more would be fine. I will be using it so that I can use multiple capacitive soil moisture sensors with a NodeMCU, which only has 1 analog input. I was looking at maybe the 74HC4051 or MAX4734 or one of the 74LV405x? Or the SN74HC4051N? Which one of these would work or be better or is there another option? Here is a link to the soil moisture sensor I am using-∓=1

Question by Gadgets_and_Gear    |  last reply

Need tips on starting Lantana from seed?

I have tried starting seeds in paper towels dampened and directly in potting soil inside the house and no luck starting them. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Question by eagleflyingoverhead1111    |  last reply

How do i take a outside garden that has gone wild and make it ready for next spring?

 with none of the weeds, grass, Creeper, evergreen shoots currently inhabiting the space, but still have the soil fertile for new (prettier) inhabitants?

Question by corjin    |  last reply