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Xerophillia: The Stone Eaters- Fantastic article on soil for cacti

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I read this a super long time ago. Helped me figuring out how to make mineral substrate.

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I too read this a long time ago.its brilliant.i have used the information to base my soil compositions on more or less and like his ideas on natural plant growth.i think a pumped up strombo is a great example.they look strange and unnatural when they are elongated and globose. Hence the name disciformis I guess.(I do love my lophs with long blonde hair,firm body and a deep blue grey tan mmmm fit lophs ;-)

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I like fat plumped up globulars myself, but also I like the more flattened, habitat looking specimen.

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This quote is exactly why I love the work in this article.

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away"

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Roksolid is THE BEST slow release fertilizer I have ever used for my cacti. It is a form of rock dust I believe.

For NZ'ers (This site isn't cheap, you can find it cheaper elsewhere but it has all the necessary info):

http://www.0800466464.co.nz/plant-nutrition/60-wallys-rok-solid-1-kg.html

Constituents of it are:

Analysis of Rok Solid (Averages)

Nitrogen [N] .15%

Phosphorus [P] .8%

Potassium {k} 1.4%

Sulphur .14%

Calcium [Ca] 4.4%

Magnesium [Mg] 5.69%

Sodium [Na] 2.95%

Silica [si] 43.0%

Iron [Fe] 39,000ppm

Manganese [Mn] 1,100ppm

Boron 55ppm

Copper [Cu] 90ppm

Zinc [Zn] 142ppm

Cobalt [Co] 59ppm

Molybdenum [Mo] 2ppm

Selenium [se] 3ppm

Plus many other trace elements.


43% Silica! You HAVE to see how healthy all my cacti and plants are because of this. Silica plays a vital role in cell development and water retention.

http://www.innovationsinagriculture.com/CMSFiles/Gallery/Files/Exhibitor/1/Roles%20of%20Si%20-%20email.pdf

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How much of all of that is actually water soluble? That's is the only problem I have with rockdust and using it in potting mixtures. You are then relying on the very small colony of microbes able to live within the media to break that rock down.

But silica is good, especially in hydroponics lol

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Frankly the point with slow growing cacti is they dont need much to be soluble at any given time. They have evolved to survive. Have a read of the article if you havent, it explains everything :)

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Haha yes, this was actually posted in the wrong thread, as i believe there was a second one solely for this product. I have read that article a few times, enjoy it heaps.

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More PDFs of Yoav Bashan and worker's papers can be found at www.bashanfoundation.org.

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I can attest to the benefits of this methodology. After only six months in a carefully crafted 100% mineral mix (+ slow release ferts) my cacti have doubled to tripled in size while still retaining a natural squat appearance with roots vastly happier-looking than any I've ever seen.

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My cacti have never looked so healthy since changing to a mineral based soil.

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Yes, my small trichs seem to like it, have yet to pot up the larger ones.

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I have my trich's in a fairly heavy organic mix they seem to thrive, Afaikthey can be found on higher latitude soils with more organic matter i nature

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For silica read SAND. Nice gritty sand is available from my builders merchant - €1 buys a bag I can barely lift !!

Edited by Spanishfly
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What a great article. I started compiling a list of what I need to make up the mineral substrate and very keen to give it a go. Cost for shipping decent amounts of things like zeolite aren’t cheap though because of weight. Might be a slow process in pulling everything together.

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Hunt around your area.

My area is geologically boring but I've still located deposits where I can harvest two distinctly different kinds of sand, gravel, shell, red stone, I even found talc and limestone deposits.

When a wind storm blew over an old tree by the river I found rocks the size of kiwis that I could crush into sand in my fist because of the decades of root exudates dissolving the stones support structure.

Mineral substrates surround us in fair variety, once we learn to see them.

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DrGreenThumbs is also good.

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Posted (edited)

Kick arse, but super long article. After reading and serious hunting I made a post of my exploits (including switching all my plants over to soilless) which you can find here: http://www.shaman-australis.com/forum/index.php?/topic/46223-melb-vic-creating-a-soilless-mineral-only-mix-or-20-soil-mix-based-on-xerophillia-the-stone-eaters/. I include all the places I found to get my mineral rocks from (Melbourne, VIC, Australia) and even have some spare mineral stone mix to give away or trade if you send me a message.

Edited by Raver Buddy

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