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Soil Growing Media - Different Types

Developed by Muhammad Marrush and Mark Bell - International Programs Office, UC Davis, Oct 2007 "About Growing Media ‘Compost’, ‘plant growing media’, ‘plant substrate’, ‘mix’ or ‘media’ are all terms used to describe the soil or organic media used to grow plants in containers. These media often consist of mineral soils mixed with materials such as leaf mould, decayed animal manure, spent hops, peat, mortar rubble, wood ashes, sand and grit. An “ideal” soil mix is economic, provides the physical and nutritional needs of the crop and is free from toxic substances. Types of organic media Peat Peat is the most widely used material, with Sphagnum peat moss most commonly used. Peat can be used by itself or with other materials. Sphagnum peat has a spongy fibrous texture, high porosity, high water retaining capacity, low ash content and usually a low pH (3.5-4.5). Peats are usually deficient in the principal plant nutrients. Sawdust and Shredded Bark Sawdust and bark waste often have problems of (a) nitrogen deficiency and (b) substances toxic to plants. While contents are low (e.g., 1%N) ,bark usually contains slightly more nitrogen than sawdust. Softwoods decompose more slowly than hardwoods. "

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