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  #1  
Old 07-18-2017, 11:04 PM
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Default using perlite for the 2nd time or not?

hey everyone i got a question i have a bunch of perlite left over from my hempy bucket grow and i had spider mites pretty bad...if i were to soak the perlite in bleach water or azamaz do you think it would be ok to use it again...or do you think the spider mites would stay in the perlite? my plan is to get a 55 gallon drum fill it half way then add a bunch of bleach...and use a screen to seprate the root mass from the perlite and the vermlite will go to the bottom which will be trown away... just wanted everyones advice would this get rid of the mites or is it a big risk to reuse it?
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Old 07-19-2017, 11:35 AM
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I bet the bleaching would do the trick, but I wouldn't risk it.

I had some crazy spider mites one time destroy a whole grow in flower. I forever hate them. I would just pay a few bucks for new Perlite, actually all new growth medium/buckets/whatever, try not to use anything that was in the room with mites.

Goodluck!
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Old 07-19-2017, 01:20 PM
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If your plants were otherwise healthy without any issues bar the spider mites then just give it a flush and let it sit for a week or two in a warm to hot room. As the mites no longer have a food sounce any still persisting on the media (including eggs) will perish quickly. If you are able to obtain or brew microbes this would be an ideal treatment for the media. Microbes will feed on the old root mass breaking it down and making the locked in nutrients available to the new plants. If this is not an option an enzyme treatment such as cannazyme would suffice. This would also assist in the breakdown of the old root mass and encourage beneficial bacteria to colonize the root zone. You will however need to keep a close eye on the pH and ec of the leachate as it will fluctuate untill the beneficials establish their equilibrium. If you can successfully master this technique you may never start with new media again. You will find you have plants of exceptional health and vigour...

Last edited by professorjj; 07-19-2017 at 01:23 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 07-19-2017, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rza View Post
I bet the bleaching would do the trick, but I wouldn't risk it.

I had some crazy spider mites one time destroy a whole grow in flower. I forever hate them. I would just pay a few bucks for new Perlite, actually all new growth medium/buckets/whatever, try not to use anything that was in the room with mites.

Goodluck!
THIS
Perlite is cheap.
Reusing that media is unnecessary risk. I'd treat it like toxic waste. Zero tolerance.

After a good (pest free) run, consider what JJ suggested.
I am all for reducing waste and recycling.
It takes a while for roots to decompose anyway. You can't just flip that stuff right back into action after a run.
Maybe 6 months of cannazyme treatment. I have a giant trashcan full or old root balls that I've done that with and I suspect it will be great soil amendment when I finally use it.

BTW: Cannazyme is super expensive. $24 for a liter. Anyone know of a cheaper enzyme to use for composting root balls?

PS: "Hempy" stopped using pure perlite/vermiculite mix and switched to coco/perlite about the time he left this site. Might want to give it a try.
I prefer about 80% coco, 20% perlite
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Old 07-19-2017, 10:59 PM
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I've been reusing perlite for years now. I fill a large plastic tote with water and add an enzyme product like hygrozyme and a little drip clean type salt rinse. Then I dump the pot full of perlite and roots and dump it in, grasping the stalk I will swirl the roots around in the water and almost all of the perlite will release. Then I let the stalk with roots drain and dry somewhere. I let it all sit for like 12 hours and then take the perlite that has floated off in a large colander/strainer and put it in a bin to dry. At the bottom of the float tub will be a sludge that I simply dump outside or flush it down the toilet.

I never have any problems with insects or disease due to this.
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Last edited by PlantManBee; 07-19-2017 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 07-20-2017, 02:19 AM
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Hi Plantman.
I've been making a lot of assumptions lately. Everyone's experience is different.
I've gotta remind myself of that.

I run in small containers, feeding hydro, top feed drain to waste 3 or 4 times a day. The wet dry cycle drives amazing growth and the plants get way bigger than could normally be grown in those pots.

By the time I harvest, my root balls are solid roots. Dense.

When I started doing this method, I used perlite with 20% vermiculite.
I tried the first few runs to reclaim it. Wound up crushing the perlite to crumbs trying to get it out.

When I switched to coco, I started putting the root balls in 50 gallon trash cans and basically composting the roots.

Spider mites are nothing to fool around with though.
I'm with Rza on this one.
New pots, sterilize the room, new medium. Take no chances.
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Old 07-20-2017, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Spice View Post
THIS

After a good (pest free) run, consider what JJ suggested.
I am all for reducing waste and recycling.
It takes a while for roots to decompose anyway. You can't just flip that stuff right back into action after a run.
Maybe 6 months of cannazyme treatment. I have a giant trashcan full or old root balls that I've done that with and I suspect it will be great soil amendment when I finally use it.

BTW: Cannazyme is super expensive. $24 for a liter. Anyone know of a cheaper enzyme to use for composting root balls?
With respect Old Spice...
I have been reusing the same Rockwool media in a top feed recirculating system for about 4 years now. You can most definately "just flip it back into action". The aim is not to decompose the root mass before reusing. It is valuable fuel for microbes and your plant. The object is to introduce, nourish and maintain a microbial population that is using this stored fuel as feed for these microbes and in turn feed your plants as well as promoting this symbiosis between them. This triggers the plants SAR which has many positive benefits to plant resistance and vigour. The broader the spectrum of micro flora you can maintain the greater and more varied the benefits. Coco is not suitable for this method as it breaks down to sludge and causes many issues. IMO it is a second class media.
The wet dry cycle that people swear by has no benefit other than to re-enforce their own confidence in the method. In todays high performance greenhouse food production, the state of the art methods of culture use controllers to monitor media and environmntal conditions and determine the optimal irrigation frequency and duration...this can be anywhere from 12 to 50 irrigation events during the course of the day. The purpose behind this is to refresh the solution around the roots maintain optimal oxygen, ec, pH and thus nutrient uptake, the other benefit is the removal of any waste products plant or microbial. A well drained highly aerated media such as perlite or ammended rockwool cannot be overwatered. These media and methods are used because they produce the healthiest fastest growing biggest yielding plants....isn't that our goal? So why would you run wet to dry? I suppose it has its place like everything but it is a compromise and its not anywhere near the front of the pack.
Rza I really like your method for perlite re-use it us quite innovative and clever. Much respect brother.
You can purchase natural drain cleaning enzymes that are much stronger and will perform the same function at a much lower cost

Last edited by professorjj; 07-20-2017 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by professorjj View Post
With respect Old Spice...
I have been reusing the same Rockwool media in a top feed recirculating system for about 4 years now. You can most definately "just flip it back into action". The aim is not to decompose the root mass before reusing. It is valuable fuel for microbes and your plant. The object is to introduce, nourish and maintain a microbial population that is using this stored fuel as feed for these microbes and in turn feed your plants as well as promoting this symbiosis between them. This triggers the plants SAR which has many positive benefits to plant resistance and vigour. The broader the spectrum of micro flora you can maintain the greater and more varied the benefits. Coco is not suitable for this method as it breaks down to sludge and causes many issues. IMO it is a second class media.
The wet dry cycle that people swear by has no benefit other than to re-enforce their own confidence in the method. In todays high performance greenhouse food production, the state of the art methods of culture use controllers to monitor media and environmntal conditions and determine the optimal irrigation frequency and duration...this can be anywhere from 12 to 50 irrigation events during the course of the day. The purpose behind this is to refresh the solution around the roots maintain optimal oxygen, ec, pH and thus nutrient uptake, the other benefit is the removal of any waste products plant or microbial. A well drained highly aerated media such as perlite or ammended rockwool cannot be overwatered. These media and methods are used because they produce the healthiest fastest growing biggest yielding plants....isn't that our goal? So why would you run wet to dry? I suppose it has its place like everything but it is a compromise and its not anywhere near the front of the pack.
Rza I really like your method for perlite re-use it us quite innovative and clever. Much respect brother.
You can purchase natural drain cleaning enzymes that are much stronger and will perform the same function at a much lower cost
That sounds amazing JJ.
I never considered all that root mass could be decomposing in a hydro system and not cause problems.
Certainly in my old rootballs, it would have to break down quickly to allow new roots to grow. Although it is commonly referred to as a wet/dry cycle, coco growers never let their media go completely dry (on purpose.) Never seen coco convert to sludge, and I've gone through a few pallets of it. Maybe its because I used fresh stuff with each round in the garden.
I've always been a sterile reservoir guy, and have never used beneficial microbial products, although I am curious about them and understand the general idea and the concept of the rhizosphere.

Can you tell me what brand of monitor commercial greenhouses are using to track/display conditions on each individual plant? My research has found tech for that level of monitoring to be immature and prohibitively expensive. I have no doubt it will be there some day.

Are there pics somewhere of some of your containers with this media growing plants?
I'd like to get a look at amended rockwool that has been used 3x times. I haven't met anybody that does that until now.
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:51 AM
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Old Spice..
Firstly the roots are not decomposing, that is such a dirty word, they are being consumed by fungal and bacterial microorganisms...that sounds much nicer...
The roots do not need to be "gone" for growth of new roots to take place...quite the opposite you can pull the old plants out and put the new one's in..once conditions stabilize in the first week the peocess is rapidly fueled by this old biomass and the plants explode.
When I referred to coco converting to sludge I was referring to in the system that I run. As it is organic it is also consumed by microbes and broken down. After a couple of cycles it is mush...for one or two it is fine.
There are many versions of commercial software that calculate irrigation frequency based on the dynamic environmental conditions that are present in a greenhouse. Grodans systems are those that I am most familiar with but a search will yield hundreds of them. In high load conditions they all deliver multiple irrigation cycles during the day to maintain optimal rotzone ec pH and wc. As our rooms are generally climate controlled with high light intensities and optimal vpd we can literally just copy an irragation pattern from one of these systems. Do some research and you will understand what I am saying...I could write pages on the topic. A package of the tech is still quite expensive but hand held meters are becoming much more affordable...
It took me about 12 months to get a handle on the multiple inputs involved nutrition wise as I had only ever fed my plants and not the rhizosphere...it wasnt a simple process initially but now it is all obvious.
Previously I would get to the 4th reuse and have wild plummets in pH...but I knew it should work and so I persisted...I figured out why and how to control it... I got there.
As for photographs well old rockwool with perlte and old roots really isn't that exciting...but have a look at the pictures in my gallery or the threads i have contributed to...all of those plants/buds were grown with this technique...let me know what you think
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Old 07-21-2017, 04:09 PM
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Thanks JJ :-)
Sounds like you have earned some great expertise on this. Makes complete sense how the mass would be consumed and converted to be available to the plant by fungal and micro organisms. It's almost like organic gardening in an artificial substrate. The key I guess is amending the media and inoculating it with the appropriate bennies.
Amazing.

Very foreign to my processes and experience but I suspect it results in a robust and resilient environment for the plants.

I have a lot of experience with drip systems and have done quite a bit of research on state of the art irrigation systems available now.
It is fast moving. The demand is spiking and that will drive down prices and push new development.
The tech for closed loop systems is certainly available, but the question quickly becomes one of granularity: do you know if individual plants are dry, or a sample of plants representing larger groups, and mapping that to control. The more granular data you have (individual plant vs groups) adds value, but if your watering system deals with larger zones (by table or by room for example) then the value of knowing that one plant out of 300 is dry becomes less significant.

When I read your post about automated systems, I somehow got it in my head that you were talking about individual plant monitoring/control, which is why I started pointing out these issues.
I just re-read your post and see you never said that. Oh well, I'll leave it :-)

When I was setting up systems like that, I didn't need moisture sensors to set interval and duration as I did it all myself easily through observation of the plants.
Not hard when you are giving them the love, and adjustments as plants grow and go through lifecycle changes are slow, predictable and easy to manage. Demand varied by strain/cut and position in the room in my case (besides normal lifecycle demand changes.)
Scalability becomes the issue of course, and the goal would be indoor or greenhouse systems that require minimal human interaction while maintaining ideal conditions throughout lifecycle.

I am enjoying this conversation a lot JJ.
Thanks for being so professional and challenging my ideas so intelligently.

I normally wouldn't get into a conversation like this online.
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