Understanding how to use vermiculite in the garden for farming has many benefits including higher yields. For instance, knowing how it could help in areas like soil improvement, seed germination, transplanting plants and mulching could also lead to more profitability. Essentially, vermiculite produced for use in the garden will always be the exfoliated type of vermiculite. It has many useful qualities that can benefit your soil and plants for example, it is aerating, moisture-retentive, nutrient-retentive, lightweight, non-toxic, sterile, does not rot or mold, and lastly has a neutral pH.
Using vermiculite in the garden for Soil Improvement
Vermiculite can be added to poor quality soil to improve it. If you have heavy, clay, poor-draining, or sandy soil in your garden, then most plants are going to struggle to survive, let alone thrive in this environment. You will often hear the phrase ‘improve your soil before planting,’ but how do you actually do this in practice? Vermiculite is your answer. Use around half the volume of the soil in vermiculite, and work it deep into the soil. The vermiculite will drastically improve the soil’s aeration, allowing plants to grow much better. It will also retain the necessary moisture and nutrients to help feed the plant.
Vermiculite can be used alone or in a potting mix for improved seed germination. Utilizing vermiculite for this purpose will see seedlings develop more quickly. If used alone, add only a small amount of water so as not to overwhelm the seeds.
The vermiculite will release the moisture to the seedlings as and when they need it. You should also add a few drops of weak fertilizer once leaves appear on the seedlings, to substitute nutrients which would ordinarily be supplied by the soil. When the seedlings are ready to be planted outside, they can easily be removed from the vermiculite without damage to the roots and potted on.
Using vermiculite in the garden for Transplanting Plants
Whether you have grown your own plants from seed, or you have bought them home from the nursery, you will need to transplant them to their permanent home in the ground. Vermiculite will help your plant to settle in better, ensuring its ideal care needs are met.
To use it for transplanting, dig a hole several inches bigger than the plant’s current root system, and add in a mixture of vermiculite and topsoil. Position the root ball in place, then fill the hole with more vermiculite and topsoil. This will help to control moisture levels and improve aeration around the roots, thereby allowing for greater root spread.
Apply vermiculite as a mulch for some types of plants, including roses and tomato plants. Add just a few inches on top of the soil to improve moisture control and provide heat protection to root systems.
You can use vermiculite in the gardening trade to root cuttings. Here, you can use it in various ways, either use it alone, mix it with soil, or combine it with bark for a soilless potting mixture. Whether used alone, or in a mix, propagating a cutting with vermiculite will promote anchorage for new roots, and speed up root growth. If you want to encourage a more rapidly rooting cutting and a higher propagation success rate, vermiculite is the preferred material to use
Vermiculite is an excellent addition to pots of soil, whether that be in outdoor containers or for houseplants. Mixing some vermiculite into your potting soil will improve aeration and moisture retention. Consequently, this will result in a healthier root system that is better able to spread out and absorb nutrients. This thereby creates a lusher plant. You will also need to water the plant less frequently as the vermiculite retains water and releases it when appropriate.
After applying seed to your lawn, spread around a quarter inch of vermiculite over the top and water with a gentle sprayer. You should use approximately 3 cubic feet of vermiculite for every 100 square feet of lawn. This addition will increase the speed at which your seeds germinate. Again, it will increase the number of seeds that germinate, for a fuller-looking lawn. The vermiculite will help to maintain a consistently moist lawn, and also protect the seeds from heat.
If you like to create your own homegrown cut flower bouquets, vermiculite offers a great hack to use instead of a vase full of water. Simply fill your container with vermiculite and moisten with water, then add in your cut flowers. This eliminates the need to change stale water, will prevent potential spills and keeps the flowers looking fresh for longer.
Using vermiculite in the garden for Bulb and Root Storage
Use vermiculite to create an easy storage solution for plants that need to be over wintered indoors. Vermiculite helps as it will keep the bulbs or root systems in their best condition. First, allow bulbs or roots to dry out for several hours after removing from the ground. Then fill a container with vermiculite and tuck in your bulb or roots. The vermiculite will prevent rotting, which is a common problem for stored bulbs. It has absorption properties that will keep excess moisture away from the plant without stealing any of the plant’s own stored moisture.
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