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What is Vermiculite and how and why is it used in the garden?
What is Vermiculite?
Vermiculite has been used in various industries for over 80 years. It is used in the construction, agricultural, horticultural, and industrial markets.
Vermiculite is the mineralogical name given to hydrated laminar magnesium-aluminum-ironsilicate which resembles mica in appearance.
Vermiculite is found in various parts of the world. Locations of the predominant commercial mines are in Australia, Brazil, China, Kenya, South Africa, USA and Zimbabwe.
Vermiculite mines are surface operations where ore is separated from other minerals, and then screened or classified into several basic particle sizes.
When subjected to heat vermiculite has the unusual property of exfoliating or expanding into worm-like pieces (the name vermiculite is derived from the Latin 'vermiculare' - to breed worms).
This characteristic of exfoliation, the basis for commercial use of the mineral, is the result of the mechanical separation of the layers by the rapid conversion of contained water to steam.
Uses of Vermiculite
Vermiculite's many uses and beneficial properties include:
¤ Inorganic, and sterile.
¤ No known toxicity or fire hazard.
¤ High water holding capacity.
¤ Non-abrasive and non-irritant.
¤ Absorbs excess nutrients.
¤ Facilitates re-wetting.
¤ Low alkalinity.
¤ High cation-exchange capacity.
¤ Does not deteriorate in storage (if kept dry).
¤ Free from disease, weeds and insects.
¤ Good air holding capacity.
¤ Insulates and minimizes soil temperature fluctuations.
Vermiculite is ideal for the germination of seeds, because it's aeration properties combined with it's water holding capacity make it a very suitable medium for direct contact with the seeds.
When vermiculite is used alone, without compost, seedlings should be fed with a week fertilizer solution when the first true seeds appear. Large seeds can be mixed with Vermiculite in a small polythene bag closed at the neck, and kept in a warm place until the seeds just start to germinate. Then plant them singly in small pots or trays of potting compost. Vermiculite can also be applied to the outdoor seed bed where it will give improved emergence and less risk of capping.
Keep interest in garden throughout winter, whilst looking after the birds, with our superb range of wild bird care products.!
We have a superb, recently updated, range of Wild Bird Care products to help tempt and keep the wild birds in your garden and to help care for them, ensuring that they survive over the winter months.
The comprehensive range has everything from Bird Boxes, Feeders, Feed and Feeding Stations; you'll find it all in our Wild Bird Care.
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- Hozelock Water Timers - A Guide
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- Stewarts Heat & Grow Variable Temperature Electric Plant Propagator User Guide
- Hozelock Micro Irrigation - The ABC Guide to Automatic Watering
- What is Vermiculite and how and why is it used in the garden?
- What is Perlite and how and why is it used in the garden?